Sunday, April 28, 2013
10 February 2013 On the Way to Wytheville
I needed to be in Salisbury, North Carolina for a week and made my way south to Wytheville, Virginia on Sunday. I stopped for a few caches in two southeastern Ohio counties on the way. My first stop was at Wolf Run State Park. It was good to find a 3+ terrain cache.
I was headed south on county roads when I spotted this old wood-side caboose sitting in a small park. Old wood-sided cabooses are getting rare. This one is still in nice shape inside, but the exterior is on poor shape. One side is covered in a tarp and will be the end of this old caboose soon.
The park had much more history than the old caboose. This was and is the location of the Thorla McKee well. The well became one of the first wells ever to produce oil. It was drilled as a salt well, but yielded oil as well as brine. In 1814 no one really had any use for oil so the oil was gathered off and sold as "Seneca Oil", a cure all. The original well is still in place with an old wooden casing. It appears as though the well is pumped by hand with a leveraged section of wood. There is an old tree trunk in place to serve as the pump handle. The well still has dark oil on the surface and bubbles gas at frequent intervals.
I worked my way through most of the Highland Ridge series with a final cache at the church yard cemetery of the Good Hope Church. As I finished caching it was in the mid 50's. I had to drive through West Virginia and part of Virginia, but expected my good fortune with the weather to hold out. It didn't. An hour later I was in West Virginia. The temperature had dropped 20 degrees as I drove through the mountains. Most of my journey in Virginia was a cautious drive through unwelcome snow.