Our West Virginia Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 488 miles, and drove for 7 hours and 40 minutes during our week in West Virginia while avoiding highways. Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in West Virginia over the past week.

Famous Person: None

Famous Food: White Arugula Pizza

Roadside Attraction: Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine

State Capitol/Museum: Charleston

National Park: Harper's Ferry

Historic Location: New River Gorge Bridge

Can't miss attraction: Appalachian Trail Conservatory

Made in the USA tour: Mountain Moonshine Distillery

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas: $162.00


We went through a lot of gas in WV going up the steep and windy Appalachian Mountains.

$2.39 gal. In Beckley, WV was the highest price we paid.

$2.29 gal in Morgantown, WV was lowest price we paid.

Groceries: $117.00

$68.00 Walmart

$10.00 Aldi

$39.00 Costco


We still spent a lot of money at Walmart this week mainly due to convenience. We need to continue to shop at Costco and Aldi's who are cheaper.

Dining out: $54.00

$17.00 Chinese food (un-budgeted and pretty disgusting)

$28.00 Pizza at Pies and Pints (budgeted and absolutely delicious)

$ 9.00 Soft serve Ice cream (un-budgeted, but it was 104 degrees outside!)


We budgeted for eating out once per week and exceeded this 2 times over. In the future we still need to work on cooking more meals ourselves.

Entertainment: $50.00

$40.00 Admission for 2 to the Coal Mine Tour (Budgeted, and we had a blast)

$10.00 palm reading (un-budgeted, but interesting)


We did great in this category!

Lodging: $ 0.00

Comments: We obviously did great in this category

Miscellaneous: $12.00

$6.00 Laundry (budgeted)

$6.00 Parking ticket including a $1.00 convenience fee to pay it online.


We should try to take closer notice at parking signs to avoid tickets in the future.

Van Break down: $1263.00

Below are the expenses related to the breakdown which were unavoidable. They came out of our emergency fund, and we wanted to keep them separate from our typical daily expenses.

$ 90.00 Tow from Harman back to Elkins.

$1006.00 New Alternator

$ 19.00 Lunch at the only place to eat out at in Harman, WV!

$ 130.00 1 night at the Hilton Hotel. The only place to stay near the repair shop

$ $18.00 For lousy pizza delivered to our hotel room


Breakdowns are expensive and are inevitably going to occur. The only thing we can do is to continue keep on top of our scheduled maintenance.

West Virginia Expenses Grand Total: $395.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is West Virginia Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our yearlong cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 2

“I did not notice a wide variety of industries except farms and general stores”

Lori: 2

“I saw a lot closed business and in areas that appeared to once be bustling towns”

Economy score: 2

Cost of Living:

Nate: 7

“We spoke with a man who said his property taxes for his 110 acre farm were only $2800 last year.

Lori: 8

“I believe taxes were lower since gas was 25 cents cheaper than PA”

Cost of living score: 7.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 9

“The weather was temperate during our visit, and the locals say it’s like that most of the year”

Lori: 8

“Since most of West Virginia had no cellular signal, people took the time to form close bonds with each other”

Quality of life score 8.5


Nate: 7

“I notice the people had a very traditional way of life, such as farming and church”

Lori: 2

“Although people were extremely kind and welcoming, I did not notice a lot of social outlets”

Culture Score: 4.5


Nate: 7

“Most of the state is beautiful rural mountainous farmland, and tiny towns.”

Lori: 8

“I noticed a lot of people use local farms and farmer’s markets and local restaurants for food verses large grocery stores and restaurant chains”

Environment Score: 7.5

The verdict is in:

The final score for West Virginia was 6, and WV will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our wild card option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0