Better Choices, Better Results

Finding My Tribe

I’m sure you know from reading my posts that I’m a big fan of cooking, preserving, gardening, farming, getting back to nature, etc. 

I can just imagine all of you saying, “Well, duh!  It’s all you talk about!”

Very true.  I do talk about those passions of mine often, and I know that there are people out there like me, because I’ve seen them following the same blogs that I read.  My favorite, as I think I’ve mentioned before, is  The author, Suzanne McMinn, used to write romance novels but felt a life of simplicity pulling her back to her family’s roots in West Virginia.  She packed up her kids and moved there a few years ago, and the rest, as they say, is history.  You can read all about her experiences, both successes and failures, on her blog.

Her blog has a lot of followers, and this year, Suzanne and some of her friends held a Chickens in the Road Retreat.  Registrants (like me!) happily paid a small fee to spend 3 days in the gorgeous mountains of West Virginia learning how to make soap and lotions and cheese.  We also tried our hands at wood working and bread baking.  In fact, the bread baking classes provided all the breads for our meals!

I have looked forward to this weekend since March, when registration opened.  I just knew that I was going to have a wonderful time.

I took off on Friday morning for West Virginia.  My GPS didn’t recognize the address of Camp Sheppard 4-H Camp in Gandeeville, WV, so I printed off a Google Map.  It said it would take me about 4.5 hours to get there.  That left me an hour to settle in, find my bunk and get to the first class right on time.

I got into West Virginia just fine and pulled out the map and started following the directions.  It wasn’t until then that I realized there were a lot of directions.  Many turns to make.  Several  county roads to drive on before arriving…

I knew that turning off the main road, despite following the Google Map directions, was a BAD idea, but I did it anyway. 

I was lost on goat trails in the mountains for about an hour.  I was really concerned that I would run out of gas and no one would find me.  I’d have to survive on nuts and berries and my hair would grow down to my ankles and I’d lose the power of human speech because my only friends would be the other goats using the same trails.

I didn't take this photo - I found it online at It's a mountain road in WV. This road is like a 6-lane highway compared to the roads I was on.

It wasn’t like I didn’t try to find out if I was headed the right direction.  I stopped a garbage man, a random woman driving along the road and even stopped at a beautiful little campground to see if they knew where Camp Sheppard was located.  No one knew anything about it!  My anxiety increased with each passing mile.  Every time the pavement broke into rutted, gravel trails that revealed steep drop-offs, I would get even more nervous.

This is Rippling Water Campground. It's where I stopped to find out if I was headed the right direction. Isn't it pretty?

I finally crested a hill and saw two cars stopped in the middle of the road.  The women who were driving were standing in the road with – get this – printed Google Maps.  They were asking a couple of local women if they were on the right road to get to Camp Sheppard.  I had found others like me!

Find out if we made it to Camp Sheppard tomorrow….


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