Getting Lost with a Map

This is Potts Creek and it’s pretty, but it ain’t a raptor observatory.
This is Margie making Potts Creek look better.

OK, so I don’t know how I do it, but it happened again yesterday. Margie and I were driving up to the Raptor Observatory near Waiteville, which is not near anything, unless you count Paint Bank.

Waiteville, I suspect, is the nearest post office to this former ranger station that is either in West Virginia or Virginia, Giles or Craig County. Just not sure because it’s so close to the line.

These old boys greeted us on Virginia 600 at a buffalo farm. I think we got mooned.

Anyway, it’s off Virginia 600, which is off Virginia 311, which goes from Salem to New Castle, to Paint Bank. Then you take a left at the bridge and drive 22 miles to a dirt road that takes you up to the observatory, a one-mile walk from the parking lot. Sounds pretty simple, except it isn’t.

That’s Margie and me getting photo-bombed at the Paint Bank General Store while awaiting lunch.

I looked this baby up on the ‘net, got directions and even pictures of key turn areas. I followed my map to the letter, but no turn off Va. 600. After about 27 miles from Paint Bank, the road simply ended. I never did see the turnoff to the observatory. Neither did Margie. We saw a lot of flat highway, a nice creek (Potts Creek), a rails-to-trails turnoff, but no raptor observatory. The damn thing is out there, I know. But where?

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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