Big Savage Tunnel WDOT 11.20.2015 Part 2

This Hunter was like it's a Bird, it's a Plane, OH it's just WooFDriver filming his Dogs!
This Hunter was like it’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, OH it’s just WooFDriver filming his Dogs!

When we arrived at the trailhead, due to our previous experience with losing the drone we were a bit apprehensive about flying, but we were at a lower elevation so we figured there wasn’t as much wind and we also planned on flying AirWOOF One closer to the ground which would give us better control.

We got out on the trail around 11:00 AM and we started flying on the first mile. We ran into a little bit of a problem as ShawMan was flying the drone ahead of us and he was following. Since he’s still pretty new to this drone he found it difficult to control it from this position as it was more challenging to steer. So we turned around and found it better to have it follow us instead.

We ran into a hunter on the trail and you should have seen the look on his face when he spotted us running the cart with the dogs, and the drone followed by the other bike with Shawman and Rhett. He changed about thirty shades of red at the site of us. Sometimes the best part of this is to see the crazy expressions people give us when they see us go by.

Here we are just passing through the Eastern Continental Divide.
Here’s our filming bike just passing through the Eastern Continental Divide.

About 1 mile into our run we ran through a small tunnel which is actually the Eastern Continental Divide. Because the divide represents the highest terrain its main purpose is to push condensation, snow, and other precipitation into the Mississippi River. It does this by moving the additional water into two creek sources which are the Red Creek, west of the crest of the Allegheny Front in the Dolly Sods area of West Virginia, and the Seneca Creek of Seneca Rock, West Virginia.

The tunnel was originally created for the railroads which makes it nice because it’s wide enough for the cart and dogs and it’s been well maintained ever since. We were also able to fly the drone in it which made it really SWEET. Unfortunately, because of all the previous problems we had and also since we’re still learning this drone we forgot to turn the camera on so we weren’t able to get actual drone footage from inside the tunnel, but we did have the cart camera that was able to take footage inside the tunnel.

We were able to fly the drone for the first 5 miles of our trail, until we got to another tunnel called the Big Savage Tunnel. The Big Savage Tunnel was named after John Savage who was an 18th century surveyor of colonial Virginia. He was one of the three surveyors that took part of the 1736 expedition to settle the boundary dispute between Lord Fairfox and the England Privy Council concerning the extent of the Northern Neck land grant. The tunnel is now located about 9 miles southwest of Meyerdale, Pennsylvania. It was originally built for the Connellsville subdivision of the Western Maryland Railway. It is closed between December 15 and April 10 each winter to protect it from ice damage. From the inside it looks really neat as the tunnel is lighted the whole way down.

As the tunnel is so long, and you have high winds coming from the east as well as through the west; on top of that the drone itself generates a small amount of wind. Even though it’s little, its small propellers can definitely kick up some dust around it. With all these aspects combined it created its own windstorm in the middle of the tunnel. This was really interesting for us but it also made it quite a challenge to keep control of the drone.

One of the funniest things that happened while we were in this tunnel was that as soon as we hit this light it just went out. That threw off ShawMan’s perception and with everything else going on in the tunnel it made it even harder to control so we had to land it. When we landed it flipped over and a couple of the propellers broke off. We were able to get it turned off and discovered there was no major damage.


Once we made it through the tunnel we saw a really awesome panoramic view of the mountains with a glimpse of the windmills behind us. At this point we decided to rest the dogs while having getting some incredible photos of this gorgeous area.

The next a place we saw was a small helicopter pad I am assuming used for first aid responders just in case there was an injury on a trail. This gave us a chance to fly the drone from the helicopter pad which made it really funny to see how small in comparison it is to an actual helicopter.

We then crossed was the Mason Dixon line, it’s a really neat location because there are these concrete ballard’s that spell out the Mason. This is close to the place where we planted the DogGeo cache so we found a nice discreet place to hide it.

Getting towards sunset we started to fly the drone again but unfortunately we ran into another incident as the sun was in ShawMan’s eyes he didn’t spot some small overhanging branches on the trail and the drone hit them and fell to the ground. Which really stinks because it did a fair amount of damage to the propeller blades and we ourselves didn’t bring that type of blade to prepare it, but we contacted ChrisP in our support vehicle and he met us with a replacement blade. So we were able to get it back up and running but the next problem we ran into was our iPad ran out of battery, (AirWOOF One needs  a smartphone or tablet to fly it) we tried a couple phones until all the phones ran out of batteries. Next time we’ll know to make better preparations for the batteries situation

Princess having a siesta on Pack Daddy's lap!
Princess having a siesta on Pack Daddy’s lap!

At this point Princess was starting to get tired she’s my oldest Dog and she’s always has a bit of an awkward gait in how she runs which makes her not as energy efficient as the other Dogs as she is also pulling a little bit sideways. So we have to make extra accommodations for her when she gets tired. If we take a long enough break she will recover but we wanted to keep moving before it got too dark and cold so of course we are always prepared (this ain’t our first rodeo:)!! Rhett takes over for me driving and I move to the back seat and rest Princess on my lap. After about 20 minutes of rest for her she is ready to get back on the run and we finished this most incredible WooFDriver Tour at about 6:30 PM.

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