On Saturday morning, Murphy and I piled into our ride and headed south, then west, having business of a sort in Beckley, WV. Said business will be the discussion topic later in the week. Suffice it to say now though that things went well and the mission objective was accomplished.
After taking care of business, we went sightseeing. I actually had panned to blog from the road and brought my trusty iPad with me but..Wifi in Appalachia? What was I thinking?
But we headed up to New River Gorge National Park and banged around for the day. First, we stopped in Thurmond, WV, the town that they used to firm the famous Matewan shootout seen in last week's man movie.
Ain't changed much. They seems to have done a pretty good job policing the brass though. We looked.
Then we stopped by the park visitor center and took a look at the view and the bridge.
To steal from Wikipedia: "The New River Gorge Bridge is a steel arch bridge 3,030 feet (924 m) long over the New River Gorge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. With an arch 1,700 feet (518 m) long, the New River Gorge Bridge was for many years the world's longest steel single-span arch bridge.
The roadway of the New River Gorge Bridge is 876 feet above the New River, making it the fifth highest vehicular bridge in the world, and the third highest in the Americas (behind the Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, bypassing the Hoover Dam, and the Royal Gorge Bridge). When it opened in 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge was the highest vehicular bridge in the world..."
The bridge is also famous because BASE jumpers leap from it legally on the one day per year that it's allowed (and illegally on many other days). It's also the bridge on the West Virginia state quarter. Now you know.
After that, we traveled on down to Nuttalburg, the abandoned coal mine site that the Park Service is restoring. It's at the bottom of a long, winding one-lane road that is all blind curve. Quite the adventure in itself, just getting there. At it's peak, there were over a hundred buildings here. Now almost nothing is left other than the tipple and coke ovens.
It was getting late, but we took some time to check out the old tipple used to load coal from the mine into rail cars.
Below you can see the long conveyor tunnel used to bring the coal down from the mine, which was some distance up the steep hillside. Henry Ford had this built and installed at considerable expense when he owned this mine from 1920 through 1928, part of his "vertical integration" scheme where he would own every aspect of auto production, including his own iron and coal mines, his own ships and railroads, etc., It didn't work for him here because he could never gain control over the railroad that serviced this mine and they could (and did) shut him down any time they wanted to just by not providing coal cars for haulage.
The tracks below.
Oh look! Stairs up into the structure. But they took the lower staircase away, leaving a platform about 8 feet off the ground. Surely that wasn't intended to keep people out. Hell, that wouldn't keep a one-legged fat man out.
Proving my point:
"The Ranger isn't going to like this, Yogi!"
The view looking up the conveyor line:
It was about this time that I suddenly got bit/stung on the arm by something that I never even saw. It sure hurt, whatever it was.
So we drove on back towards home, taking the little Appalachian two-lane roads to see the sites. Just before dark, we reached the interstate, and since we still had a long was to go, I hit a drive-through.
"I wud like burger too, pleeze! No ketchup or mustard."
Of course the retard in the window put ketchup and mustard on it anyway, even though they knew that it was for a dog. I'm thinking that someone from that store needs to come clean my back seats now.
We finally got home about 18 hours after we left. Very tired.
"Best. Trip. Evah!"