26 May 2013

New River Gorge National Park

26 May 2013--Here at the park, 2 bird types we keep seeing quite frequently.  The one on the right is called an Eastern Bluebird, don't know about the one on the left....just thought they were very pretty.

 

On Friday we decided to take a ride on West Virginia's version of the "scenic route", called the Midland Trail.  Route 60 actually goes for about 170 miles, with Charleston being at about the 50 mile marker, and we drove southeast down to the New River Gorge National Park about 60+ miles away.



As I said in the last posting, this state is seriously wooded, but does have a few pretty spots we saw yesterday on the ride.  This is the Kanawha River, which seems to run the width of the state...the same river that was outside the state capitol and went past where we stopped yesterday.  Next we have some waterfalls, 12 of which dot the area in a 5 mile span of driving.

  
 

Next I thought I would show you some of the "not so pretty" stuff that you view along this route.  Being "coal country", almost everywhere you drive you see these coal plants on the side of the road, including along the "scenic route".



And then you pass thru town after small town, where there are some nice houses, but a whole bunch of houses that look like these.  And you can't miss these...they are literally right along the side of the road, so close you feel like you can reach out and touch them.  It is actually quite jarring...some of them are clearly lived in, while some others leave you hoping no one is calling them "home".  Blow up the last one and you can see that the vegetation seems to be overtaking it from every angle.

  
 

A few interesting sites along the way.  In this 1st picture, if you click on it and blow it up you can see across the river a large rock with this building on it, and to the right of that you can see a couple crosses.  1st the story behind the building.  We were told by a guy who owned one of the roadside attractions that the guy that owned this just died about 6 months ago, and if you look closely at it you can tell that on the other side of the "porch" is a bus.  The guy who owned it used to run gambling out of the bus, and the rock is actually a very small island.  So if the "water cops" came, everyone could see them coming and then all the guys could get in the boats and get away.  You can see a refrigerator out on the porch too...I guess for the cold drinks!  haha

 

If you blow up the 1st pic here you will read a question and answer directed at these crosses.  You see these crosses, always in 3s, along the roads and hills throughout the state, and this says something about a formerly rich man who had a vision while having heart surgery that told him to build them...and he did all over this state and I think it says 28 others!!!

 

Once again, this whole "scenic" thing here cracks me up.  We are driving along and see this sign, so we do exactly what it wants us to do...we pull over into the pullout to see the sights.  When I get out all I can see is trees...not in the distance, but blocking my view of absolutely everything along the tree line.  Check out the short video also.  I don't know what they are thinking!!!???

 
video

The guy who owns this "Mystery Hole" attraction is the one who told us about the gambling bus.  They have something inside that is supposed to make you lose your sense of gravity, but they wouldn't let us take any pictures so we didn't go in.  (That'll teach 'em!--haha)  I did like the "redneck taxi" out front though.

 

Another roadside attraction?  haha  How funny does this look?  No hint of a sidewalk, your yard goes right up to the main road.



There is a lot of hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge nowadays, but years ago it was a serious coal mining area.



It is almost hard to believe what it looks like now as opposed to what it looked like years ago.  Look at the "now and then" pictures.

  
 

There are still coal trains that go through this park every day....quite a few of them based on how many we saw while we were there.  In these pics you can see the rails on both the right and left sides of the river.

  

And here you can see an actual coal train going through on the far side.



The New River Bridge is the longest single-span arch bridge in the world and a big attraction here.

  


Even though I can see a net beneath these guys as they were building it, there is absolutely no amount of money you could pay me to walk up there like they are!!!

 

You can't see much of the bridge from the very top of the gorge, so they built these steps down 200 ft for a better view, just in case you didn't want to go to the very bottom I guess.  There are 179 steps down...and back up, of course!  haha

  

But to get the best view you really have to go all the way to the bottom, almost 900 ft below, to the Fayette Station Bridge you can see in this 1st pic.  Cathy and I drove down there, and made it just in the nick of time (see video).

 
video

Behind us in the water you can see some people in rafts headed towards the whitewater ahead, so Cathy and I drove to the other side to get a good view of them.



We had to hike a short span through the woods, but it was worth it.

  
  

Check out the person in the front of the boat in the 1st pic...her legs are flying!!!

  

And no more than the guys up working on the bridge, you couldn't pay me to do this!!!  Donna and Hallie, would you???

  

Quotes from guys who used to work in the mines in the old days.  Not surprising that West Virginia is known as an overall poor state.  Pretty sad when you think how hard those guys worked.



So that's about all we are going to see in West Virginia.  There is a lot to see here, but almost everything is really far away...like they list tours of the former "West Virginia Lunatic Asylum"...now I would pay money to see that, but it is about 110 miles from where we are, so it will have to go on a "things to do another time" list.  I just want to be able to name a blog with that name....funny, huh?  Not exactly "politically correct"!

Tuesday we are heading out to Kentucky, so we'll be back once we get there.  Talk to you soon!

5 comments:

  1. The bird on the left is a Northern Robin...gorgeous bird

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  2. I love the waterfalls!!! I'd love to live somewhere where every wknd you could go look at them and maybe swim under them in the nice weather. That bus is a trip. It looks like you could get a disease sitting in it. You'd have to really love to gamble to go in.

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  3. Some of those houses are scary, I would never won't to breakdown around there.....

    Waterfalls were beautiful and the white water rafting look like it would be a lot of fun.

    Know, as far as those guys on the bridge, just what makes someone say, ok, I will go up there?????

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  4. Ellen, are you assuming that because they may be poor they would attack you? haha

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  5. I cant believe you didn't now that was a Robin. They have them in Texas but not alot of them. Yes Donna and I would do the white water rafting that is one of my bucket list items. I love the train that was a good laugh!

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