It's Sunday afternoon. Instead of writing this ride report, I really should be out riding. I should be but the 105 degree temperature outside has just put a damper on my riding enthusiasm. So I've been working on odds and ends around this house, working on this report, and occasionally watching the TV which is on in the background. The movie that just finished is one I have seen before but is very appropriate for the next part of this report. The movie is Doc Hollywood. For those who have not seen it, it's about a young doctor who gets delayed and stuck in a small southern town on his way to a job interview in Hollywood. It's plot revolves around the attractions of the big city versus a small town, as well as the usual romantic plot.
What does this have to do with my ride? This part of West Virginia has lots of rugged landscape, and some small towns. I just posted some pics of the booming metropolis of War. I found it a very interesting little town (I consider it a town not a city). I did some research. War has a population of just under 900. It's not exactly a big city but it seemed pretty big compared to most of the small town I would pass through on my ride through WV. It even had a Dollar general. Many towns had nothing but some houses. Here's a couple of pics I took after War:
The road is always in a valley unless going over a mountain pass.
A typical small town.
Then came to a small town which is supposed to have around the same population as War but I suspect is now much smaller. It used to be a much bigger town but shrunk after it's main industry, a coal mine, was shut down. This town, however, has become famous due to the movie October Sky. If you haven't seen October Sky, you should.
The movie is based on a true story about some boys in a poor coal mining town who manage to build some rockets and then go on to win the state science fair. They get college scholarships and one even goes on to become an engineer and work for NASA.
In the movie, the town seemed much bigger than what I saw here. All I saw were a few houses, one gas station/convenience store, and this sign:
In the October Sky, the Rocket Boys are successful because they get an education and escape Coalwood and the mining industry. In Doc Hollywood, the main character chooses a small town (and the girl) over the big city. Riding through this part of WV made me wonder about what it is like to really live in a small town. Compared to much of the country, these people are poor. Most have no McDonalds or Wally World within 10 miles. They probably don't even have (gasp!) 4G cell service.
But, they would be considered rich by most people living in third world countries.
I really was thinking about this stuff as I passed through all these small towns. I wondered if these people were happy here or were hoping to escape to the big city.
Most of the houses were small but many appeared to be well maintained, some didn't