Tuesday 10/2: Huntington, West Virginia - Summersville, West Virginia
Short ride today, but a strategic one, so to speak. And the last 30 miles or so provided lots of enjoyment.
A Rainy Night in West Virginia
It had rained pretty hard all the day before, and it continued raining through the night. As I indicated last night, I had decided to head for Summersville, WV today. That meant taking I-64 from Huntington east to a few miles past Charleston, WV (the state capitol).
I suppose ya seen one interstate, ya seen 'em all, but I-64 was better than some:
I got all 6/6 camera functions set correctly fast enough to get a pic of the Kanawha River:
And then a few miles later I was tickled by the name of this WV town:
Actually, this has more meaning for me than you might think. When I was a kid (mid '50s) I was intrigued by "chemistry"...in particular EXPLOSIVES
. My folks had bought an Encyclopedia Brittanica, and I thoroughly acquainted myself with all the "explosives-related" stuff. Hey, I was a GUY!
These days the "authorities" would have labeled me a a...God knows what. But I just liked explosives. I knew all about "brisance," Cyclonite, PETN, Picric Acid (had a big bottle in the closet)...all the good stuff. Stupid stuff like gunpowder...who cared! And the thing about explosives: they are all based on NITROGEN
in some way. Yeah, I grew out of it, but I also grew INTO
mathematics, and physics, and a lotta stuff that gave me a CAREER.
So anyway, I was tickled with "Nitro, WV." Oh yeah, think "October Sky"...that's how I grew up. One of the RR installments I'll have to elaborate on the "Dr. Greg
" logo...that's what's on my T-shirts. Maybe this installment, maybe not. Probably not.
After departing I-68, 2-lane US 60 was a little prettier...although every so often there's the reminder that COAL
is the industry around these parts.
That beautiful Eastern deciduous forest again...
As I was haulin'-A around US 60 just past "Alloy, WV," I rode past this area, the hit the binders and turned around. It was pretty cool.
No, not exactly Niagara Falls, but still impressive, and able to generate a not-inconsiderable noise:
A few close-ups:
Looks like an old "water-house" where they derived some mechanical energy from the ol' Kanawha:
I even found a little Civil War
content in the neighborhood:
This was a pic "across the river" where the sign seemed to indicate. *Of course there's been many changes in the land- and water-scape since then...
WV hwy 39 to Summersville
Just past Kanawha Falls I noted the skinny little line of WV hwy 39 on my map, which looked like a "back road" to Summersville. Aha, just what we like, right? And it was...
Of course there was the odd semi-truck to slow one down, plus the fact that the roads were still pretty much DAMP
from the rain the night before...so I played it cool. Not too
cool, of course.
I always HOPE
that folks living in "twisty-road" country are a little better drivers...but sad to say it seems the average WV drive goes "meandering" across the double-yellow in the corners just like they all do. Drive me CRAZY
!! Stay ON YOUR OWN SIDE!!! My life might depend on it!!!
One final shot of pretty country and some embedded industrial content...
So I'm ensconced at Summersville, WV tonight. Apparently this is the heart of some good "whitewater rafting," I don't really know. I leave the watersports to somebody else. I grew up on good ol' dry land. Never did like the water. Wait a minute, I LOVE
running water. There's obviously some deep-seated approach-avoidance (see, I was
paying attention in Psych 101) stuff going on there...
Like I said yesterday, my plans are to devote tomorrow to an epic day of riding in the West Virginia mountains. From Summersville I plan to take WV 41 to Craigsville, then WV 15 to Valley Head, then WV 219/250 all the way to PA (almost). The weather forecast looks good, so it ought to be an EXCELLENT
day of riding.
At the end of the day, I'll either camp (haven't been doing enough camping) at Blackwater Falls SP, Fairfax Stone Historical Monument SP, or motel-it again somewhere near Maryland.
Ought to be getting up to Gettysburg, PA sometime the night after. That's my northernmost point, and then I can start retreating southward towards my ol' high school buddy John Safford in Sumter, South Carolina ("hi, John").
Final Word for the Day...
Y'know, like I said, I'm a Westerner. The Eastern USA is always a little strange to me. Things are too close together, the visibility is too short, there are too many traffic signals. Yet there is a sense of HISTORY
that I don't get in the West. And that's why I'm here.
So far, so good.