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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

POST 576: 03/21/12: BELLE - ST. ALBANS, W.V.

Yesterday's walks brought us to within 12 or so miles from the city of Charleston, West Virginia.

This morning, before daylight, drove SPIA to the town of Bella, W.V. where we parked in the above EXXON station.

Then proceeded to walk west on US 60 for 5 hours, reaching the outskirts of the city, but not entering - I avoid ALL cities if at all possible.

Dawn breaking as I pass by an US 60 intersection.

Oops...this diesel locomotive (train) is not going down hill...I had the camera tilted.

This was one of dozens of CSX trains we have seen the past week...all carrying hopper cars full of coal.

US 60 passing the narrow residential area wedged between the roadway and the Kanawha River about 4 blocks to the left.

Passing by some kind of petroleum processing cracking towers, so probably NOT oil.

My guess is natural gas production...perhaps from processing the immense amounts of coal here-bouts.

Whatever it is, it is consuming large amounts of electrical energy.

DU PONT Plant...but no indication what it is producing.

Down river a few miles, came across this Dam with at least two chambers (locks)...for lifting and lowering the long coal barges plying the Kanawha River.

Barnham & Bailey is still alive and kicking.

Aside: In the 1940's, younger brother Jim and I got jobs with B & B Circus in Kennewick Washington, helping to unload the animals and trailers ... then set up the big 3-ring tent...for which we received free admission passes...

Heard about burning rivers...this must be one of the original discoveries of natural gas way back when.

Aside: About 8 years ago, the local stream flowing next to my company offices, exploded as it fell down steep City Park hills toward town. Numerous explosions - like a B-52 on a Viet Nam bomb drop - proceeded the flames down the hill.

Result: 3 young men lost their lives fishing and/or wading in the natural gas filled waters.

The pipeline sprung a leak, filling the creek with gas...when it somehow ignited, was like we were at war.

The actual stream flowing next to the previous Plaque: Burning Springs.

A mundane scene of the residential area...reminding me of the Company Store surrounding so many turn-of-the-century mountain factories all up and down the Eastern USA Seaboard.

When I finally walk & blog New England, we will walk through dozens of such towns.

Tennessee Ernie Ford said it best:

Loaded 15 tons of #9 coal..
The Straw Boss said...well blessa my soul.
etc., etc.
.another day older and deeper in debt;
St. Peter don'cha call 'caus I can't go;
I owe my soul to the Company Store.

Allegheny Ridges back dropping Company Store houses.

US 60.

Please say HELLO to Mr. Hughes.

Seeing SPIA's Washington State License Plate, Mr. Hughes was waiting when I returned from my 16 miles this morning.

Seems Mr. Hughes was a track driver for CF (Consolidated Freightways) between Chicago - Seattle - Los Angeles in the 1950's

At that same time, our family owned and operated our own trucking company, often crossing paths with companies such as CF (now out of business), Lee & Estes (Seattle), and PIE (Pacific Mountain Express - Los Angeles).

We enjoyed a lengthy chat under the blistering heat. When I finally decided I had to move on, Mr. Hughes lamented...wish we had two or three days to spend together going over old times.

Mr. Hughes fought in Korea - when I was also there -, he is 81 years old and works out every day to keep in shape.

I know I will often think of Mr. Hughes...lamenting myself that I did not hang out for another day.

Morgan's Kitchen, St. Albans, West Virginia.

We are parked for the night in the Riverside City Park of St. Albans.

One of the more picturesque places we have rested.

The view of Kanawha River, only 20 feet in front of SPIA.

The city provides hard parking pads, water, electricity, and waste dump services...all at no cost.

Never have I come across such a splendid offering for weary travelers.

View of the Kanawha looking down stream.

In the covered meeting / eating area next tyo the river, was this start-up jazz band...belting out music and song reaching at least two city blocks away.

Homes line the Kanawha River directly across from SPIA.

As a fully coal-laden gaggle of barges are maneuvered by a powerful push-boat towards New Orleans, Louisiana.

* * * *

Must admit that I did not walk through Charleston. I avoid large towns and cities if possible.

We drove through town, continuing West on US 60 to the village of St. Albans. In the morning, SPIA will remain parked as I continue on US 60 to the intersection with US 35...will continue on US 35 until I get too tired or too hot...

Promises to be a HOT one tomorrow.

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