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Today is the day SAM and ME will attempt to cross over the West Virginia Mountains...the 8% 5-mile long hills beginning at the town of RAINELLE and ending at the GAULEY BRIDGE where the NEW RIVER forms...in the process, we will spend two nights in the magnificent HAWKS NEST LODGE at the top of the longest steepest mountain...luckily for SAM and ME, this is mostly down hill...with just enough transition over the tops of a number of lush green hills to remind us that in order to walk DOWN, we must first and always climb up.
Please say HELLO (again) to Mayor Andy.
Mayor Andy sends SAM and ME on our way up SEWELL MOUNTAIN...the first of the long steep hills beginning in "her" town...RAINELLE.
Please click click on any photograph...especially when reading a map. Our route across West Virginia is outlined in "yellow"...ending at the Ohio River town of GALLIPOLIS, Ohio.
Main Street...RAINELLE, West Virginia
Please say HELLO to the driver of one of the monster 18-wheeler gravel dump trucks which pass SAM and ME all day long. This unfortunate driver's engine has blown a water hose, losing all his anti-freeze. He had the spare hose, but did not bring along anti-freeze, so is waiting for help to arrive. He says "water" is not acceptable in place of anti-freeze as it congeals the coolant in the engine.
This spot is at the top of the first of our long climbs up SEWELL MOUNTAIN. It took us over 1 hour to walk and roll this far...to the amazement of the truck driver, who said he passed us as we started up..."..you must have run up, says he"...in fact, I did feel as though we had been running for hours...WOW...8% is S T E E P.
SEWELL MOUNTAIN Baptist Church...at the crest of the first of three sections of the long climb over the mountain. Seems the actual mountain has many "ups and downs", making it seem as though US 60 actually climbs two or more mountains. The truck drivers, however, claim it is all one mountain...my observation error !
First plateau of SEWELL MOUNTAIN.
To go DOWN, one must first go UP. This spot is the top of one of the three or more individual hills riding the undulating crest(s) across West Virginia on US 60...a most dangerous road for SAM and ME to transit.
Click click...to see the lawn mower operator cutting that fast field...he hides near the first of the old barns.
Through this roadside screen of trees, unending steep hills form the crest of SEWELL MOUNTAIN...and far beyond...beautiful to look at...a doozie to walk over.
Larry, performing his not-yet-complete song..."The Long Road Home"...which he says he might dedicate to SAM and ME.
A truly very good song writer and performer...if SAM and ME ever achieves the status to earn musical support, Larry would be my first choice to produce / perform it.
I am holding the camera ...way up over our heads...
Larry...one of a great number of new friends.
Please say HELLO to LISA...riding down US 60 on her lawn mower...one her way to Larry's house. Lisa is recovering from a 4-wheeler accident caused by a deer running into and bowling over her vehicle, resulting in a head injury...Lisa's goal: to get back her Driver's License, so she can drive her car instead of her lawn mower.
SAM and ME beside the OLD STONE HOUSE Info-sign. During my walk last year across these same mountains, I took the side road to visit Old Stone House.
Please say HELLO to John...whom I met last year. John owns a successful lumber retail yard just across US 60 from where we stand.
Always nice to meet up again with old friends.
Shingle building...BAPTIST CHURCH.
The Red Flag on the vertical rod is to locate the Fire Plug under the Winter snow pack...just so the snow plow will not run it over.
Actually, I did not have the time to look around much. My entire evening - as well as all the next day - was spent trying to process photographs and complete my tardy blogs (3 days late)...all to no avail as there was virtually NO VERIZON signal...certainly not adequate to process photographs.
I did, however, have a great time visiting with employees and other lodge guests, including a "workshop" group from GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, who were fighting against large corporations "blasting" the tops off West Virginia Mountains to get at the thin coal seams beneath...in the process destroying the ecology and - it is said - causing serious medical issues to local residents.
Dining Room view of the New River Gorge.
Cuisine was superb. Breakfast is complimentary...must admit that I received a bit more attention from Steve, Restaurant Manager, as he and I spent many hours chatting.
As mentioned, I have been made welcome and extremely comfortable at HAWKS NEST LODGE. Steve would not accept my $$ in his restaurant...and even insisted I stay a second night - Steve's TREAT -, so that I could catch up with my blogs.
In the morning - of the second day at HAWKS NEST, will walk SAM down the final 8% hill...this one nearly 15 miles long in a series of sharp drops interspersed by many short steep climbs.
Our destination for tomorrow is the Historic Hotel in the river-side town of GLEN FERRIS, where I had dinner last year and look forward to spending the night this year.
The city of CHARLESTON, West Virginia, is only 30 miles from Glen Ferris. Charleston will be our next destination, where I look forward to visiting with the "Seniors" of the town of HURRICANE