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SAM and ME have reached the outskirts of the rather large city of CHARLESTON, West Virginia...as such, we finally have a good signal from VERIZON.
This blog update will cover two days...leaving HAWKS NEST two days ago...and arriving last evening at GLASGOW, West Virginia.
My room was changed for the second night...above is the view from my balcony.
A strong lightning - thunder crossed the nearby hills, leaving fog and low-lying clouds hanging in front of the Dining Room Windows.
Please say HELLO to RACHEL...one of Steve's 22 Dining Room Staff
...and Please say HELLO to the youngest member, CAITLIN, who will graduate from High School May 31. Caitlyn is quite unusual in that she, at a very young age, committed to be come a Chef, and will enter one of the East Coast Culinary Institutes this summer.
Please say Hello to MADISON, who together with Caitlin, spent hours at my table chatting under the eagle eye of Steve.
The "painting" behind us is NOT a painting. That is the actual scenery seen from the Dining Room Window.
HAWKS NEST setting will be hard to beat...extraordinary !
SAM and ME enjoyed our final breakfast at HAWKS NEST...then set off down the very precipitous curvy 12 miles GAULEY MOUNTAIN. This part of the West Virginia Mountains of US 60 is by far the steepest and most difficult to negotiate.
It is NOT all down hill. Much of the way is along an undulating Ridge containing plenty of up-grades of 8% and more...giving SAM and ME a good workout.
The above photo is of the Country Store of Chimney Corner...one of the places where US 60 begins to climb back into the clouds.
This hairpin corner is on the up-swing of US 60...the 18-wheelers use the entire roadway to make the turn. I moved SAM completely off the roadway to give plenty of room to the truck.
We are nearing the bottom of Gauley Mountain...around that bend is a most beautiful waterfall.
...and finally, SAM and ME have successfully crossed all the mountains of US 60. It WAS difficult. I am pleased we tried...and made the crossing cleanly...no crashes...no injury...as I ask this old body to do more and more, I am confident we have not yet approached the limit(s)...all I have asked.
This is the historic old village of GLEN FERRIS, lying along the banks of the KANAWHA RIVER. The NEW RIVER (below HAWKS NEST) and GAULEY RIVER join at Gauley Bridge, forming the new KANAWHA RIVER, which eventually flows into the OHIO RIVER.
For the next few days, US 60 follows the Kanawha, giving SAM and ME a gradual declining grade without a single hill to climb...that is until we pass through the city of CHARLESTON West Virginia, where we once again climb a few hundred feet before walking and rolling down a steep slope to the OHIO RIVER.
Two miles down stream from the Gauley Bridge, the entire Kanahwa River tumbles over a river-wide rock formation...so smooth that there is not a ripple in the falling water until it crashes into a series of rocks...photo to follow...
The above pic is taken from the guest yard of the GLEN FERRIS INN...on the National Historic Register. I stayed at the Glen Ferris one night...enjoying one of the finest broiled trout ever. Steve drove by as I neared Glen Ferris, but since he did not stop, I, alas, had to pay for dinner.
A partial view of the initial "dam" of rock over which the Kanahwa River falls.
Stunning view of river and mountains from the INN.
The Glen Ferris Inn as seen from US 60.
Please say HELLO to CHRISTIE.
Christie is employed at the INN. As we said good night, Christie said...Oh, I'll see you again !
Yesterday around noon, I was purchasing a Power Drink at a roadside Convenience Store...as I opened the door to walk out...who but Christie is standing there waiting to walk in...a ..."Shiver My Timbers" moment !
Look alike Company Homes...found throughout the east of 100 - 150 years ago...homes built by Companies for their employees...and still in use today.
Click click...this Company purports to own the highest quality "metallurgical" coal...of course, the Company resides in the community of "ALLOY".
Snuggles in the Kanahwa River Valley, is the small town of SMITHERS.
SAM and ME were about 1/4 mile beyond the town limits when a massive line of black rolling thunderheads descended from the still high mountains. We quickly retreated to the MacDonald's, where I enjoyed a LARGE Chocolate Shake as the sky fell.
This storm was quickly moving and short lived. Before finishing my shake, a lovely young lady joined me..."...a simple Country Girl" says she... as we chat waiting out the storm.
Please say HELLO to TONYA...destined, Tonya says...to be your friend for life.
I sometimes wonder what my life would have become if I had started walking 50 years ago !!
My hometown, Bellingham, Washington, is going through political fighting over the proposal to build a coal storage / transport facility to move Rocky Mountain coal to CHINA.
I offer the above photograph as just one example of dozens of such coal transfer ports lining the beautiful Kanahwa River.
Bellingham best take a good hard look at what our beautiful waterfront will become if the coal passes through our now pristine 40-foot deep dockside waters.
Kanahwa River has a number of Dams and navigation Locks. Coal Barges ply the muddy river waters 24 / 7.
The MOUNTAINS are quickly becoming HILLS.
Please say HELLO to MISSY. Missy is the owner of the local EXXON station and the Convenience Store...among other business ventures this energetic young woman operates.
Asking Missy if she could suggest a place for me to lay down my sleeping bag for the night...she hesitated...thinking...yes, says she, I have just the place...if my boyfriend will agree.
Please say HELLO to JUSTIN, 22 year old Son of Missy. Justin is his Mom's right hand man and BEST FRIEND. Justin whipped up a brown-bag din din for me...a real surprise as nothing was mentioned about food...and kept me in ice-cold water for the next two hours while I awaited my fate for the night.
As the afternoon wore down, Missy says "follow me"..."anywhere...anywhere, I responded". Driving her candy apple red new SUV, SAM and ME slowly followed down two steep hills, ending at a quaint home on the banks of the Kanahwa River.
"You're gonna have a river-side view tonight...", as she led SAM and ME around the house to a brand new river-side cottage...not 4 feet from the steep rock covered bank dropping nearly vertically into the river.
I will tell all...this lady, Missy, is a very special accomplished together all together lady.
My river side bedroom...the pic is taken from the very edge of the river bank.
My sleeping bag is resting on the folding cot...and I slept like a baby.
The Sun had already slipped behind the distant hills...stars held just enough light to see reflections on the waters.
At 6:00 am sharp, Missy, standing at the end of my cot, said ..."breakfast is on the table in a couple minutes..."
Tomorrow (today), SAM and ME will (have) walk to the city of CHARLESTON.
It is too late - nearly 9:30 pm - to begin the blog of today...but, we are catching up with the backlog !
Tomorrow we will walk to the other side of CHARLESTON, where we are expected in the village of HURRICANE by the local Seniors.