Oh how I have missed riding the bike!
The passion for travel with my sweetie, the drive to elect women and men who share my values (ie the values of Presidents Obama and Carter), and the hours at work have diminished my time on the bike significantly. The desire to ride, however, is ever present in my mind and two weeks ago, I finally had a weekend without travel. I spent one whole day riding 225 miles through Virginia and West Virginia. Happiness! The destination was Thurmond, West Virginia, an early 1900s boomtown.
We had many miles to ride before arriving in Thurmond, and our first stop was Bluestone Dam, a popular place for bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill fishing. After a brief stop to look at Bluestone Lake and dam, we were off through New River Gorge country.
While the others took off down a gravel road, I stopped for some photography. I did not know when shooting this image that I was looking towards the historic Thurmond bridge.
The bridge has been rebuilt and rehabbed a few times, but the original bridge was built in 1889.
If you know me, you know I love a bridge, and I had to park the bike and walk out to capture this image looking down into the river.
The view down river from the bridge
The National Park Service restored the Thurmond Depot as a Visitor’s Center in 1995, and the NPS has made learning the history of Thurmond a walkable experience.
Two major fires, the arrival of roads, and the switch from steam engine to diesel engine led to the town’s decline. Thankfully, the outdoor adventure industry and commercial whitewater rafting through the New River Gorge National River, have revitalized the area.
“Presently, the park owns approximately 80% of the town of Thurmond, including the historic Thurmond Depot. Three times each week, Amtrak uses the Thurmond Depot as a passenger stop and coal trains continue to roll through town hourly. Though it is a shell of its former self, the historic town of Thurmond still stands as a reminder of the past. It truly is where the River meets History”! http://thurmondwv.org/about/history
It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding, only made better by being with good friends. Learning some history just added to the experience. One more thing: the movie Matewan was filmed in Thurmond, WVA.
Gorgeous images and great history Laurie 🙂 It reminds me of a town in upstate NY called North Creek which is north of Lake George in the Adirondack mountains.
You’ve heard me say more than once that I look forward to visiting update NY and the Adirondacks!
Wonderful post, LB…gotta love those old bridges, huh? 🙂
Oh yes! I have to stop at every one, and often ride back and forth several times 🙂
Glad to see you got a great day out on the bike!
It’s amazing how restorative it is!
Excellent shots, Laurie, and interesting history. Most important, you had a joyous day back on your bike! 🙂
Thanks for visiting, Jane! I’m just getting back into the posting and visiting blogs and your recent images of SF in the fog are wonderful.
Looks like a great trip. The pictures you took of the elevator (I think) made me think of a photo taken by a Farm Security Administration photographer (possibly Marion Post Wolcott) of a young girl carrying a bucket of coal that was too heavy for her–that she had probably foraged. It looked like the exact same place–and given it was a coal town, it could have been. Still looking for the photo!
How interesting (and sad) and correct. The image is of a Coal Tower. Let me know if you find the link to the image
I found the picture–she’s carrying kerosene, not a coal bucket–1st picture in series: https://www.google.com/search?q=marion+post+wolcott+scott%27s+run+West+Virginia&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=bUArWg6Zi3jC-M%253A%252CF6F4YaVsjKZHCM%252C_&usg=__9vf8U3R3gTBQXoYOQs1cV24n200%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi25tDP5rLcAhXCVN8KHSPjBkkQ9QEIODAD#imgrc=bUArWg6Zi3jC-M:
First, that is a coal tower in the background, so you were right about that. Second, and I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit this or not, but I was not familiar with her work. A woman! In the Depression! A Feminist and an Activist. Thank you for the introduction. I’m off to research her collections and books about her!
story is kind of sad–she married someone who was threatened by her work and stopped doing much after the Farm Security Administration. But wow, the work that’s there is fabulous–and her eye was different than the men who were working and different than Dorothea Lange’s. Don’t be embarrassed–most people only know the famous Depression pictures–glad to be of service in introducing you to her!
The area is so beautiful and scenic! It sounds like a perfect day.
It really was the best day and just what I needed!
Fascinating, well photographed, slice of history
The National Park Service has turned the Depot into a wonderful museum of sorts and showcased photos of the residents of Thurmond from the height of the tiny “boom town”
You’re back, on the road again! Wheee!
Yes! You understand! and it was divine!
So glad you got back out on the bike. We love the New River Gorge and the area around Bluestone. Nice pictures!
I’m so glad you got out! Great pictures, and I always enjoy the history that you incorporate.
I think West Virginia is the most underrated state in the US, and your photo essay is going to help solve that problem, LB!!!
An excellent way to spend a weekend! Nicely done.
I saw the link on your current post and remembered the show I told you about, so here I arrived. Very cool!
On my way down to the comments here, I past Pauline’s comment and my heart squeezed. Still hard to believe. What a beautiful friend and wonderful legacy she left ❤ xoK