Monday, August 3, 2009

On the Way to Clifftop

The journey is often as interesting as the destination. On the way to Clifftop for the Appalachian String Band Festival, we saw:

This mother nursing her babies beside the bank drive-through. Maybe she needed milk money?

Boomer Bottom Road in Boomer, WV--and the next road to it is Lenten Lane. Repent, ye sinners! (Now you do know, don't you, that a "bottom" in West Virginia means a small flat field beside a creek or river? Clean up your minds out there!)

Much mining of coal and coal equipment, like the Mammoth mines coal tipple.

Beautiful water, since we were following, for most of our journey, along the banks of the Great Kanawha River (pronounced kun naw', in case you wondered).

Four lovely waterfalls, like this one known as Cathedral Falls along Route 60 near Gauley Bridge.

And one old storyteller trying to keep her balance on the rocks beside said waterfall.

There is a lot of history along Route 60, also known as the Midland Trail because it was the main route for early frontiersmen and settlers, and legend has it that the route was originally traced by buffalo and native Americans. I've touched only a small portion of it. Traveling the old roads so often brings rewards, and it's why we left early enough to accommodate our ingrained rubbernecking tendencies.

I learned this evening that what we are actually has a name: shunpikers. Who knew? I thought I just preferred backroads, but evidently there are a lot of people just like me who travel the old roads in search of the real life of our country.


DGranna said...

You're in good company, with Stan Shunpike, the Knight Bus driver in Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkaban. I guess my husband and I are Shunpikers too, although we do take interstates to get to new areas, then hit the backroads.

Granny Sue said...

Aha! now I wonder which came first, the Potter book or the term? Do you tihnk JK Rowling made it up? I had forgotten that character in the books, DGranna.

Like you, we take interstates if we need to be somewhere at a specific time and either don't know the area or know the back roads can be congested. But when we have the time, the 2-lane roads are our choice (or one lane, depending...).

Matthew Burns said...

We travel Route 60 often, and it is a wonderful drive. We take it all the way into Lewisburg (well, right outside of, anyway) and it really doesn't take much longer than if we took the interstate. It's a nice drive, fo' sho'!

I remember one house on the mountain near where "Traveller" (Robert E. Lee's Horse) came from. There is an old two-story house there, the front door is always open. It has the feeling (I don't know how I get a feeling just by driving by) of my granddad's house back about 25 years ago.

We usually stop at Cathedral Fall's too, I like wading right under the falls, I was there around the first of July, and the water was trickling off the rocks. It was very nice. There was alot more water coming over the falls in your photo's than when I was there. Of course, we've had alot more rain since then.

Cathy said...

I love that drive! I can remember as a child getting car sick on the way up to Hawk's Nest every time. I don't have that problem at all on the road now. We drove that road for years when had our farm down in Virgina. It's just so pretty up in there.

Tipper said...

Pretty pictures!! So glad the festival was good-wish I could have come too.

Margaret said...

Looks like a great road to follow, and thanks for telling us all about the trail..the waterfall is great...Good shots...
Again, a pleasure to visit..

Janet, said...

I love driving that road, it is so scenic. We've taken many pictures in front of those falls. I also love the other wide falls on the river (the name escapes me right now), they are beautiful! that was neat getting a picture of the nursing fawn.

laoi gaul~williams said...

i want to travel that road!
i thought of stan shunpike too~i think j.k must have used lots of old words in her books as i noticed quite a few while reading them (of course i cannot remember them now!)

Granny Sue said...

You're thinking of Kanawha Falls, Janet? There by the Glen Ferris Inn? I have photos from the inn to post this week too.

laoi, you'd love it. There are rundown areas too, because when the interstate came through all the traffic--therefore business--moved away, leaving the communities with no economic base. Coal mining is the main activity, and it's a boom and bust industry.

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