Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 5

Day 5 of the Summer Road Trip Posts, Start with the Introduction Post.

View Summer Road Trip 2009, Day 5 in a larger map

Day five started off in Prestonsburg, Ky. We backtracked a little bit to the Civil War battlefield monument for the Battle of Middle Creek shown below.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

I am not well educated about the Civil War so I don't know what these sites generally look like but this was essentially a field with some trails and informative signs. At this point we hopped back in the car and cruised through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and Western West Virginia and made it to Charleston for lunch.

I had been through Charleston in the late '90s and the memory of their gold capitol dome in the lush green river canyon is still vivid today. I think originally seeing so much green made it pretty impressive to an Arizona boy but my year in Ohio has made vast expanses of green less novel. Regardless, I knew I wanted to head downtown so we made sure to get through the suburban sprawl of the west side of town quickly.

We parked the car in a pay lot downtown and ventured into the "big city" in search of lunch. Cara earned her second commendation of the trip for spotting the front entrance of the Blossom Deli. I had the "Full of Bologna" grilled bologna with red onion marmalade sandwich which was quite a treat. I figured even though we were probably obviously out of towners ordering a bologna sandwich would earn us instant local cred, because seriously, who goes on vacation and orders bologna sandwiches?

We went for a stroll after lunch then follow the river back down to the US 60 and snaked our way through central West Virginia. This was a fabulous drive. The 60 follows what I believe to be the New River or one branch of the New River. We stopped to rest and read at the Kanawha Falls which are not very tall but are quite wide and still an impressive site.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

The river is also known as the Kanawha River and its Wikipedia page has an excellent panoramic picture of the falls. Further upstream we came across the Hawks Nest Dam Generating Station.

From 2009 Kentucky, West Virginia Road Trip

The dam itself is actually 3.5 miles upstream and the water travels these three and a half miles through a 35ft diameter tunnel built in the first half of the 1930s. The story of the Hawk's Nest Tunnel is worth reading. This was a longer day of driving so we pushed on, sadly hurrying past the Mystery Hole and into Fayetteville for a night of rest.

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