Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Some cool stuff

After leaving The Great Smoky Mountains, we drove to the little town of Abingdon, Virginia; our goal here was for Cathy to do a little genealogy and for us to do a bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. The day we got there was sunny and warm but that would be just about the last time we would see the sun this week. After three days of rain and Cathy getting burnt out looking at court records we woke up to the sun, quickly we loaded the bike on the rack and started heading for the town of Damascus. This is where the load your bike on a trailer and drive you to the top of the mountain and the start of the Virginia Creeper Trail for your 17 miles downhill coast back into town. As soon as we got into the town the clouds rolled in and covered everything, not wanting to do the ride in the rain we turned around and headed back down the mountain in search of a place for lunch. In Abingdon we found a little diner, which didn’t look like much, but we noticed a sign that said that they were written up in Southern Living Magazine so we decided to give it a try. As we were waiting to be seated Cathy noticed the magazine article behind the counter and it stated that you had to try the potato soup, it turned out that this was probably the best potato soup we could remember having. After lunch we stepped outside into the sun and found a ski minus any clouds, it’s bike-riding time, you guessed it half way up the mountain the clouds came in and the rain started and lasted the rest of the week.
We did find The Tavern in Downtown Abingdon but it’s only open for dinner and very expensive at that, the reason I mention the Tavern is that it is the oldest building in Abingdon being built in 1779 and it was started by one of Cathy’s ancestors.
While we were there we also drove over the mountain to Tazewell, this road is a true mountain road and does not allow vehicle over 25 feet, cause they would never make it around the hairpin turns.

The reason we went over there was for the Civil War Re-enactment of the skirmish of Jeffersonville and to everybody’s disappointment it ended just like it did 142 years ago, the north won. Instead of taking the 30-mile long mountain road back home Cathy made me drive around it, 76 miles.

The next leg of our journey took us a full 100 miles to Beckley W. Virginia, Home of the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, the only coal mine in the USA that offers tours. The mine is located in the City Park, the park was donated to the city years back and they converted it into a park, while doing this they discovered a buried entrance to the mine. It has since been reopened for the purpose of giving tours; all the tour guides are retired miners and can answer any question you might have, the one we had “Charlie” had everybody laughing the entire tour.

They take you back in on one of the old electric mining cars and make about 5 stops at different parts of the mine to explain how things were done, after leaving the mine we toured the restored mining town that is on site there.
Our campground was right above the mine, so at one point of the tour we were 185 feet below our motor home

We are now in Washington PA, it’s about 30 miles SW of Pittsburgh, 30 miles NE of Unionville and about 35 miles SE of Steubenville, I only mention this because these are the towns we will be spending the week in or at least the court house basements of these town.

Three more weeks and well be back in Michigan bugging the kids for the summer.

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