Friday, April 29, 2016

West Virginia

We ended up making a pretty quick pass through West Virginia just because of lack of RV parks that can handle a rig our size. Two of the three things on the list for WV were accomplished on this trip so that isn't too bad. Ann doesn't like heights so New River Gorge was lower priority and will have to wait until next time we go through.
West Virginia Capitol - Charleston

Capitol - inside of dome

We were able to stop at the Capitol (of course) in Charleston as we drove through town. I used Google street view ahead of time to come up with a strategy for parking and it actually worked out. 

Capitol inside
This Capitol took 8 years to complete, in three stages, with the final stage opening in 1932. It is another very grand, all marble, huge building but it isn't particularly pretty or impressive in a way that makes you want to stand and admire it like the last few we've seen. The most impressive things about this one was the dome on the outside and the chandelier hanging in the dome on the inside.

We ended up doing a parking lot night at Tamarack in Beckley. This worked out great because they had big RV parking spots and good food that we enjoyed for both dinner and breakfast the next morning. The weather was rainy so we could walk around and enjoy the amazing works of West Virginia artisans. 

One of the other priority things to do in West Virginia was to go to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. The coal mines have such a history that I felt it important to learn, first hand, what it was all about. The town of Beckley bought a shut down coal mine and built an exhibit out of it. They brought in buildings from coal mining towns around the area (there are a lot of them), fixed them up, and made a nice little town. Then, of course, there is a tour of the mine. The tour guides are real miners. 
Mine tour
We had a guide that worked in the mines for 40+ years so the information was delivered in a genuine manor rather than some young person reciting a memorized script. The accent was so thick it took a lot of concentration to understand what he was saying, but that added a lot of the authenticity to the tour. The mine tour wasn't one where you go down an elevator. You go along a track into the hillside, riding authentic "man cars", and just go a short distance into the mine. He stops several times and talks about mining from the hand-loading days into the modern era, explaining equipment, how a miner worked, etc. and then the short ride back out. Not intimidating at all. 

Miner's three room house

Inside a bachelor's one room shanty


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