Friday, July 16, 2010

You Are Here

Ever been driving around and wonder where you are? We were doing that the other day and all of a sudden this appeared on the side of the road.

A giant red push pin marking our location on the map.

Ok, not really and we have no idea what it or why it is. And we weren't really lost. TomTom has served us well. Our travel mantra is "Believe in the TomTom." We really have a lot of fun finding new places and the road maps are very good. It would be nice if there were more Points of Interest maps available. Some of the ones out there are user created and some are business creations, but the reliability is somewhat suspect at times.
Back to the trip.
We spent most of Monday driving down the west side of WV on route 2.

We saw a lot of water and rails and we were sort of surprised at the number of ghost factories along the way.

They seem to be operational plants, but when you look close there are no people there, no cars in the lots, and rusty gate locks. Really seems like a lost opportunity.
When we were in Wheeling we tried to do some shopping at Center Market antique shops, we were too early and didn't want to wait around so we pretty much missed one of the very few opportunities to buy something old and odd. Treasure hunting is all about timing.
While finding our way around the market area we found the Wheeling Suspension Bridge which was opened in 1849 and connects WV with OH as part of the National Road. It looks pretty dramatic with signs reading that no buses and trucks can use the bridge and all traffic should maintain 50 foot intervals.

It might have been a nice drive, but we were putting a lot of effort into staying in West Virginia so crossing into Ohio was out of the question. I say effort because TomTom really wanted us to cross the river. We were headed toward Parkersburg and the shortest route seemed to be on the other side, but we didn't want to do that so I had to keep an eye on it and make adjustments.
Somewhere along the way we found this Mail Pouch sign on a building.

Throughout our vacation drive I saw 4 or 5 of these murals on the sides of old barns and such though this is the only one I got in a good picture.
Our next stop was Moundsville to look at the old State Penitentiary. We not only missed the tour time, but also the day on this one.
The prison was opened in 1876 and remained in use until 1995.
FabHub was thinking he could visit some relatives, but they would have had to be ghosts and that would be bad if they followed us home.
We found this Civil War statue on a corner. One thing I don't have pictures of is all the cemeteries that we have seen along the way. This same statue is in several of them. People interested in that history can probably find him everywhere.Turns out that Moundsville was named after and actual mound. The Grave Creek Mound is a conical mound right there in town and is the largest of its type in the United States.
The archeologists have determined that the mound was built by the Adena people in stages from 250 -150 BC. It is 62 feet high and measures 295 feet around. Lewis and Clark documented it in their travels through the area.
The next stop on our trip was Williamstown at the Fenton Glass Factory and Museum. We did the free tour and learned about how the glass is made, molded, and finished.
I picked up a couple of pieces.
An opal frog for my unique selection. No I don't collect frogs, thanks for asking. :)
There were a lot of them on display, a person has to be careful picking out the perfect specimen.
I also found a piece of Carnival Glass that fit my Dutch side.

This is titled Windmill Bowl in Marigolds Carnival.

After that stop we headed down to Point Pleasant. The first thing that caught my attention, but not my camera lens, was what looked like a giant sliding gate.
If you have ever seen the Twilight Zone show where you can drive into town, but if they don't want you to leave an invisible barrier goes up. Well, driving through the giant sliding gate at Point Pleasant made me think of that - only the barrier wouldn't be invisible.
When we got down into town we figured out that the gate was actually part of the flood wall that protected the downtown area of the city.
The city of Point Pleasant has done a lot of work to bring tourism to the town. They have maintained Fort Randolph as a historical site, although not exactly in the correct location it is close. They have added a park and done a lot of work to make the flood wall more of an attraction than an obvious protection device. A walk through gate has a wonderful military themed mural.
Once you walk through the gate, there is a beautiful view of the Ohio river.
Further down the river side of the wall Robert Dafford, a famous muralist who has done flood walls and buildings in Covington, KY, Camden, NJ, Paduchah and a lot of other places.
The murals in Point Pleasant are intended to illustrate the city's role in American history.
The statue on the left is Chief Cornstalk and the one on the right is General Andrew Lewis. The General (or Colonel at the time) defeated the Shawnee and Mingo warriors led by Chief Cornstalk who were trying to take back some land. Their battle is sometimes called the first battle of the American Revolutionary War and other times it is part of Lord Dunmore's War. Either way, after some of the Indians had settled their differences with the fort, Chief Cornstalk went to the fort and tried to warn them about a pending raid and ended up as a prisoner. He was later killed in revenge for some other killing.

There are also murals depicting the building of communities and hardships of the day.
The city of Point Pleasant also has a River Museum of which this old paddle is a part.
Of course we can't forget the Legend of Mothman.
The sign reads that on a chilly night in November 1966, two young couples went out to the TNT area of town and had the bejeebeez scared out of them. At least it says something like that.
The Mothman has his own museum in town.

Of course we got there after it closed too.
On our way out of one of those towns we found FabHub's favorite museum.
Of course this one is a lot harder to just drive by. We ended up inside, admission was free, but it wasn't free to depart. It never is.
That night we finished driving to our next stop in Huntington. FabHub wanted to stop by an office at Marshall about his Masters degree. Funny thing is we found out that the office he needed is in South Charleston. So we had driven to Huntington for nothing - OH but I did see Hillbilly Hotdogs - I had no idea it was right there. We didn't stop though.
Next stop was to be back to Elkins via Ripley and Spencer. Change happens.

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