Tag: West Virginia

Coalwood, West Virginia – Home of the Rocket Boys

Coalwood, West Virginia – Home of the Rocket Boys

Over the winter I read a book called The Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. It is the memoir of a determined boy who grew up in the shadow of a coal mine tipple in Coalwood, West Virginia in the late 50’s – and would go on to become a NASA engineer. It is a testament to the power of a curious mind.

Having enjoyed the book greatly, it was a treat to be able to swing through Coalwood this past April. Riding through the town was like putting a face to a name. Sadly, what remains of what I’d read as a bustling anthill of activity surrounding the mine is merely shadows. It’s quite something to see how a remote town that relied on a single industry is decimated once that industry leaves.

A monument to the Rocket Boys along the wonderfully named Frog Level Road. Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys are local heroes.

What remains in that old coal town is interesting to see. Especially when compared to historical photos and passages of the book that talk of the local goings-on.

Homer Hickam’s house still stands:

And as a motorcycle rider, you won’t be disappointed by the ride along Route 16 to Coalwood. It’s a lovely wiggler!

That Time I Walked the Dog to Kentucky

That Time I Walked the Dog to Kentucky

While I was walking the dog on a grassy knoll at a West Virginia highway rest area, the Harvey seemed so tiny compared to our friend’s pickup and toy hauler behind it. But when you’re driving the RV and tugging the trailer along a winding mountain road, it doesn’t feel quite so tiny. It’s all about your perspective, I s’pose.

Blue Star Memorial Marker
Monongahela-Cheat District
I-79 S Rest Stop North of Morgantown
Placed: September 19, 1986

We parked for a few days at the Devil Anse staging area of the Hatfield-McCoy trail system in Matewan, West Virginia. The Harvey again looking tiny amidst the brutalist stylings of the flood wall and the hulking toy hauler.

The Kool-Aid was strong.


When you’re in town, you’re always aware of the wall. It had an interesting psychological influence.


Matewan sits on the Tug Fork River. It creates a border between West Virginia and Kentucky. In the morning fog while the rest of the world was asleep I got to walk Lilo to Kentucky. I never imagined myself saying such a thing. Just goes to show you that life is continually full of surprises.

Lilo liked the railroad doings and activated her lead-weight superpowers whenever we were close by. This made no sense to me since she is terrified of loud noises. When the trains came squealing, clacking and honking through – she was unfazed. But set off the smoke alarm in the RV with BBQ grill smoke coming in from outside? It’s the end of the world. We’re all gonna dieeeeeeeeee!

Foggy morning on the bridge, looking towards West Virginia and the Matewan flood wall.

Something about that Kentucky logo makes me think of cigarette packaging. Weird.

Something About Nothing – A Post With No Point

Something About Nothing – A Post With No Point

You know? I don’t even have a story to tell here. I’ve just got a few semi-related pictures that were snapped when I was toodling around in West Virginia a couple weeks ago that I feel like sharing.

Blogs can be funny beasts. Sometimes you’ve got a lot to say about things that you feel deep inside, lines you want to cast out to see who will nibble on your bait and say “me too.” And other times you just can’t find the thread. You just want to sit down next to a friend on a bench and not say anything with words. Sitting there in silence is good enough. Kind of like a presence-hug, if that makes sense.

Ain’t that the truth…

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