Tag: West Virginia

Reminiscing with the Mothman

Reminiscing with the Mothman

Winter has settled in with its icy temperatures here on Long Island. There hasn’t been any riding for me in many, many weeks now. For the most part, I haven’t missed it. I suppose the love for it is a state of mind more than anything else. I’ve been keeping myself occupied with other things instead.

While I haven’t done much exploring lately, I do have a million photos and 10’s of thousands of miles in exploration to fall back on. I figure maybe it’s time to blow the dust off of some of them.

Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant West Virginia

This afternoon, I found myself watching The Mothman Prophecies for the millionth time. It was never well received critically, but I love the movie. There is some conceptual thread that runs through it, that makes me unable to turn away when I come across it.

Maybe it’s the idea of a harbinger of news; that there is something that “knows” more that we do. But when it comes down to it, would I want to know the future? If it were only the good stuff? Maybe.

John Klein: “What do you look like?”
Indrid Cold: “It depends who’s looking.”

Seeing the Mothman would likely make me shit my pants.

Alexander Leek:
“The nocturnal butterfly. In ancient cultures, the moth represents a form of the psyche, or the soul immortally trapped in the hellish death realms”. Mothman. Well, that’s what the Ukrainians called him. Rough translation of course. There were a hundred sightings in Chernobyl when the nuclear pump went down. Galveston, nineteen sixty-nine, just before the hurricane. They saw it. But seeing isn’t always believing.

In the last decade I found myself in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia – the real life town on which the move was centered – a couple of times. In the 1960s, there were many sightings on the Mothman in the area preceding the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

Point Pleasant has embraced their most popular cryptid with not only a museum and statue, but also a festival celebrating all thing Mothman.

Mothman Statue Plaque - Point Pleasant West Virginia
Mothman Museum sign in Point Pleasant West Virginia
Hanging Mothman at the Mothman Museum Point Pleasant West Virginia
ghost sign and triumph bonneville in point pleasant west virginia
mothman statue in point pleasant west virginia
downtown point pleasant west virginia
Avalon Motor Inn from the movie Mothman Prophecies - 1 Avalon Cir, Eighty Four, PA 15330
Avalon Motor Inn – 1 Avalon Cir, Eighty Four, PA 15330
lai pouch tobacco ghost sign in point pleasant west virginia

Being able to explore on a motorcycle has been such a blessing in my life. Finding myself in small town, taking in unusual sights and sipping at a cup of Americana has been an incredible education about people and life.

Will Ride for Donuts

Will Ride for Donuts

My love of donuts is known far and wide amongst my friends. Perhaps you’ve even noticed the pink donut sticker on the BonBon.

I don’t know when the love affair began, really. But I do have many childhood memories of sitting at the counter on a swivel stool with my dad at our local Dunkin Donuts. Spin, spin, spin.

Nearly every time I pass Maple Donuts on Route 30 in York, Pa. I find my wheels turning in to the parking lot automatically. Perhaps donuts have a particularly strong gravitational pull. After all, some people believe Earth is shaped like a donut.

Sometimes I even bring some home to share. Topboxes are great for this.

Have you ever seen a more glorious mailbox than this sprinkley dough hoop? I’ll save you the trouble – you haven’t.

Donuts for dayyyyyys.

One for now, one for later. Even after being squished in a tankbag, the mighty donut delivers.

After pulling in to Huntington, West Virginia this October, I opened my hotel app and found a place to stay. For some, the view from my room window might seem a little lackluster. But to a donut lover? Well… you know.

My holy grail donut stop was definitely Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California. Deliciousness and roadside royalty wrapped up in one neat package.

What could possibly surpass the scrumdiddlyumptiousness of eating a donut in a filthy parking lot, under the watchful gaze of that giant rooftop beast? Nothin’, that’s what.


Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Everything doesn’t always come up sunshine and roses when you’re road tripping and looking for something you read about or might’ve heard of in passing.

Sometimes a pin on my map for a Mail Pouch barn will turn up a pile of collapsed wood where a barn used to be. Or maybe I can’t actually find what I’d saved or it’s missing. And sometimes a thing sounds much cooler than the reality of it. When you turn up for a visit… sad trombone. It’s a roll of the dice.

Luckily the journey almost always has some value to it so there’s that. You might happen upon something else in the area that makes up for the letdown. Sometimes you’ve gotta make lemonade.

Recently, I had my hopes up for the Shoney’s Big Boy Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t read anything about it, I only had the name and address. Based on the name, I imagined a restaurant with memorabilia-covered walls and statues and nicknacks. I envisioned a place where I could grab a bite to eat and use the restroom and I was excited by that. So when I turned up and found…

Well, let’s just say my fantasy was a bit aggressive. Instead of a tchotchke covered restaurant, I pulled up to Big Boy on a stick, a couple of yellowing newspaper articles, and some pushpins on a corkboard marking the spot where something used to be. ::womp:womp::

I suppose if I had known it was solely a memorial marker of the Big Boy genesis, the Parkette Drive-in, maybe my imagination wouldn’t have gotten away from me. If I had known what was waiting for me, would I have felt disappointed? Maybe not. Them’s the breaks.

The silver lining in this situation was that I serendipitously saw a Mail Pouch barn on the way, so I’d traded one good thing for another. Lemonade.

Parts Unknown: The Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode

Parts Unknown: The Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode

Season 11 Episode 1 of Parts Unknown is the Anthony Bourdain West Virginia episode. The hour-long feature highlights life in parts of McDowell County.

West Virginia – What’s so special about that?

The episode features Bourdain breaking bread with locals as he moves through the towns of Welch and War. These Appalachian towns are unknown and unseen by most of America.

Welch, West Virginia featured in Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode of Parts Unknown

In the episode and seemingly in the lives that inhabit these places, there is no sugarcoating.

In War and Welch, there arent any slick or fashionable haunts. No tourist traps luring visitors in to buy fancy soaps and jelly. For eyes like mine that grew up in the shadow of New York City, at first glance there isn’t much of anything there.

And yet, there is. You just have to undo your commercial programming and learn to see it.

For me, the episode delivered on showing an overlooked pocket of America. It weaved a picture of poverty, faith, family and simple joy. People there are scrappy, love their families, and have pride in what they do.

War, West Virginia featured in Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode of Parts Unknown

In the spring of 2017, I rode through both War and Welch while touring. In my post about the day in Welch, I mentioned:

Secrets you could never know just by passing through.

This episode was particularly poignant because it pulled back the curtain and offered a glimpse into people’s lives. People I could relate to. The lives in homes that I’ve ridden past and wondered about. It wasn’t some faraway place I’ll never see. It was smalltown America.

How to Watch Parts Unknown – West Virginia

The West Virginia episode of Parts Unknown is available on-demand on CNN.

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Stopping and snapping photos of post offices while traveling has become something of a habit. A post office seems to give clues about what a place is like. These snaps are some of the post offices I stopped at in 2017.

Rhodell, WV 25915

Helvetia, WV 26224

Vesuvius, VA 24483

North Matewan, WV 25688

Josephine, WV 25857

Onego, WV 26886

Rockfish, VA 22966 (former)

Fanrock, WV 24834

Cucumber, WV 24826

Odd, WV 25902

Rebersberg, PA 16872

Burke’s Garden, VA (former)

Panther, WV 24872

East Smethport, PA 16730

War, WV 24892

 

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