Gorge-ous West Virginia

Monday, June 28, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 59: Weston, WV to Princeton WV
Our journey through the heart of West Virginia today took us smack dab in the middle of the New River Gorge National Recreation Area. As any West Virginian would be proud to tell you, the New River Gorge Bridge, at 3,030 feet long was, for many years, the longest steel-arch bridge in the world. 
The bridge carries traffic across the New River at a height of 876 feet, making it the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas.  The New River Gorge area is very popular with outdoor enthusiasts including hikers,  rafters, kayakers, and anglers.
Rapids from Class I to Class V (the most challenging) are available on the river, and plenty of outfitters and guides stand ready to help tourists experience the river in this heart-thumping manner.  The bridge is the centerpiece of the state's annual Bridge Day on the third Saturday in October. 

Bridge Day is the only day visitors may walk across the bridge.  Promoted as the largest extreme sports event in the world, Bridge Day is also the only time that BASE jumpers can parachute from the railing and rappellers are allowed to descend and ascend fixed ropes from the bridge.  More than 800 jumps were made last Bridge Day as 150,000 spectators looked on.
The bridge is such a point of pride in the state that it was featured on the WV state quarter issued in 2005.  Tomorrow we'll leave West Virginia, heading to Asheville, NC, a familiar location.  From there, it's back to the Georgia furnace.

Daily Stats
Miles driven:  178
Letterboxes:  3
River Rafters:  176
Kayakers:  10
Highway employees "standing around":  24
Motorcyclists from Iowa traveling in a group:  15
Honda Odysseys:  97 (41 silver)

Haven't Seen That for a While
Grits on the menu
Marathon gas stations
Shoney's
Mud-coated pickups
Ryan's Steakhouse