Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Discoveries in South Western Virginia

Rural Virginia. It's hard to imagine a place that let's you feel as though you've dropped back into an easier time. A time of grace and beauty. The hardness of the great slabs of rock, with only their domes left uncovered in the field where the livestock graze. Land not good for much else. When you gaze across the country side at the hills of South Western Virginia, you are able to grab a sense of how the people of this state were influenced and molded.  Rock and greenery, hand in hand in the fields: easy going, rough and hardy, sweet and South West Virginia.

Reminiscent reminders of grander times are all around.  Grand mansions, losing their grip to the ravages of time and neglect.

Barns left to the sages of time. Housing not work animals or tractors, but the wild critters such a coons, bats, and small night foraging mammals.  Man has filled some of the barns with the items he loves to save, and forgets them as quickly as he does the barn.

As you ride through the countryside, you will run across places and things that help define the South's role in the Civil War.  This next photo is of the brine kettles. In a town known as SALTVILLE, you will find these kettles, which supplied 1/3 of  all the salt used by the Confederate Army.  The salt came from brine water found in pockets beneath the soil. It was pumped to the surface and the water boiled away in these kettles, leaving giving SALT.

And here is the original "Walking Beam" pump from the Civil War time period. No...I don't know how this pump was powered. It didn't say, and I haven't found anything on the web to explain it. Sorry.

Then, there are the many log cabins still to be found. I love the shutters and always try to grab the photography of the shutters. I kinda think this is a reproduction of a cabin from long ago. I don't think they had nails with this kind of head on them. But it is still a nice contrasting photo of wood and metal. I think the hinges are original.

I found an excellent road running from Saltville to Tazewell. I ignored the sign's suggestion to continue on 601.  I kept my heading on VA-91 north. That's where a five mile stretch of gravel road comes into play. A well maintained section of road, it was wide, it was scenic, and in some sections it was a bit dangerous for a 2 wheeled vehicle like a Harley Davidson. But a rider who has confidence and experience will travel this road like it is a good paved was just that fine.  I liked he ability the road gave me to relive some of my "glory" days as a wanna be flat-tracker.

This photo shows how well maintained it is. A baby could ride this easily enough...except maybe his big wheel...front wheel might not roll to good on some of the larger chunks of rock?

What views VA-91 afforded. It was a good fun ride. Including amazing views and a fun technical ride too!

I have one last photo to leave you with.  This is the reason I didn't ride the Blue Ridge Parkway this day...but oh gosh...isn't this a wondrous view?