A View From Below
July 11, 2010
On July 11, 2010, I rode down to
(Following notes from Wikipedia)
The New River Gorge Bridge is
a steel-arch bridge, near
The New River Gorge Bridge carries US
19 over the New River at a height of 876 feet (267 m), making it the highest
vehicular bridge in the Americas, and the fifth highest in the world. Before
the 2004 opening of the Millau Viaduct in
Construction began on the bridge in June 1974, and completed on October 22, 1977. It was designed by the Michael Baker Company, under the direction of Chief Engineer Clarence V. Knudsen, and executed by U.S. Steel's American Bridge Division. Final cost of construction was $37 million (approximately $4 million over bid). Many locals say, with little exaggeration, that completion of the bridge cut the travel time from one side of the gorge to the other from 45 minutes to 45 seconds.
The bridge is the centerpiece of
BASE jumper Brian Lee Schubert, 66,
of Alta Loma,
County Road 82 winds southbound from the
Here, the road descends as a one-lane, one-way trip back in time.
Descending down to the river.
One of the information markers along the way.
Close-up of the plaque.
Another close-up of the plaque.
One of many tall rocks along the descent down to the river.
First good view of the bridge. Only halfway down the mountain right now.
Another roadside informational plaque. Nice view of the bridge.
Close-up of the plaque.
Getting closer to the river. Lots of interesting rock overhangs like this along the way.
Another rock overhang. Almost there.
View of the overhang from the other direction.
Finally made it to the river. This Historical Marker is for Townsend’s Ferry that once operated here.
Close-up of the Historical Marker.
From the other direction at the marker, the old
to the right and across the railroad tracks.
This is the old bridge that used to carry all of the traffic across the river!!!
Walking out onto the bridge, you are afforded a spectacular view of the river and the new bridge.
View from the old bridge west toward the new bridge.
Whitewater rafting is a very popular sport (and business) around here.
The waters range from mild to wild.
Some rafters enjoying one of the quieter sections of the river.
Yes, trains still run on the tracks by the river and old bridge.
Time to start up the other side (southbound).
Interesting view of the support beams under the bridge.
OK, the story takes a funny twist here. A friend told me he had stayed at a
campground several years ago just on the eastern edge of Charleston along Rt 60. The last
campground I passed was 35 miles back, but I thought I’d take the chance so I
would have a shorter ride in the morning.
Well, I looked and looked, and found no campground. As I entered downtown
All set up for a good night’s sleep.
Buddy, my backyard camping companion!
(Very friendly - if you know the secret password. Otherwise, you’re dog-meat J )
Wilson & Cammie (far left) and their family. They invited me to join them for an evening of conversation around the backyard firepit. We watched one of the planets (Mars or Venus??) slowly sink toward the horizon in the clear evening sky. Cammie’s mother (far right) showed me her rock collection with rocks from all over the world. She didn’t have an Alaska rock, though, so I promised I would bring her one. (I did – about 2 weeks later) She even brought me out a quilt in case it got cool that evening. How sweet!
Very nice evening. Thanks!!!
** The Next Day **
The previous morning, I was just getting to Rella's for lunch when I rode through a swarm of bees. One flew up inside my helmet and stung me by the right eye. Rella gave me some ice, and I had some Benedryl cream to put on it. Even though it still burned a little, I thought the worst was over. Wrong!
next morning, this is what I woke up to. Luckily, it didn't swell completely shut, so
I still had "bi-vision" and depth perception. I made it to my meeting
with Joe Geiger and made it home to Clarksburg OK. Just watery eyes.
Lots of history in those hillsides along the New River. That's a whole 'nother story. Maybe next summer!
Hope you enjoyed the trip!