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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

West Virginia Route 10 My Favorite Places In Appalachia

One of The Most Interesting Roads In Appalachia
I have spent many hours and miles along West Virginia Route 10, primarily as a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman.  But I also lived for several years in Logan and Williamson, West Virginia, and drove up and down the road for leisure also.  And it is a fine road for leisure driving.  Every mile of it lies within Appalachia and it can take you from Huntington on its northern end to Princeton on its southern end for a grand tour of many different aspects of Appalachia including Huntington's urban Appalachian environment; Lincoln County's transition from the coal fields to the city;  the coal fields of Logan, Wyoming, and Mercer Counties; and the border country around Princeton & Bluefield where West Virginia ends and becomes the more rolling country of Western Virginia.  There is no finer place in Appalachia to spend a long weekend or even a week of slow driving, stopping, picture taking, and self education about the people and the land of South Western West Virginia.  

Just a few days ago, my wife Candice and I took a three day trip to Beckley, WV, to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary and a significant section of that trip took place on West Virginia Route 10 between Logan, WV, and the Mouth of Huff Creek just up the Guyandotte River above Man, WV.   This was my first drive on the new section of Route 10 which is being reconstructed into a four lane highway.  That construction project gave me very mixed feelings.  I had begun this post several months ago and left in unfinished for a variety of time-consuming reasons.  I wish I had finished it while readers could have had the option to drive the old, winding, cliff-hanging version of Route 10 that I will always remember fondly.  If you have never driven Route 10 and have a summer day left free, take a few hours or a few days and drive as much of Route 10 as you can while it is still its wild, wonderful self.  Climb onto Route 10 wherever you can within driving distance of your home, flip a coin and turn north or south and head to the Ohio or Virginia border.  You will love the trip.  If you happen to drive the section between Logan and the Mouth of Huff Creek, I would suggest that you take the time to drop off the new, four lane section and drive whatever portion you find still in existence between Stollings and Man.  That road clings to the cliffs above the Guyandotte River and bangs your elbows against the mountains as you look down now and then on the river far below.  It might not be Highway 1 in California but it was a fine piece of country road in its heyday.  I will miss it and so will many others who enjoy a drive in the country when you can see the red buds and dogwoods lighting up the mountains and almost smell the ramps hiding in the leaf mold in the high elevation coves near the ridges.  Or drop off I-64 in Huntington and head South to Chapmanville and Logan and take that slow trip along the Guyandotte River through West Hamlin and past Little Harts Creek and Big Harts Creek, slow down as you drive across the river at Peck's Mill until you meet the four lane at Logan.  That is a wonderful drive through some of the best, most authentic portions of West Virginia.  Get to know it while you can.  You will thank me for it. 

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