Back in October 2010 — the last trip with our old cruisers! — when Hubby and I rode to Kentucky, we passed very close to Breaks Interstate Park (BIP). In fact, we ate lunch at the Hardee’s in Grundy mentioned in my last post. The morning coffee club (what we call the groups of older men that hang out to chat over coffee in fast food restaurants) was still there, and one of the men started talking to us about our ride, where we were from, headed to, etc. And he asked if we were going into Breaks.
Neither of us had ever heard of it. I can’t remember if the guy elaborated or not. But as we made our way into Kentucky, I kept seeing signs for the park. Naturally, that made me wonder. After I looked it up, I was kicking myself for not having checked it out. Since then, I’ve wanted to return. Mike’s kind of been noncommittal about it. He’d rather daydream about long, endurance rides than worry about revisiting areas just to see something we’d missed.
The more I think about this road and whether or not I stumbled across a highway project or surface mining operation, I think it must be the latter. A highway here just wouldn’t make sense.
Surface mining will make West Virginia uninhabitable one day. If you’re not familiar with that practice, check out the Coal River Mountain Watch website. Watch this documentary on YouTube. It’s not just one mountain. And it isn’t just West Virginia. Do a Google Maps search for Breaks, Virginia. Turn on satellite view.
See all the brown spots to the north and west of Breaks? Those are mountains that have already been decimated. Zoom in and see for yourself. It’s awful.
Originally, I’d thought about riding into Kentucky after leaving Breaks. But after seeing the extreme poverty in West Virginia, and what it’s done to the people and communities there, I just could NOT bear to ride into Kentucky and see what it’s done to the land. It was just too depressing. Remember, I was on vacation trying to de-stress.
So, back to happy stuff…
Did anyone else hear Kurtis Blow when you read that photo caption? I’m not sure if I have ever admitted to y’all that I am a rap fan. Mostly old-school stuff from back in the day. Not gangsta rap, either.
Here’s a quick little video taken from one of the overlooks (the park is mostly on the rim of the gorge).
I think the gorge is about 1,000 feet (~305 m) deep at this point.
The view is described by the sign in the image below.
It was actually sort of early when I arrived at the park. I was hot, tired, and grumpy (seeing fellow Americans in extreme poverty as described in my previous post does that). I removed all of my gear, put on some comfy pants and hiking sandals, and rode around the park to see the various overlooks. I had the park practically to myself and was being very careful.
I couldn’t linger long, as the restaurant closed relatively early. And it would have been a VERY long ride to find anything else.
The view was the best part about dinner. That and the 3+ glasses of ice-cold iced tea that I chugged down. The service was excellent, but the food was just okay. State park concessions are not usually known for their fancy vittles.
After dinner, I wandered around the park a bit more. I was too tired for much else.
Looking back, I was probably dehydrated. I never drink enough when riding on hot days. Another reminder lesson learned.
Seeing all the storm shelters freaked me out a little bit. I mean, it’s nice to know there are lots of shelters available, but they wouldn’t have so many shelters if weather up on the ridge didn’t get rather fierce. Am I right?
My lodge room was big, but basic. It had all the amenities, but the decor was plain. I did enjoy having a balcony AND being able to open the windows. I got to listen to night sounds, so it felt just like camping in the woods (or staying at our old WV Place).
From the bed, I couldn’t see the “mouth” of that monster. I only saw a face when I stood up. LOL.
The next morning, I awoke to the sound of wind howling through the trees. I looked outside and saw a lot of gray clouds. I checked the weather radar and saw lots of storms headed my way.
I don’t mind rain that much, as long as I have the proper gear along (I did). But I had no desire to be descending through the mountains on unfamiliar and very twisty two-lane, tree-lined roads during a thunderstorm or two.
I packed in record time and got out of there. I’d hoped to capture more pics around the park that morning, but chose to outrun the thunderstorms instead.
I did manage to get out of the high mountains before the rain caught up with me. But it was fine. All part of the adventure. 🙂