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West Virginia – State #48!!

Hank – The sound the rain pitter-pattering on the tent woke me up a few times during the night. After waking me it was soothing but my sleep suffered because it kept waking me first.

We had a light breakfast and hit the road. We only had about 23 miles today so we weren’t in a rush. (Our distance increased thanks to a lawman.) The rain was light and intermittent.

We stopped at a rest stop at the halfway point. We only had 11 miles to go to a hotel across the river from Point Pleasant, WV. But after we resumed riding we were stopped by an Ohio State Trooper. He informed us that in Ohio bicycles are not allowed on any road where the speed limit is 70 mph. Well, we’ve been violating the law for two days now but I didn’t tell him that. He directed us to take the next exit and go to Rodney, OH and get on the old highway 35. He followed us with his lights flashing until we exited the highway. He’d told us there was only one hill on the old highway 35 and it was pretty mild. He was right. But what he didn’t tell us was that the two miles of county road taking us to Rodney had more waves than a 1980s perm. Thankfully, it was only two miles of grind and coast. The old highway was nice and then we got on a bike trail for most of the last few miles. There was one part of the trail that didn’t match up with the map. It was the part where it ended about two miles earlier than the map showed.

We backtracked to a main road and went to a Bob Evans restaurant in Gallipolis to eat lunch. The manager there asked if we were there for the Bikes, BBQ, and Bluegrass Festival in Point Pleasant. No, but I guess we are now. By the way, the Bob Evans restaurant chain got it’s start right here in Gallipolis, Ohio.

After eating we crossed the Ohio River into West Virginia and officially touched down in our 48th state. Then we crossed the Kanawha River into Point Pleasant and ended up at the festival. It’s a small town event so it wasn’t that crowded. There were bike rides earlier so we probably missed a lot of people then. A couple of event organizers spotted us and asked if we were there for the festival. No, but we are now. There’s a hotel in town so we decided to stay here instead of crossing the two bridges back to the Ohio side.

We got cleaned up and checked out the festival and the Mothman museum. The museum is a hoot. The $4 entrance fee is small enough not to make you feel bad about spending the money. The Mothman thing started back in 1966 and sounds like the town got caught up in some hysteria. But it brings in tourists. A town could be known for worse. A book called The Mothman Prophesies was made into movie starting Richard Gere. It’s not one of his best known movies, except for here.

We missed the bike rides of the festival but we did catch some barbecue and some bluegrass music. Musicians were playing in the square. The bands scheduled to play tonight are staying on the third floor of the hotel. We’re on the second. We could hear them practicing and went up to catch them for a bit. We didn’t buy tickets for tonight’s show because we weren’t going to stay up that late.

The town has a huge flood wall and it’s decorated with a lot of murals depicting historical events. There are several stainless steel sculptures along the flood wall created by local welder. One is of Mad Anne Bailey. I had to look her up. She was quite the frontierswoman.

Point Pleasant got its name from George Washington. The first battle of the American Revolutionary War allegedly took place here but most historians consider the battle to be part of Lord Dunmore’s War.

Point Pleasant also is known for a bridge that collapsed in 1967. There’s a mural on the flood wall depicting the bridge.

The staff at the hotel are pretty much all members of the same family. They ought the hotel in 1990.They made us feel at home and were amazed to hear about our adventure. The hotel was first opened in 1904 so it very much has that old style and look. There’s no central air so the rooms have a window-mounted A/C. Radiators in the rooms indicate steam heat. The carpet in the hallways might be original. It’s quaint.

Kathy – We were happy the rain came last night so our neighbors in the RV next to our campsite would finally quiet down so we could get some sleep. That meant the two little girls that were over at our tent every few minutes for about five hours (and constantly tripping over our tent stakes) finally had to go to bed. Too much freedom, a little hyperactivity going on, and no parental control. Sometimes rain is a good thing. 🙂 We packed up the tent and headed out by 8:00 am this morning before the girls were awake. They were great girls, just five hours was a little too much for us tired folks.

Our ride today was in rainy 70 degree weather. The cool rain felt good as we rolled up and down for 29 miles. Total elevation was only 700 feet – easy-peasy (well, except for that two miles of six steep climbs after the State Trooper ‘redirected’ us). We had to cross two bridges (the “silver bridge” and the “green bridge”) right next to each other to arrive in West Virginia. The “silver bridge” was pretty nerve racking as there was no shoulder for us, it was raining, and a constant two-lane flow of cars and trucks were passing by us at 60-70 mph. They were not happy with us taking over one of their lanes. Thankful the “green bridge” had a pedestrian area for us to ride on. And with that, we were happy to arrive in West Virginia – State # 48 !!! Yippee!!! 🎉🎉🎉 It is crazy that we left Spokane on this cycling adventure 13 months ago and (I was scared as heck) we have managed to ride in all 48 contiguous United States. It has been such an incredible trip thus far.

We will ride two more days before we arrive in Charleston, West Virginia. We will do some sight seeing in the capitol and then pick up the rental car, load the bikes, and start heading towards Portland, Oregon. The plan is to return the rental car in Portland and visit family there. We will then ride up into Washington visiting more family before hopping on a plane out of Seattle, Washington to Anchorage, Alaska. We will leave our bikes in Washington with family and rent bikes for our riding time in Alaska. After four days in Alaska we will fly back to Seattle and see even more family. We come from large families – Hank is the oldest of 8 kids, and I am #6 of 9 kids. We plan to be back in Spokane, Washington by the 4th of July. Our trip to Hawaii will happen soon after arriving home so we can make it official by riding in all 50 states. 🗺 🚴‍♀️ 🚴‍♂️ 🗺

Back to today… The town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is a very welcoming place of 4,153 people. We met so many kind folks here. Everywhere we went people were super friendly. The Bikes, BBQ and Bluegrass Festival was a welcome surprise as we finished off our 48th state of cycling. The Mothman Museum was fun. We watched the documentary film about it where the locals talk about how they saw this creature. The film jumped between the locals talking about what they saw, the author of the Mothman Prophesies book talking about his research, and scenes from the Mothman Prophesies movie. During the entire documentary there is eerie music playing in the background. For some reason Hank left the room while the documentary was still playing, he said it was too much. I think he was frightened. 😉 It was way over the top, but super funny too.

The Lowe Hotel that we are staying at is pretty sweet. I love these old places. It is decorated like it would be from the 1920s too. The hotel takes up the entire city block. The owner and his wife (Rush and Ruth) bought the hotel back in 1990. Rush is 79 years old and he sits in a chair by the front desk for hours every day and talks to anyone that is willing to listen. Rush is a really nice man who knows a lot about the area and will fill your head with information in no time at all. We met Ruth as she was getting a little more wine before heading outside to listen to the bluegrass music. I gave Ruth my West Virginia flower seed packet and she said she would plant them in Point Pleasant. She wants us to come back for a visit in the future ans see them in full bloom…maybe. 🙂
Ralph is Ruth’s brother and the bartender at the hotel. Rush says they gave Ralph the job years ago to keep him out of trouble. Ralph is a nice guy, but let us know he prefers motorcycles over bicycles. We met a cousin to the family who came from Ohio for their family reunion tomorrow. He hasn’t been in Point Pleasant in 30 years. He asked me if I was related to him, which I replied no, and explained we were just passing through. He was curious about our bike trip where I answered many of the standard questions we get. Then he leaned close into me and with a huge smile (missing many teeth) asked, “Are you rich, you must be rich to not work for 13 months?” Once I informed him we were not rich and put money away for this trip he wasn’t interested in talking anymore and moved on.
We met many other relatives at the hotel, all were super friendly. They had a huge amount of food catered in to the hotel for the different bands staying there for the Bluegrass Festival and many of the members offered us to join them. We declined since we already had BBQ at one of the vendors outside. The hotel has an art studio attached to it and even though it was closed the family let Hank and I go in to view the beautiful art. Good people here, so glad this was our destination for the day.

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5 Comments

  1. matthew price June 9, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Yeah
    Yippee
    Way to go!!!
    🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️🤠

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Renee and Darrell June 9, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Hi there!! WV, what a lovely place! We drove through and we also stopped in the Capital (it was nighttime, so I could not see much) it was beautiful!!! WV has an old nostalgia feel to it. The people are very nice and very friendly!
    We hope you enjoy the last couple of days there! Safe travels in WV and then as you travel across the country to OR! Prayers every day!! Miss you two!

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    1. Thank you. WV has been great. We haven’t met an unfriendly person here yet.

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  3. I for one could not have done what the two of you have accomplished. Getting up to pedaling those bicycles each day, wow what perseverance strength, will and grit. You two have stayed the course, completed the GOAL, desire to ride the lower 48 states, I just love it! Love you two, and so admire your determination and fiery adventures attitudes. YOU DID IT!! Keith and Barb Forbes, until we meet again!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Keith. We look forward to seeing you and Barb again soon. Love you both.

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