1928 - Alderson High School - 1968




Alex McLaughlin - May 3, 2013

There was a major tractor-trailer wreck on Exit 42 of Turnpike on May 2,2013 blocking northbound traffic on the turnpike. Mary Jo and I were returning from Greenbrier County to Charleston and we decided to take Route 60 west for first time in years. Sam Black Church , Crawly, Rupert, Charmco, Rainelle, Sewell Mountain, Lookout, Hico, Ansted, Chimney Corner, Mystery Hole , Gauley Bridge, Glen Ferris, Falls View, Boomer, Alloy, Smithers, Montgomery, London, Glascow, Cedar Grove, Shrewsbury, Belle, DuPont. Those are names from my youth and I can only remember the names of some of the big cities. Plus I forgot Rand near DuPont, which is the home of Randy Moss the NFL great that played college football at Marshall. When we traveled on Old 60 Dad used to ask me keep my eyes out for the famous Indian chief named Falling Rocks.
Before I-64 ,"Old 60" was the most heavily traveled east west route from the Virginia State line to Kentucky state line. The final section from Sam Black Church to Charleston was completed in 1988. With the divergence of traffic from 60  to I-64 , through traffic has declined drastically and the old travel related business of service stations, restaurants and hotels has declined significantly as has the tourism along the road. A casualty of "progress". I think that Mystery Hole is still open in the summer. For those of you who signed the super secret pledge never to reveal what you saw there, please don't tell me. My curiosity has waned

I-64 in Beckley hooks up with I-77 and goes approximately 60 miles west through two tollgates on what we called the West Virginia Turnpike . In order to confuse the public because the public had been critical of the turnpike they now call this the parkways authority. The turnpike is one of the few interstates in the country that has tolls and since approximately 60 to 70 percent of the traffic on the road is from out of state ,there is no rush to take the tolls offs. The middle section of this stretch of the turnpike is curvy and hilly and with increasing traffic volumes especially semi trucks ,it can be scary driving The other potions of the road resemble interstates everywhere else.
Two interesting notes. The first is that the Sandstone mountain section of I-64 in Summers County has a long section of 7% grade that is a fairly steep grade for interstates. Google says that this section of 64 is one of the few if not the only section of the interstate system that has a separate posted speed for trucks ,certainly because of Sandstone Mountain. The decline at  Sandstone Mountain has two emergency truck turn outs They are there if a truck should lose its breaks. This happens and I once saw a truck gets out of control, miss the turnout and .apparently purposefully, run into a guardrail and off the interstate on to a slope. Miraculously the truck landed in one piece although it jackknifed.
 Secondly according to Google there was a mildly successful Boston Massachusetts hard rock band around the mid 2000s that was known as Sam Black's Church. The band was named after the West Virginia location of Sam Black's Church

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