1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

An Adventurous Trip To Ronceverte

Barry Worrell 2008

As I read John McCurdy’s piece on his love of automobiles, it fired up the memories of how much I loved them also and still do.  In the 40s and 50s, David Honaker was one of my best friends. We were in the same grade and did everything together. One of the things we shared was the love of cars and use to talk of how he and I would have a garage together. He would do body work and I would be the mechanic.

Since we were still pre-teen, automobiles were not in the near future so we concentrated on our bikes. I remember David, Joe Still, someone else and I rode our bikes to Ronceverte. This was not a spontaneous decision, we had planed it. We even packed a lunch. I remember telling my Mother what we were doing and she scrambled an egg and with two pieces of bread and mayonnaise, made me a sandwich. To this day, I’m reminded of the trip whenever I eat an egg sandwich with mayo. 

We started across Muddy Creek Mountain where we ate our sandwiches right away, although it was no where near lunch time. I guess it was easier than carrying them any further.  We continued over to Fort Springs and up 63 to Ronceverte. The Muddy Creek road was exciting enough but since it was a narrow road with a lot of curves, speed was limited but still could be dangerous if you lost control.  

David’s bike had no breaks but he was very inventive. He took the front fender off and would insert a large stick in between the fork and the front tire. When he wanted to brake, he would just pull upward on the stick, which would apply pressure to the tire and the bike would slow down from the friction the stick would give.  How he managed having only one hand to steer and hold on while the other hand on the stick is beyond me.  

Coming down the Muddy Creek to 63 was non eventful, but very exciting. Feeling exhilarated and pleased with ourselves, we decided to go on to Ronceverte. David had successfully managed his stick break and control of his bike.  As I think of it now, I marvel how young kids have the gall and stamina to do something like that. 

It was a long climb from the Fort Springs road to the top of the hill looking over Ronceverte, and as you probably know, there’s not much flat road or down hill in between the two points. We rested at the top for a while and one by one we started down. Going down that hill the speed was tremendous but once more, we all were successful.  At the bottom we talked and laughed of our amazing feat and them I noticed David’s “breaking” arm had a black covering up to his elbow.  In the down hill run he had constant pressure on the tire to break, and the rubber was coming on the tire and coating his arm. 

I don’t remember how long we stayed in Ronceverte, or even what we did. I guess we just rode around or hung out.  The trip back was beginning to take its toll and by the time we got to the Fort Springs road we had pretty much had it. The others were starting to thumb down trucks to give us a ride to Alderson. I was very stubborn and refused to get in the truck that stopped to pick us up. I was determined to finish the round trip on my bike. The guys pleaded with me to get in but sticking to my guns, I watched the truck go around the curve and out of site as I stood there all alone.  Of course I made it back but I was mad and had plenty of time to get that way. On the other hand I felt very satisfied in the fact I had done something they couldn’t do. As it usually does, it all evens out.
 

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