Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Trip 2008

Remember last year? I had plans to do a lot of interesting blog posts about my vacation, but only a few came to fruition. It's a new year and another interesting trip has filled my cameras with images and my head with ideas. So I'll try to whip up at least a few posts from all the information stirring around in my head.

This trip became my "Industrial Heritage" tour of southern West Virginia. It did include plenty of scenic splendor like you see above in the panoramic photo from Pinnacle Rock. The theme of the trip though, was about coal mining and the sudden, dramatic industrial development that resulted. Sounds like thesis material doesn't it? It is a rich history with so many compelling stories. Amazing wealth rapidly descended upon a very cash-poor area of the south. An influx of European immigrants and African Americans from the deep south mixed with the locals, and strangely, they mostly got along. There was lots of incredibly hard and dangerous work to do, and these people were up for that opportunity, American style. Their descendants inherited that spirit and applied it to life outside of mining.

The Industrial Heritage theme also put me in close proximity to a couple other genres I love. As I mentioned recently here, I have a strange attraction to old buildings and derelict structures. Let's just say that this is a very rich area for that type of scenery. I am also a fan of "machine drama," like trains, big cranes, bridges, dams, and basically all things that would appeal to a little boy. I also got to do some bike riding on rail-trails, my favorite type of bicycling.

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