This being our 40th anniversary year, and the grandchildren getting all grown up already; on our way to the ocean at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we took everyone to see where Pamela had grown up as a child. The trip also jogged her memory for items she wanted to add into her book she has been writing for about ten years now. We followed the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail; the 86.5 mile "St. Paul Loop" starts at St. Paul, traveling along 58 Alternate, Hwy 65, U.S. 23 then back to 58A passing through or by the communities of Dungannon, Clinchfield, Duffield, Big Stone Gap, Norton, Tacoma, Coeburn before ending back at St. Paul. One has the choice of going either east or west on 58A but will eventually end up back in St. Paul.
Years ago you were met with a shotgun in your face if you approached one of these mountain homes in the Virginia area, but now that is frowned on, so instead on just about every house you see has ‘No Trespassing’ signs. We have never seen so many Keep Out signs in our entire life during just one drive up the mountain.
The road going up to the old home property twisted around and around as we went up and down, and you had to pay close attention since there were no guardrails and if you went off the road, you just had to hope the trees would catch your vehicle so it would not slide all the way down the mountain. It really got our attention when we met an 18-wheeler semi full of fresh cut logs coming down the mountain partially on our side of the road. We just stopped and let him decide to either get over or push us off the road; but he did get by. I would not want to take that drive to work every day, as my nerves could not take it.
The waitress at one restaurant told us that western Virginia was one of the biggest drug areas in the country, including misused prescription pain drugs stolen from purses, but she moved back to the area recently because she said it was even worse in Kingsport, Tennessee. Kingsport, Tennessee was where Pam and her family always hauled their logs to the paper mill.
In another restaurant we saw a group of workers having lunch and you could tell they were working in the brush on the mountain because of the high leather boots they were wearing to protect them from snakes biting their ankles.
Pam showed her children where she walked to school two miles down the mountain to this school in Tacoma, Virginia when she was in first grade. The school is still there as a historical site. Pam got to walk on the original stepping stones she used over fifty years ago at the school.
She found their old barn Pam and her family would keep their mules and horses in. Looks like someone put a new roof on it now.
Now it is mostly small cabins and just about any place you can stick a house trailer. We would just love to watch how they get a house trailer up one of those small mountain roads and then all the way up on the side of the mountain; it must be amazing. Such beauty and scenery; we loved it.
From that TV show we purchased some of that legal Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine that was supposed to be so good; but it was terrible and tasted like turpentine. Now the Midnight Moon Moonshine seems to be the best especially that strawberry flavored one. Pam does not have any of her dear aunts and uncles left, but she was able to talk with some of her sweet cousins.