A day in West Virginia...
Today is a very short day, from a riding perspective. 131 miles from Hurricane to Lewisburg, with stops in Charleston and Rainelle. But, what stops they are, particularly Rainelle, WV. But, we'll get to that stop shortly.
After a short ride from Hurricane to Charleston, we were greeted by the governor of West Virginia and a few other local dignitaries. Pictures below are from our time at The Capitol, as we prepared for a group picture on the steps.
On to Rainelle...
The small coal mining town of Rainelle, WV is the penultimate high point of riding the Central Route. The original riders of Run For The Wall discovered the town, and it's extremely patriotic townsfolk while they were trying to avoid toll roads in the area. The ride into, and leaving, Rainelle is absolutely gorgeous. Twisty roads through the picturesque mountains of West Virginia drove that good old John Denver song home for many of us riders. When the original riders rode into town, they discovered the whole town had turned out to greet them, only the riders didn't know that the parade was for them, until they turned around to park and apologize for interrupting what they thought was a parade for something else.
Run For The Wall was truly adopted by the folks in Rainelle, and the town by Run For The Wall. Over the years, RFTW helped raise funds for the towns school system, to include a library and other much-needed services. Every year since that first Run, the town basically shuts down, to include the schools, and everyone turns out for the day of festivities. RFTW watched those kids from the first year grow up and start families of their own, so the kids we saw this year are the children, and sometimes grandchildren, of the original classes.
The kids of Rainelle treated us as if we were movie stars, professional athletes, or heck, even internationally renowned folk. They have autograph books, and everything.
We had lunch in the elementary school cafeteria, which brought back lots of memories.
Upon entering the school, finding that the hallway walls are absolutely covered with news clippings and other memorabilia about past visits by RFTW was awe inspiring. Here's a short video clip from the cafeteria walls.
After an enjoyable, and very moving afternoon in Rainelle, we rode, on our own, to our final destination for the day, and sleep, in Lewisburg, WV.