Tuesday, September 24, 2019

US60: Midland Trail

West of Lexington, VA, there are some stretches of US60 where it is a rural or mountain two-lane road, but much of it is subsumed into and co-signed with I-64 as it crosses the mountains in earnest.

Soon after you cross into West Virginia, US60 splits off on its own and becomes a wild ride through the mountains. You're in for either a thrilling or exhausting drive, depending on your personal taste.

For a solid couple of hours, you'll face steep uphill twists followed immediately by steep downhill twists. It's a pretty road that could be fun in a nimble vehicle. I do not recommend it for trailers

Throughout West Virginia, US60 is co-signed as the Midland Trail which has a story that is worth reading all about in the link. Meanwhile, here's the gist:
"The Midland Trail follows the route of the historic James River and Kanawha Turnpike, an early road linking canals in the James River in Virginia with the navigable portion of the Kanawha River in West Virginia. It crosses some of the most rugged terrain of the Mountain State. The trail is believed to have been originally carved into the mountains by buffalo and native peoples. In 1790, George Washington ordered the trail cleared. The trail came to be traveled by stage coaches and soldiers in the Civil War."
Happy and I take many breaks on our road trips, especially when we spend a lot of time on a road like this.

Our favorite stop of the day included a pretty little walk in Hawk's Nest State Park to this overlook of the New River:

After that break, it was more of the same until we finally got down off the mountains to river level.

From there it was clear, smooth running down the river valley, through picturesque little towns nestled between the mountains and the river. By the time we reached Charleston, the river had become the Kanawha, and US60 became a four-lane urban service road. The road then becomes a high-speed two-lane rural road until it approaches Huntington and reverts to four-lane urban status.

We have stopped for the night just over the Kentucky border in Ashland... Stay tuned!

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