In my opinion, today was one of the best days of the trip so far. This morning I woke up and was immediately in the daily grind. I quickly packed my things and headed upstairs. The very first thing I looked at was the coffee pot. It was empty but there was a slight drip indicating that a new pot of my favorite morning drink, that I am usually so deprived of, was brewing. I then looked around and ate a few pieces of turkey bacon and half of a bagel smothered in cream cheese. I poured my coffee and indulged. Then we packed our things and thanked the Bowles for their great Southern hospitality and we set off. We picked up the girls from the other house a few miles away and got on the road towards Bob Evans to meet Larry Gibson. We waited for close to thirty minutes and he did not show. We then called him and he said that he was not going to meet us at Bob Evans and we would instead meet him at his house.
If stress was a bomb we had Hiroshima dropped on us. We then headed to Larry’s house. When we got off the highway the roads were covered in coal trucks hauling the evil black substance to the nearest power plant. We drove for at least thirty minutes until the road became gravel. We continued for another fifteen minutes and we began to really see destruction and snow - lots of it. Fairly quickly our two wheel drive bus got stuck. We had chains and now it was a matter of getting them on. We had two shovels in the car and it was time to dig.
That is more snow than I have ever seen at less than two thousand feet elevation. On the right side of the bus there was close to two feet!
Eventually, we got out of the snow drift and made it up to Larry Gibson’s house. We finally got inside of his small but cozy cabin and he began speaking to us. I found myself in awe of what he said he had more passion when he was speaking than any four men that I know. His thick, rough accent gave his ‘’speech’’ a whole new dimension. If I had to describe it in one word it would be BEAUTIFUL .
We then went to what Larry calls Hells Gate and for a reason if I had to describe in one word what I saw there it would be HORRENDOUS. I think most will agree.
That mountain used to be higher than the place we were standing. There were two people that we met with and we went to a restaurant that I thought would be close but it was nearly an hour away we went into this local diner and the woman almost got mad at us because we were ordering very large burgers and when Aristide who is relatively small ordered the largest thing on the menu the woman popped her hip and said in a thick accent, "Do you even know what a mountain burger is? It is close to one half pound of beef!" He decided to go with the smaller cheese burger while Isaac and I decided to take the challenge of the mountain burger. It had been maybe eight hours since our last meal and I almost inhailed my burger and when Isaac did the same a different lady came out and said now y'all must be hiding half of those burgers. We shook our heads with satisfaction.
Once we left the diner we walked down the road to the Coal River Mountain Watch headquarters where a woman named Lorelei gave us a speech about her experience and about how Coal River Mountain Watch was trying to get a windfarm on coal mountain instead of blowing it up to get the coal. I thought that, that part was very interesting because about a week ago I watched a movie called Coal Country and a lady who was in the movie was at the Coal River Mountain Watch building. We then went and saw Marsh Fork Elementry School where 1200 feet above the school is a 2.8 billion gallon toxic sludge pond and the earthen dam could give way and wipe out the school. We drove for close to an hour and a half then we got to the church where we are sleeping and had a stir-fry dinner then I blogged and went to bed.