Thursday, July 17, 2008

Road trip to West Virginia

I decided to avoid the overcrowded summer airways and ride the Harley to West Virginia for the Nationwide Tour Players Cup. I shipped my cameras ahead and made my way north. I spent Tuesday night with my buddy Chick in Charlotte then spent Wednesday taking the long way to Bridgeport on some great back roads. It was a great ride and I saw some really nice sights.

Bluestone lake in Hinton West Virginia.
Bluestone dam.
A Time-lapse video of some of the ride.

The New River Gorge Bridge is the highest bridge in North America at 876 feet from the ground.Time to go to work!The Pete Dye Golf Club is set in the hills and very scenic.The 13th green wraps around a pond.The course was built in 1994 on an old coal strip mine and still has a couple of mine shafts on the property. This one is used as a cart path from the tournament 15th green to 16th tee. You can still access the main shaft from the cart path and it goes deep into the hills.I opted not to explore the flooded tunnels!We had some bad weather on Sunday and a sudden downpour stopped play when it flooded the greens. Rick Price won the tournament and spent some time signing flags for the tournament.After doing his interviews and visiting the volunteer party, Rick signed "Jaws 8" in the operations truck."Jaws" is the nickname for the cooler that lives in the big Nationwide truck. Each week, the tournament champion stops by to sign his name. It's got quite a collection so far !Another cool feature of the ops truck is the collection of flags signed by former Nationwide members who have gone on to win PGA TOUR events. These guys ARE good!
I also spent an early evening exploring the old "Weston State Hospital"
which is also called the "Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum"
I love old spooky places, and this one pretty much tops my list so far. It's about 20 minutes from Bridgeport and I had to run down and check it out.
Weston State hospital operated until the early 1990's when it could no longer be kept up to code. A new hospital was built and this property was eventually auctioned off to a private investor.
I could spend days photographing this place. I will definitely make a return trip .Construction began in the 1850's and it was finally completed after the civil war in 1881.
The main building is a Gothic-Revival, Tudor design using the "Kirkbride Plan".
Even the lobby was creepy. How many people came through these doors and never left?Looking down one of the wings.Your room is ready Mr. Condon!The "facilities".An old steam radiator has seen better days. The hospital was at one time completely self-sufficient with it's own coal mine, farm, dairy, waterworks and cemetery on, get this, its 666 acres! I'm not kidding.This wing was part of the original civil war era building.Lead paint perhaps?An old nurses station. At its peak Weston housed about 2400 patients and only had about 300 staff to care for them. An isolation room for the violent/dangerous patients.No one knows what this room was used for. The brace in the wall was very secure and capable of holding heavy weights. The double-bars on the windows make you wonder...The woodwork was all mahogany and still in good shape.This building was the Tuberculosis ward. It wasn't accessible to go inside, but I can imagine t has some stories to tell.
One last photo before the ride back to Bridgeport. It was gettig dark and the sky was looking ominous. Yep, time to go.