Coal Miners

We started the morning with a visit from family during breakfast time. Then once we finally got moving, we drove an hour from Hinton to Beckley to visit some other family members. And while we were in their town, we visited the coal miners exhibition, which was super neat.

They have a whole museum part, and then they have old rail cars that take you down into an actual real coal mine, that used to be in operation back in the early 1900’s. It hasn’t been operational since the 1960’s, and they’ve had tours running through there for decades now (I believe). The museum has cool photos and models and information to peruse while you waited your turn for the mine cart. Plus a gift shop, of course.

This is the mine cart you ride in for the tour, which lasts about an hour or so. (My rear end was starting to hurt towards the end of that!)

The tour guide saw me take a selfie with Em, then asked for my camera to take one of the whole group, thinking this other family was in our group 😁

The guide on our tour worked in the coal mines for 45 years, and retired about 10 years ago and has been giving tours ever since. He was obviously very knowledgeable and gave us so much information. I have actually read fictionalized novels about coal mines and coal camps from back in the day, but it was so interesting and surreal to not only hear about it in real life but to literally be inside of one myself.

This particular mine is so old that no electric tools of any kind were ever actually used in here. They also only had these wooden beams holding up the whole mountain (125 feet of mountain above your head!), instead of the newer way they do it now, that’s more stable and secure. He also showed us the kerosene lamps they wore on their helmet, which is crazy to think they literally only had a small fire on their forehead to see their work down there in the mines.

You can see there are obviously parts of the mine that look how it would have looked 100 years ago. But other parts like this have been tailored for tours with lights and signage and machinery on display.

There are also old coal miners houses and a school, church, and superintendents house there to check out. This old organ was in the church, and I just thought it was super cool.

This place also has a super cool “Youth Museum” full of lots of fun things for little ones to do and play with. We spent about 30 minutes or so there with the girls, and they loved it.

And then we finally headed back over to Aunt Becky and Uncle Grant’s house. She made delicious spaghetti with homemade sauce, with sad and garlic bread. We had actually all skipped lunch today and just had some car snacks, so we were starving and very glad for our early bird dinner at 4pm 😆

We stayed and hung out and let the girls play on the camper they have in their yard, and I took the loveliest, tiniest 15-minute power nap on the front porch during a thunderstorm. And Jeff is making me post this picture he took of me 🤣

On our 1-hour-10-minute drive home, Addie fell asleep for about half of it, after having another busy day with no nap.

After the big rain this afternoon, the clouds and mist and fog rolling in through the mountains looked really cool on our drive back across the mountains.

Little Miss Priss woke up feisty after her little car nap, and needed an ice cream sandwich out on the front porch, before she was ready for bed.

Then once the girls went inside to play, and things quieted down, this hummingbird came by for a little drink.

And then the folks inside were calling for those of us on the front porch to come in, so we could see the black bear up in the field in the back yard!

The girls were of course totally exhausted, and actually told me around 8:30 they wanted to go to bed. So we took them back to their little girl beds, and got them ready for bed, and they were asleep so super fast. The rest of us have been hanging out chatting for a while, but now everyone is trickling off to bed, getting ready for sleep…

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