436 HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS
miles, is typical of the numerous half-abandoned mining towns of the
area. They are unincorporated and, with their unpaved streets and un- 1
painted buildings, come into view like blighted spots on the land. They
have all the inconveniences and few, if any, of the comforts of modern .
towns of equal size, and none of the advantages of the agricultural coun- j
tryside. Small drab houses, most of them in need of repair, huddle 4
close together along the deep valleys or stand uncertainly on the moun-
tain sides. Most of them are of boom-time ilimsiness, with one thick- ‘
ness of board in the walls that rest on slender, often tottering, posts, l
many are papered with newspapers and patched with cardboard to shut Q
out draughts. Dark hills of coal tailings blotch the sides and bases of '
the larger hills. The numerous abandoned mines are marked by ,
warped and disjointed frame tipples and entrances, weathered to a dull 1
gray. Only the waters of Pond Creek, now littered with tin cans and ¥
other refuse, suggest the natural beauty that was destroyed by indus- ;
trial development when it penetrated the formerly inaccessible places. ·
Since the middle 1920’s the miners of the Pond Creek region, when j
not totally unemployed, have worked only part time. Some of the I
towns are slowly reviving on a new pattern. Mining, of necessity, is no
longer the sole occupation. Odd jobs in lumbering, agriculture, road
building, Government projects and construction, supplement the em-
ployment, mostly seasonal, that is still afforded by the mines. The
groups of men clustered around a store or the local "joint" are part of
the army of former miners. Life in the coal-mining towns is meager
and hard. The customary diet of the miner and his family consists
chiefly of beans-—and more beans—corn bread made without milk, and
"bulldog gravy," a mixture of flour, water, and a little grease. In the
summer those fortunate enough to find a small patch may grow a few
vegetables, but for the most part they grow pumpkins. There is little
or no milk available even for the children. As a result diseases of mal-
nutrition are common. Leisure is abundant and money scarce. Brawls
and an occasional shooting, a bit of penny- and nickel-gambling, all of
them usually enlivened with moonshine, are the recreation of the men.
US 119 at 7 m. begins its ascent from the valley into the mountains
vrlxzlgose forested slopes and ridges constantly change in appearance.
ey are gray-green on a misty mornin a vivid een on a clear after-
noon. The tender fernlike foliage of eaily springgrwhen each leaf, bud,
and shoot is a delicate green, changes into the heavier, deeper-hued
vegetation of summer. In the fall, the sun, which shines in many val-
leys for only a few hours, splashes the tree-clad mountains with light,
intensifying the yellows, reds, oranges, browns, and dark greens.
One of the most impressive views on US 119 between Williamson, ·
West Virginia, and Pikeville is at 17.2 m. From the top of the ridge
the surrounding maze of ranges, deeply cut by narrow valleys and ex-
tending to the horizon, form a scene of wild, rugged beauty.
I PIIQEVILLE, 32.2 m. (680 alt., 3,376 pop.) (see Tour 1), is at the
junction with US 23 (see Tour 1),- between this point and jenkins, US
119 and US 23 are united.