55 of 55: In Mingo County, the Writing is on the Wall | 55 counties in 55 days
The old car slipped behind me. A little sheepish to have been found in the middle of a road in rural Mingo County, I turned around, nodded and started to walk away from the Dingess tunnel saying, “Sorry.” , sorry.
The woman at the wheel laughed and shouted out the window, “It’s okay, baby. Go ahead and take your picture.
So I did it. She waved as she passed.
I was really looking forward to visiting Mingo County for several reasons – I had never been there and had read articles about petroglyphs found in the area.
No one is quite sure what the mysterious and ancient scribbles mean. A few experts say it could be Ogham, a Celtic runic written language that essentially died out with the Druids over a thousand years ago.
I had also been interested in seeing the kilometer long single track tunnel. He was only about 100 years old, but it was still pretty cool and a little strange.
I was lucky enough to find the tunnel and take a photo, but had no luck with the petroglyphs after my cell service disappeared in the afterlife.
I just couldn’t know where they were and couldn’t find any sign anywhere saying, “Over here, the strange writing on the cave.”
Otherwise, the drive to Mingo County was pleasant. The sunlight on the rainlogged leaves made the trees glow, even though the Tug Fork River looked muddy.
Still looking for directions to the petroglphys, I wandered around Laurel Lake and grabbed a chicken sandwich at the Marathon gas station in Lenore.
“Can I have the spicy chicken sandwich?” I called through the plastic shield separating the kitchen from the rest of the convenience store.
“What?” said the woman behind the plastic. “Approach the window. I can not hear you.
“What do you want baby?” she asked.
It was a strange thing to note. In Mingo County, I’ve been called ‘baby’ a total of five times (by four different women and one man) in one day, which is more than any other day in my life – and I was married.
Anyway, I had the sandwich and was about to drive to Wayne County when I saw the sign for Williamson and thought, ‘Well, this isn’t. is not that far. “
Twenty minutes later, I was parked and headed for The Coal House, a building constructed by the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce that appeared to be made of coal.
I walked in and chatted with Randall Sanger, the guy who worked in the office. It was sort of a welcome desk for tourists and travelers, and a gift shop with merchandise from the area, but not much from Mingo County.
“We think West Virginia is local,” Sanger said, and I didn’t disagree.
Local support, I say, but I only had $ 3. I bought a sticker, but it was a really good sticker.
Other places to eat
- 34: eaten (Williamson)
- Hurley Pharmacy
- Cheech (Lenore)
- D-McCoy Trail System
- Petroglyphs of Dingess (Lenore)
- West Virginia Mine Wars
- Museum (M
- King’s Coal Festival,
- September 18 (Williamson)