Twin Falls, Idaho has a Twin in West Virginia
Losing teams in championship games don’t chant, “We’re number two! We’re number two!” So, this should require some humility but probably I can’t summon much. As proud as we are of the Perrine Bridge, there’s an even more spectacular span in West Virginia. The New River Gorge Bridge is a bit more than 800 feet above water level, which makes what we’ve got in Twin Falls a distant number two and maybe somewhere in Kentucky there’s something at 650 feet. I’m not counting.
From what I gather, next to a country music jamboree near Wheeling and a methamphetamine competition in Beckley, these are the only major events in the state.
The bridge in West Virginia is home to what appears to be an annual festival (a great many things were canceled in 2020). As I understand it, the bridge actually closes for the party and BASE jumping is permitted. But only once a year. Legally.
From what I gather, next to a country music jamboree near Wheeling and a methamphetamine competition in Beckley, these are the only major events in the state. There was a time when they had a ranked football team and Christmas is celebrated in non-recession years. The top radio host in West Virginia is named “Hoppy” and the median income in the state is $12.47.
There’s a famous song about the state, written by people who had never been there and recorded by John Denver. It may have been his biggest hit. When it comes to his greatest hits, people often ask what’s on the flip side.
I did visit West Virginia once. It was actually quite stunning to drive through the winding hills. We came to a rest stop where a man just finished clubbing a rattlesnake to death. We didn’t ask if he was hungry. While some of what I’m writing may be in jest, the snake story is true. It was the summer of 1973 and the family was on a long vacation. A couple of days were spent in West Virginia and I’ve longed to return.