Along Rt 522, in-between Pittsburgh and DC, is a little place called Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. A small town, of about 600 people, in the Appalachian Mountains, basically in the middle of nowhere, not a typical BMX destination.
Under a full moon we rolled into town, stopping at a gas station, which was promptly robbed, while I signed an autograph for a Wild and Wonderful woman, for two 30 packs of beer by a man with the letters “JR” tattooed on him, possibly by a chicken with india ink on its talons. I asked the clerk about it as the cops showed up, and she said it was the third time that day.
We parked on the edge of town, pitched tents near a creek behind an abandoned warehouse , and called it a night.
The next morning we woke up, walked around the tiny village, got coffee, filled up our water jugs from a mountain spring, bathed in mineral water in a park in the center of town, checked out a farmers market, a castle on a mountain, and reveled in the small town novelties and awesomeness. It was great.
Up the road, after being threatened by another Wild and Wonderful West Virginian in a mint condition blue El Camino, we parked at the local skatepark, an abandoned effort by town officials, in an old playground at a Boys and Girls Club, several locals made it their own, building one of Berkeley Springs most modest hidden treasures.
Make-shift obstacles, repurposed old ramps, guard rails, wedge ramps, scraps of wood, flat rails, a West Virginia BMX DIY masterpiece. The locals, Matt, Mark, Jon, Chuck and more had all made something out of not much, in the true spirit of what is awesome about BMXers.
An hour earlier I was sitting in a stone tub George Washington sat in 267 years prior, in essentially that same spot, and in the same spirit that made America great, some unknown heroes started building their own version of the American dream on a slab of asphalt on a hillside in the middle of nowhere.
The session made me smile, but seeing people work hard, and share their efforts, in an unplanned random encounter with near strangers, made me happy. Witnessing what a few like minded individuals can accomplish, even with the most limited resources, without complaint, was nothing short of inspiring. Thank you fellas for making a sunday at the end of a road trip, near the end of summer, near perfect!
– Steve ( and thanks on behalf of Eric Holladay, Dillon Leeper, Garrett Anderson and FBM)
(Photos by Steve crandall, Dillon Leeper and Mark Peacemaker)