In an effort to re-evaluate our distribution efforts, I gladly joined one of our graphic artists in the composing department as we embarked on the roughly 130-mile roundtrip, to South Floyd County.
I had been to McDowell a week earlier and did some exploring that direction then. I almost made it to Wheelwright but instead stopped a few miles short and took an old road over the mountain connecting with Route 7.
Taking the morning to drive the back roads certainly was a pleasure. I got to meet everyone from the Mom ‘n Pop grocery store owners to the gas station attendant greeting every customer with a smile.
The only negative to the trip should come as no surprise to those who have lived in this area for any length of time. It's what I call “Appalachia's dirty little secret” - the constant trash strewn across the countryside. Nowhere is safe from it. Not rivers, not forests and, most sadly, not yards.
This is some of the most gorgeous country I've seen and it sure is a shame that the landscape is often scarred by such debris. And while some can argue that mining leaves the area “ugly,” I'd wager that at least in that there is progress. There is industry. It would be hard to convince me that litter can in any way benefit a community.
To be fair, the problem isn't isolated to Wheelwright or southern Floyd County. It can be seen nearly everywhere, from Prestonsburg to neighboring counties.
So if there's a plea to make in this column, it's to be mindful of what trash you dump and where you do it. As a relative outsider, who only has this area's best interests at heart, I'm still saddened to see the landscape and I'm only surprised because, of the people I've met, I can't picture a one just chucking trash out the window as they're driving through the county.