The Economics of Trails

Hi there!  It’s a sunny Tuesday morning, and I have more to do than a one-armed paper hanger.  First, I’ve got to do a little work on a proposed 5K Run we’re trying to have in Mendota.    (Pastor Wayne Hays probably thinks this is all done.  I am going to disappoint him!)  Then, it’s off to work on the 40th JSB Class Reunion with Doris Clendenen  Shuman, come home and do a little housework followed by tonight’s meeting with Garrett Jackson on the Economic Benefits of Trails.  Tomorrow, I have a bunch of About Face things to do.  I love my job at About Face, as I love the products and working with my girlfriend.   I totally believe that eating organic is better, but I totally believe that Botox on those frown lines makes the world go better!!  Call me at 423.989.3223 if you every want to talk the Botox talk.  It’s top secret and I’ll hook you up!    But now…back to trails.

I’m wondering…if we just approached the landowners with property adjoining the trail and asked them to consider how a trail could benefit them personally as well as discuss how we could mitigate (NOT litigate) the inconvenience where they’ve built very close or actually on the trail, if they’d consider the benefits???   If the trail was close to my house, I’d be selling lemonade and cookies, cause those bikers are hungry!!

While I realize not everyone is like me, it’s fun–and very wise–to learn about the potential:

Economic Benefit of Trails SmallHope to see you there!


Mendota Trail Flyover

For those who want to go for a ride on a hiking/biking trail between Bristol and Mendota, here’s a little trip for you via someone on You Tube. While you’re watching , don’t close out the pop up windows — they will close on their own.

Hope you like!



Hiking and Biking Trail in Mendota

Today we had three auctions in Mendota and no bidders! This was a bit depressing.

It took me back a week or so to my trip to Damascus, Virginia for a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. I am not a person who likes to disappoint other people. I have this need to be “liked!” Ugh. I wish everyone’s feelings could be accommodated when considering a hiking and biking trail in Mendota. However, that is not possible, and it’s very difficult to see our community today and recall our community in the past when tobacco provided a sustainable family income.

If we have the opportunity to support a hiking and biking trail from Bristol to Mendota in the future and fail to do so, we are missing an opportunity to have family-owned, sustainable businesses — bike shops, river tourism and restaurants. If you live here and you have a son or daughter, this young person might have an opportunity to stay here…working and living in Mendota. Imagine. This is something we haven’t seen since Burley tobacco left our area. We will continue to have “the drain” of young people leaving unless we give them a reason to stay.

If I focus on what “could” be…I think of Damascus, Virginia. There are seven bike shops in Damascus. Here’s Adventure Damascus. I talked with “Pepper”, and Pepper told me that this is actually one of two bike shops owned by the same person. I think the other one is Sun Dog. Most of the bike shops close in November and reopen in March, but this one stays open year round. He says they work their tails off from March to November.

Adventure Damascus

I rode on the Creeper Trail twice in the past month. Most everyone I spoke with was from somewhere else. They travel over to Damascus to ride on the trail. Quite a few were also riding on the New River trail. They eat, too! I also noticed t-shirts being purchased. Those tourism dollars are sustaining these businesses. I rented a bike…it was right at $30 for the bike rental and transportation. Here’s another picture. They look pretty busy even though this was taken midweek.

Bike Shop 2

Places to eat…of course I took pictures of them!

blue Blaze Cafe

When I worked in HR at AGC’s Abingdon Plant, I used to call “In The Country” for catering. Great food. Bad picture…I took it from the car.

In The country

One of my favorite places is about 12 miles into the ride. I’m thinking bacon lettuce and tomato as I peddle into this area. It’s in Taylor’s Valley which reminds me of Mendota because there is no cell phone service. Nada.

Creeper Trail Cafe

The man who owns the Creeper Trail Cafe said that he used to rent this house out. I asked if it does a “little better” now. He laughed. He employs quite a few people, and they make fresh soup beans and cornbread as well as those great BLTs. Yum. He was so nice.

Creeper Trail Cafe

Bikes parked while people are eating..

Bikes in Grass

I remember a long time ago…more than ten years ago…when Oscar Harris asked me if I was “in” or “out” on a proposed hiking and biking trail. Definitely am out!!!

Have a great weekend. Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage.


Route 802 Mendota Virginia

I drove down State Route 802 today — the Mendota Road. I decided to bring you along. There’s a house on that road that I’m fascinated by but it’s not included in this post. I have to stop and talk with the folks and ask them if I can put it on the blog. They weren’t home, so that may come later. At any rate, here we go…


The roads are winding–not in a scary way but just enough so that you have to drive a little slower and watch what you’re doing. I went really slow and took pictures.

Windy Road

Here’s Regina’s Rockybrook. I think it’s open only on Saturday. She called me one night when I wrote the Mendota Villager just to say thanks. That was a long time ago. Margie Dean now writes The Villager.


Here’s an old building that I think looks interesting. I wonder what it was built for? Does anyone know?

Old Building

And a sassy red barn that someone obviously loves.

Red Barn

Someone’s beautiful entry “Peace Like a River.” They love the North Fork, too!

Peace Like a River

Here’s what used to be North Fork Baptist Church (below). It was established in 1776. I do not know if services are still held here. Mom took Pat and me to revival at this church when we were young. I mortified her that night by announcing that I knew where babies came from — “out of their mama’s mouths.” I had seen a mother cat carrying a small kitten and got everything mixed up.

Holston View

Another church…I’ve never been inside this church. However, when I was a teenager, I “parked” there with someone. Who? Well, that young man no longer walks on this earth, and I’ll never tell. It remains a secret! We sat there and listened to an eight-track tape, and I tried to act like I liked beer. Ugh.

Poor Valley Log church

Nearby there is a chimney that nature is reclaiming.


I took a picture of this sawmill which is one of two on this part of Route 802. My father had a sawmill. My father was a pallbearer when the famous musician, Mr. A. P. Carter, passed away. People who have learned that Daddy had a relationship with A. P. ask if Daddy was a musician. Nope, he loved and owned a sawmill, and A. P. loved sawmills almost as much as he loved music. They were sawmill men.


Below is a picture of a field of boxwoods. I love it when people try and earn a living in Mendota. Once in a while, they can. I hope this nursery is doing well. Across this field and the river, there is an old two-story structure which you can see a tiny bit of in this picture. I’ve never been there, but I was told there was a dumbwaiter in the building. Now why would I remember that?

Boxwoods and Old Building

And another sweet church..

Church 2

And this was my Uncle Paul’s church. His name was Paul Barker. He was both a preacher and a miner. His granddaughter called me a few weeks ago. It was so nice to connect.

Church 2 again

Hope you’ve enjoyed driving down State Route 802, Mendota Road, with me. I was coming home from a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Here I am…

Eva Beaule on Bike

I’m “coming out.” I’m a supporter of a hiking and biking trail in Mendota.


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