Grandmother, grandson visit all 55 Counties in West Virginia

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 1:31 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - The bond between Julia Rife and her grandson, Preston Hetrick, is solidified through the countless hours of traveling up and down the great West Virginia highways.

Their mission was to visit each respective county and visit each justice building in those counties. They did so while learning about the rich history shared throughout the state; but it all started with some research.

“Well there’s a big binder (Rife laughs) and it was a lot of research, like researching what the best areas were to go to. Like when we did Charleston, it was a whole two and a half days for Charleston and then Harper’s Ferry was a whole weekend. So, it was just a lot of research and a lot of planning how routes and how efficiently you could do things and manage your time.”

Although the journey wasn’t easy, the union formed between these two venturesome individuals goes much deeper than just a bond between a grandkid and his grandma.

“I know what she’s interested in now or I know her interests a lot more than I would’ve known generally beforehand. Also, just hours and hours in the car, on the phone, planning. Definitely you build a bond over just that shared experience. So, I think without this our bond would not be as great and I think it’s definitely been very important part in shaping how close we are.”

As for Grandma Rife, the optimism of what lies ahead for her grandchildren and herself is an adventure in itself.

“Watching them grow and getting closer to all of them. Seeing what they’ll do and what comes next. Whatever college he ends up, I’m anxious to see where that is and what we can see, when we go there, and just spending time with them. I’ve been a hands-on grandma since day one and that’s not going to stop.”

In regards to future trips planned for this tandem, they’ve already gotten a head start in preparation of taking a little hiatus as Preston heads off to embark on another journey away from home.

“We went to Philadelphia for about a half day trip, we were at the beach. We’ve done Fort Necessity, just other sites around the area. Well, he’s going to be going to college, so this is going to have to start winding down cause he’s going to be out and about.”