In an hour-long event organized largely thorough Facebook, some of those gathered stretched out along the roadside holding hands. Others stood on their vehicles holding signs. Traffic was slow through some areas as vehicles slowed down to look and honk, some displaying signs or American flags.
Some of them were coal miners and their families. Others were just community supporters.
"Paul works for Alpha Coal (referring to Alpha Natural Resources). I sell truck tires. Chris, he sells mining supplies," said Chris Williams, who owns a tire shop in Appalachia, explaining why he and several relatives were on the side of the road, sporting fluorescent yellow "United for Coal" t-shirts. "Everybody here's affected by one way or another."
Brittanee Stacy, who works at a tanning salon, said she would be out of a job without coal.
"In this area, the area we live in, 80 percent of the women who come in and tan, their husbands are affiliated in some way with coal," she explained. "So without coal we wouldn't be able to make it."
Afterward, more than 500 people turned out for a rally in Pikeville, said Jesse Salyer, one of the event organizers. He said the rally featured "stump speaking" by local politicians and others, on the difficulties facing coal communities and the surrounding politics.
He said he's hopeful the nation's leaders saw the size of the demonstration Saturday in support of coal.
"I think they will see us in November when we get out and vote," he said.