Thursday, May 15, 2008

Road Trip

We think West Virginia is beautiful. We think it is anyway. This was about all we saw of it. We thought it rather odd that we never saw the sun shine the entire time we were in the state, and it was still raining as we drove through the tunnel into Virginia (where it stopped raining only 14 miles in). Perhaps our friend Lydia, a native West Virginian can explain that to us someday. I remember she told me once that it rains pretty much every day in WV. I believe her. Seriously, though, in spite of the clouds and rain, the tree-lined mountains held such amazing grandeur, and when we stopped for gas (still $3.95/gal.), we met a very friendly man. He told us that his town usually averages around 12 inches of rain by this point in the year; they’re already up to 20, and that was before today’s storm.

There was one rather unpleasant surprise. On Google Maps, the southern part of I-77 looks like any other interstate highway. And, as it is the only route from Charleston through Virginia to North Carolina, it certainly was the one we wanted to take. The state of West Virginia now has $3.75 of our money. That part of I-77 is a toll road. I realize it’s not the $5.00+ that some states charge for shorter distances, but it did catch us unawares. By the way, what does “No Cash Transponders” mean? My guess is, “Have your money ready, there are no ATMs.” Thankfully, we had plenty of loose change to give the toll booth operators, so we won’t be arrested or fined for running the gates. (How ya doin’ there, Misty?) ;-)

We did enjoy traveling two of Virginia’s tunnels. We have so many of those in Texas, you know. I promise, I really do like the sunshine. My enjoyment of caves and tunnels doesn’t seem to indicate that, though, does it?!

Leaving Cincinnati this morning, we followed Hwy 52, the Ohio River Scenic Byway. It follows the bend of the river, and we saw some beautiful countryside. We also came across Ulysses S. Grant's birthplace in Ohio and a covered bridge in Kentucky. Except for those stops, Darin drove from 11:30 AM to 7:30 PM, pausing only for gas and stretching o’ the legs. We even ate snacks of crackers and dry cereal for lunch so we could keep moving. Good thing we like touring the country. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to see the USA in our Chevrolet. We rented a Chrysler.

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