Saturday, June 30, 2012

The last time I drove US 250

was when I was in the shipyard getting the tanks on an 80,000 barrel clean oil barge coated. The barge was several years old and the tanks were starting to rust up and it was a now or never deal. Either coat the tanks now or just let the whole thing rust in peace.

The company I was working for spent a million bucks to get the tanks coated. I think it was a smart move as that was fifteen years ago and I saw the barge working last year.

I went to Pittsburgh from Norfolk to get home back then and I tried a gamble, I chose a secondary road because it seemed to be the straightest route. We are only talking about a small part of the route, the part from Charlottesville, Virginia to I-79 in West Virginia.

I was glad I did but it got dark on me and I realized I had missed a lot of it and I have always wanted to take that route again. I just got to after a decade and a half of wanting.

I got on it in Charlottesville and drove through tone of the prettiest towns I have ever seen. Words like 'manicured' and 'polished' should be used when describing that pretty, civilized place. There was not a blade of grass nor a leaf out of place. A lot of money is spent there keeping it up and now I know whay 45 years ago a neighbor said she could easily live there. The area is well tended and drop dead gorgeous.

The three most used tools in that town are the lawn mower, string trimmer and the paint brush.

Out of town I passed a couple of the bigger suburban homes and a couple of them had humongous front yards and every blade of grass was trimmed beautifully. They were of southern architecture and a guy in a white suit sitting on the porch sipping a mint julip would not be out of place there.

It was pretty much this way all the way to the West Virginia border. It seemed that the state of Virginia keeps the roadsides trimmed neatly and the people have a lot of pride.

Passing by Charlottesville, there were a couple more towns I went through before I hit the mountains and while they were not quite as impressive as Charlottesville, they were pretty well tended. I noticed that about all of the homes I saw along the way. Even an old mobile home that looked to be on it's last legs had the yard neatly tended and

A few miles after I left the last town I started climbing into the mountains and I could tell because the roads got pretty twisty. This is no longer pickup country, this became Miata country and although I was driving my Toyota pickup, I mentally geared up and down in the Miata, but kept my speed down in the pickup.

This part of the road is sports car heaven.

I reached the top of Shenandoah Pass and stopped for a bit at the memorial there and looked around a bit and gabbed with a pair of old guys from Ohio that were riding Harleys and enjoying the road.
There was a Civil War batle fought in this area and this was part of an area that had switched sides a few times and there was a nice memorial there.

I headed down the pass and there were a lot of straightaways as I headed to WV and after a while I crossed over and almost instantly I saw a few changes. The State of WV didn't spend the same amount of money to keep up the roadside but it still looked pretty nice.

WV advertises itself as wild and wonderful and it really is.

I was just outside a small town and as I was passing a convenience store I saw a couple hitchhiking. They looked halfway decent so I stopped and snagged them. They were a couple that seemed to be having a hard go of things and they were grateful for the ride. They had a couple of odd jobs to do in Elkins.

Work is pretty scarce in WV and they were scraping by doing odd jobs, mowing lawns, cleaning houses and anything they could find. Hard work was nothing new to these two.

She looked old and grey ahead of her years and I mentioned someone I knew from the old days when I mentioned his name they said he had been through a couple of run-ins with the law. I described my friend and I found out they were not talking about the guy I knew. They were talking about someone else with the same name.

It might prove to be my friend's son. I do not know.

I dropped them off and enjoyed the rest of the road until I finally reached I-79 and the drone of the Interstate. A couple hours later I was home.

I am glad I drove this chunk of the old US route and I feel the time to do it is in the fall becasue I just know the route is beautiful at this time of year.

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