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Monday, May 1, 2017

Driving 8 to 1

This is a bucket list weekend. We are on I81 south heading to Savannah. Did I ever mention how much I dislike I81?  I do. Immensely.  Especially in blinding rain like now.  We will drive out of it or it will end on its own.  Either way, blogging seems like a good way to bring down the stress level.  For me. Not so much for my companion, MG. But Dylan LeBlanc’s Paupers Field seems to be doing it…for both of us. We recently discovered this CD and it instantly became one of our must haves in the car.  Which reminds me, I should tell you about the road trip we took last weekend.  It is an hour’s drive between my front door and MG’s. Good Friday gave us a day off which allowed us to take our time driving from Staunton to Covington. I call the route we took our "8 to 1 drive".

MG and I left Staunton via  Rt 250 which is a beautiful drive through the mountains to Monterey.  We had just started out when we saw a “Honey turn the car around so I can get a picture of that” in Churchville.

I did know about Mapleton & Clearview Farms where you can purchase plants they grow, fresh eggs from the chickens they raise, jams they make from fruits and berries they grow, and honey from their bee hives.    Grandma Barbara told us they serve up sandwiches on Saturdays. We are definitely coming back.

Back on the road I realize I cannot get enough of where I live.  I may not like I81, but I sure love these country roads.

On toward Monterey.  Apologies to my Monterey friends…no time to stop. From 220 we turned right onto Rt. 84 then 92.  Green Bank Observatory was our first stop.

This is the world's largest steerable radio telescope from which astronomers learn about the universe.

Next we step back in time in Cass, WV. 

There isn’t much in Cass, but you can take a scenic train ride through some beautiful areas on an old steam driven locomotive train, just like the ones used here since 1901. Train rides begin again in May. For now, Cass is a bit like a ghost town.

The old depot and restored company houses, now used for vacation rentals, are waiting for the season to open. We walked around some of the old train cars that have been sitting there long enough to show great signs of age. 

We needed something to eat so we asked the lady behind the counter at the Rt. 66 Restaurant if they were serving. She answered “You can take a look at the menu and if you see something you want you can tell me and I will tell you if we can fix it.” MG asked if they could make a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Yes, they could. Fries? Yes. I swear that might be the best hamburger I ever ate and the fries were definitely the best…ev-ver!

I love the things you find in bathrooms....

We noticed a young man sitting on the walkway outside eating something that looked like onions with large leaves and very long roots. I learned from the lady behind the counter that the leafy food is ramps. A local had just come in at that time and told me all the ways his wife fixes ramps. Ya gotcha fried ramps, ya gotcha pickled ramps…

Snow Shoe has closed for the season. Talk about a ghost town. MG spotted a lady sweeping the sidewalk who was considerate enough to let me enter one of the buildings to empty my 6 quart bladder, which was full of ice tea from lunch at the Rt. 66 Restaurant.

Rt 66 ends here and 55 begins. We drove through Greenbrier Valley for a while and finally turned onto 39 where we enjoyed a drive through Bath County.

Look closely at this one...notice the VW

We took a slight detour to Hidden Valley Bed & Breakfast. Beautiful. This is where the movie Sommersby was filmed. The house is an 1840’s antebellum plantation home known as Warwickton.
(As I write this, we are again driving through a blinding rain storm. Poor MG. He confirms the music is still calming. Not for me. The only thing that calms me in this kind of weather is for it to stop.)

Nearing home, we turned onto Douthat Road.  How many of you know Douthat State Park? My family spent many weekends on the beach there in the summer.  MG tells me it was the last time he saw me right after we graduated in 1969 from Alleghany County High School.  He stopped me as I walked by to introduce me to his beautiful girlfriend visiting from Florida. He soon moved to Florida and later married that lovely girl. No one could have convinced us that nearly 50 years later we would meet again and stand on this beach together talking about a moment he so clearly remembers and of which I have no memory.  MG says he met me again after nearly 50 years but I met him recently for the first time.   (The battery died in my camera at this point.)

We are getting close to our destination for the night...somewhere just after crossing into South Carolina.  So, I will finish by telling you what MG and I did Easter weekend, which is where this 8 to 1 blog diversion from the road started...on Good Friday. MG's father turned 89 on Monday following Easter Sunday. We drove to their house in Alleghany County to join them for lunch in the house where MG grew up.  What a beautiful drive.  The Redbuds were in full bloom and lined the road along the way.

Saturday evening we all had dinner at the Cat and the Owl in Low Moor. We attended Easter Sunday church service with his family followed by lunch at the restaurant "up on the hill".  Covington locals know that means Mountain View Restaurant Magnusson Hotel, which used to be The Best Western. 

Back to reality now, it is 7:53 PM Thursday evening, April 27. Another 26 miles gets us closer to a hotel for the night.  I wonder how Donna is...she is also checking off a bucket list item as she enjoys a long birthday weekend in New Orleans.  Wonder how Ellen is enjoying the Tom Petty concert.  I wonder how my sweet Dolly is doing.

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