Browsing "Virginia"
May 4, 2012 -

A Long Overdue Hampton Roads Homecoming

Around 5 this afternoon, I was finally able to take off and do the 45 miles that would take me to the end of this segment of my trip. I never thought I would be so grateful to see an Econolodge; I’m staying at the same hotel I stayed at four years ago. Would you believe that I was given the same room?! Hilarious!

I texted my friend an “OMG, I made it!!!” message, took a shower, and headed over to pick her up. I can’t even describe how wonderful it was to finally make it. The emotions were almost overwhelming.

I’d joked that I had sent a ‘huge’ Amazon order over to her place. It turns out that said order arrived in pieces so there was a ton of boxes waiting for me. We loaded up the car and came back to the hotel. It’d been so long since I’d made up the order that I didn’t remember most of what was in those boxes. It turns out there was a lot of useful stuff, including a new electric blanket with a timer on it. 🙂

My friend had bought tickets for the midnight premiere of The Avengers (thank you!!!) so we headed out for a very late Applebee’s dinner that will double as brunch tomorrow. The movie was awesome and hilarious and totally worth the insanely long day. It’s 3:45AM right now and I can’t remember the last time I was up so late. I’ve planned a well earned sleep in. 🙂

 

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Nice Folks, Social, Travel, USA, Virginia    4 Comments
May 1, 2012 -

Almost Heaven

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenandoah River –
Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Growin’ like a breeze
Country Roads, take me home

I was very excited yesterday morning as I hit the road knowing that I would be at my friend’s within the day. It has been four years and one month since we last saw each other. I have traveled more than 27,000km since I last saw her. I couldn’t imagine anything sweeter after such a long journey than to fall into the arms of my oldest and dearest friend. A few more days now…

Because I had some mountain driving ahead of me, I planned yesterday that it would be a short driving day and that I would not be arriving at my friend’s. I took my time getting on the road and had a long break at the rest area after Charleston. This was my first time ever seeing a restaurant (snack bar) at a rest area!

I was purposely setting myself up to make arrival at her place too late to be feasible so that I wouldn’t rush through the day, get distracted, and get into an accident. Now that you know my mindset yesterday, it becomes even more evident why I don’t blame myself for the toad’s demise.

The section of I-64 between Charleston and Beckley is the West Virginia Turnpike, a toll road. I had reviewed the list of tolls ahead of time and felt that the information was very clear. I was a motorhome towing the equivalent of a trailer so I would have to pay $3.25 twice. I made sure to get a bunch of singles and quarters when I bought some things at Walmart the night before so I would have exact change. The first toll booth guide was visibly surprised that I had my exact fare in hand!

approaching the second toll booth

So that was yesterday. The accident happened just after the second toll booth.

This morning, I set off in good spirits. Miranda was purring and nothing felt amiss. I have done a lot of mileage in my rig and know how she behaves. She never hinted at been hurt today. Oh, sweet Miranda, aren’t you supposed to tell me you’re hurtin’ before you keen?

I hadn’t been on the road long today when I got a hint that the big challenge of the day, the 7% 5-mile long descent, was upon me:

Almost there:

At the summit:

Here we go! *gulp*

Motorhome goes into D2 and we start the hill at 40MPH.

What is it about those Blue Ridge Mountains?

Halfway there!

Recommended truck speed is 45MPH. The engine would start strain at that speed, so that’s when I’d hit the brakes, about four times total over the five miles.

Done!

Have I mentioned in this post how much I love the Blue Ridge Mountains?

It was coming on lunchtime when I hit Lewisburg, so I did something I just about never do when towing the car, I made an unplanned exit from the highway for something other than fuel. In plain English, that means I saw a sign for Applebee’s and I heeded its call. 😀 I barely eaten anything the day before and had very little for breakfast, so that was just what I needed to get those gastric juices flowing again. I headed in the general direction of the Applebee’s and noticed a Walmart, so I decided to park there since the Applebee’s would be nearby. It turned out to be right next door. I ordered a pasta and salad lunch deal but only had room for the salad (and a one-bite brownie with ice cream), so I got a to-go box for the pasta. $11 for lunch and dinner, not a bad deal, huh? I ended up having the pasta while waiting for the tow truck. But I digress again.

I made it to Virginia!!!

The Virginia Welcome Centre is not RV friendly as there is only car-sized parking and no pull-thrus. I couldn’t have done this with the toad attached!

I had to back out of that parking stall!

Nice-looking welcome centre:

I stocked up on a ton of tourist information material.

Then I drove through some more beautiful scenery marred only by a dirty windshield:

Approaching Richmond, I was due for a break, so I turned off the interstate to go to a ‘tourist information centre’ that I never succeeded in finding. That put me on a lovely rural route that paralleled I-64 for about five miles before merging back onto it.

A wave of emotion hit when I reached the I-64/I-95 junction and hit familiar territory. I’d only been that way once before, but there were a few familiar landmarks; a building, the city names on the exits, the stench of tobacco at the Philip Morris plant.

The last bit of my journey was on back roads and I looked forward to pulling over just shy of my destination for a bite to eat and to text my friend to let her know I was incoming. Well, we all know what happened there.

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