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  • J.F. Rowan

What's That Song?

We awake on December 1st to find that the overnight rain has passed, and the sun struggles but is burning it’s way through any remaining clouds by 7am. A quick meeting while still under the sheets results in the decision to hop to, and get going. So we do.

I love to drive. For me, to be behind a wheel of a car or at the controls of an aircraft with with power is a beautiful thing. But driving with people who text, read the paper or put on their make-up while driving is anything but pleasurable, especially when you don’t have the option to bump them off the road. But today, I get thrown into the thick of it. I 95 south from Old Lyme, through New Haven and on to Port Chester where we will grab 287 north up and over the Tapenzee bridge. Lots of challenges, but we get through it. The truck does all the work, I just hang on. My wife closes her eyes through the rough patches and for at least a time or two, I could swear I hear her pray.

We stop in PA and overnight at a hotel using HOTWIRE.COM. This is a website that allows one to bid on a hotel in a city or town, and only when you commit, is it revealed where you’ll end up. We ended up saving $10 and had to go about 15 minutes out of our way. Not a great deal, but at least the hotel was great, so was the service. At dinner that night, we held what we called a “Bandit Board Meeting”, and a motion was passed never to eat lunch or dinner at a “chain” restaurant from that night forward.

We leave the next day and drive south to Lexington VA where we would end up in the town that hosts the Washington and Lee University. An interesting contrast to our town of Amherst. People are a bit friendlier, smile and don’t seem to have as much of an axe to grind. Whenever we stop for the day, other than getting our room and doing the usual “bag drag”, our goal is to get a few miles under our feet before and after dinner. It helps keep my back healthy and the weight off. It’s easy to walk here as there are many interesting historical outcrops while you walk through the hilly historical section. Our walking is rewarded by finding a hidden gem within the center of town and have some of the best tasting fish, absolutely cooked to perfection.

Day 3 and we set aside our back-roads plan again and make tracks directly to West Columbia via 81 direct to 77 south. Two close calls and I’m again reminded of that great song by Carrie Underwood, “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Up and over Fancy Gap and into the lap of North Carolina. It then occurs to me why NASCAR is so popular, and even started in the south. If you ever want to get the feel of racing at Talladega Motor Speedway, one of America’s longest and fastest motor speedways on the NASCAR circuit, just drive through Charlotte NC on RT 77. It’s 5 lanes wide, 8 foot concrete walls and rush hour going 80mph. I discovered as long as I had Metallica or Guns and Roses coming through the speakers, at times, it was actually fun. My wife would disagree and called an emergency “Bandit Board Meeting” and a motion was passed to “drink heavily” that evening as soon as could stop shaking.

We arrived at the hotel in South Carolina and then proceeded to drop the truck off at Provan Industries so that they can tweak the furnace and adjust a few other things. It will be nice to get off the hotel habit as this isn’t what we’re really about. Though we are thankful for their presence, we like the ability of getting away from it all.

A few days in Columbia and we should be back on the road by the 5th. Our next post will be about our time and escapades in Columbia and our next destination, Georgia. There might even be a house sitting gig to quack about as well!

Lexington night.

Lexington at night. A stroll after dinner before bed.

"The Southern Inn" Great drinks and eats!

Good eats here at this unassuming spot. Absolute old south traditional food cooked to perfection.

Stonewall Jackson's garden, Lexington VA

Walking is an easy task when you find historical spots like this all through town. Stonewall Jackson's backyard had a great kitchen garden and carriage house.

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