We didn’t intend to go very far this first day, and as you will later read that turned out to be a fortunate decision. We took the 77-south corridor through West Virginia, a route I’ve taken many times over the years on the way to the beautiful forests of West Virginia and other places. Each time I pass the golden dome of the state Capitol, I think to myself “I must visit that place one day.” I’ve been passing this way since 1977, and have yet to stop. I doubt we will do that on this trip either.
Tonight we find ourselves parked at a place called Tamarack; an arts center built around 1996. It’s a nice stopover, right on the freeway. It does have the requisite local artisans in addition to a cafeteria. As we pulled into the parking lot, we joined several other RVs. One RV has about 7 or 8 border collies on board. They made quite a commotion in the lot, It was too chilly tonight for socializing, so we didn’t get a chance to find out what was going on, but I bet it’s interesting inside that tin can.
West Virginia is an interesting place. Beautiful scenery and crushing poverty all in one state. There are endless billboards advertising legal and financial help for people with mesothelioma, benzene exposure and COPD/black lung. I heard ad on the radio for a man named Bill Cole, who is a (very) conservative gubernatorial candidate. His ad vowed to “clean up Charleston” and “stop the war on Coal.” I looked up his voting record and he makes Bobby Jindal look like a Sanders Socialist Democrat by comparison.
So, here we were, rolling through Appalachia and as I was thinking deep thoughts about coal, sickness and politics, the temperature gauge surged about three miles from Tamarack. It leveled out, and then the gauge pegged. Ben started muttering Rain Man style, “Not good. Definitely not good.” Then the dreaded Check Engine light blinked ominously. We slowed to a crawl and managed to limp to the Tamarack exit, parked and got out to look. To our dismay, our tow car and the lower part of the rig were splattered in oil. Definitely not good.
It’s times like this when you realize the value of cell phones and network services. Tomorrow we, and then you, will learn what the outcome of this trip will be. How’s that for a cliffhanger?