I-81, Virginia we have an adventure


Let me briefly recap how we got here. Three years ago, I bought an Aliner. Two and a half years ago I got rid of (almost) all of my stuff. A few months later I moved my two cats to my mom’s and I was going to be there for just a little while until lift off. A week later, a global pandemic hits. A little over 6 months ago, I plan my first big trip. As soon as I make my reservations, my cat gets very ill and I cancel everything to nurse her back to health.

I know how incredibly fortunate I am, and how that might all sound like first world problems. But I’m not complaining.

Because right now, I’m listening to the evening birds while the sun sets over the mountains of southern Virginia. I am on my way to New Orleans. For a month. A whole entire month.

And then, and then I get to go to Nova Scotia and hang out with my wonderful work team for a week.

Don’t get too excited, don’t get too excited, don’t get too excited. It’s happening! It’s finally happening!

Thanks to all the maiden voyages, and shakedown trips, and planning, and plotting, I feel as prepared as I possibly could be. So, this morning, without my usual frantic pre-travel pace, I packed up the car, hitched up the trailer, and hit the road.

As I traveled south on I-81, I watched spring arrive before my very eyes. Trees came into bloom, the sun shown down, and I cast off my jacket, opened the windows and thought, well if Spring wasn’t going to come to me, I was going to go to Spring. Just three days ago it was snowing. In April. Not little flurries, no, two whole inches of snow. (As the northern states groan in blizzard)

I even took real driving breaks. I stopped at a rest stop about an hour in and ate the ham and cheese sandwich I packed, then an hour after that got gas outside Lexington, VA; towing sure does eat up your gas mileage.

When I was a kid I learned that if a trucker needs to get over, you flash your high beams to let them know it’s safe, and if you’re lucky they’ll flash their blinkers back in what I’ve grown to call getting knighted. Today, just outside of Wytheville, VA, there was a car in the far right lane going far slower than is safe. A truck came up behind them, and I knew this was my chance. With no one behind me I slowed down enough to let the truck get in front of me and flashed my high beams, tap tap. The truck didn’t immediately notice, but when they turned their left turn signal on, tap tap again with my high beams. When they got over in front of me, tap tap they returned with their flashers. Success!

Wouldn’t you know, the car in the right lane then picks up speed and the truck can’t overcome them. After a little while, the truck goes back over to the right and I pick up speed. As I get next to the truck, tooot tooot from the truck. A thank you! I don’t know why this tickled me so much, but I grinned all the way through the mess that is the I-81/I-77 split in Wytheville.

So now here I am, at Camp Burson, part of Hungry Mother State Park, watching the sun set. This little campground is just outside Marion, VA. After setting up the trailer (all 5 minutes it took) I went into town for dinner at a place called The Wooden Pickle. The beef they use in their burgers come from a local farm, and the spirits I dared not try were also local. The Virginia bourbon whiskey was 109 proof. Next time my friend, next time. I saw a handful of Appalachian Trail through hikers in town. The seasonal AT NOBO (North Bound) bubble should be here soon enough. They go north, but tomorrow, I continue my trek south.

Written and posted using a random Xfinity hotspot that I have access to as part of my Xfinity home service. I don’t know if it’s from thee campground or one of the houses on the other side of the road.

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