I was going to title this “Home is at 37 ft above sea level” but then I learned that home is on average 764 ft above sea level and that doesn’t convey what I want to talk about.
This weekend I went to visit my oldest son in Roanoke VA. It was good to be on the road which is something I miss. It was good to travel with my wife which is something I love. It was good to see my son and his fiancee.
The trip however, oy vey.
Going to Roanoke, we went through Dayton and down through southwest Ohio through West Virginia. It was an okay drive. I can’t say that the landscape of southwest Ohio was inspiring. It was along a US highway instead of the interstate. But West Virginia terrified me.
The road twists and turns. How people take though turns at 70+ mph is beyond me. At home, if went off the road, the worst that would happen is plowing into some guys corn field. Here? It is 100’s of feet or more down a cliff. Not only does it twist and turn, it goes up and down to dizzying heights. Going through Charleston WV, there are houses and apartments on higher mountains yet. Are these people part goat? I am sure the view is good but how do you not fall off? As we remarked, the sky was too small and the land was too big. There was a neat little artisan/craftsperson’s shop along the interstate though.
I did spend some time growing up in Virginia but it is a different place than Roanoke. On the whole, I wasn’t impressed. Supposedly, the area is about the same population as home. Geography makes it hard to go places. I felt like we had to go around and around to get anywhere. Services were smaller too. For instance, their farmer’s market felt way smaller than ours. The restaurants were similar. I also felt that the people were not as friendly. Maybe it is a midwest thing. We went to Star City Games, the biggest Magic the Gathering store in North America. I was not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I was expecting.
We stayed one night and then left for home. We decided to go home through Kentucky this time. Again the terrifying mountains but they quickly leveled somewhat into rolling hills. Then for some pure beauty. Jaime and Eleanor, and the rest of the Flame, you guys have a really pretty barony. There was still some up and down but the roads were mostly straight. That bluegrass is very pretty to look at. And the people were friendlier. We stopped for the night in Louisville. Unknown to us, there was a classic car show so we were lucky to find a hotel room but we did. People were lined up on the streets to see the cars. A truck was urged to revv and spin out. I doubt the crowd wanted to see my mini van do the same 🙂 On the advice of friends we went to Ramsi’s Cafe on the World. Parking was difficult but on the residential street behind it, there was some good spots and very pretty old brick houses. We should have been warned that there was a bookstore next to it 🙂 It was there that we found the Midwesterner we know and love. We chatted with the clerk at the bookstore. He dated someone from Champaign and loved the area. We asked about breakfast. Several people in the store insisted that the only answer is Con Huevos. They were right. The food was good at Cafe and Con Huevos. Definitely going back to Louisville again some time.
All of this is to say that after spending the first 20 some years of my life moving every four years then spending the next 20 some years of my life in one spot, I am definitely a flatlander Midwesterner now.