I didn’t decide where to go on my road trip until the morning I left. I wanted a big change of scenery with a relatively short drive, so I ended up going pretty much due north on I-77, straight into the midwest, to a city I’d always been curious about.


One interesting sight on the way up was one of the only stretches of the new I-74 that is actually signed as such in North Carolina, with no “future” signage nor any other disclaimers added. It ended almost as soon as I realized it had begun, after which I was in Virginia on a westbound highway that, per the signs, was really going both northbound and southbound. I was confused.


I was also confused as I drove through Bluefield, West Virginia, mainly because once I took the exit, no matter how many miles I drove, I always seemed to be between two and three miles from town. Finally, I found the elusive burg, and I was much impressed with the level of sheer decay, despite the numerous people living in the midst of it. Of course, that pretty much sums up just about all of West Virginia.

I braved the West Virginia turnpike, where they ask you for $1.25 every thirty miles or so, and wondered how damned hard it would be for West Virginia to just have toll plazas at the entrances and exits like they do in New Jersey and other states. I stopped for gas in Pax, where the “Highway to Heaven” re-runs never end, and I drove around Charleston a bit, thinking it might be worth a longer visit sometime.

Eventually, I made it to Columbus. It was too late to do much of anything other than go to Meijer for snacks, which I did. I like Meijer. It’s a much more pleasant shopping experience than a Wal-Mart Supercenter. It was nice, however, that I was also staying right across the street from the Wal-Mart with the cheapest gas in all of central Ohio.