Day 2/Part 2 – Wheeling To Wheeling
When we last left our hero and heroine, they were dashing west, across the New York Turnpike, towards Erie, PA. Safely reaching there, they quickly turned south, for another 3 ½ hour drive, just past Wheeling, WV. Being at the top of the rapidly narrowing panhandle, Wheeling is a place where you can be in three states in under a half-hour. We did the same kind of thing a few years ago, on our way to Front Royal, VA, coming out of PA, across 18 miles of Maryland panhandle, and into Virginia.
Traffic was light, so I was running on autopilot. Soon though, we came up behind a minivan moving erratically – slow down, speed up, trouble staying between the lines. I thought maybe someone was drunk or stoned, but it had a fish-shaped plastic sticker on the back, indicating that it was owned/operated by a “Good Christian.” Drugs apparently are a big problem. Signs all along the highway urge anyone with concerns, or information, to call #799.
When I finally felt it was safe to pass, I found it driven by a big-haired blonde, with a cell phone jammed in her ear. Way to go, bitch! Obey church rules, but ignore State legislation against distracted driving. It would have produced a very non-porn meaning to the phrase, “Oh God, I’m coming.” I just didn’t want to be around for either version.
St. Clairsville, OH, where our Red Roof Inn was located, is at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and the motel is perched almost at the top of a steep little hill. I missed the easily accessible, but unmarked side driveway, and had to drive down the hill, and turn and climb back up to the aerie. At the bottom of the hill, I gunned the engine – and blew the entire back end off the exhaust system.
The wife was mortified by the roar, but the locals, in their Ford F250s and Dodge Rams never even noticed. They probably thought I was there to compete in the tractor pull. You know you’re staying in YeeHawville, when the young man, carrying a baby, in front of you in line at the WalMart, adds a six-pack tube of Copenhagen snuff to his order, and the most often-shown ad on TV is for an on-line dating service – FarmersOnly.Com.
We checked in, and the room clerk told me that there was a Meineke Muffler shop somewhere in the plaza across the street. I said I’d walk over to check out opening times, after supper. “Oh, it’s too far to walk!” I could have seen it, if I knew where to look.
With roads hanging off the sides of hills, I walked a block down the hill, to the main road, and a block back up a hill, to the plaza entrance, then a block back down, into the actual parking area. I could have hit it with a thrown stone from the motel, but it was the best part of a mile to actually get there.
A clerk at the Kroger didn’t know of any Meineke shop, but one at the WalMart told me that it was really a Monroe Muffler shop, located in the farthest corner. The sign in the window said they opened at 7:30 AM, and I was there as the mechanic arrived. Sadly, there were cars left for service, overnight, and people with appointments. They would get to mine as soon as possible, perhaps by noon, perhaps by closing.
I barely had time to walk back to the motel, when the phone rang. The guy with the 7:30 appointment hadn’t stopped in. They had looked at my car, and he rattled off a list of items which needed replacing. For the mere sum of $358.79US ($400 Can), I could have the car back in time to attend the knife show. Did I wish to proceed? Did I have any choice??!
But, these are tales of tomorrow, to be told in the next episode, when the car moves much faster, not having to drag all that heavy cash around. Y’all come back now! 🙂