Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Five


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!   🙂

8 thoughts on “Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Five

  1. Paul says:

    ha! Sounds like you come with experience.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Yeah, about 70 years of it. Aren’t you supposed to learn from experience?? I keep doing things and making decisions that just lead to ‘more experience.’ Wait till you read how I take the car on a roller-coaster track – and later, out into a cow pasture. 😯


  2. Dan Antion says:

    We haven’t crossed paths, but we’ve walked the same ground. I grew up in Pittsburgh, not too far from Wheeling, but I can’t say I’ve ever done anything but drive through that town. Front Royal, VA, on the other hand is a place I know. Well, somewhat. We stopped there every year on our way to visit relatives for a summer vacation. Back then it took longer to get through three states, we made most of those trips before the highways were open. Thanks for the memory jog.


    • Archon's Den says:

      We’ve been in/through/past Pittsburgh a number of times. Stopped a couple of times north and west, in Cranberry Junction. Took the PA Turnpike east, once, to a couple of second-hand bookstores. Took the southern branch back west, through downtown, past the stadium, across the bridge – and right into the side of the cliff – wow.
      Wen Spencer, the author of a sci-fi/magic trilogy from my 2012 reading list, set them in Pittsburgh. I’d like to see the McKee’s Rocks Bridge.

      Front Royal VA is where the hero of the Deathlands series was born. We toured the Skyline Cave, and then drove the 100 miles of Skyline Drive.

      We’ve driven through Wheeling a couple of times, to get to Cambridge and Zanesville, OH. This time they shunted us south to the 470 bypass, ’cause the real road was getting repaired. Thought we might drive back from St. Clairsville for shopping, but got what we needed in Buffalo. You’re welcome to all the nostalgia you can carry. 😀


  3. garden2day says:

    You don’t ever do things simply, do you? I know the feeling. Sometimes I feel like I am chasing my tail for someone else’s amusement–sure isn’t mine 😀 . Can’t wait for the next bit…I’m enjoying this. 🙂


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’m the one usually referred to as ‘simple’, but Murphy works as my unpaid trip-planning intern. It’ll be a few days but, if you liked this, you’ll love Schadenfreude, Parts One and Two coming up, where you can point (into the woods) and laugh at me getting lost. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

  4. benzeknees says:

    Exhaust systems fall off at the most inopportune time! When I was 17 my parents took a trip to California with my younger sister & grandmother. They left me my mother’s car to use during their absence & $50 “Emergency Funds.” Three days after they left, the exhaust system fell off the back of the car & was dragging on the ground. I contacted a friend who worked at a nearby garage & he came to get the car. He gave me an estimate for repairs which was higher than $50, but when he heard $50 was all I had he threw in his labor & only charged me parts so I could get it fixed. I called down to California to let my parents know what had happened & they were not there. They were overdue & my cousins were concerned. Turns out they were somewhere in Nevada, where there entire radiator had fallen out of their vehicle!


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’m reading an historical novel where it took two months to get from eastern Germany to The Netherlands because of things like this, a cart collision, a runaway sheep. Nothing much has really changed. The same things happen – just faster. 😯


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