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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh My Aching Leg!

For the first time a bird shit on our car--right there in Huntington, WV! Told Bill--good luck or not--my pictures were going to be severely damaged by the avian gift. So within a short time we stopped at a rest area and the window was cleaned with some of Odes' ( you remember him, my hardware store man in Oklahoma) superduper cleaner and paper towels that are like chamois clothe! We could tell we were back in the East--piled up highways forming abstract designs against the sky--who was the guy who did mobiles? Calder? I think he got the idea from these structures. I had wanted to go to the Blenko Glass factory in Milton but being Sunday the first tour started at noon and being close to Huntington we would have had nothing to do. So we moved on along I 64 across the Kanawa River, almost bursting with snow melt water and running fast. At Charleston we picked up I 79 North. Eventually, since we'd skipped breakfast we began to get hungry and saw a sign for the Antique Cafe in Big Otter. With a name like that we had no clue what to expect. What we got was a fellow in a WV baseball cap cheerfully greeting us with " Welcome, Boys and Girls! Are you here to Browse or to Eat? We have a great little meal today--homemade turkey with yams and dressing or stuffing or whatever YOOU call it, a fresh baked bisquit and deviled egg all for 6.99!" Well, what would you do?? We ordered up two--me with dark meat, Bill with light. We browsed a bit while it was being plated up and then enjoyed the meal. The yams were canned but not candied but I'm used to Prince yams with the purple label, on occasion. The dressing was Stove Top doctored up nicely although not seasoned enough--but I liked the way they cooked it in little servings like oatmeal cookies. The deviled egg was made with Miracle Whip--too sweet. Now those were not bad things --just sort of run of the mill food. The bisquit on the other hand was delicious and the turkey was great. All in all worth more than the price. There was an older couple enjoying their Sunday meal and when we said we were from Vt the man said I know a lady from Vt--she's here in the nursing home. Don't know where she's from in Vt and don't know her maiden name--she married a fellow from here. Her brother in law in Vt takes rides and stuff from fair and festival to fairs and festivals. I said, well, now, we are a small state but that doesn't give me enough to go on to say whether we know her or not. He laughed. After we ate they stopped us for conversation and the man started to pull out the chair for me to sit at their table. Said I couldn't stay but thank you--nonetheless we chatted a bit. Seems when he retired they sold everything and bought a mobile home. They were gone for three years, stopping by once or twice to visit but each time they came north they traveled with the dogwood. I must have looked perplexed though I thought I knew what he meant and I did. They'd head north and if the dogwood wasn't in bloom yet they'd go back south to where it was in bloom, stay a few days or so and try again. They did this all the way back to WV so they were not home before the Dogwood was in bloom. I like that approach! Well, after three years they came back looking for a small place to store some stuff and head out again but his wife and her sister bought his old family farm of 100+ acres and their wandering days were over. Besides, he said, we had some relatives getting into their 80's so it was time to stay around.
During the course of our chat I mentioned that I'd been in the area in 2006 and had taken 19 through the hollers and Ireland, WV. With that another couple piped up that they were from Ireland and that the big festival was going on. So I suggested to Bill that we pick up 19 and follow it to Weston so he could see the hollers since he'd never been so far into the State before. It is an experience--those hills are so close and the valleys so deep--it is no wonder that whatever incest took place there or may be taking place there ever happened. Particularly before cars--you couldn't get out of your own holler with any ease--eventually it had to be your own family you were marrying and having children with.,.....Especially, in winter, with ice and snow--that holler is where you stayed! Unbelieveable terrain which is somewhat evident in the rolling twists and turns of the Interstates but not completely since there has been a widening not present in the old two laners with no guardrails and barely wider than the dirt trails they replaced. Another world! At Weston, where I wanted to go to Lambert Winery, one of my favorite places but closed on Sunday until April, we resumed travel on I 79 til just outside Morgantown where we picked up I68 east toward Cumberland. Maryland welcomes you, the counties in Maryland welcome you and you are warned about wildlife etc within feet of the border! And here, though the roads were clear ( explain that accident?) , we encountered our first snow--in the woods, on the mountains and in the shadowed gullies of Western Maryland. E.KY, WV and W. Md are all definitely part of Appalachia with these shadowed vallies and mountains. Natural Roller Coasters! On one decline we saw this group of houses facing the road squarely--it looked like a toy village. On another decline at the foot there was this cordoray arrangement of little trees separated by snowy rows--looked like green and white striped awning material! At last we came to LaVale, Md and possibly the loveliest of the suites we had on this trip. It was an upgrade. It is interesting, our best upgrades in general, were given us when the room was a free stay room and I asked if an upgrade was available..When we were paying for the room, we rarely got an upgrade--it is as though if we are paying an upgrade is getting something for nothing but if it is a free stay--a suite takes the same number of points so they give us one. Odd! But in this instance we were paying--$77 plus tax. I was limping a bit because all the walking and climbing and probably stiff kneed action had set my right leg into impossible pain. I bought Aleve in Guthrie Ok for the leg but still had not taken any pain medication--I just HATE popping pills and if I can handle it without crying I just don't take it. I was however quite tired and limping just slightly. I asked Dave if there was an upgrade available and without hesitation he said absolutely. We were on the third floor and when you got off the elevator and turned to the right there was a small foyer in which our door was located. Bill said --oh,oh,something tells me this is good. And we opened the door--a half bath immediately to the right, off a huge living room,dining room,kitchen with a flat screen TV and views of the woods and a little stream. Walk to your right past the TV and kitchen through a door into the huge bedroom with a full bath to the immediate right and a whirlpool tub past the bath. And another flat screen TV. OMG, for $77????? We dropped everything and headed out to dinner--as we passed the desk I thanked Dave profusely and he just grinned and said " I thought you'd like that!" We went next door to the Texas Grillhouse--none of which I saw anywhere in Texas ( no Texas Roadhouses in Texas, either!). Bets called just as we sat down so I ordered dinner and went outside and called her back. She just wanted to know where we were--told her in Rutland and that we were stopping at 7 Barrel for dinner and would be home in about three hours. Dead silence and then, firmly, " That's NOT funny!!!" Then a little more quietly ' You aren't, are you?" I assured her no, she probably had another day to clean up the house! After dinner it was back for some TV and once the meal had settled the whirlpool. Who needs Aleve????? A good day, but too close to home!

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