Framing the Dialogue

Spring Road Trip

This morning I got an early start (around 7:30 am) for a road trip and got home around 8:00 pm.  As you may have guessed it wasn’t really a pleasure trip even though it was a bright and sunny day.  Round trip was around 500 miles traveling 4.5 hours each way for a 2 hour meeting.  Sigh.  My trip started in Pennsylvania took me into West Virginia to Ohio then back to West Virginia and then to Ohio and back to West Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and finally home to Pennsylvania.  This poor soul got nailed in PA. 

A few observations:

  • I found some pretty good radio stations even though I couldn’t get my daily fix of talk radio.  I noticed something unusual in that I heard the song American Pie by Don McLean twice on two different radio stations on my return trip.  The song, released nearly forty years ago, is not on any Top 40 rotation.  I enjoyed singing along even though I really don’t know the lyrics very well.  Another station played an unusual mix of music.  One rotation featured a Colbie Caillat followed by Prince (or what ever symbol he now uses) and finishing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Loved it!
  • My day trip took me to some pretty famous places.  The first famous place was Washington although it was the less famous Washington, PA.  The second is not as famous, but seemed to be the magnet for gambling, adult entertainment facilities, cheap cigarettes, cheap beer, and liquor.  I did stop in Wheeling, WV, but skipped those and hit a very big Russel Stover candy store (it is almost Easter).  I was tempted to stop at the Cabella’s, but wanted to get home.  One of the coolest places that I passed and stopped for fuel for my car and myself was Coolville, Ohio.  Not much there, but I had homemade pepperoni rolls and warm cashews.  Lastly I passed through Athens.  No Greek columns, but there may have been togas as I passed the campus of Ohio University…a beautiful campus nestled between corn fields.
  • This is no way a scientific study, but by my observation West Virginia drivers drive much faster than either PA or Ohio drivers.  At one point a very old Oldsmobile easily overtook and passed me.  I noticed that the female driver was perhaps 80 years old.  I have to admit is was hard to judge based on my brief view of her and the fact that her head did not clear the steering wheel by more than a few inches.  My speed is limited to five over the speed limit because of a severe fear of excessive fines.  Refer to the first photograph.  Their driving speed may be a function of the allowable speed limits in their home state where the maximum was 70 mph and Ohio maxed at 65 mph and PA was a measly 55 mph.
  • It is early in the Spring so the scenery was still a little gray.  It did allow me to see dozens of hawks perched in trees along the road.  I decided to try to photograph one, but it is very difficult to spot a large hawk and safely pull over along a highway (kindly refer to the previous bullet and the respective speed limits).  I finally had a perfect spot to stop, but across the highway a peace officer had a fellow traveler pulled over and I figured it was not the right spot to try it.  An hour later I had another chance and pulled over.  As I got my camera the darn bird flew away.  No hawks.  My hawk spotting did have an unexpected discovery…the beauty of huge sycamore trees although my photograph doesn’t do them justice.  Even though they don’t fly away, photographing them from a highway has challenges. 
  • There are places where road shoulders are not very wide.
  • I should have taken my sunglasses.
  • I have a new found respect for over-the-road truckers and how they drive so long each and every day.
  • Google maps are great though not infallible.
  • I should have taken my sunglasses!

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