Starting time: 9:00 AM, EST, Huntington, WV
Starting mileage: 57368
Yesterday's mileage: 436
Yesterday's average gasoline MPG: 15.4
Chris would write this blog using the four lines above, period, no commentary. Well. I always say that the reason I write novels as opposed to short stories is that I can't even introduce myself in 500 words.
Something that differs this year from our previous trips: As we approach the end of the driving day and need to arrange accommodations for the night, Chris gets on the phone to ask the various hotels if they have secure covered parking available. This definitely separates the men from the boys, so to speak, in the hotel world. All the classic motor hotels--out. After about the third call, he's asking the clerks if they know who in town DOES have covered parking. With last night's endeavours we ended up at a Holiday Inn Suites (suites!? what a misnomer that was), but it was in a fun part of town due to Marshall Univeristy's student population, and we found a great restaurant right down the block called Le Bistro.
Incidentally, I should say that as bed and breakfast owners, our road trip travel style is exactly opposite that of our clientele. We don't plan ahead more than 2 hours, and more often than not select a chain hotel that offers a clean room and a king-sized bed and free WiFi. If they offer a free breakfast, that's a bonus, except that it's almost always so marginal we wonder why we bother.
Anyway, so pre-take off this morning, Chris gives the Duchess her morning once-over, and she needs oil. Quite a bit of it, in fact. Out of the boot he pulls three quarts of oil (you didn't think we traveled without it, right?) and she takes all of that plus another quart when we stop for gas and one more this afternoon. There's no evidence of blue smoke, no change in oil pressure and she's running great, but there is a tiny leak that he can see, so we'll keep giving her the good stuff and count ourselves lucky. Hey, maybe it's her equivalent of wine.
Took off into an overcast morning on the Ohio River, and following Siri's instructions (Chris has a British-accented Siri) crossed the river into Ohio for exactly eight minutes, re-crossing into West Virginia and picking up I-64 W towards Louisville. Siri thinks we'll make St. Louis in 6 hours, 4 minutes. We'll see.
Scattered showers during the morning as we entered Kentucky. The eastern approach from I-64 is a poor indication of the state, as we passed a large oil refinery belching smoke and fumes into the foggy morning air. Eventully, this gave way to Kentucky's storied gentle rolling hills covered with winter yellowed bluegrass pastures of cattle, and pristine white horse barns trimmed in black. We passed the Kentucky Market which offers a venue for handcrafted merchandise (good thing we don't have any room in the Duchess's boot). Where the road cut into those rolling hills we found dark rock which sprouted periodic natural waterfalls. Signs advertised the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, including Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. The latter I have toured in a previous trip with friends...it was sublime.
The Bose's battery died about three PM, leaving us to explore local radio or meditate to road sounds for the balance of the trip.
Pro: The old car smell of leather,the burled walnut dash and trim. (Which I keep knocking every time I see a car broken down on the side of the road.)
Con: No cruise control. You don't miss it until you don't have it, but I find that several hours of pushing the accelerator down manifests as a pain in your mid back, so changing drivers every tank of gas is manditory. (Long distance haulers must have cruise control. Or really good chiropractic plans.)
Noted en route:
--I don't want to live here:
--On a posted downgrade, in the rain, a highway worker is sauntering SLOWLY across the two lane highway, some form of laser tool in hand. Seriously? Is he trying out for the Darwin awards?
--The Freedom Biker Church, Huntington, WV. "Let's Ride!"
--a pair of brass balls on a white Kia Spectra. (That we passed. Haha!)
--Kentucky license plates say "In God We Trust." Which goes along with all the Bible and Jesus radio stations we've been finding the last three days. Yes, this is the Bible Belt!
This will be our most prolific X'ing off of states traversed in a single day --six, including that eight minute jog into Ohio: West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri,
Siri, however,was way too optimistic...our actual travel time was eight and a half hours, stopping only for gas and coffee. (No Denny's for us. We carry munchies in the car; a throwback to my memories of my family's roadtrips in my childhood.)
Arrival: 4:30 CST (5:30 EST), St. Louis, MO