Once a year I travel to Southwest Virginia where I began my journey to an education and career at 17 years of age back in September 1967. Skipping over the years at Virginia Tech to my adult years at Radford University to work on my graduate degree where I finally landed at a ten room house a block off campus where I lived with a variety of residents under the supervision of my best friend and fellow New Yorker Tom C. And here we are 47 years later still friends, still close, hence my annual trip to catch up and just enjoy our time together.
Off the Porch into the Porsche
One of the features of my trip down 220 to Roanoke and west to Christiansburg is to find a back country road to explore. So Saturday morning, he warmed up the Porsche 911, then turned over the driver’s seat to yours truly. He knows how much I love to drive, and his explicit trust in my ability to drive a 300 horsepower rocket sled around curves makes for a great day.
Head on CRASH
We decided to head south to Floyd County where I lived when we all left 601 First Avenue in Radford. The sun was shining as we headed to Riner and then right turn towards Floyd County. We made I about five miles when we came upon a serious accident blocking both lanes of Route 8. From the looks of it, it was a head-on collision with a pickup truck into the side of a small SUV. There were only five cars ahead of us, and no sign of an EMT or police officer. In fact it would take more than ten minutes for an EMT to show, followed by a fire truck and ambulance and finally the Sheriff. We had no intention to approach the accident and realizing the accident was serious enough to warrant a full investigation. We turned around as were many others.
We noticed a lot of traffic in a line on a road on the other side of a farm field, and figured it was a parallel road to Route 8, so we turned right onto it and headed south again. It appeared to be an older version of Route 8, narrower and more curves as it made its way around hills and dales. We seemed to be making progress until…the paved road turned to gravel. Not conducive for a Porche, but we were already fully committed so onward we trekked for more miles than I can count. When we finally came back to civilization onto 221, an east-west road we were fourteen miles northeast of Floyd so doubled back and found the little town. We grabbed a bite to eat and decided to head to the Blue Ridge Parkway six miles down the road. Boy was that a mistake.
Blues Ridge Parkway
Long story short, the Blue RIDGE Parkway, a limited access narrow two-lane sojourn on the top of the ridge, is at 3800 hundred feet. High enough to be in the clouds. Which on the ground are called “Fog.” The thickest fog I have seen during the day. Two cars ahead thick. In fact there was another car in front of us running the same 20 mph we were going appearing and disappearing into the soup. We discussed the best description; pea soup or beef with barely. More like oatmeal. With limited access there was no way to get OFF the parkway, so we ambled along in second gear for miles and miles and miles with only short breaks in the thicker trees only to be returned to the thick. The road ended at a gate, apparently there were so many trees down from a windstorm, they had only cleared the ten miles we were on (with scores of them dragged to the roadside). Coming down off the ridge into the valley, visibility returned. So much for a road trip, we headed back to Tom’s house a few cold beers.