United States
Campbell Park

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    • Day 4

      Day 4 - Country roads, take me home...

      May 5 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

      I’m awake (again) at 05:00, with a slightly fuzzy head. I read for an hour, catch up on some other travel plans, and check in with the home contingent. I’ve got a looooong day’s driving ahead of me, but there’s no real point in me getting on the road before 08:00. I’m heading across the entire breadth of West Virginia, the Mountain State. The rain has lingered overnight, and I’m anticipating a day with a lot more low lying cloud and murk.

      Karin has recommended a new café to me, in Romney, about an hour’s drive from Winchester. They open at 09:00, so I set off just after 08:00. I’m back on Route 50, which was my constant companion yesterday. The scenery is stunning. I drive through more than a few properly squally rain showers. Happily, the roads are all but empty, so it’s a relaxing drive.

      Breakfast at Wild Roots is fab. I have a breakfast burrito that weighs almost as much as I do. It’s delicious. The coffee is strong, and helps resurrect my still fuzzy bonce.

      Back on the road, I cruise along at between 70 and 80, and marvel at some of the place names on offer. Nutter Fort, Big Otter and St Albans are among my favourites. The weather’s starting to break a little, and there are some decent sunny spells along the journey. It’s a good 2 hours to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. On arrival, it’s a spectacular building, and still has the iron bars across the windows. It was originally designed to house 250 ‘inmates’ when it was built in the late 19th century, but peaked in the 1950s at a population of over 2,000. It was transformed into a museum back in 2004, and many of the rooms/cells are still in their original condition. It’s pretty horrifying. The tour guide tells me about the lobotomy experiments that were regularly conducted on patients that might have reported with something as straightforward as epilepsy. *Shudder*

      It’s a 2 hour straight shot down the road to Huntington, my overnight stop. I picked Huntington because:

      a) it’s approximately halfway between Berryville and Nashville, and
      b) there’s a really cool sounding hot dog place that I wanna try.

      The roads are getting much busier, but traffic’s still moving freely. I find myself pulling into Huntington in what feels like no time at all. My motel is basic, but clean and comfortable. Oooh, afternoon nap sounds fun.

      I open the door to leave my room, and am met by a wall of rain. It’s absolutely pooning it down. My car’s only parked a few metres from cover, but I’m still beyond soggy when I get into it. It’s a 10 mile drive into the middle of absolutely nowhere to get to Hill Billy Hot Dogs, and the rain eases and then stops en-route. HBHD is a very cool, intentionally esoteric kinda place. The counter clerk apparently loves my accent. I Grant it up a bit (Hugh, not Mitchell), and she coos.

      They offer an eating challenge hot dog called a Homewrecker. It’s close to 2 feet long (60cm for the civilised folks out there), and if eaten in less than 10 minutes, is free. Apparently the vast majority fail. I’m a little more circumspect with my order - a Hillbilly Dog, and some mac and cheese bites. The dog is excellent - properly smoked beef wiener (snigger), a quite poky chilli, mustard and raw onion. This is all washed down by a local IPA called Devil’s Anse - which I mistakenly hear as Devil’s Arse.

      On my way back to my motel, the skies are brooding again. It’s warm and humid. I stop in at Walmart for some supplies. It’s comfortably the biggest supermarket I’ve ever seen - bigger than the cavernous hypermarchés I remember from trips to France as a kid.

      Back in my room, I settle in for a Sunday night movie, Leon - which I haven’t seen for many years. It’s still a fabulous film, and I manage to keep my eyes open throughout. I make it to 21:30, and reckon that’s enough for today…
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