Friday, May 13, 2016

Travel Tales: It's Always Fancy Gap

English: West Virginia official Welcome Center...
English: West Virginia official Welcome Center (pyramid-shaped buildings) located east of exit 9 on Interstate highway I-77 and US-360 near Princeton, West Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I could not give an accurate number of the times I have driven back and forth to Florida. While many travelers spend time preparing for such a trip and getting their hotel reservations ready, I consider the trip to be one that is easy to accomplish in a day. I already know where I will stop for gas, so my preplanning in minimal. Last summer when I embarked on my return leg of the trip, I thought I would have rain the entire way home. I was lucky that it held off as long as it did. I could see the clouds off to the west the entire trip; however, they caught up with me at Fancy Gap in Virginia. Of course, that is where it would be.

If anything will cause stress on the Florida trip, the incident will occur on the mountain at Fancy Gap. I have gone through dense fog, blinding snow and freezing rain in this section. My friends have had problems with vehicles in this spot. The ascent of the mountain takes every ounce of concentration on a good day. This time the trip was like driving with fire hoses aimed at the car. I could barely see and I kept to the interior lane as a river of water rushed down the surface of the road. I inched my way along the road trying to see the yellow line. I was worried about my own journey, but also was concerned about the other drivers who were having as difficult a time as I was. After I successfully made it to the top of the mountain, I continued to Wytheville. Since I did not know what the weather would be like on the West Virginia Turnpike, I decided to stop and stay there. Everyone else had the same idea. I could not find a room. Fortunately for me, a friend had mentioned that morning how her family had once stayed in Princeton. I carefully drove there.

Photo credit:
I was sopping wet when I stopped at a hotel and said to the clerk to please tell me he had a room for me. He said he did not, but then laughed and said he was kidding. He told me if I went on the other side of the interstate to the West Virginia Welcome Center, I could get a coupon book. I am glad I did because I saved a lot of money on the room. When I came back, I got my room and found I had made a wise decision. A criminal had been fleeing from the law and had been shot dead further north on the interstate. The Turnpike was closed. I settled in and watched the weather report. The weatherman warned that things would get worse later the next day and advised anyone traveling through the area to get out. I was surprised to hear that warning, but followed instructions. The next day the storm brought severe flooding to the area and to the East Coast.

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