Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday's Thoroughfare's - Or, My How Travel Has Changed, Or Not

Thursday's Thoroughfare's 
Or, My How Travel Has Changed, Or Not

Back in June, we traveled by car to my husband's family reunion, just south of San Antonio, Texas. It's a trip we don't take nearly enough, and one in which we actually enjoy the travel! We drive, and enjoy stopping whenever we can and seeing the sites. I love going into those kitschy souvenir stores and seeing all the 10-cents items that sell for $10-$20!  Ha ha.

But one thing I was reminded of, was how much road travel has changed over the years.

When I was a child, I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, and we would travel to West Virginia to see my Grandmother Bean, and on to Indiana, to see my Grandparents Dreher. There wasn't an Interstate system then that we could travel. So we drove hours to get to West Virginia. Spent the night there, and continued on to Indiana. Taking a full two days of driving to finally get from Virginia to Indiana. There were no rest stops along the highways. Although there were some picnic tables. Alot of gas stations. And sometimes, Mother Nature called when there was no restroom and the bushes and trees became our restrooms!

Today we have very nice modern rest areas, with heated and air conditioned rest rooms. Some of them even have restaurants and coffee shops. Some have museums!

But it's the roadways I am most interested in. I remember those days, and nights, of my Dad driving to Indiana on some single lane, but mostly two lane highways. Speeds were good if you did 45 miles an hour! During our trek to Texas, we drove super highways, with 6, and even 8, lanes!

Bridges and overpasses that took us many feet into the air! (Yes, I know, I took this photo while driving. But I was careful!) I was fascinated by the multiple overpasses that went over and under one another! We were actually above a highway with 3 overpasses here! (If you look closely you can actually see this.)

I am reminded of a time when back in the early (very early) 1900's, when my Grandfather's daughter Pauline, my aunt, had tuberculosis. The physician told my grandfather that he should move the family to North Carolina where the air there would be good for Pauline. They traveled by motorcar.  It took them a week to get there from West Virginia, as many places didn't even have roads! One of my uncles had a motorcycle, and would drive ahead of the car by a few miles and make sure the car could go through an area, and then come back to direct another uncle, as grandfather didn't drive. There weren't any motels, or hotels, and so they camped out under the stars at night. They cooked their meals on the ground. Once in North Carolina, they didn't stay very long. Pauline "pined" for the hills of West Virginia and home. And grandfather couldn't keep her there. So, they traveled back to West Virginia. Unfortunately, Pauline took care of her little baby sister, Eloise.  Little Eloise died on 14 February 1925 at the age of 15 months; and Pauline on 27 June the same year. Both from tuberculosis. But I can only imagine the trip to and from North Carolina! My Uncle Bill regaled me with the story, and I was absolutely fascinated by it!

Unfortunately, in parts of West Virginia, where I now reside, the roads are no better now than they were then. And I can provide you proof.

Yes, that is my little car, just a week back from our trip to Texas, and the super highways, as I traveled to see a client! (I work full time for a major insurance company.) As you can see, I am up to the axles in mud. Thankfully, this was on top of a mountain and I had good cell phone reception! I was able to call for roadside assistance from my cell phone, and a wonderful tow company was there in just 30-minutes to my rescue. They were even kind enough to direct me correctly, and safely, around the area I was headed to on a paved road.

So, the next time you are flying down the Interstate, at what seems the speed of light (sound?), please remember as you fuss when traffic begins to slow you down, that even here in America, there are those of us who still travel along dirt roads! Some of which even a horse and wagon would not safely get through!

Do you have dirt roads that are this bad where you live? Have you ever been stuck in a mud hole in the road before? What did you do if you were?

Are you old enough to remember traveling before Interstates? What memories of those trips do you have?

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