Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It all started with our daughter Kate wanting to buy one of my woodfired pots. Her future Mother-in law had requested one and I had promised to send Kate some pictures, then mail the pot she selected. As usual, I waited too long and decided since I was overdue for a road trip anyway, I would just drive down to Charlotte with some. Hauling pottery to North Carolina in a blizzard was a fool's errand so I was the obvious man for the job. I knew it was a hellofa storm that hit West Virginia Friday afternoon and into the night. That is why Friday night and Saturday I checked the West Virginia DOT website for info. That is why I called their hot line repeatedly on my way to Charleston Saturday morning.Every updated report said the turnpike was snow covered over Flat Top mountain. Sounds like-it's open, we're plowing, we'll get it cleaned up soon.After driving over roads with some slush and a few slick spots, I got to the first tollbooth where I was told the turnpike had been closed for 20 hours already and there was no hope in sight. Trucks were jacknifed all up and down the mountain and the national guard was trying to rescue people who had spent the night in their cars.So much for Saturday. I turned around and went back to Ohio. If I had stayed over, there was no guarantee the road would be open Sunday,or even Monday.
Sunday I decided to take a chance and go through Asheville.The route is a hundred miles longer. With I-40 closed at the rockslide by the N.C. border, you have to take I-81 north to Johnson City and pick up I-26 over the mountains to Asheville.It was a very long drive through an area that had had up to 24 inches of snow Friday night. There were cars abandoned all along the road and wreckers working hard to pull them out of whatever hole they had slid into but the traffic lanes were open. As long as I kept the truck pointed south, I was fine. Any stops for food or comfort involved parking lots with slush a foot deep.Reports from potters I know in the area above Asheville reported power outages and paralysis but the traffic lanes were open on I-26.
I got to Charlotte about 11 hrs. after I started what is usually an 8 to 9 hr. trip. I had a lovely visit with our daughter and her fiance. They settled on a woodfired teapot for his Mom.(see picture) I wouldn't be a good Dad without geting Kate a Christmas gift so we went to Trader Joes and blew it all on wine. Nothing like the gift of alcohol to show your kids you care.
The trip home Tuesday was the same long route except that I stopped at Highwater and got a truck load of clay and stopped to see a friend and swap pots and stories before heading North. No trouble in the high country just the Ipod jacked into the radio and Robert Earl Keene, Guy Clark,and Ramblin' Jack cranked up loud.I finally got home about 8pm tired but alive.