Where Prices Are Low and Temperatures Are High

Yes, I’m talking about the South, now that I have returned there.  A description of Connecticut, where I spent most of the past eleven months, would be the opposite of the above title.

Anyway, in yesterday’s message I told you about the first half of my trip home, so I’ll conclude it here.  After going to a nice diner and a Sheetz gas station, to fill up myself and the car, I left Hancock, MD at 10:25 AM.  This time I got to see the region I missed when I drove to Connecticut last June, due to my GPS giving me bad directions around Morgantown, WV.  I had never before seen Maryland west of Hagerstown, and it’s full of mountains instead of farms, so it doesn’t look like the nearest part of Pennsylvania at all.  It also has the prettiest scenery I have seen on these trips between Kentucky and Connecticut, and the locals are proud of it.  It shows in the other names they give Interstate 68, the “Scenic Byway” and the “National Freeway.”  And it shows in how Allegany and Garrett Counties have welcome signs made of stone, that are fancier than the welcome signs states put on their borders.

At 11:50 I crossed into West Virginia, and once I reached Morgantown, the journey became a reverse version of the trip I took last June 4-5.  I stopped for gas at Clarksburg, and there I got the only scare of the trip.  As I left the interstate, the engine of the car heated up and the “Service Engine Soon” light came on.  Unfortunately I could not get the hood open, so whatever was causing the engine’s behavior would have to wait until I got home, which at that point was 290 miles away.  The good news is that the engine did not get hot enough to boil over, and the temperature went down after I hit the road again.

At 2 PM I stopped for lunch at a Subway near Sutton, WV, the small town where I spent the night when I came the other way.  Then at 5 PM I reached Kentucky.  I stopped once more for gas at the first gas station I passed in Kentucky, figuring that gas would be cheaper near the Ashland oil refinery.  When I stepped out on Kentucky tarmac to use the gas pump, it felt like my internal batteries were getting recharged, now that I was back in my home state.  Whew, life in the North must have taken more out of me than I thought.

To finish the travelogue, I made it home just before 7 PM.  The car engine got hot again when I was stuck in the traffic on Man o’War Blvd (see my message from November 19, 2007, for more about that street), and then the service engine light went off.  The engine ran unevenly today when I went out to run some errands, so I plan to take it to the family mechanic tomorrow.  Even so, it’s good to be back!

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