I like signs that mark the beginning or end of something. And by that I mean physical signs that say an event occurred here, or this is where the road ends. This idea became clear to me during the road trip I took at the end of July. My destination was Emerald Isle, NC, but the trip itself seemed to be about the Civil War.
I decided to take US 250 from New Philadelphia, OH all the way to Richmond, VA, with an overnight stay in Staunton, VA. The main reason for doing this was to drive through a West Virginia town called Philippi, which features the only covered bridge on the entire US route system. Little did I know, though, that Philippi was the site of the first land battle of the Civil War. It was not an important battle, and barely gets a sentence in the history books, but what I’ve learned from my road trips is that any small town with a claim to history will proudly proclaim that fact on their welcome sign.
I set up my dash-cam for the first time in Philippi, in the parking lot of a Sheetz conveniently located just on the other side of the covered bridge. Here’s a sample of what driving through this town was like, as well as the covered bridge video shot with my iPhone as I drove through it.
After leaving Philippi, I still had many miles to go until Staunton, much of which took me through two national forests. Highlights from these twisty roads were a sign that read “U R Somewhere, rt 250” and a black bear that crossed my path in the Monongahela National Forest (my first ever bear sighting!). Unfortunately, the dash-cam fell off its mount long before I reached these parts.
I followed US 250 more or less to its end in Richmond, but I did not find a sign noting the end. Instead I took a detour for a stretch break by the James River, and then picked up US 60 to continue heading east towards Williamsburg. This added more time than I calculated for, but eventually I found US 17 and began heading south towards North Carolina. [According to signs, US 17 will become I-87 in the future.]
My commitment to taking these routes meant that I didn’t reach Emerald Isle until after dark, which is an aspect of travel that I need to improve upon, especially when going somewhere new or not familiar (it had been 20 years since my last trip to this beach town). In general I find that I can handle 6 hours of slower routes and about 9 hours total driving time in one day, with stops, before I get tired of the road.
Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll tell you about my return trip!