It was a Thursday, April the 21st, we were working the day shift out of robbery, when a call came in, My partner, Bill Gannon and I...
Oh, sorry, just channeling Joe Friday for a moment.
Anyway, it was a Thursday, April the 21st, to be exact, when we left work at 3:00 p.m. to head south for vacation. I picked up Subway from the shop across the street from Mrs North's office, then slid into the passenger seat and we were off! I then informed Mrs North that when I had my leave sheet signed this morning for the early out, it came up that my supervisor did not have any notice on her calendar of my being off the next day nor the following week! I grabbed the sheets showing that I had requested the time off back in January, and handed them to her. She promptly handed them right back and asked where her signature was.
As she is a very nice boss, she said I could have the time off. I said thanks, and didn't say I was leaving anyway, and that she could track me down in another state if she so desired.
That swift getaway did not go as planned, however.
The eastbound freeway was a mess even downtown. Mrs North said she nearly went down Third St to 71 to 104 and across to 33, and now wished she had. We exited at 18th (locked the doors) and went south to Livingston, hanging a Ralph, followed by a Louie at Ann St, intending to take it until we saw a light that would get us out onto Parsons. Many streets later we found one, and zipped along Parsons until we hit the turnoff for 104, then to 33, down to the Ohio River and on into Ravenswood WV, a trip of about two hours or a bit more.
Under normal conditions.
We rolled along 33, observing as we did the extensive overflow of the banks of the Hocking River as a result of the recent torrential rains in the area. Although no water was on the roadway, drivers seemed to drive as if they were expecting it to be flooded at any second, until we came to Nelsonville. The town of Nelsonville is known for being the (former) manufacturing home of Rocky Boots and Shoes, and still maintains an outlet there, as well as being the childhood home of actress/model Sarah Jessica Parker, who is considered by some to be an attractive woman. If I preferred horse-faced women, then, yes, I might be inclined to agree, but somehow I doubt it. Actually, Nelsonville exists for one single reason: to bottleneck traffic between Logan and Athens in the hopes of draining off money from people passing through the town on their way to anywhere else. And on this day, people were crawling through town, in a traffic sense, for no reason that ever became evident. Perhaps the town council had decreed that to be the day all the traffic lights were to be deliberately out of sequence, out of spite, as there are once again big plans to make a bypass around Nelsonville. It will not happen for a number of years, if at all, but maybe the Village Elders just wanted to vent their collective spleens ahead of time. And if any place deserves to be bypassed, Nelsonville is surely in the running.
After we managed to waste precious fuel dawdling in N-ville, we decided to fill up the tank in Athens, home of The Harvard on the Hocking(c), an actual phrase used in the letter of acceptance I received from that fine institution of higher learning known as Ohio University, almost 40 years ago. When we finally located a gas station, the lines were 4 deep at each pump, as I suspect everyone was in the same pickle as we were: low gas because of Nelsonville. We headed back toward 33, encountering heavy lines of still-dawdling motorists who seemed to have no clue as to how to find a route out of Athens, it having more than one way in and one way out, unlike the town to the immediate North.
By now we were at least an hour behind schedule, and while I attempted to make up the time, I only slightly succeeded, as we could not avoid the nightmare of the WV turnpike. I am convinced that people who found themselves living in WV decided to put winding roads and mountains in the way of drivers from other states simply to force them to pay for the privilege of visiting their fair state (cough). Otherwise, one could drive through WV in about 45 minutes and be none the poorer. WV is sorta like Nelsonville on steroids.
We finally made it to our stopping point at Wytheville VA for the night without further ado.
(insert previous blogpost here)
And, a Sequel...
We woke up the next morning with sniffles and coughing, likely from the fan in the room's vent running all night. No temperature was right, no fan setting was right, and shutting it off made it too stuffy.
I managed to get over the worst of mine after a couple days. Mrs North continued to hack and cough until she had had enough, so off we went to the Doctor's Care Clinic in North Myrtle Beach, arriving at 8:45 this morning. They accept walk-in patients and are covered under our insurance plan, fortunately.
We left there at Noon with a diagnosis of bronchitis for the Mrs.
I had such a lovely time whilst waiting that I read over half of the book I had started when we sat down in the waiting room. I was only somewhat-expecting to finish it before she came back out after being seen.
And it is only Tuesday of vacation week!