Thursday, August 31
Indianapolis, Indiana to Charleston, West Virginia
378 miles today; 3800 miles since Monterey
Into Each Tour a Little Rain Must Fall
Today was for driving and sightseeing, as the route off the beaten path took us along the quiet and peaceful Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio to Charleston, West Virginia after making an early start from Indianapolis. As we passed through Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virgina, small towns were the order of the day. On the two-lane highway, we could have believed we had stepped back into an earlier motoring age except that industry has deserted most of the small towns, and in those that weren’t blessed with attractive scenery as was the town of New Richmond below, much of the population is gone as well.
From the road, we overlooked the peaceful scene of the wide, placid Ohio, which down through the history of this region has been a source of scenic beauty, a provider of opportunities for nautical recreation, and most important, an important economic thoroughfare for the region.
Perhaps this wasn't the charming rural restaurant of the travelogs, but when you're traveling with 200 or more MINIs in front of and behind you, when you pick a place for lunch, it's generally because it's got a good-sized parking lot easily accessible from the highway. As has been the case throughout the trip, one could be traveling alone or with just a small group, and as soon as the pack stopped, it will be joined by five, ten, or more other MINIs. As it turned out, this little unassuming place had some really great pizza, and turned out to have been a good choice for more than just its parking lot.
In the back of the pizzeria, there was even a "Drive-Through" market, a new innovation for most of us, where you just drove through, pointed to what you wanted from the shelves, and the clerk would bundle it, check it out, and hand it to you. This was a great opportunity to stock up on beverages and snacks for the afternoon's drive.
The sky hung heavy over the wide Ohio, and the weather made good on its threat of rain about an hour before Charleston, forcing the organizers to move their planned barbeque and outdoor movie showing into a suburban theatre. But with memories of circling the Indianapolis Speedway still fresh in our heads, the showing of Talladega Nights was still enjoyable. Tomorrow we’re off to visit the town of Charlottesville, Virgina, with the country estate and university designed by Thomas Jefferson.