There are fond farewells with Bruno, more cursory farewells with the chickens, (yes, I admit to preferring, canine over avian pets) and we depart Hastings for the second iteration of Nothing in Common goes South. But first we go to the bank and the drug store for items already forgotten. Ten minutes later we turn around because I forgot my watercolors, and even though I never once lifted a paintbrush during the entirety of the first incarnation of Nothing in Common goes South, I have a sixth sense that this will time I will. Hence the U-turn on the Saw Mill Parkway.
Three states away there is a horse stranded in the middle of a highway, which will be the subject of our first photograph. Who knows how the horse got there, but he/she is clearly not happy.
Our first lunch on the road is in Hagerstown, Maryland. The eatery calls itself The Rhubard Café, but there is no rhubarb on the menu, and the food goes downhill from there. What you need to know about Hagerstown is that on July 6, 1864 Gen. John McCausland’s Confederate cavalry demanded a ransom of $20,000 and some clothing from the town. I don’t know the style and color of the clothing, or if it was specified, and this seems like an unfortunate lacuna in the historical record. Having seen what happened to neighboring towns when the ransom was not paid (conflagration, destruction) the local bankers paid the ransom, and Hagerstown was saved. After the war the bankers were repaid by a tax levied on the people.
I like free maps. Ladies in welcome centers like to give away maps, so we are well matched. After Pennsylvania we drive though the western panhandle of West Virginia for exactly 26 miles. In order to get my free map of West Virginia at the West Virginia Welcome Center, I am asked to sign the register with my name and home state, and indicate whether or not W.Va. is our final destination. I do as required, and note that everyone else on the register (from New York, Maine, Quebec, and Pennsylvania) had likewise indicated that No, West Virginia was not their final destination. I feel bad for the ladies, handing out free maps to a state no one is actually visiting. I consider changing my answer to yes, just to enliven their register. I never consider not taking the free map.
Outside Roanoke I begin what will be a long and complicated relationship with William Shatner. With the Priceline app my nephew just last week installed on my phone, I banter with William, that eager battler and barterer, and find us a hotel room. Just me, CSB and the specter of Captain Kirk.