Tales from the Road


Okay, I am an idiot.

When I truly am an idiot, I have no problem owning up to that fact. Thus, I am an idiot.

You see, I’ve been asked, by various writer and reader friends, to attend various writerly events held in Charleston, West Virginia. “Too far,” I’d always say. “It’s like six hours or something, and this excuse and that excuse and a third bad excuse thrown in for good measure.”

I am an idiot.

We got down there in four hours today, including a couple of stops. Now, that’s just travelling down to the exits on 79, not trying to navigate the city itself. But holy heck! It’s ONE ROAD, a road that’s literally three miles from my house. It actually might be less than three miles. In all these years of living West of Mars, I’ve never thought to clock it.

How freaking easy is that????

It was a beautiful drive, too. I loved the mountains. Loved the trees.

So, the next time I hear of a writerly event down in Charleston, you’d better believe I’ll be checking my calendars. My kids are still young enough that leaving for a lot of weekends is tough on everyone, and I do have other commitments that will make it tough sometimes to travel to as many events as I’d like. (Which means: as the kids get older, expect to see me road tripping WAY more often. That also means you need to buy more of my books so I have the funds to make these things happen.) But the intent is there, and it’s a super-duper drive. I’ll be doing it again. Definitely.

And not just ’cause I need to walk the bridge over the New River Gorge.

In other notes of my trip thus far….

* Cell phone towers are ugly. And tall. They stick up over the trees and mountains like invading aliens (anyone else watching Falling Skies?).

* We had either the incredible luck or the incredible misfortune of driving past an accident scene on the interstate just as Life Flight landed on the opposite side of the highway. We were close enough to be caught in the wind from the chopper’s rotors. I hope whoever had driven through that guard rail and caused the highway to be closed (for how long, I have no idea) is okay.

* We are headed to an undisclosed location, but it involves the letters A-B-C-E-H. You may hear more from me this week. You may not.

* We are spending the night in a city where, I realized when I saw the billboard, an old frenemy lived. Maybe she was always an enemy; she never made any bones about holding her enemies closer than her friends, as in the old adage. It’s strange to think of her again. It’s stranger to have seen the billboard, which I only caught a glance of. Can you say Adam & Eve?

* The beloved satellite radio makes road tripping almost like being in a time warp. It somehow removes the feeling that you’re actually going somewhere, even as the miles tick by, along with the minutes. It has to do with the fact you never have to find a radio station you can stomach. It spoils us but at the same time makes road tripping sooooo easy.

* My travelling companions are lame. They read almost the entire 8 hours it took us to get here. I have informed them all that they only brought so many books and if they complain once we’re at the A-B-C-E-H place, I’m going to SMIRK at them. I saw amazingly cool things today. Makes me wonder what I would have seen if I hadn’t been the driver. Why read when there’s an ever-changing show outside the window????



  1. NeoBluePanther

    August 9, 2011 10:20 am

    I think it was a great thing that you took the time to go to Charleston. It is always a good idea to take a break from the daily nitty-gritty, and do something different. That, coupled with the other benefits you have listed above must have made your day. 🙂

  2. Julia Smith

    August 9, 2011 11:46 am

    Ah…so THAT’s what A-B-C-E-H means. So glad to hear you’re enjoying a writer event. Can’t get me enough of those.

  3. Susan Helene Gottfried

    August 10, 2011 7:44 am

    Nope, not a writer event. Family vacation.

  4. Nella

    August 10, 2011 10:00 am

    You are right: why read when a story is running in front of your very eyes? It is probably the journey itself I enjoy the most when traveling somewhere, I want to see everything through those windows.

  5. Julia Smith

    August 10, 2011 11:36 am

    Oh…whoopsie…Have fun!

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