I don’t know if any of you have ever looked at a map of North Carolina and Virginia, but from the western tip of NC to the northern tip of VA is about as far as you can get just between those two states. It takes seven hours to drive from Asheville to Manassas. SEVEN HOURS. I could fly to Europe in that amount of time. And about 5.5 hours of the drive are in VA. It’s brutal.
So I was driving up to Manassas last weekend, and it was getting to be lunch time. There aren’t many fast food places I can go and get vegan enough food. My options are basically Taco Bell and Subway. I do not prefer Subway, so around 12:30, I started looking for an exit with a Taco Bell, but apparently the people of western VA hate Taco Bell. I couldn’t find one anywhere. I drove and drove and drove, and around 2:45, I finally came across an exit whose “Food” sign indicated I could get off there and make a run for the border. So I did.
When I got to the bottom of the exit ramp, though, I saw the other sign – the one that tells you which way to turn and how far it is to your desired junk food. 2.4 miles. Really, VA? There should be a 1-mile limit on how far a restaurant or gas station can be from the exit in order to be listed on the sign. MAYBE 1.5 miles in very rural areas, but 2.4? That is not ok. But I REALLY wanted a 7 Layer Burrito (Cheesy Wrap) al fresco, so I turned right and headed into the wild of rural Virginia.
Let me just say right now that I never did find that Taco Bell, and I ended up eating at Subway, where I could have eaten if I’d taken just about ANY other exit. But what I did find was a Bank of America (I needed to cash a check, so that was nice), gas for $2.47 (It’s like $2.69 in Asheville), and Historic Downtown Pulaski.
I didn’t really explore Historic Downtown Pulaski because I still had about four more hours to go until I hit Manassas, but I did pull over on the side of Main Street, write a post card to Emily Furr Hogan, and toss it in a mailbox before I topped off my tank, ate a six-inch Veggie Delight, and headed back to the highway.
I lost an hour of my life, but I gained a new experience and a new page in the coffee table book I’m going to make at the end of the year. I’m not at liberty to release details about that just yet, but I can tell you that it’s going to document my 2010 travels in a most unique fashion. Look for it in my living room early next year.