Day 4: Last Day in VA

I’m at least a day behind schedule at this point. Traffic here and there, underestimations about mileage from point A to point B, and one other “complication” that I’ll get to in a minute. Tomorrow, finally, across the VA state line where I can resume my leadfoot ways. On with the photos!

Started the day off in Roanoke. A big new building going up downtown. I thought it looked very Frank Gehry (more so from the back, not shown here). Sure enough, a student of his, Randall Stout, is responsible for the design. More about the building here:


Also in Roanoke, I paid a visit to the Mini Graceland. It looks tidied up from when I saw it several years ago. More about the place here:


I had VW Bugs and vans for years and still have a soft spot for them. This nicely restored Transporter called to me.


A couple signs for you. A painted wall sign (actually several layered on top of each other) in Radford, VA. At least I think it’s old and not painted to look that way.


This rusting-away sign stands next to an apparently closed restaurant.


And now, for today’s big event. I was already running behind but I was resigned to that and not rushing or anything. I was at the Moonlite Drive-in just backing up to make a turn to go up a hill. Maybe doing 3mph and looking in all three mirrors. When all of a sudden the ground opened up and nearly swallowed us. I swear that hole came out of nowhere! It was so deep, I had to get out the passenger door. A drainage ditch with about a three foot sloping drop, not visible from my position, had been directly behind me. The van was pitched precariously onto the driver’s side rear. I wanted to get a photo but the camera was inside and I was afraid of making things worse by climbing back in. The dogs were obviously freaked about the situation — well, two of them anyway. Our gradual plunge was enough to spring open one of Nik’s toy chests and he was busy inside with a very noisy squeaky toy through the whole ordeal. I was so stressed and he was so happy.

Things didn’t look good for the axle, the exhaust system and god-knows-what else. The whole left side of the van was about four inches away from a concrete wall. So I called AAA and chatted with a trooper who’d pulled over to investigate. The trooper was giving me hotel information because “you ain’t driving away from this one” and he was saying something about a crankshaft. It was humiliating to give him fodder about female drivers (and dumb Yankees).

About an hour later, a guy from “Exit 7 Towing in Bristol” arrived. I had to climb in and keep the wheels straight while he skillfully eased Sparkle back up onto level ground. I held my breath and agonized over a couple creaks as the towing cable moved a bit during the slow-motion pull. The van went perfectly straight (sparing any body damage against the conrete) and came up just as slowly and easily as it went in. The driver and I crawled around on our bellies a bit to inspect the undersides and other than a small dent to the muffler, it all looked and sounded good. I’ve been driving for a couple hours since without any problem. Damn, these Chevys are built tough! I do have one souvenir dent to the back bumper from a stump in the hole. Maybe I’ll just leave it as an annoying reminder to be more careful when backing up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s