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Starting Location:  Charleston, West Virginia Ending Location:  Covington, Virginia
Weather There:  Cloudy, 54°F

Weather Here:  

Overcast, 59°F
Starting Time:  10:38am Eastern Time Ending Time:  8:13pm Eastern Time
Starting Mileage:  25,736 (it's a rental) Ending Mileage:  26,171
States Visited:  3 (Ohio, W. Virginia, Virginia) Time to return luggage:  17 hours
Coolest Thing Learned:  The car gets about 30 MPG Bummer Thing:  Everyone has the sniffles

The day, thus far, has been marred with a whole lot of nothingness. By mid-morning, however, it became apparent the luggage wasn't going to be at the airport anytime soon, so we hopped into the rental car and started our trip (which, quite by coincidence, looped up north, then southwest, and then back to Charleston before heading outward).

6:31am The cell phone-based alarm of Robin's phone woke us with a delightful chirp -- nothing like the shrill alarm Tubby carries... but is safely stowed in his luggage, which is currently located heaven-knows-where.
6:46am Tubby made the call to summons a taxi, and we checked out of the motel. Meandering toward the road, we had a fabulous view of... nothing extraordinary. So far, so good.
7:00am The cab arrived, driven by a soft-spoken chap with a slightly crooked hat. After the usual good morning chit-chat, we remained quiet for the duration of the ride.
7:12am We arrived at the airport, got a receipt just to get the cabbie's name (but can't read it), and headed inside.
7:14am To our general delight, the Avis rental desk was open. Cheryl Shaffer was running things, and rented us a white Chevy Classic, a 4-door. And guys -- she's single. ;)
7:25am Fighting against all odds, we checked in for luggage that has arrived yet -- nothing.
7:29am The perching in the lounge, across from the ticket/luggage claim area, begins. Tubby is marginally surprised to find wireless internet access here at the airport, so he sat quietly.
8:00am No change. I have a bad feeling that we're not going to hear anything before 10:29am, when the first flight of the day for United Express arrives... from Washington-Dulles, as things would have it.
8:43am No change. At least the airport is getting a little more lively, although apparently the lounge area is on a light switch we can flick on. We've not done that, and continue to sit in cave-like shadows.
10:28am The 10:29am flight is delayed for upwards of 3+ hours, so our first shot at getting out stuff is now out at least 1:30pm. We opt to jump in the car and begin our wandering, since we have to pass back through Charleston anyway. So... we're off...
10:38am We're in the car and heading for a wander around Charleston.
11:03am Enough of that, and we're off to the next stop. Along the way, we found the views turning more lovely with each passing hill.
11:29am We arrived into Ripley, believe it or not. But the town was cute, so I quit with the references to that old TV show.
11:44am Hitting the highway again, we continued north along Interstate 77.
12:10pm Lunch. We're torn between Wendys -- that old road trip standard -- and sandwiches (although Togo's is far preferred to Subway, but Togo's isn't a global franchise). I sway the crowd toward Subway, where Walter makes Tubby's sandwich as he engages in a losing banter with the girl sandwich artist whose nametag was absent.
12:27pm Touching down in Parkersburg, we gave the place a look-see, then found Highway 50.
12:46pm Continuing along Highway 50, we cross into Ohio and over the Ohio River, to take Highway 5 -- the Ohio River Scenic Byway -- down back to Interstate 64 in a meandering of small town and roads.
1:23pm We pass through Pomeroy, Ohio, and give it a look-around. It's cute, and clearly build along the Ohio River a long, long time ago. (One of the buildings that actually bore a date was claimed construction in 1885.)
1:50pm Passing down in a southerly direction, we were captivated by the smoke stacks near Cheshire. Despite the one sign about "hazardous toxic waste" being in the area, the plant was an impressive structure. Apparently, it's a power plant.
2:39pm As we neared our return to the Interstate (64, in this case), we paused in Athalia for a quick look. And given it was a teeny town, anything more than "quick" would have been a misuse of time.
2:49pm We crossed the state line back into West Virginia by way of -- surprise -- a bridge, getting us back to the other side of the Ohio River.
3:04pm A general wandering around Huntington begins. As the journey proceeds, I'm drawn to the conclusion that there are, truly, a large number of churches here. Why, I don't know, but there are. And then, we left.
4:01pm We drove back to Charleston at this point, and then back to Yeager Airport, to see if our luggage has yet to arrive. Sure, they said they'd call, but we live in a reality where, unfortunately, people tend not to follow-though on promises nearly as often as we'd like.
4:14pm A far more helpful United person (compared to this morning) looked for our bags, and even checked for their whereabouts. She was able to tell us they'd be arriving on the 5:02pm flight from Chicago. Elated, we thought we'd go shopping.
4:42pm More driving than we'd car to admit, but we didn't find any places we wanted to shop, and we reluctantly left without spending any money, and made what we hope is our final trip back to Yeager Airport.
5:03pm We arrive back at the airport, and are deep in cars double- and triple-parked outside the terminal. (No, there's no traffic control here at all. Heck, you can even park in front of the terminal for 10 minutes and leave your car unattended. And the parking meters also seem to be unpatrolled.)
5:05pm We kick Robin out to stand in the luggage line whilst we circle, and eventually, find a parking meter with 26 minutes left on it.
5:09pm After a potty break, we head to the luggage carousel, and lo and behold, our stuff isn't being held at the counter, it's on the conveyor belt. Tubby and I each pull off one of the bags, meet Robin, and head back to the car.
5:30pm In the interest of time, we elect to bypass Tesla and Duck, West Virginia (yea, yea, I know), and take the toll road from Charleston to Beckley along Interstate 64/77 southbound.)
5:35pm We pay the $1.25 car toll -- a first for me, since we don't have these back home -- and continue down the road at a steady, 75 MPH cruise-controlled pace. (Curiously, the toll-takers weren't wearing gloves as they were handling all that money -- yucky.)
6:15pm The sun is now at a point of playing peek-a-book between the clouds and nearby mountains, hinting that evening is soon upon us. We stop in Beckley for gas and snacks, and while I'd hoped to visit the town, I couldn't find much more than a few churches, gas stations, and fast food places. So we pushed forward.
7:25pm After a few failed stops for cities, we crossed into Virginia. The picture sucks, of course, because it's dark, but trust me -- the one taken with the flash came out even worse.
7:41pm We arrived finally in Covington, which is a bit further from the first choice of Callaghan, Virginia, but that exit was dark, and there was no town to be seen. After some fumbling about to the point we were ready to give up on finding a place, the OTHER exit from the interstate had all the motels.
8:13pm We selected one and checked in without a fuss. And why would they fuss? Including us, we counted five cars in all of the parking areas... and there is at least 60 rooms here.
8:24pm Arriving in room 314, we found a spacious room, and because it was on the end, it has an excellent vantage point of the little creek trickling nearby. Rather cute, actually.
8:28pm We headed out in search for food, lotion (the regular kind, nothing naughty), and a notebook.
8:35pm Thinking the Wal-Mart Grill sounded curious and intriguing, we went there (since they'd have lotion and notebooks in any event). We found the grill closed, but picked up all the fixin's of a sandwich, so it all worked out well enough. Tubby even found an Activision game controller he didn't have already, which includes the River Raid game. Woohoo, he tells me.
8:58pm The balance of the shopping is done, and we check out via lane 5's 20 Items or Less, tended to by Sarah. A cute girl, although she seemed to lack something resembling personality. I guess we can't win 'em all.
9:04pm Back at the motel, we unpacked the car, I set up shop to do the day's updates, whilst Robin watched football and Tubby played with a ball of knotted up yarn. (He apparently thinks he's going to learn to knit or crochet or something of that order; whatever... it's keeping him quiet.)
9:10pm Sadly, I'm an island. The phone cord is hard-wired to the wall and phone, the wireless service doesn't work here, and the dial-up service I can't get to work doesn't have this city identified anyway. (And since the phone is bolted to the wall, it wouldn't matter anyway.) But not one to let obstacles slow me down, I'm off...
11:25pm ... and done. Except for the minor detail of not being able to post stuff, all done. But we'll probably try from the road -- after all, that's half the fun of wireless, right? At any rate, with all our luggage in hand and wing, we're doing much better than we were about this time yesterday. So, I'm signing off... ta!

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