Thursday, July 17, 2008

Eastbound on the West Virginia Flyer

It always happens like this. First, one car lines up on the rear tailgate of our little bus, anxious and hovering. Then another car races up, and one following car becomes two cars. Soon enough another car races up, then another, and over the distance of one short hill, an impatient conga line shakes and shimmies behind the little microbus-that-could. About this time, I usually flip the blinker and look for a soft shoulder to lean on. No sooner do I bring us to a gentle repose, those drivers too impatient to follow The Ways of the Bus speed past in a rushed, swerve-happy hurry. They have places to go! They’ve got things to do!

Those darn, fool kids. Because when the coast behind is clear and the road ahead is true, we again jostle our way onto the byway, roadmap tucked away somewhere between the seats, camera to the ready. Sometimes the view isn’t much to look at. But sometimes it is. When you get in the bus and cruise down the eastern edge of West Virginia and into the southwestern part of Virginia, this you what you might see:

But there used to be an even better way to see this great land of ours. It was the most modern way to travel back in the pre-war years.

What’s more, the ride was often classy, comfortable, even elegant.

And we should know. Not that we’ve done any train travel on this road trip. But we did swing by the O. Winston Link museum in the old hill town of Roanoke, VA.

O. Winston was a freelance photographer who specialized in capturing the inner-workings of factory and industrial settings. He also had a thing for trains.

Among other subjects…

When you travel the country in an old microbus, gazing upon images of a bygone era, you might just find yourself swept up in the slow, sweet spirit of nostalgia. Maybe, just maybe, the good old days really were that good. Back then, gas was 10-cents a gallon and you didn’t have to pump it yourself.

And even though you couldn't get your toothbrush powder in a fast and flashy package, in truth it was the girl behind the counter you were really after anyway.


  1. Hey VanMan and Durrett. I've found the best way to diffuse those eager travelers riding your rear bumper is to post a message on your rear window, such as the one my 14 year old daughter wrote on my '71 hightop..."honk if you love hippys". It always gets a honk, a wave, or a peace sign (or at least a part of a peace sign :-)
    Enjoying your blog. Safe travels.

  2. Hey Hippyvanman!

    Thanks for the suggestion. We've also thought about putting a message on the back of the bus. Something like: "I can't drive 55!" Which, of course, is true.

    Thanks for reading.