Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 15: Outtakes for the Drive Home

Charleston & Biker!

DAY 7: Retracing our path up I-64, once again passing the West Virginia State Capitol. And a biker dude.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

…and then we came home and I finally got medical attention.

But first: the final day of our trip. Also, a value-added bonus — a selection of photos we skipped in previous entries for various reasons.

Hillbilly Left Bus!

DAY 1: Alternate shot of our school bus lunchroom at Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

King Neptune!

DAY 3: the King Neptune statue at Virginia Beach, murky and distanced.

Hotel Bedspread!

My nightly view from the chair where I spent three painful, restless nights failing to sleep in Hampton.

DAY SEVEN: Thursday, July 18, 2008.

One adequate continental breakfast later, we made tracks out of Virginia and back into West Virginia. A stop in the itty-itty town of Pearlsburg proved to have the cheapest gas of our whole week, at a mere $3.82 per gallon. Not even two hours later I scoffed at a turnpike station priced at $4.22.


DAY 4: the bald eagle pen at Busch Gardens Europe. I like the scenery details, but the eagle is camouflaged.

White Wolf Lying!

DAY 4: Busch Gardens Europe presents a children’s puzzle called “Where’s the Wolf?”

Wolf + Water!

DAY 4: The wolf arises to congratulate any spotters.

For lunch we’d hoped to take one more stab at locating a Tudor’s Biscuit World. We still liked the name, but were discouraged by our initial thwarted visit in South Charleston. Around our planned lunchtime, I took the very next exit that showed me a Biscuit World billboard, in the town of Institute. I drove four miles up the road, then two miles down the road. No Biscuit World as far as the eye could see.

Since Biscuit World just wasn’t meant to be, I returned in irritation to the interstate and stopped in the very next town of Nitro, where I drove us several hundred feet up a hillside for lunch at Cracker Barrel. In the war between restaurants whose names are synonymous with “Starch Place”, Cracker Barrel had triumphed over Biscuit World, 1-0.

One satisfying lunch later, we returned to the interstate…and one of the very next exits had a clearly visible Biscuit World. “Open 24 Hours,” bragged the sign, of course.

Right after that exit was another billboard proclaiming, “TUDOR’S BISCUIT WORLD NEXT 6 EXITS”. Just what I needed — more salt, flour, and baking powder rubbed in my wound. I vowed West Virginia would one day pay for this effrontery.

USS Wisconsin!

DAY 5: Wider but damaged photo of the USS Wisconsin.

The rest of the day was a dull drive through Kentucky, our return to Indiana, and dinner at a Wendy’s in Greensburg. Last day, who cares, right?

Later that evening, someone called me at home from The 700 Club asking if I had any prayer requests. I could definitely say had at least one prayer need in mind.

Haunted Monster Museum!

DAY 6: We’re not sure if this ad for the nearby Haunted Monster Museum was in front of the Natural Bridge Zoo or at their gift shop. Either way: hard pass.

DAY 8:

Back in Indiana at last, and with no vacation to disrupt, I finally consented to visit the nearest emergency room and have my muscle strain checked out. The ER doc diagnosed it as a hernia. The lady surgeon who performed the follow-up consultation disagreed. The follow-up CT scan agreed with the latter. It turned out to be a simple case of bad muscle strain in a particularly sensitive spot. It finally faded away two bottles of ibuprofen and one bottle of Vicodin later. Now I just need something to make the bill for the CT scan fade away,

DAY 11:

My mom finally got the postcard we mailed to her from the Jamestown Settlement on Day Five. THANKS, VIRGINIA MAIL CARRIERS.

DAY 82:

A new Dunkin Donuts opened five miles down the road from our house, the first we’d seen in Indianapolis since childhood. Many more were waiting in the wings.

Deer Feeding!

DAY 6: My son feeding deer in their fenced desert at the Natural Bridge Zoo.

goat desperate!

STILL DAY 6: [pulls See ‘n’ Say string] The goat says, “PLEASE HELP ME.”


7 days. 4 states. 1500 miles. $900 in post-insurance medical bills. 3 follow-up calls from The 700 Club. 12,000 words in the original version of this 15-chapter travelogue; 23,356 words in the remastered MCC version.

Thanks for reading.

Natural Bridge benches!

DAY 6: Natural Bridge and some of the benches used for watching the evening’s “Story of Creation” light show.

[Historical notes:

1. MCC readers may recall we finally hooked up with Biscuit World nine years later at their location in Morgantown, WV.

2. As previously mentioned, the Monster Museum burned down in 2012.

3. When I got gas this past Wednesday, it was $2.26/gallon before my member-card discount. I don’t miss these horrid recession-era gas prices one bit.]

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Until next time…]

Indiana sign!

DAY 7: How every road trip ends for us.

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