With finals over, it is finally time for me to drive home for a few weeks off before Spring Term starts. My drive is about four hours, but this is because I have mastered the route. Driving through West Virginia is not an easy thing at first and if you simply follow the GPS’s quickest route, you could find your self on the windiest adventure of your life. Any West Virginia native or longtime traveller knows that driving in West Virginia is a true experience.
1. The speed limit changes frequently
I am not exaggerating when I say that it feels that the speed limit changes five times in a span of fives miles. This is because of how windy they are. You will be casually cruising on the interstate and then have to decrease your speed significantly for a super sharp turn. I go anywhere from 10 to 70 miles per hour on my way home depending on the area.
2. You have to watch out for deer
A good portion of West Virginia can be defined as forest with roads paved through the middle. For this reason, you have to be on high alert for deer. You can see the signs warning for deer throughout the entire state, even close to cities. I usually make it my co-pilot’s job to be on deer patrol. I have never hit a deer (knock on wood) and don’t want to anytime soon for my car’s, the deer’s and my own sake.
3. Driving in the mountains
West Virginia is known as the Mountain State, which is great until you are driving on them. Up, down, around, and around it goes throughout the drive. This is not a all-wheel drive optional place. It takes power to make it up some of the inclines, especially in the winter. You have to accelerate to make it up some mountains and when you never feel like it’ll be the top, you are pressing on your break with all your might for the decline.
4. Be weary of coal trucks
Coal is a large export of the state and has to be transported somehow. This means that these trucks will drive on the windy mountain roads at speeds half the posted limit. Getting caught behind a large truck means adding a lot of time to your trip. You can’t pass cars on two lane back roads. What’s worse is that once you are behind one of these trucks, you are following them for at least twenty miles. I watch my estimated time of arrival on the GPS go up minute by minute.
5. The West Virginia welcome sign
While the drive may not be 200 miles of interstate at a constant 70 miles per hour, it is worth it for me when I cross the state line. As I cross the border and see the welcome sign “West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful”, I get excited knowing that my home is within those borders. While the drive can be frustrating, it is also a pretty incredible view of the mountains and forest. Wild and wonderful is actually a pretty good description of not just West Virginia, but driving in it as well.