the road is calling

Apparently, the official video for this cover is controversial. Whatever. People act like they’ve never been to a party like that before.

But I digress.

I need to take a road trip.

Never mind that I’m going to drive a carload of family to a very small town in eastern North Carolina in two weeks.

Never mind that I’m driving to Queens in two months.

I need to take a real road trip. The ones that are just me, my car and at least two mostly empty lanes of Virginia asphalt.

It’s how I relax. It’s how I think.

For some reason, it just doesn’t feel right here in Charlottesville. I think it’s the mountains.

I can say I’ve spent half my life driving. Most of that has been on the Atlantic coastal plain or the Piedmont. The mountains are beautiful, but it doesn’t beat heading through undulating fields in southwestern Chesterfield County or cruising along an estuary in Essex County. As much as I’ve traveled, I hate that it’s been mostly the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. I can’t say “After driving in Montana and Arizona and along the coast of Maine, I love eastern Virginia back roads best.” All I can say is “After slogging down every congested BosWash highway and byway, the Appalachian spine and the broad plains of the South, I love eastern Virginia back roads best.”

I sometimes feel that limitation makes my self-pleasure driving biased to my hometown of Virginia’s Urban Crescent. But, then again, of course they are my roads to rumination. I was born and raised on U.S. 17 between York County and Port Royal; I learned what I was made of on Foursquare Road in Isle of Wright County; Route 5 between Monticello Avenue and the Osborne turnpikes is one of my favorite things.

I used to (and still) disparage people who never left my hometown. I give people a pass if they at least go to college somewhere else or get a job somewhere else then come back. That said, I think I want to come back. Not to Hampton Roads, but to my part of Virginia. The cultural Central Virginia, not the geographic one.

After three years, I’m still homesick for Richmond and running down Route 10 to get to my mom’s house by way of Hopewell. I feel lame because of it. Not including summering in Maryland and the nearly three years in Charlottesville, I’ve spent all but six months of my life living within the roughly 75 miles between Hampton and Richmond. And that’s where I want to be.

Richmond did something to me. I made itself feel like home, even more than my hometown. Even my physical home. I once said that my house atop Chimborazo felt more like home than my mother’s house. I can’t shake whatever spell that land along the fall line has on me. I think I miss being far enough away that I can live my life but close enough that I can be within the bosom of my family within an hour.

I guess that’s part of the rationale of some of my family moving to a very small town in eastern North Carolina.

I miss everyone.

My schedule should be changing to something more conducive to seeing people. Perhaps that will help.

Until then, screw the adage: I want to go home. I just have to find a way back there.

Said I’d return if I’d ever cared

But there’s no interstate I find to take me there

To take me there …

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