We got a pretty early start this morning and continued on our trek east through Kentucky on Hwy 62 until Lexington, and then Hwy 60 which took us into West Virginia at Huntington. This is my first visit to West Virginia. And this time I managed to get a picture of the Welcome sign!
When we made our last loop of the US, we went up the coast states from Florida to Maine, crossed over New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, and then headed sound from Niagra Falls. We were enroute to Jere’s niece’s wedding in New Orleans. I tried and tried to get a route that didn’t bypass West Virginia, but couldn’t figure out how to do it and still get to the wedding on time. So our map of visited states had a big hole.
Yeah! The map for the east is complete – we have officially “visited” West Virginia!
Of course, our visit isn’t over – it’s just started. We are staying at a campground for the next 5 days in order to work (always important to keep those pesky bills paid), and relax a bit. Being on the road and just dry camping in parking lots is tiring; we can generally keep it up for a maximum of 3-4 days before we want to hook up, get on our main computers, dump tanks, fill up on water and take showers.
One thingI have noticed during the last few days driving through Tennessee, Kentucky and now this small bit of West Virginia is how things look generally better than they did the last time we drove through the southern states. In summer 2016 as we drove north and late fall when we drove south, it was really apparent that the small towns were hurting.
In 2016, I noticed many houses and lots for sale (not to mention cars and machinery). There were lots of houses in disrepair, even though it was apparent that the homeowners were trying to keep things neat and well maintained (clean yards, etc). Downtowns were sad with many closed stores, and a sort of lost feeling about them.And there were Trump signs everywhere.
This pass though, I’ve seen more building (both homes and businesses). It’s not a lot but it’s more than before. There are fewer homes for sale. There are home repairs going on here and there (painting, roofing, remodeling). Downtowns seem a bit more alive, although some are still struggling. But all in all, it looks like there is more going on, more activity and more hope.
I don’t know if there is actually a changein the economic climate or if it is just hope on people’s parts, and I don’t know where it comes from exactly since I haven’t talked to people about it – I’ve just watched what we drive by. But whatever it is, I think it’s a good sign for the many rural communities in this part of the United States. I hope it continues!