I highly recommend La Quinta Inn in Bristol, Virginia, if you’re ever passing through and need a place to stay. Clean, comfortable, and all the bulbs in the lamps work. The guy at the front desk had the cutest southern accent. Called me ma’am. So did the kid at the convenience store in Birch River, West Virginia. Of course he also spit chew in a cup as he handed my Visa card back to me.
We stopped at the New River Gorge visitor’s center just before crossing the second highest bridge in the United States – 876 feet! Larry already knew he’d be the one to drive across it since my fear of heights encompasses most bridges, too. On our last vacation, Larry wanted to show me the view from atop Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, the 4,600-feet-above-sea-level view. I was exhilarated and terrified, my body buzzed from my gut to my shoulders as we rounded the last curve and we were on top, a parking lot to our left and the edge to the right. I felt dizzy, almost out of body, like a character in a Virginia Woolf novel and any minute I’d slip just under consciousness and walk over the edge. I dared myself to stay and was treated to a breathtaking view of Lake Placid, Lake Champlain, Vermont and even Canada. In no way did this “cure” my fear of heights, but it deepened my trust of my husband. That’s how I knew that I could keep my eyes open as we crossed this bridge in West Virginia. He always stays on the side of consciousness and wouldn’t drive us over the edge.
So this agoraphobic is 490 miles from home and feeling fine. Tomorrow we’ll be in Memphis. We gain an hour crossing into the central time zone which means an extra hour walking Beale Street and eating barbecue. The next day we’ve decided rather than take the entire tour of Graceland that we’d hit the highlights and then head to Little Rock to have lunch with a friend and tour the Bill Clinton Library. Yes, I love BC and if I could spend 10 minutes alone with him, he wouldn’t be able to say “I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman…”
But for now, we’re at La Quinta Inn in Bristol, Virginia, listening to classical music on Sirius radio through my laptop, eating the homemade chili we nuked in the microwave, and watching the Michigan-Ohio State game on mute. Vacation American style.