Mt Vernon IL to Sutton WV via Albion IL
Jul 21, 2012
|Yesterday (Friday) was another long day. By the time we got settled in the hotel it was 9:30pm. We picked up BBQ take out from a local restaurant that turned out to be very good. Then I worked on getting the trip journal up to date, or at least up to Thursday.
We got on the road today about 10:15 and headed towards Albion, less than an hour on I-64. The road off the interstate was a gravel county road for the first 8 miles until we got to an Illinois state road. I was kind of surprised that the gps routed us that way, but I guess it was the shortest. Laura did not appreciate the gravel hitting the bottom of the car. But things were good when we turned onto the paved road. It was another 8 or 9 miles to Albion.
The last time I was in Albion was in the mid 1970’s and I was surprised at how well I rememberd it. The road we drove in on went by the High School that my mother went to. Next we drove by Louis and Mamie Aulvin’s house at 116 S 8th Street. I recognized it immediately and it looded like it has been well taken care of, considering that it is probably close to 90 years old and was hand built by my grandfather.
We took some pictures from the car but didn’t get out. I know Micki will give me grief for this, but my response is that she drove by this area at least twice in the last few years and she didn’t stop either. Micki found that our aunt by marriage Thelma-Ruth still lives there. If I had kept up a relationship with her I probably would have stopped. But I have had any contact with her since the 70’s. I know that dad used to correspond with her occasionally and he would share her letters with me.
Albion seemed much busier than when I used to visit there as a child. The population has grown from around 1200 to over 2000. Many of the old businesses I remember such as the Ben Franklin Five and Dime and the Dairy Queen have been replaced with Dollar General and McDonalds, where we got ice cream cones in memory of the Dairy Queen. There was the requisite “Great Wall” chineese restaurant and a Subway. I think what may have helped Albion grow is the chemical company that has two facilities there now. One being in the old buildings that used to be make women’s clothes that my Aunt Bea worked in.
The GPS routing back to I-64 took us through another small town (Grayville) where my Aunt Bea lived. It’s about 9 miles from Albion. Grayville did not seem to fair as well as Albion in that it didn’t look like it had grown much, but it didn’t look like it was dying either. About another 10 miles and we were back on I-64. The GPS advised us that we would arrive at the Sutton, WV Microtel at 8:15pm so we didn’t have time to do much more sightseeing. Besides, according to Laura, if you can’t see it from the road we’re not stopping.
We did arrive in Sutton, WV about 8:15 and the Microtel was nice, but full with young people. I think they may have been a church youth group. It was curious that the motel had a sign on the door saying they were not responsible for damage to cars in the parking lot, and a sign in the lot said no loitering. We at dinner at P.J. Berry’s in downtown Sutton. Food was good and we had local brews from Fayeteville. Sutton was a bit creepy at night as there were a lot of “good ol boys” hanging out everywhere.
Since we arrive at Micki’s house in Hagerstown tomorrow I probably won’t update trip journal unless something noteworthy happens. But if we can’t see it from the freeway we’re not stopping.
Had another nice breakfast that morning. Got on the road and headed to Albion, the gem and waypoint in our trip that dad had been eagerly awaiting. I was interested to check it out too. We took so very small back roads to get there. It was pleasant and cool to see all the corn around. Although, I did not appreciate the short stint we made on a gravel road. 8 miles is a long time when your car is slipping and sliding and being pelted by loose gravel. My poor baby!
We made it to Albion pretty quick. Dad reminisced. We got a few pics of the high school where Grandma Bomze went. Then we found the old family house. Dad snapped some shots out the car window. All the while we were being carefully eyed by a man doing yard work across the street. He probably wondered what us weird folk were doing snapping pics and then driving away haha. We grabbed soft serve cones at the McDonalds in honor of the Dairy Queen that used to exist. We also got a good laugh at the local Church marquee: “Lukewarm Christians are the Devil’s best weapon.” Hmmmmmm. We saw a lot of interesting signs like that along our route in the Midwest..most having to do with Jesus, his love, and abortion.
We passed into Indiana and Kentucky, getting the welcome signs to both. Dad and I briefly discussed and looked up the reason people from Indiana call themselves Hoosers…weird. In Kentucky we made a very disappointing stop at a White Castle just to see. The burgers are cute, but not all they’re cracked up to be, in my opinion. My mother will agree…what burger comes without ketchup? That’s just not right. Luckily my CA avocado that Ginny bought for me before I left saved the day. It was nowhere near as good as ketchup, but it was better than nothing.
We crossed into West Virginia. It was a little sneaky with its welcome sign. Instead of being on the side of the road like the other states we went through, it was hanging over the road. Luckily dad noticed it just in time and we got the shot.
Again we rolled into our hotel pretty late. The Sutton Microtel was nice, but a little offputting. It was at the top of a hill and had “no loitering” signs all throughout the parking lot and the ever so comforting “we are not responsible for any vehicle break in or theft.” We rushed to dinner at a local place called P.J. Berry’s before they closed, a pleasant restaurant and one of the very few Sutton had to offer. Dinner was delicious! And the waitress was extremely friendly. The live musician playing an acoustic guitar was also nice. The local brews from Fayetteville, WV were ehhh. Leaving the restaurant and being in downtown historic Sutton at night was a little eerie. It was cute, but I got this underlying creepy feeling. Maybe it was just me…but the first thing I did when we got into the car was lock the doors. Went back to the hotel and got to sleep at a sorta decent hour for the first time in days. For the past couple of nights dad had been up extra late chugging away at this trip journal.