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Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series
Don’t take it personally, Commonwealth of Virginia, but my bladder wasn’t exactly pleased with our brief visit.
I’ve explained to my bladder that it shouldn’t apply its discontent to the totality of the state and certainly not to its inhabitants and I remain confident all will be forgiven and the bad memories will pass.
What was the problem? Well, in retrospect, it was kind of a little thing, but it did cause considerable discomfort to the aforementioned organ.
We were entering Virginia northbound on Interstate 81 and looking forward to making a stop at the welcome center and rest stop soon after crossing the state line. Signs told us it was coming up but then, at the last minute, a secondary sign said “No Trucks.”
Within a couple of seconds, I had to decide whether or not to take the chance. You see, we were traveling in a pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel RV. (By the way, when I say “we,” I’m speaking of my wife and I; my bladder may be assumed as part of me.)
There is often gray area surrounding RVs as to how they should be classified. They are too large to go into a parking lot designed for four-wheelers alone, but they don’t have as many restrictions as the large tractor-trailer rigs.
In most matters, I consider my rig alongside trucks when it comes to highway speeds and which lanes to occupy or avoid. My greatest concern, as we approached that welcome center, was to not put myself into a spot I could not easily escape.
Therefore, I passed up on the rest stop exit, to considerable complaints from my bladder, only to see as we drove by that there were, indeed, parking spots suitable for RVs.
“Darn it, if only the sign had indicated RVs were allowed,” I said.
But wait! Here’s a sign that says a truck rest area is several miles up the road. Yea, we can stop there.
Alas, as we got to within a mile of the exit, we encountered at least six signs that said, “Trucks Only.” Well, they didn’t consider RVs as trucks at the first exit, so they probably don’t here, and I passed it.
That was probably a wimp move on my part. I cannot imagine getting ticketed for stopping there or even getting roughed up by a trucker gang: “What do you think you’re doing, RV Boy, stopping at a trucks only site?”
Again, it was a decision made on the fly. Besides, my wife had spotted another rest area on the map at the point we’d be approaching Wytheville and our change to Interstate 77 north. This time, we’ll know that “No Trucks” doesn’t mean us.
Comforting signs assured us the rest stop was getting closer, but then, as I prepared to exit, there was another sign: “Cars Only.”
With The Who singing backup, I chanted, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and took the exit anyway, pulling the RV into what proved to be a tiny parking lot where I had to make a move to get by one car that wasn’t parked properly and then squeeze my way out back onto the interstate, my bladder figuratively screaming at me.
For those keeping score at home, we had so far encountered three rest stops. The first was “No Trucks,” the second was “Trucks Only” and the third “Cars Only.”
That’s when I gave up, took an exit where there were businesses and found one with a parking lot large enough for me to maneuver through without causing too much of a problem. We made use of our RV’s toilet and squeezed back out of the parking lot and headed north toward West Virginia.
So, Virginia, for all of us RV’ers out here, please consider sharing with us where we can stop.