Why do people travel? Motorcycles, automobiles, buses, trains, airplanes, and ships are all modes of travel, and Americans love to jump onto any one of these and go off into the far reaches of somewhere. Sometimes they don’t know where, but the big thing is just to get to go. Virginians zoom west across the country to California to find excitement. And people from California take off eastward for the excitement they hope to find on reaching Virginia.
During times of gasoline shortage people in Pulaski County run around in circles pulling out their hair for fear that they will not get to go and visit the Grand Canyon before all of the gas runs out, or the opportunity to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.
These same people have probably never taken the time to drive to Max Creek to see the old stone iron furnace, or to Allisonia to see the high cliff rising up from Reed Island Creek as a result of a mountain splitting right down the middle sometime in the past to allow the creek to come through, or to the historic old village of Snowville, where most of the industry of the county got it’s start.
I’m sure that many Pulaskians have never ventured to the top of Peak Knob and looked down the breathtaking view of places like Pulaski, Dublin, and Newbern and more distant points. And I wonder how many local people have taken a boat ride around Gatewood lake on a summer afternoon, or Claytor Lake. There are so many places of beauty and interest in easy driving distance from Pulaski County that people from distant places dream of visiting, and local people never think of visiting
Americans are suffering from “go fever,” and sometimes I think the only cure is to just go. It has become a status symbol to take a big trip, and come home with a bumper sticker from the most distant place. To get to all of these places, roads are required, so we’ve insisted on tearing recklessly through our most fertile valleys and ridges standing in the way of the giant bulldozers.
There is no such thing as curving around a historic landmark, or mountain lake or stream, for the road must be almost level and straight, so we can get wherever it is that we are going quickly.
There was a time when a ride in the country on a Sunday afternoon was a drive along a shady lane that followed the curves along the bank of a rustic stream, across wooden bridges and between giant trees that lined each side of the road’s right-of-way.
This type of road is becoming a thing of the past, because we need to get from wherever we are so someplace up or down the stream more quickly.