The road from Charleston to Beckley is a windy two-lane interstate on high cliffs through the mountains. Semis are always crashing off of it because the roads are so steep and windy, and also because the drivers are all hopped up on bad speed. In the fall everything on the mountain is a blaze of orange and yellow. In the winter the trees look like sticks and the water running off the mountains freezes in icicles that look like they might break off and kill you. But it is summer now, and it is like the sign welcoming you to West Virginia says: Wild and Wonderful, full of life and fury bubbling out the cracks of the earth. I’ve been on this road plenty of times but every time before Scott has been driving and I have been a visitor. This time, I am a resident and I am driving and I am scared. I am gripping the steering wheel too tight and I am listening to Eminem for courage. I chew two pieces of Nicorette. I smoke a second West Virginia cigarette. My heart is pounding against my chest and I don’t know if it’s from fear or emotion or too much nicotine. I follow Siri’s directions off the interstate and pull up to my new apartment. This is the apartment that used to be nicknamed The Apartment of Death, because Scott and Chris Oxley moved in there after they both got divorced and they were having a bit of a rough time, if you want to put it mildly. But it’s not The Apartment of Death anymore. It’s our married home.

Juliet Escoria, from her travelogue tracking her honeymoon road trip from San Diego to her new home in Beckley, West Virginia. This is the second time in a week someone I like has written about my favorite stretch of interstate highway in the country. Juliet’s version was better than Jon’s. Sorry, Jon.
Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the author of the daily baseball (and other things) newsletter, Cup of Coffee. He writes about other things at He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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