Day 1: June 19, 2013
A Beautiful Start

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I left home feeling not quite ready for this trip but realizing that, after a few years of planning and anticipation, this was as ready as I -- and the car -- were going to get. US-22 seemed like the way to go. It leads from near my door to near the tour launch hotel in New Jersey. It isn't very rural in the east but hardly anything is. Plus, it goes right past where John, my co-pilot, works and I could pick up any luggage John didn't want to take on the plane and maybe pick up John, too. Turns out I did neither. The luggage wasn't quite packed and John continued working to clear the decks so he could make the flight on Friday.

Just up the road from Wilmington, US-22 also goes through Sabina, home of Kim's Classic Diner. As the subject of the first thing I ever had published, an American Road Magazine Diner Day's article, this place will always be a little special to me. It's been closed for several years but today there were cars in the parking lot and the neon "OPEN" in the window was lit. I pulled in to see what was going on and learned the place has been open for almost eight weeks. I only got to speak with Vickie, the new owner, briefly before she sat down for a conference with a vendor. I thought I'd just get an iced tea and move on but changed my mind after scanning the menu. As befits the old Silk City diner, the daily special, chicken parmesan, was written above the counter and the menu was full of normal diner fare but the thing that caught my eye was a fried baloney sandwich. I ate mine at the counter. For $3.25, the thickly sliced and nicely fried baloney came with warm "Fresh homemade potato chips". Excellent.

Back in Wilmington, John had chided me about having the top up and I mumbled some weak excuse about the cool morning. The top came down before I left Kim's and things started to feel like a real road trip.

A slightly later than planned start and the unexpected stop at Kim's put me at the Last, or in this case First, Honky Tonk in Circleville something just after noon which was a fine time for a long neck Bud and a chat with the owner. Clark will be celebrating his third year of ownership on July 1 but just got the Wit's End sign up about three months ago. It looks good and it looks like the Last Honky Tonk in Circleville is going to be there for many more road trips.

This is where the fellow I bought the Valiant from works. Runs the place, may be more like it. He's Cambridge Ohio's Law Director. US-22 runs right past the building and, on a whim, I pulled in to show him the car. I'd told him of my plans when I bought it though I'm not sure he believed me and I am sure that I had my own doubts. After emptying my pockets and getting through the metal detector, I found out that Bill was in court but I left a message and card with his receptionist. He wished me well through the website at the end of the day.

Cambridge is where US-22 splits from US-40 which it joined back in Zanesville. The miles of two-lane beyond Cambridge were somewhat familiar and very pleasant. Divided four-lane took over as I neared Steubenville and, just before the state line, I was passed by a wiener. Apparently that was an unusual burst of speed for the self-propelled sausage because I soon pulled ahead then it passed me one more time. We more or less hung together through the entire state of West Virginia (6 miles) and into Pennsylvania until I exited to find a motel when Pittsburgh traffic started to clog the road.

What a beautiful day to start a road trip and the Valiant performed flawlessly.

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