Hot and Cold Water

The water storage tanks of Mount Carmel, Virginia

Not every community has the advantage of hot and cold water being furnished by their water utility company. High above the town of Mount Carmel, Virginia are two identical water storage tanks with large lettering on the sides. These two tanks caught my eye as I was driving south on Interstate 81 about 20 miles southwest of Wytheville. I got off at Exit 50 and took this photograph just to prove that some water companies have a sense of humor.

There are many other interesting sites along the 320 miles of Interstate 81. But first let me say that this highway is the most beautiful of all I have driven. Starting at Winchester, Virginia, on the north end and proceeding south through the Shenandoah Valley, the scenery in the spring time is just gorgeous. With the Appalachian Mountains on the west and the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east makes every mile a treat to the eye. For those Civil War Buffs who enjoy visiting historical sites there is no better place to start than the battlefield museum at New Market located at Exit 264. 75 miles further south is the town of Lexington and the Virginia Military Institute. Here you will find the graves of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Another 15 miles brings you to the Natural Bridge, a spectacular rock formation.

Winding down beside Interstate 81 is the old Lee Highway or Route 11. Before the Interstate system the Lee Highway was the principle way for people living in the north to travel to Florida. Roanoke, Virginia, was the goal for the first day’s journey and the jumping off spot to all southern cities. I remember my parents driving this route before 1940 to visit friends in Jacksonville, Florida. What sticks in my mind of this trip was a hotel restaurant in Roanoke where the waiters hovered over each table and anticipated every need. Another thing I shall never forget was the weather. We were in a snow storm and my dad struggled to stay on the road by steering between the telephone poles on either side. It was tough going back then but we finally made it.