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Anyone up for a road trip?

Have we missed something?

According to the News-Herald archives, at the Sept. 9, 2014 meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council, a motion calling for the town to borrow $1.5 million from the USDA to cover the cost of a town-wide street repaving project was unanimously approved.

I’ve either missed seeing the work crews repaving the streets here in town or that motion has been rescinded. Perhaps it’s a simple case of lining-up the contractor to perform the work. I know that a certain air temperature is preferred to apply asphalt….that’s why no one sees many highway improvement projects in the winter and early spring.

However, the calendar just flipped to June…meaning summer is here! Hopefully the work is scheduled to begin, and not a moment too soon for Main Street. For those, like me, who use Ahoskie’s Main Street on a consistent basis, you know that it’s in pretty bad shape. Honestly, the farm path behind my home in Northampton County is a smoother ride overall.

It’s so bad in the downtown area that I’m considering asking Town Council to approve a resolution to re-name that two-lane nightmare as “21 Bump Street” – based on the number of times my teeth rattle while traveling that route. (As of Monday morning, we can add two more bumps in the street; apparently due to work having to performed because of water line issues.)

By the way, Hayes Street is just as bad. The town did patch it sometimes last year, but the patches are failing. Ditto for North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. I’ve ridden on logging paths during my days with the NC Forest Service that were in better shape than those two streets.

While on the subject of traveling, what’s up with folks not using their headlights during that period just prior to sunset? I guess they think they do not need headlights to illuminate the roadway at that time of day…basically because there is still just a small sliver of natural light remaining.

Hey, wake up! It ain’t about whether or not you can see, but rather a case where we can better see you! There’s nothing more dangerous than a dark-colored vehicle traveling along a road in a heavily wooded area without its headlights on at or near dusk.

I guess this is my “road” column.

A few weeks back, I was engaged in a conversation with a young man over the topic of interstate travel. He asked if interstate highways were around back when I was his age (20 something).

It took me back to a story of my high school chum, Larry Lassiter. We were still in high school at the time – our senior year – and Larry wanted to take a road trip to Savannah, GA to visit with his uncle….so, off we went.

I-95 was under construction at that time. A few stretches were open for short distances in both North and South Carolina. We would ride on that new road and then be forced to exit onto US 301.

The young man I was talking to asked what was US 301? Well, back in “the day” it was the major north-south artery in the eastern United States. It’s still there today with its northern terminus in Glasgow, Delaware and ending at Sarasota, Florida (on the Gulf Coast).

Of course it passed through every little (and big) town along the way. That road served as a lifeline to small towns along its 1,099 mile route where mom-and-pop restaurants and gas stations (those of the old-fashioned full service variety) were common sites.

I can remember traveling with my mom and dad (complete with a little brother and older sister) on a 15-hour ride from Murfreesboro to visit my mom’s sister in Florida.

That same trip today along I-95 can be accomplished in about half the time. The down side to that is I miss seeing all the tourist traps along the way.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit my old friend in US 301. Anyone up for a road trip?

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207. 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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