Friday, August 04, 2006

West, West, West...

West Virginia!

As Jon mentioned below, last weekend we went to Fayetteville, West Virginia, with me fresh off of the plane from San Jose. It took some convincing, but I finally caved. He paddled the New River while I road biked with John Adams. We ate dinner at Pies and Pints, which has a great selection of beers and their pizza and salads are great.

Biking in West Virginia is alot different and more difficult than biking in North Carolina. The hills are steeper, but shorter. The roads snake up and down and around corners. At one point, I found myself tearing down a hill with the brakes fully engaged and looked down to find the speedometer at about 30 mph. Wow. It also seems like everyone in rural West Virginia has a beagle-type dog that runs loose and fast and likes to chase bikers. I don't know what scares me more: the idea of sharing the road with cars or the idea of being halfway up a hill, almost completely spent of energy, when a dog comes barreling out of it's yard and races towards me and I have no power left to outpace it. These thoughts run through my head while I am riding and I decided that if it happened in West Virginia, I would just have to give up and let the dog eat me. I figured I could put my bike between me and the dog as a barrier. Seriously, this is what I think about!

Speaking of West Virginia, I sent my brother and my father into fits of laughter when I told them I spent the weekend there. Their individual responses were the same:

"West....west....west....WEST VIRGINIA!!!" <ensuing laughter>

Turns out that when my brother was a little boy, my father used several techniques to teach him the geography of the United States. My dad has an encyclopedic knowledge of college fight songs, so one of the methods was when Christopher would say the name of a state, my dad would sing a fight song associated with a college or university in that state. For example, when my brother called out "Illinois!", my dad would sing the University of Illinois song. My brother also had a wooden puzzle of the US which they would assemble together--we probably all remember these--with large knobs on each state piece. In either the fight song singing or the puzzle assembly, whenever my brother said "West Virginia!", my dad would playfully but menacingly creep towards my brother saying, "West...west...west...WEST VIRGINIA!!!", and then tickle my brother almost to the point of bladder burst.

I am glad to have helped them revisit that memory. My dad and I would sing the fight songs together during car trips, too. When I hear them, I am immediately transported to childhood bliss, but the West Virginia Tickle was between the boy and his dad.

Click here and you can sing along with the lyrics below!
We're loyal to you Illinois,
We're "Orange and Blue, Illinois,
We'll back you so stand
'Gainst the best in the land,
For we know you have sand, Illinois,
Rah! Rah!
So crack out that ball Illinois,
We're backing you all Illinois;
Our team is our fame protector,
On! boys, for we expect a vict'ry from you Illinois!

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