Playlist: Fayetteville, West Virginia (Driving & Lake Swimming)

There’s something about turning from I-66 onto I-81 that alerts your brain that you’re heading back into the heart of Appalachia. I used to think people who had this heartfelt connection with ‘Country Roads, Take Me Home’ were overstatin’ it — until I was turning onto I-64 W driving home from D.C. one day and there was something about the twang as the song started that sent me to tears. (Admittedly it had been a long while away from out West to a little bit closer, since I’d been home for reasons of simply visiting, still yet.)

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Playlist: New Orleans, LA (Driving & Long Weekend)

There’s no scene to set with this one. If you’re rolling in at nighttime either across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge or the I-10 Twin Span Bridge, it’s pitch dark over the bayou and you can see the city glow from what feels like a million miles away.

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Playlist: Steele, Alabama (Driving & Camping)

Here we go. You’re driving from the heart of Appalachia. Along I-81 or some twisting parallel backroad equivalent in Cherokee or Nantahala National Forests. You come out from the mountain ridge known as Lookout Mountain and you’re in Alabama. Final(ish) destination: the top of Chandler Mountain, about 50 miles from Birmingham.

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Alternate Views: Paddle to See the Cherry Blossoms

Pandemic or not, cherry blossom season always gets crowded around the Tidal Basin. I mean, yeah, they’re all elegantly hanging over the rippling basin in varying shades of pinks and whites and you get to glance across at the Jefferson Memorial.

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