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For I'm Bound for West Virginia with a Roadmap On My Knee-Part One

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This is the account of my trip from NYC to Martinsburg WV to see David Selby and Susan Sullivan in the play "Love Letters" in October 2003 -- JMW

 For I’m Bound For West Virginia with a Roadmap on My Knee…..


Part one: The long and winding road



“David Selby will appear in Martinsburg, WV next month in a production of A. R. Gurney's Love Letters with his former Falcon Crest co-star Susan Sullivan.” 


When I saw this post from Criseyde on a Yahoo group, I was thrilled. But so far away, and so soon after the Dark Shadows Festival!  Sigh of resignation, and off to email the news to Pam in KY.  Get email back that both she and Deb from OH are going, but have a local friend they can stay with.  Check routing, see that Martinsburg is near Washington DC.  Lightbulb of possibility dawns, as I have driven to DC many times before.  Run the routing, check the finances, waffle back and forth for a day or two, as I would have to drive and room alone, then ordered the ticket and booked the hotel room.


Then came the blizzard of little bad luck things that I started calling the “Selby Jinx”.  Strange things at the job, computer problems, then the TV going out just as I got my tapes of season 4 of Falcon Crest. Was not surprised to find then that October 10th, the night of the performance, was a FULL MOON!!!  Stopped being a joking matter though, when Pam’s mom died suddenly of a stroke days before the play. 


The day to leave was finally here.  Given all the bad luck since I called for the ticket to “Love Letters”, I was taking no chances.  Got up early, heard the traffic report for the George Washington Bridge and cringed.  Decided to try to wait out the worse than normal rush hour traffic, grumping the whole time about losing time I intended to spend at Antietam until the hotel check in time of 3PM.


Finally leave about 9:30 or so, Thruway fine to the bridge, but at the bridge ramp – PROBLEM.  Traffic is at a standstill.  I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS.  This is confirmed when a Fire engine comes along and tries to get past the rows of cars, who have nowhere to go to let it get by!  20 min or so goes by, we finally move and get onto the approach to the bridge, passing what was probably the problem – a Rolled Jeep with sand sprinkled all around it.


So off I go poky poky in the congested traffic and off to the Jersey Turnpike to I78, along with what seems like half the population of NY & NJ.  Guess more people had Columbus Day off than I thought!  My original plan had been to be near if not at Antietam by Noon; instead, I am still not out of NJ, much less anywhere Harrisburg where I need to change routes, so I stop for a caffeine break.  When I get back on, I see that once again my delay had kept me from being in the middle of ANOTHER congestion/construction/accident thing.


For those not from the East Coast, Pennsylvania is a BIIGGGG  state.  8 hours to go fully east to west at highway speed.  And I was, on paper at least, going less than half that distance before I turned onto the interchange, and southbound on I81.  Past Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Hershey. But still, it was like the Twilight Zone episode with the hitchhiker, where the driver keeps seeing the same stretch of road over and over, never getting anywhere.    There’s the signpost ahead – WELCOME TO MARYLAND!!!!!!!!!!  With a sigh I pass the sign for Antietam, since it is now past the hotel’s check in time of 3PM, and I have to get my bearings and change before the show.  Seemed I was no sooner in Maryland that I saw ANOTHER sign:  WELCOME TO WEST VIRGINIA! YEEE--HAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  West-by God Virginia! The home stretch!!!!  Soon I am in the hotel, where I unpack and hang the clothes for the evening before I face getting back in the car again to explore Martinsburg. The 4.5 hour trip had only ended up taking me 6 hours!


When I like an actor’s work I always like to see them on stage, if possible.  I must count myself as one of the fans who first discovered Selby as Quentin’s ghost.  Since then he’s been on my list of actors whose work I’ve tried to keep an eye out for.  Through Falcon Crest, which I was watching even before he joined the cast, I started trying to keep tabs on Susan Sullivan’s career as well.


But a six hour drive (to be repeated going home the next afternoon) to see these two in a play together?!? Without enough time to really explore the area, (making the history buff in my cringe and whimper) because the announcement and my decision were so last minute. 


To paraphrase the immortal words of Han Solo, Was ANY reward worth this?


Part two to follow: Martinsburg, WV and Elevator encounters of the embarrassing kind


Part Two: A Cliff Notes Tour of Martinsburg and Elevator Encounters of the Embarrassing Kind

article @2003 by JMW and may not be reprinted in any form without prior written permission

This website is @2004-2013 by JMW. No original article or photograph may be reprinted in any form without prior written permission from JMW