Tag: West Virginia

Will Ride for Donuts

Will Ride for Donuts

My love of donuts is known far and wide amongst my friends. Perhaps you’ve even noticed the pink donut sticker on the BonBon.

I don’t know when the love affair began, really. But I do have many childhood memories of sitting at the counter on a swivel stool with my dad at our local Dunkin Donuts. Spin, spin, spin.

Nearly every time I pass Maple Donuts on Route 30 in York, Pa. I find my wheels turning in to the parking lot automatically. Perhaps donuts have a particularly strong gravitational pull. After all, some people believe Earth is shaped like a donut.

Sometimes I even bring some home to share. Topboxes are great for this.

Have you ever seen a more glorious mailbox than this sprinkley dough hoop? I’ll save you the trouble – you haven’t.

Donuts for dayyyyyys.

One for now, one for later. Even after being squished in a tankbag, the mighty donut delivers.

After pulling in to Huntington, West Virginia this October, I opened my hotel app and found a place to stay. For some, the view from my room window might seem a little lackluster. But to a donut lover? Well… you know.

My holy grail donut stop was definitely Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California. Deliciousness and roadside royalty wrapped up in one neat package.

What could possibly surpass the scrumdiddlyumptiousness of eating a donut in a filthy parking lot, under the watchful gaze of that giant rooftop beast? Nothin’, that’s what.

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Everything doesn’t always come up sunshine and roses when you’re road tripping and looking for something you read about or might’ve heard of in passing.

Sometimes a pin on my map for a Mail Pouch barn will turn up a pile of collapsed wood where a barn used to be. Or maybe I can’t actually find what I’d saved or it’s missing. And sometimes a thing sounds much cooler than the reality of it. When you turn up for a visit… sad trombone. It’s a roll of the dice.

Luckily the journey almost always has some value to it so there’s that. You might happen upon something else in the area that makes up for the letdown. Sometimes you’ve gotta make lemonade.

Recently, I had my hopes up for the Shoney’s Big Boy Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t read anything about it, I only had the name and address. Based on the name, I imagined a restaurant with memorabilia-covered walls and statues and nicknacks. I envisioned a place where I could grab a bite to eat and use the restroom and I was excited by that. So when I turned up and found…

Well, let’s just say my fantasy was a bit aggressive. Instead of a tchotchke covered restaurant, I pulled up to Big Boy on a stick, a couple of yellowing newspaper articles, and some pushpins on a corkboard marking the spot where something used to be. ::womp:womp::

I suppose if I had known it was solely a memorial marker of the Big Boy genesis, the Parkette Drive-in, maybe my imagination wouldn’t have gotten away from me. If I had known what was waiting for me, would I have felt disappointed? Maybe not. Them’s the breaks.

The silver lining in this situation was that I serendipitously saw a Mail Pouch barn on the way, so I’d traded one good thing for another. Lemonade.

Parts Unknown: The Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode

Parts Unknown: The Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode

Season 11 Episode 1 of Parts Unknown is the Anthony Bourdain West Virginia episode. The hour-long feature highlights life in parts of McDowell County.

West Virginia – What’s so special about that?

The episode features Bourdain breaking bread with locals as he moves through the towns of Welch and War. These Appalachian towns are unknown and unseen by most of America.

Welch, West Virginia featured in Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode of Parts Unknown

In the episode and seemingly in the lives that inhabit these places, there is no sugarcoating.

In War and Welch, there arent any slick or fashionable haunts. No tourist traps luring visitors in to buy fancy soaps and jelly. For eyes like mine that grew up in the shadow of New York City, at first glance there isn’t much of anything there.

And yet, there is. You just have to undo your commercial programming and learn to see it.

For me, the episode delivered on showing an overlooked pocket of America. It weaved a picture of poverty, faith, family and simple joy. People there are scrappy, love their families, and have pride in what they do.

War, West Virginia featured in Anthony Bourdain West Virginia Episode of Parts Unknown

In the spring of 2017, I rode through both War and Welch while touring. In my post about the day in Welch, I mentioned:

Secrets you could never know just by passing through.

This episode was particularly poignant because it pulled back the curtain and offered a glimpse into people’s lives. People I could relate to. The lives in homes that I’ve ridden past and wondered about. It wasn’t some faraway place I’ll never see. It was smalltown America.

How to Watch Parts Unknown – West Virginia

The West Virginia episode of Parts Unknown is available on-demand on CNN.

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Stopping and snapping photos of post offices while traveling has become something of a habit. A post office seems to give clues about what a place is like. These snaps are some of the post offices I stopped at in 2017.

Rhodell, WV 25915

Helvetia, WV 26224

Vesuvius, VA 24483

North Matewan, WV 25688

Josephine, WV 25857

Onego, WV 26886

Rockfish, VA 22966 (former)

Fanrock, WV 24834

Cucumber, WV 24826

Odd, WV 25902

Rebersberg, PA 16872

Burke’s Garden, VA (former)

Panther, WV 24872

East Smethport, PA 16730

War, WV 24892


Hillbilly Hotdogs in Lesage, West Virginia

Hillbilly Hotdogs in Lesage, West Virginia

A Road Food Oasis Like No Other

While cruising along the Ohio River on my way to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, I made a pit stop at the glorious Hillbilly Hotdogs. If you’re ever in the area, it is not to be missed.

Previously, I posted about a postcard from my friend Chris after his visit to Hillbilly Hotdogs. Seeing the place with my own eyes and enjoying the experience first hand was somethin’ else. I’ll tell you what, this place is worth the trip!

hillbilly hotdogs postcard

Walking up the driveway is a feast for the eyes. With layer upon layer of stuff all over, you don’t quite know where to look first.

After my first pass around the property, it was time to sample the hot dogs. The only problem being that I couldn’t quite figure out where and how to order something. The place is so jampacked full of nooks and crannies, it takes a minute to get your bearings and find the actual door.

welcome to hillbilly hotdogs

The ambiance of Hillbilly Hotdogs is unparalleled. I dined at a picnic table next to a hanging toilet seat. How many times in your life can you say you’ve done that? Since it looked like a horseshoe, I thought it might bring me luck.

Chris mentioned that he’d waited online for something like an hour to get his food when visiting on a weekend.

As you can see from the photo below – lunchtime on a random Tuesday in September is the time to stop in. There was only 1 couple in front of me.

Fuzzy is the bomb!

This weddin’ chapel seemed perfect to me. Perhaps because Kenny and I were married in a bar by an ordained minister named Catfish.

hillbilly hotdogs wedding chapel

And this, the pièce de ré·sis·tance, was my lunch. Say hello to the Strictly Business dog, hold the onions. It featured coleslaw, jalapenos, fried spam, shredded cheese, mustard, and a deep-fried weenie tucked into that bun.

The good luck toilet seat must’ve worked since I didn’t get heartburn or any other stomach distress from eating it. A Christmas miracle.

the strictly business dog from hillbilly hotdogs


Hillbilly Hot Dogs
6951 Ohio River Rd.
Lesage, WV

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