My wife and I spent Sunday and Monday in Lost River, West Virginia, staying in a prefab cabin in the hills. I liked this interesting dwelling so much that I hesitate to post this link to the people who rent it out. The area is beautiful, all the more so with a dusting of snow. I particularly recommend Smoke Hole Canyon. It was a good place to exercise my new camera (a Canon 5D mk2, since you ask; more on that vital matter another time).
I bring this up because, I confess, the trip made me examine my current enthusisam for infrastructure spending. The United States has plenty of badly congested highways and urban roads so deeply pitted that a half-track, rather than a mere Hummer, is called for. Fixing those problems seems a good idea. But the "Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System"--the signs keep announcing that--is a different proposition altogether. I don't think I have seen roads so empty since I first drove along the M62 to Hull (in its day, one of Britain's more notable roads to nowhere). Like then, I was afraid I had found my way on to a road that had not been opened to the public. I imagined road-surfacing vehicles coming towards me line abreast round the next corner (not that the M62 to Hull has any corners, now I think of it).
Mr Byrd's highways are wider than the towns they connect. I hope the fiscal stimulus includes no further shovel-ready improvements. I could see the case for hiring people to drive around on them, though, to help visitors feel more comfortable. Plug-in hybrids, obviously.
Did I say "dusting" of snow? That is not how it looked on Tuesday morning. Remind me in future not to tempt the weather gods.