It is 360 miles between Asheville, NC and Richmond, VA, the distance I live from my family. Interstate 40 horizontally splits the Tarheel state and mostly has a forest of billboards filling the view.
Over the course of time, there was always one road sign that made me smile every time I drove passed: Exit 144, Old Mountain Rd. It forever symbolizes to me both the physical marker of where the flats begin to rise up to the ethereal Blue Ridge Mountains where my hometown resides.
It is also an emotional marker that reinforces the strength of small businesses, manual labor and craftsmanship, all forms of artwork, and conscientious living.
Old Mountain Rd. represents my values of: craftsmanship, feeling, and purpose. For someone who takes dozens of road trips every year, it’s also a literal and figurative curved road of hope and possibility.