Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The I79 Slaw Line Pinpointed!


I have finally nailed down the precise point of where I79 crosses the slaw line. Before I divulge the location, let's review for the sake of newcomers:

The majority hot dog culture in West Virginia dictates that "everything" on a hot dog includes mustard, onions, chili AND coleslaw (some individual hot dog joints include ketchup but they are mostly misguided souls that just don't know any better). This culture exists virtually everywhere throughout the southern two-thirds of the state except for Huntington (which seems to think that slaw is optional) and is completely perverted in the Northern Panhandle where slaw can't be found in any hot dog joint known to us. It has been postulated that there must be a point along Interstate 79, the main artery for north-south traffic through the state, where the slaw culture is lost into the unfortunate void of a no-slaw zone. After a great deal of research, this point has been found.

At the risk of over-simplification and dishonoring the work that had been done to begin to narrow down the slaw line crossing, the big break came when I visited Ritzy Lunch and found out that Clarksburg is in the fringe area, where slaw can be obtained without restaurant staff giving you the strange look that they do in Fairmont. So my search moved to the south of Clarksburg. The Nutter Fort Dairy Queen has chili and onions standard, but that is to be expected since Nutter Fort is esentially Clarksburg even though it lies a few miles to the south.

Since there are no Dairy Queens between the no slaw Nutter Fort location and the yes slaw Flatwoods store, I have to rely on locally owned hot dog joints. T&L Hot Dogs is a fly in the ointment since it is a regional chain based in Clarksburg but are spread throughout the slaw line border zone. I realized this might bend the slaw line artificially south if there are no local joints to offset its influence, so I set off on a research path that sought out locally owned restaurants that served hot dogs. This was harder than it sounds since this area is some of the most sparsely populated territory in the state and restaurants are few and far betweeen.

Heading north from Flatwoods, I found no hot dog joints in Burnsville, but Glenville is just a few miles away and I know of at least one HDJ there that has slaw on a standard everything dog, so we'll put Gilmer County in the slaw column.

Jane Lew, even though it's a few miles south of Clarksburg and in a different county (Lewis) I nevertheless have always felt that people there identify with Clarksburg. So I was quite surprised to find that The Jane Lew Restaurant, which sits right off of exit 105, has slaw on its everything dog. So Lewis County lies south of the slaw line.

This leaves us with Lost Creek, which has no restaurants that I could find. The closest is at West Milford. There, the Dairy King Restaurant does not include slaw on their dogs except by special request. Presuming the slaw line lies between West Milford and Jane Lew, I put a pin in the map near the southern border of Watters Smith Memorial Park which is exactly half way between the two.

Now I needed a reference point to the east. Phillipi lies due east of Lost Creek, but it's in a completely different county. Barbour County, it seems to me, has its own identity which could be a plus or a minus when it comes to the task at hand. I checked with City Restaurant in Phillipi and they said they do include slaw on their "everything" dogs. Now I needed one more point from which I could triangulate and located the precise I79 crossing of the slaw line. Grafton, I know from previous experience, is a slaw optional city and since it sits 13 miles due north of Phillipi that would put the eastern reference point near Clemtown. Drawing a straight line from my two reference points I find that the line crosses Interstate 79 at mile marker 111.

So I stopped at milepost 111 today on my northward trip and was surprised to find that someone had apparently beaten me to the punch! (click on picture to enlarge)

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