I'm in the mood for a new car.

My old one, a 2007 Subaru Forester, only has about 130,000 miles on it.

But it's not the wear and tear on the engine that's got me looking for a new car; it's the wear and tear on the poor car's suspension.

Susie and I named him "Champagne Charlie" because Subaru named the color of our car champagne. There's a song named "Champagne Charlie" by Leon Redbone. Thus Charlie's name.

Charlie came to us with an extremely tight suspension. It's one of the reasons we bought him - well that and his heated front seats, which my wife worships even in the summer.

But these days there's a rattle under him, especially when I start him up or drive him over one of this state's many potholed roads.

It sometimes sounds as if Charlie is falling apart. It's the roads causing me to trade Charlie in on a new Subaru.

Face it. The roads in West Virginia, especially the secondary roads, are in unbelievably bad shape, so bad in fact they have destroyed Charlie underside.

I have never lived in another state for more than six months, so I cannot say that West Virginia's downright scary roads are the worst in America.

But I'll just bet they are.

The amazing thing about our roads is that even when the potholes are "repaired," the repairs are as bumpy as the potholes. For example, the city recently patched potholes under the First Street underpass. Yeah. Right.

The roads have turned the best car I have ever owned into a rattletrap. I talk to Charlie all the time and have even tried to explain why I have to get rid of him.

"Look Charlie," I say, "if I were a younger man and less crippled than I am, I might risk it and hold onto you. But I need a car that doesn't rattle in pain each time I go down the secondary road that leads to my house.

"I thought there was some hope when Gov. Jim Justice got the voters to approved a massive road bond project that, he said, was going to fix all the roads in the state.

"But what has he done with the money so far? Spent millions on asphalting Interstate 64 halfway between Huntington and Charleston."

Oddly, I think Charlie understands and he tells me that trading him in on a newer model is OK with him. He'll try to serve a younger couple that can cope with the ravages of Mountain Mama's roads better than I can.

So what is Justice's latest excuse? A few weeks ago, he came out of his hideaway den to proclaim he can't find enough workers to repair the roads.

Meanwhile, I have the distinct feeling that Justice will continue to promise repairs to the shabby roads and perhaps asphalt a few of them just before next year's election.

And we West Virginians will continue to curse the politicians who've made road promises for 50 years and vote for them every election.

So you see, Champagne Charlie, to paraphrase an old saying: We have met the enemy and they are definitely us.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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