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7:50 pm EDT        73°F (23°C) in Max Meadows, VA

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I really shouldn't have mentioned anything about my sleeper A/C blower in my last update. How did I just fucking know that saying something was going to make it fail again? At this point, I'm demanding another truck — and I'm dealing with the bureaucratic bullshit that stands in the way of accomplishing that, namely getting several layers of management to sign off on removing a driver from a truck not yet due to be traded in. Hopefully by mid-week, I'll know something.

As you can see at the top of this update, I find myself in a state whose tourism slogan is a blatant lie. "Virginia Is For Lovers," they claim — in fact, I saw an embroidered bag in a truck stop convenience store with this slogan on it. The truth is that as of this past Thursday, the Commonwealth has made it quite clear that Virginia is only for straight lovers. It was on that day that a new law took effect that not only banned gay marriage, but also took the highly unconstitutional step of prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from entering into most contracts that would create legal arrangements that in any way resemble the rights of heterosexual married couples. According to Equality Virginia, this law "will likely bar same-sex couples in Virginia from obtaining a medical power of attorney, making custody decisions and carrying out estate planning directives." In addition, same-sex partner benefits currently offered by Virginia companies appear to be invalidated.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is sending a clear message with this law: If you are gay or lesbian, you do not belong in Virginia. I may have no choice but to travel through Virginia in my business, but as of now, Virginia joins Ohio on a list of states I have placed under economic sanctions. No fuel will be pumped into my truck in either state — and I will defy my company's instructions to the contrary whenever possible and necessary. I will not purchase any personal or truck-related supplies — from work gloves to toothpaste, from glass cleaner to soap, and on and on — in Virginia or Ohio. Finally, to the extent possible, I will avoid purchasing food in both of these states. For obvious reasons, I can't always enforce that rule as strictly as the other two; however, in the five months that Ohio has already been under sanctions, I have only stopped at a handful of selected eating establishments — chosen either on the basis of friends' or acquaintances' employment there, or the fact that it's difficult to make it all the way across Ohio without a stop at that location. (I am not the type that can sit behind a steering wheel for several hours consecutively.)

For those who are wondering, Ohio was the first, and until now only, state placed under such sanctions. While Ohio did not prohibit gay and lesbian couples from signing contracts, its legislature did prohibit most everything else covered in the newer Virginia law. Add Ohio's treatment of truckers to the mix, and you have the reasons why I have not purchased any supplies nor even one drop of fuel there since January 22 (the day I first became aware of Ohio's law). I had been a bit hesitant to add Virginia to the list, mostly due to the 324-mile length of Interstate 81 in the commonwealth (while most of my frequently-used routes in Ohio are 250 miles or less), but when I became more fully aware of the severe over-reach of this legislation, I felt I had no choice.

I know, I probably shouldn't let bullshit laws like this make me as angry as they do, but there's only going to be one way to assure their defeat — enough people have to show enough outrage to get things accomplished.

I'm off to the state that is home to Da U.P.'s favorite football team …