September 21st, 2009

West Virginia saying about water

In Jane Yolen's book Take Joy, she says this: "In my husband's home county of West Virginia, they say water is pure after it has flowed over twenty-one stones." I liked this idea and have wanted to use "Twenty-One Stones" as the title of a poetry collection.

The problem is, after doing various Google searches on West Virginia sayings, West Virginia sayings about water, twenty-one stones, 21 stones, and so on, I can't seem to come up with anyone else documenting this type of saying. I'd like to have more than just Yolen's quote if possible, since she doesn't even name the county involved (and it may be more of a regional thing and less specific to one county, I don't know). Has anyone ever heard this or anything like it? (Also, if anyone knows of other LJ communities that deal with this sort of question, where I could cross-post this, that'd be great too.) Thanks!

Travelling in Canada - highway/topography, landmarks, accents

Setting: Present day. 
My characters are going eastward from Vancouver, taking hwy 1 (17 in Ontario) straight through to Sudbury.  I have only hazy childhood memories of 13-hour drives from Vancouver to Edmonton (which is for the most part a different highway altogether), so I have a few questions:

I remember being taught in elementary school that BC = mountainy, AB/SK = flat, MB/ON = hilly.  Now I know that's a huge generalization acceptable for grade 1s and not many others, but, along the highway, does this hold more or less true? 

Is highway hypnosis/falling asleep at the wheel an issue during the flat/straight prairie farmland bits?  Are there those curves that highway engineers put to prevent this from happening?

Also along the AB/SK/MB leg, about how often would you encounter some sort of a township/settlement?

If you've personally driven the highway - are there any particular landmarks or something like that that you can think of, off the top of your head?  About how much ground did you cover in a day?

I've gone through the relevant Wikipedia pages and am starting on the mile-by-mile itinerary on the highway's official website, but I find that in cases like these, anecdotal information helps a lot.  I've also googled around for images along the route, to try and solidify the picture in my head.

And also:  I have never, ever heard any sort of distinct Canadian accent (excluding the maritimes).  But, I've been living here all my life, and pretty much everyone I know (myself included) lives in fairly large cities.  I was wondering if a sort of accent is more pronounced in smaller communities, and whether it changes as you move further in one direction.

Thank you for your time!