Okay, so we just got back from vacation, to the mountains. I’m a flatlander by birth, used to such places as the beach where you can see for miles and miles, and miles. So driving up into the mountains is a challenge for me, being slightly (read a lot) scared of heights but telling myself “You’ll be okay, you big baby!” The number of times I’ve driven in the mountains, by the way, in my whole life is now three.
We left a half day earlier than we had originally planned (can you say, anxious to get the heck out of dodge?) and being spur of the moment had made no plans for a hotel that night (read, foolish move). We get about three or four hours from home and find that it’s ‘football season’ in the mountains and every hotel is booked solid, so I keep driving. It is now 8:30 PM on a Friday night, raining to beat the band with heavy winds, and we are in a town so small, only a Dollar General is lit up at this time of night.
I pull in near a van that’s starting to pull out and flag them down. I can see the old man is a bit leery of rolling down his window to some broad with a shaved head but he does and I ask about accommodations nearby. He chuckles as does his son, and wife from the backseat. No, there’s no hotel here. “The nearest?” Well, he says, you got about another hour before you reach Lexington, that’s if you’re not in a hurry. “No, no hurry.”
“That’s good because it’s an hour over the mountain and it’s dark, raining and you’ll have to go slow because of the deer.” I should interject at this point that I am from a lighted state; that is to say, in Florida, we are apparently privileged as we have street lights so driving at night is not a big deal. The rest of the country, from what I’ve seen, hasn’t caught onto this yet. So in the mountains at night, it’s black as pitch….and it’s raining, hard.
Three things I don’t like – to drive at night, to drive in the rain, and I don’t care much for bridges or curves. So going over the mountain in the dark, in the rain, up and down S-shaped unfamiliar roads at 25 to 30 MPH, with no street lights has about as much appeal to me as dental work without Novacaine.
But we made it, surprisingly, and I honestly feel I should gotten a tee shirt. “I survived! Going over the mountains, at night!”
Probably the fact that I could not see where I was going, though, was probably our saving grace. On Sunday we made the trip in reverse, in the daylight, and if you could have seen the curves, the drop-offs, the sheer heights that we were up at, the views, well, it’s a good thing I couldn’t see all that in the dark, in the rain, tired from driving as I was. I probably wouldn’t have gotten my imaginary tee shirt.
SIDE NOTE: The place that we found to stay that first night was probably used as the backdrop for a Billy Bob Thornton movie where his character would behead a $2 hooker for no reason other than she breathed too loud. And I am reasonably certain she was killed in the room we stayed in. I had my girlfriend check under the bed before we laid down. (What? I wasn’t looking under there!) I propped stuff against the door and checked on the car every few hours, but no one killed us. In fact, that was the basis of my online review for that particular motel – It was cheap, quiet and no one killed us. I should have gotten a second tee shirt for surviving that! Always take your own sheets, blankets and pillows on trips – we did and I’m so thankful. “Look, Ma! No crabs!”