Part Two: On the Road Again and Again and Again
We packed up the SUV and left St. Charles around 6:30 p.m. Friday night. We drove about four hours to the Comfort Inn in Corydon, Indiana. Thanks to the time zones we got in even later. I hate Eastern Time.
The first night went without incident, the roads were flat and straight and the vehicle drove nicely. I had no trouble figuring out the iPod and my six-hour RROY mix got us there with music to spare. The hotel wasn’t much to speak of and they didn’t have free HBO but the bed worked and that was all that mattered.
Got up and took advantage of the complementary breakfast, figuring we could skip lunch if need be. Since I did the driving the night before, Lar started off that morning. It wasn’t long before we were in the mountains, where we would spend the rest of this long day.
Experts will tell you St. Louis lacks two things to make it a great city: an ocean and mountains. I agree that an ocean view is much more impressive than a river. But I’m not sold on mountains. Oh, they’re majestic and all, and beautiful and whatnot — but God they’re horrible to drive through. The roads are too steep and curvy, you can’t drive fast, trucks are wanting to run over you, there’s no curb for you to pull over onto if the stress gets too much. Fortunately, I wasn’t driving at this point, but it isn’t any less stressful in the passenger seat. In fact, if I had known there was this much mountain driving on this trek, I would’ve reconsidered flying.
“Aren’t the mountains lovely? It’s so pretty out here.”
Yes, it’s –– slow down! that’s a 30-foot drop if our brakes give out! What the hell is a Runaway Truck Lane? Why would you need such a thing? Are we gonna make it up this hill? What if the engine gives out? Get out of our lane! There’s no margin for error!
Several hours later we had made our way through Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. The RROY mix finished up around noon, which we followed by the Traveling Wilbury’s mix, which wasn’t very long. We then switched to the John Hiatt mix — 127 songs, 8.5 hours. Some people will tell you that’s too much Hiatt. Some people are idiots.
It was time to get gas and switch drivers for the last leg of the day — up the mountain to the Wintergreen Resort. Rob’s parents own a lovely cabin in Wintergreen, and Rob decided that would be a nice place to meet instead of in their lovely home in flat, boring Charlottesville. I’m guessing he thought we would enjoy the view. And we probably would’ve enjoyed the view — if it had been at the start of our long driving day instead of the end.
It was decided that I would drive this final stretch because Lar is better at reading maps and navigating directions and I’m better at blinding following orders.
We get off the main road and drive the curvy road that leads to Wintergreen Mountain (note: probably not really the name of the mountain). “At this point the roads will get more narrow and curvier” Rob writes. At this point? It can get worse?
Turns out yes, yes it can. Up and up we go, curve after narrow, winding curve. We eventually hook up with the Blue Ridge Parkway — a roadway famous for its scenic beauty. Let me assure you, there is no scenic beauty after you’ve been on the road for 8 hours. After 8 hours it doesn’t matter if the road is lined with swimsuit models and dinosaurs, all you wanna do is GET OUT OF THAT CAR.
We eventually make it to the cabin in the woods and are greeted by Rob, Crystal, daughter Anna and doggie Bella. Doggies make everything better. Rob cooked a delicious dinner and afterwards we went for a walk. We did a good deal of talking — the old-fashioned way, without constantly checking our smartphones or Facebook or iPads. Turns out there’s lousy Internet reception in the mountains.
Score one for the mountains.
Coming Up: Part Three!