Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Great Smokey Mountains & Grandma’s House

On Wednesday of last week we set off from GMatt’s and on to Hot Springs, NC. It was about a 7 hour drive, but ended up taking more like 8 due to some crazy mountain roads. A couple hours in we started hitting some postcard looking territory. The mountains started to grow out in the distance and the hills carried us along. We could see the cloud’s shadows reflected on the mountains which we both thought was cool because we had never seen that before. It was then also that we started to see the autumn leave change. Bright red and orange bushes stuck out in seas of green. 

As beautiful as this all was I regretfully have no pictures. Both my cameras batteries were dead and regardless once we got into what they called “Rattler Road” that bared a sign with a skull and a snake going through it, I was so paralyzed with fear of the cliff sides and in awe of the cartoon forest looking perfection that I was literally unable to focus on anything but that. 

While it was the most terrifying experience yet, “Rattler Road” also proved to provide me with some of the most dreamy and picturesque images of my life. The trees canopied the road in fall colors and the mild wind swept the falling leaves all about (Finnley calls it “Tunnel of Colors”).The cliff sides dropped miles below and along it a small river ran parallel. The road was beyond winding. I’d say it was borderline race car track status. We even felt like we were on a roller coaster some of the time the way the hills steeped. Mind you they expect people to drive 55 mph on this road (Oh hell no!), but we did more like a modest 40. 

After about 2 hours on that road and some lost years of my life due to stress we finally arrived in the small mountain town of Hot Springs at 3:00pm. We checked in to our reserved a cabin at the resort campground in town and made reservations for the hot spring later that night. The most exciting thing about the cabin was the little loft with a window, very childlike and nostalgic. 

It turned out that after we got there we realized we were amidst some hippie music festival called three days of light. What are the chances? Everywhere we turned there were dreaded out lovelies setting up stages and tents. At one point we decided to go for a walk around the campground. 

During this we were summoned by a guy who claims he speaks for the bees. He called us “Come meet my bees, come meet my honey bees” so we walked over and saw a container on his picnic table. He explained the magic of bees to us and told us “I’m going to open up their container and when I do shove your face in it and take a big whiff!” At this point I’m thinking what the heck is going to come out of there, very hesitant, but as he opened it up Finnely and I put our faces to it and there were bees. It didn't really smell like anything. He explained the elusive scent was the bees pheromones. He also shared his bee pollen and bee bread with us as he explained his life mission for the bees. As every minute passed I dwelled on when the acid would kick in and I would start hallucinating because obviously I have been drugged. 

And yet I never did start tripping. About the time we ended the conversation with Honey Bee Guy was the time we reserved for the hot spring. Earlier that day we had found out from the concierge that the tubs were “clothing optional” and thank goodness for it because I didn’t bring a bathing suit. We had decided to go at night for some unknown reason (I would have rather gone during the day) and were led out to a wooden structure that covered all sides but the one facing the river for privacy. The tub itself isn't natural, but the water is. They pump it in from 2 miles in the ground and it is supposedly rich in all kinds of vitamins and minerals. 

We soaked for an hour. It was overwhelmingly hot so we had to turn the misters on at one point which made it look really cool. It was an interesting experience being out there slightly fatigued with heat, butt naked, and feeling free along a river. Finnley claimed it helped his knee, but the only difference I noticed was it made my hair feel softer. 

I was pretty tired so Finnley and I went to bed fairly early that night and woke up around 8 the next morning. We had to organize the car before we left for grandma’s because it was getting a mess. We also took a short walk over to a part of the Appalachian Trail just to say we walked on it and took some pictures. When we were about to leave Finnley was giving away the rest of the fire wood to our neighbors who were there for the festival and we ended up talking to them for a couple minutes. They told us they were in one of the bands playing. They were so nice and the girl was such a cutie with her dreads. If I would have stayed one more night I would have had someone dread me out. 

We got on the road for Maryland at about 10:30am onto some more mountain roads, but not as bad. We ended up passing through the northeastern part of Tennessee and on into Virginia through the Shenandoah Valley. It was about a nine hour drive, but ended up taking us 12. An hour away from my grandma’s we got stuck for two hours trying to get across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. What a nightmare. If the bridge wasn’t scary enough as it is now we had to wait, pay and sit on it with 35mph winds blowing. 

Eventually we got through and showed up at grandma’s around 11:00pm. We were really tired that night so we ended up just talking to grandma for a while and going to bed. The next day we hung out at the house most of the day, but went into town to do some errands mid afternoon. Finnley chopped some wood for grandma and I played with the cute animals. She has a doggie and 3 kitties. For dinner grandma made some yummy lasagna for us and all my cousins. 

Our last day there we mostly just relaxed and at one point went into town again to try and find some good wifi, but the wifi at McDonalds was slower than grandmas internet. I was also stressing and scrambling around trying to find the next place to go. Luckily by the end of day we found a cabin at Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire for 1 night and a camp spot in Franconia State Park for 2 nights, also in New Hampshire which we are actually heading to as I’m writing this. We went to grandma’s beach later that night to watch the sunset, but just missed it. 

It was nice seeing grandma and having that break to be comfortable and I’m very thankful and appreciative of her generosity. She even made us delicious sandwiches for the road from the thanksgiving-esque dinner the night before with snacks. It sucked saying goodbye because I kind of wanted to stay another night, but the fall leaves were falling fast in New England and I couldn't miss it.

On to the next...

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted you guys to know....I'm lovin it !!....and goes without saying...miss ya both...