Monday, April 13, 2009

Mountainous Meanderings

While I suppose blog-sharing news of one’s vacation is the online equivalent of pulling out the slide projector and vacation slides (a sure Snore for anyone who wasn’t on the vacation in the first place, and sometimes even for those who were), I’m going to do it anyway. Might bore you all, but it’ll let me prolong the nice feeling of being on vacation.

Our car trip to the Smoky Mountain region was uneventful. Our kids, great travelers though they are, are young enough that we elected to do the trip in two days, rather than cram it into one verylongday. So we drove the bigger half first, and stayed in Lexington, KY. It was pretty neat to see the landscape change as we traveled south: first the grayish expanses of grass greened up; then the green grew taller; then, around Cincinnati, we spotted our first dandelions (the truest sign of spring); and by the time we reached Kentucky, everything was gorgeous. I’m not one to fall in love with Place (it’s People who determine where I go), but I was quite taken by the green rolling hills of Kentucky, and by the houses and barns in deep brick red.

We did the shorter half of the drive, from Lexington to Townsend, the next day, and by the time we got out of the car to pick up groceries, it was short-sleeved-shirt weather: sunny and lovely and warm. After we crammed our groceries into the last few remaining square inches of car space, we headed for our rented cabin.

As we came around a curve of road, our younger son pointed and called out, "Is that where we're staying?"
He seemed a little disappointed when I told him No...

But none of us were disappointed in this:

The aptly named Serenity Mill was peaceful and beautiful. There was plenty of room for all of us (a bit of elbow room being crucial to a successful vacation) and a rustic feel (plank wood flooring and a fireplace) but with all the creature comforts of home (central heating, dishwasher, two Very Large bathtubs, satellite dish TV, and more…). An absolutely terrific place.

However, the driveway to the cabin! Now that was an experience.

Imagine if you will, four vacationers and all their vacation paraphernalia crammed in a tiny little car. The car travels down the road, comes to the sign for the cabins. The car turns into the driveway, which involves a U-turn from the road onto the driveway (paved) which then immediately stretches upward at an approximately 45 degree angle for 50 feet or so. Little car then makes a sharp right, heading straight up again, still at a definite incline, perhaps steeper this time, and for longer; then the little car reaches gravel, goes up a bit, then down again, up again, then steeply down. "Unsettling" doesn’t quite capture the experience for this flatlander. If it weren’t for my husband, we’d’ve parked at the bottom and hiked our gear up. And as for getting back down! Oh, that last turn. I think it shaved 5 years off my life every time we took it. (The idea of meeting another car at that blind, steep corner, with no guard rail, doesn’t ever bear considering!) Spouse at the Wheel, trying to comfort his Agitated Wife, said, “It’s not really so bad. There’s just no margin for error.” Comforted I was not!

But still, the cabin’s many delights more than made up for the moments of sheer terror. With a view from the porch like this, Why Worry?

Next in my vacation ramblings, we’ll hit the trail for a wildflower hike. Till then, watch those sharp turns!

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