Thursday, May 03, 2012

Not all roads lead to Floyd

This past weekend Thing 1 and I needed to drive back to WFNC from Blacksburg VA post-change of command ceremony for the Oldest Nephew.

Thing 1 guided me by using the fabulous GPS on his fabulous new iPhone, and the process went very well with him navigating (once we cleared the hurdle of instead of saying 'turn right up here a ways,' the refinement of 'turn right up here at Smith Street' was added).

I have learned to appreciate the usefulness of the electronic devices, but sometimes they do seem to have a little bit of evil programmed into their pressed-tin hearts, for I've been rerouted more than once by a GPS into odd little corners (once, famously, into a mobile home park just in order to cut through it and not have to, presumably, wait at a light) and so use, but do not trust, them.

The trip started out OK, though with several 'what is HAPPENING here?' type moments when the GPS just seemed to to want to wander through Christiansburg and ignore the fact that Route 81 was just one block over and I imagined that it would be the fastest way to get near where we wanted to go, but no.  Apparently not.  At least not according to the brain inside the iPhone.

This is what people do in Floyd. 
It becomes relevant in a little bit.
I was not in a position to argue, so much was I unfamiliar with the terrain and bereft of a paper map, thus proceeded onward, eventually, to Route 8, or, as the locals call it, 'Riner Road.'

Otherwise known as "That Road I Will Never Drive on in The Dark/Rain/Snow, EVER."  Because, you ever seen one of those sidewinder snakes and how sinuous its body has to be for it to get around anywhere?  Like it's bent six ways to Sunday looking at its own tail sometimes just trying to move up a sand dune.  Well, that sidewinder snake was US on old Route 8, practically inspecting our own exhaust pipe on the road from Floyd to Woolwine.  I'd show you pictures, but you can go ahead and drive it on Googlemaps yourself just to see what the fun is all about.

If you do, please note 1) the banking of the roadway into the turns, presumably to keep cars from slipping off the road and tumbling down the side of the mountains because 2) there are no guardrails.

Now, I've been on some mountain roads before, and it's ALWAYS better to be the driver on them than to be a passenger in the car on trips like this (route 228 out of Little Switzerland?  Looking at you) but even thought I was in control and thus not Scared Out Of My Wits I think this road is the longest stretch of swooping, banking, twisty-turn road I've been on.  I was praying the brakes wouldn't fail on the downsides and that the car had enough power to climb (slowly) up the upsides of the 15 jillion mountains it seemed like we traversed.

Face it, there's no good way to get out of western Virginia if you're nervous about driving on the mountains.  A little prayer never hurt, and it might in fact have kept us stuck on the road and helped us safely to WoolWine, which isn't much more than a flat place in the road, but oh, what a flat place. Precious, precious, flat place.  Which was the only flat place between there and Stuart, a good many miles eastward.  Good grief, the hills seem never to end in that area!  Ultimately, of course, the land flattens out to rolling hills as you travel east on Route 58, with some very picture postcard moments as a visual treat after having stared at possible doom and ruin up in them thar hills.

We were both glad that Thing 2 wasn't with us on that trip (he was home recuperating from getting his wisdom teeth pulled), because that boy is twice the scardey cat I am about heights, and wouldn't have though some of that trip very amusing, at all.

To add a little insult to injury, Biff took an airplane from our neighborhood airport and flew it to B-burg then back home.  It took him a TOTAL of 2.5 hours flying time.  Our return trip home in the car?  4.5 hours.

Next time?  We fly.

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