Over the years I have created a ritual for myself that I look forward to every year. Once the Autumn colors reach their peak here in the Smokies of Western North Carolina I take a long drive by myself. And trust me when I say I needed it this year! Being a new wedding photographer near Asheville, all-over Western North Carolina, and beyond has drained me this season. I knew the month of October was going to be a busy one for me, but I had no idea how busy it would get until it arrived. When Halloween rolled around this past Wednesday I was already a walking zombie suffering from fatigue and mental exhaustion.
Being an introvert, all I have wanted to do was just get off by myself the past 3 weeks and curl up with a cozy book and candles. I can’t help it, I appear to be a bubbly extrovert but I’m not really, I just happen to be an INFJ which means I find people fascinating. The month of November is going to be one of HEAVY editing both images and video and I have already started that work and set deadlines. But, when I got up this morning I had my heart set on my annual Fall drive and I knew just where I was going to go!
I worked for most of the morning then ran a few errands before heading to a new road I had found recently while helping my friend Tina, owner of McKenzie Botanicals, set up for a mountain wedding. I called my husband, JJ, to let him know I was off on one of my infamous adventures to reclaim myself and energy. I always let someone know where I am going due to safety, and I typically let two people know. He told me to have fun but to put a quart of oil in the truck since it was running low.
I went to the truck stop and bought oil, stood on tip-toe on a concrete thing and poured it in. I did it all by myself! Called him back and told JJ I did it then he asked where I put it in. That made me pause and after I described it to him I realized I had poured a small amount of oil into my power steering fluid reservoir! Ugh! Leave it to me to do something like that which is a simple task. (I’m rolling my eyes) I pulled over again and this time poured oil into the correct reservoir.
Then off I went! Called Tina to let her know I was finally going to do that drive I had told her about and she freaked out. I just laughed because Tina is a lowland Georgia girl who panicked on this little road only 800 feet in when we made a wrong turn finding the location for the wedding we had to set up that day. “Sabrina, please don’t go down that road today! I have heard it is sketchy and the rain will make it worse!” Tina exclaimed this on the phone and I just politely ignored her, while giggling under my breath. She had a phone call and had to answer it, so I told her that I would catch up with her later.
I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway into the heavy-laden mists and found my road. I had not even been on it a mile when I ran into a bull elk, three cows, and a baby. To be honest I am kind of over the elk but when they are that close to the road you must stop and take a picture. I spent a few minutes doing that and gleefully went on my way!
Unexpected Surprise of Elk
Until I came to the gate!
Sigh…the Park service had closed off the road where I had been wanting to go for over a month. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I pulled into the area near the gate and parked with my head dropped. I thought, “Well this was a waste of time!” I got out and walked for a minute or two then decided I would just head home.
I know I must have looked like Eeyore, especially since I had on a grey sweater. I started back up to the Parkway and cut the elk still lying by the road a hateful look as I drove by. They get to go down that road any time!
Right before I got back on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Balsam Gap I thought of another little road I had seen a year ago. Well I thought it was a road, but I was not sure. When it came into view I said to myself, “To heck with it let’s see what happens Charlie!” For those that do not know my truck has a name and it is Charlie. My son and I chose the name for him after watching Charlie Brown years ago.
I still was not convinced it was a road, but I kept driving and I am so glad I did!!!!!!! This little shell of a road must have been an old forest service or logging road. It took me under the Parkway and was as bumpy and hilly as all get out! It also had an entrance to a place on the Mountains to Sea Trail we are known for here as well.
A Change of Adventure
After driving a little bit and the “down-in-the-dumps” feeling abated I rounded a curve to find a small tree in the road. Once again “Eeyore” popped up in my mind and I thought, “Great, that was a short joy ride.” I sat there for a minute and decided I was just going to do something about it. So, I got out and pulled and tugged until I had the tree far enough to the side of the road and low enough to drive over.
I continued my adventurous drive and came out in two different places in Cherokee because I had to explore both roads I came upon. As you can see it was stunning on my drive and I would stop often to take pictures and just listen to the wind. I still have no idea what the name of the road was, but I know I was skirting both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It certainly was a challenging ride, and not one that a small car or vehicle without four-wheel drive should travel. It was steep, rugged, messy from time to time but those are my favorite kinds of roads! I am also convinced it connects to the one that was closed off the Parkway, but that was fine since I ended up getting to have my nature therapy regardless. It just means that I still have another adventure in my future when the road opens back up in the Springtime!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my random adventure today. There will be more to come now that I have gotten back into the habit of writing and the stress of the wedding season is over. I will also be sure and blog about when I drag Tina down into that road because I am sure she will have a heart attack before we get back, lol! Ssshhhh! She just doesn’t know yet that I am taking her for a drive on a “real country road.”