|On the way to Pittsburgh, in VA. Some of the|
most spectacular scenery I've ever beheld.
Coming back? Different story.
First it was raining as I left the city. And in trying to get out of the city I took a many wrong turn (did I mention that I did not have a GPS, just paper directions? Yes, that's right - I navigate old school - with a hope and a prayer and my ability to read road signs, which isn't that great given my terrible eyesight, even with contacts). Finally I got on the road that I was supposed to be on. But as I was leaving the city, I noticed one strange thing - the directions that I had were different from the directions that I had taken to get me home. So I had a decision to make - to just go in reverse from the way that I already knew would get me from point A to point B, or to follow and navigate my way around these new directions.
And this is when I would like to state that sometimes when you have influenced your thinking by making yourself take risks, to follow the words of Robert Frost, and the example of Christopher McCandless (Into the Wild), and go down the literal path that you don't know - it can be utterly terrifying. Utterly. Terrifying. Like all of the sudden you are actually living nightmares that you've legitimately had.
Some things you learn as you navigate your way around unfamiliar territory:
- Google really does know everything. Because how in the world could it really know all these random two-lane back roads through the mountains of PA, MD, WVA, and VA?
- As great as the iPhone 4 and the Google Maps App is, you wish you had the new iPhone4S so that Siri could reassure me that I was going to be ok - aka. that I was going in the right direction.
- The back roads through the mountains of PA, MD, W.VA, and VA are as twisty, bendy, and curvy as you can imagine. And as you are navigating them in a white Toyota Camry, you wish for your curve-hugging VW Jetta and grateful that you aren't in your boss's SUV because you would for sure have rolled it over.
- Recurring nightmares of being in a car and going up and up and up and up at steep angles can actually come true - except in your nightmare you just go straight up. Reality you curve around bends as you go straight up a mountain.
- You wonder if these are the literal paths that Daniel Boone forged through his way into Kentucky.
- And then you wonder how in the world armies crossed these mountains during the Civil War.
- That Paw Paw, West Virginia is a real town. And that there are some real life Paws Paws who inhabit the town.
- That high and acute stress can cause heartburn, even when you haven't had anything to eat all day - and then of course you wonder if you're actually having a heart attack and try to pay attention to see if your arm is going numb - but you don't have any intention of really stopping, and so pray something like "Dear Lord, please let me not be having a heart attack right now as I go around this 90-degree bend in the road."
- You will see some of the most spectacular views that you have ever seen in your life.
- When you finally get into familiar territory, you will abandon your quest to travel the road less traveled and take the major highways home, hence being able to take deep breaths again.
|Rainbow in Maryland on the way home -|
did I mention it was raining the whole time?
Do I regret taking the road less traveled? It's fifty-fifty. Half of myself is glad to have done so - the other half wonders why I put myself through all that stress. But then both halves agree - it was certainly a memorable 24hr. trip.