Escaping the Holler




Yesterday morning, after everyone was up and at 'em, I felt a sudden urge to go.. somewhere.. anywhere. At first I considered Greenville, TN, but for reasons I've yet to figure out, I always end up morbidly depressed when I go there. Considering how my mind's been acting lately, I thought maybe that wouldn't be a good idea. After some thought, I decided to take a drive up Fall Branch, through switchback curves, over rushing creeks with breath taking views and lots of quaint little farms. After an hour of navigating a highway that would make most NASCAR drivers wet their Fruit of the Looms, you hit civilization again, with Wally World, K-Mart and bunches of touristy little roadside shops.

Getting out of town was a little complicated, a bunch of pseudo bikers were blocking the pumps at the Pump n' Go. While they stood there talking, seeing me in my big ass obnoxious Silverado, waiting for my turn, I think I made the Amazon a little nervous. I was all like... "Move your ass and your sad little scooters before I call some real bikers," as I gently rolled big ol' Jolene right up on them.

And they did.

Tourists are great. All ya'll come on down to the holler any time you want. But remember, this is a town, not feckin' Dollywood. We live here, we're not hillbilly actors playing a part for your entertainment. And sweet Lord Almighty, stop letting litte precious and her brother Skippy play in the middle of the road. It's a STATE HIGHWAY where sheriff's deputies chase meth dealers down off the mountain on a daily basis and 18-wheelers make daily deliveries up at the plant. I'd hate to see little Skippy plastered to the front of a Peterbuilt, nothing left but his cute little red Crocs laying on the yellow line.

We have shit to do people. Gawd.

Anywho...

So we headed out.. finally. I wish I could have taken more pictures up Fall Branch. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Western N.C. You follow the two lane highway up and out of town, following the swollen creek, with giant rocks and moss covered banks and curves so steep you can almost see your own tail lights ahead of you as you creep around them. In spots, the two lane narrows to a lane and a half, so sometimes you just pray nothing's coming and take the half down the middle. Along the way, there are houses with log foot bridges and contraptions on pulleys with swing seats attached to move across the creek. Occasionally, as you climb ridges with names like Betsy and Bluff, you pass a well paved road, meandering straight uphill, blocked by giant iron gates like those you'd expect to see in Los Angeles, with little intercom boxes attached to a post. I've heard rumors that one of the Mandrell sisters lives on one of the estates, she owns a nightclub over in Maggie Valley. I've also heard Reba McEntire and Dolly live up in those hills, but I don't think it's true.

There are organic farms and huge log McMansions surrounded by pastures populated with expensive horses while just across the road you'll find a big old abandoned farm house, the forgotten porch swing still swaying quietly in the breeze, where the fields are so over grown, the road leading to what's left of the barn is no longer detectable.

The views are awe inspiring, but there aren't many places to pull over. When I reached the section known as "the flats," where there was a decent chance of getting a few shots, the skies opened up and dumped about a gazillion gallons of water straight down on us.

When we came out on the other side, I got a little disoriented. I'm gonna need for people to stop moving the damn Wal-Mart, my only landmark. We ended up all over the town on the other side of the hills.

While driving around, I pulled in to a shopping center and spotted a big outlet store. It looked sorta crappy, the Amazon wasn't very enthused about going inside, but I talked her into it. We both ended up coming out of there with a bag full of deals.

We finally did end up at a spiffy new Wal-Mart, but totally by accident. We had to. Ma gave us a list. Afterwards, I had to ask how to get back to Frog Pond Holler. Luckily, there was a lady from the rez working at the gas station... because the white dude didn't have a clue.

On the long drive home, the Amazon was forced to listen to me caterwailling to my new $5 Barry Manilow cd. Don't panic ya'll, I also bought Motley Crue Live and Styx.

It's been FOREVER since I last bought myself a cd. It felt nice.

Anywho...

I'd better get some clothes washed, since I lollygagged all over God's creation yesterday. Ya'll have a good one. We'll talk again soon.

Later Taters!