Something happened several weeks ago, thought I should tell you about it. My Cali cousin says she loves it when I tell on myself here. Like Busted (Yeah Me.) So if you’re in good company with her, read on.
Clueless, That’s Me
I was thankful to join a few long time girlfriends in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina for a long weekend recently. We’ve done a summer trip together every five years or so and it’s been a gift to spend the time together, reacquaint.
So we leave the Charlotte airport, stop for lunch on the way, arrive at the main security gate of Connestee Falls late afternoon. It’s a lovely, long and windy drive up up the mountain to the house where we’re staying. Thankfully I don’t get motion sickness (grew up on sailboats) and those that do succumb, have already taken their Dramamine.
I’m sitting in the backseat, and honestly don’t pay much attention to the street names on the drive up. They’re all Native American names that I can’t pronounce. Many of the homes are on wooded lots set back from the road, barely visible. Tina mentions one street name as we near the house. Salola. And we remark that all the road names are Cherokee.
We arrive at the beautifully appointed home, Shepherd’s Croft, owned by mutual friends. It’s lovely and remote. There’s no cell service, and I realize there’s no wi-fi either. It’s situated in a dip of the mountain that doesn’t get it. We’ll be here for five days, and this will be an issue with the blog. They tell me there’s wi-fi at the Club House about a mile or so away, so that’s good. It’s nearly dark now, and the girls are kind enough to drive me over there so I can post for the next day, do some social media sharing. We wind around on steep roads, and I’m not really paying attention how we get there. We sit on the back veranda of the Club House with the gorgeous vista, see the giant orange orb slip quietly behind the mountains.
Later back at the house, Tina gives me good directions to the Club House so I can get there myself the next morning. I draw a little map. No street names, but it looks fairly simple, just a few hairpin turns. The confusing thing is the house is on a one way circle, maybe a half mile long. So I have to turn right out of the driveway, and double back around the circle just to get to “Go”. (That’s for you monopoly players.)
So I get up bright and early at 5:30 the next morning, head over to the Club House to do what I need to with the blog. Because we have big plans that day. And I don’t want to be the cause of a late start. The girls are fast asleep. I tiptoe out the door, quiet as a mouse. Get out my little map, and with the confidence of Hannibal, set out towards the Club House.
The sky is just getting light, and nothing looks remotely familiar. Trees, trees and more trees. Beautiful mountain views. More roads than I remember, and I don’t recognize any of the names. Cheestoonaya. Dvdegi. Isuhdavga. Kanasdatsi. Yeah. So I’m driving now, basically have no idea where I’m going. I don’t see signs for the Club House, but I do see deer. I make a three point turn on the steep road, turn around. And by some miracle, a little further up the road, see a sign that says Club House. I breathe a sigh of relief and my heart rate slows. By now it’s nearly 6 a.m. and I haven’t seen a human being yet. I drive in and park, get going on my work.
Round about 7:15, I finish what I need to do, head out to the parking lot. Don’t want the girls waiting or worried about me. I spy a beautiful deer and her spotted little fawn near the car. Bambi. I keep coming slowly, and it’s as if they don’t even notice me. They’re obviously used to people.
I take a right out of the parking lot. And glancing at my map, realize I don’t have a clue about how I got here, and even less of a clue about how I’ll get back. Clueless, That’s Me. Strangely, things look even less familiar than on the trip over. Except for the deer. I get nervous, turn around, retrace my steps to the Club House parking lot. Head inside, find a staff lady in the dining area.
Ask her if there’s a map. Tell her I’m a guest, don’t know how to get back to where I came from.
Naturally, she asks me the address of the mountain house where I’m staying. And I draw a blank.
Realize I have no clue what the address of the house I’m staying in is.
Somehow I left the house without bothering to check the address. Hello. No street name, no house number. Clueless, That’s Me. I try texting Tina, just in case she’s awake. But it doesn’t go through. Oh right. There’s no cell service. The only street name that comes to mind is Salola. So I guess that must be it and tell her I’m staying off Salola.
She finds Salola on the map, tells me her husband got lost, drove around the mountain for 45 minutes trying to find their house when they first moved here. (And I’m guessing he knew his address.) I ask her how large the Conestee Falls community is, and she tells me 3,500 acres. Right then and there I’m so grateful for her help. Because that could be me, driving aimlessly around this 3,500 acre gated community on the mountain. For like, forever. Then she offers for me to follow her car to Salola.
“No, no, I’ll be fine,” I say.
I don’t want to be any trouble. And she kindly insists. It’s about 7:35 a.m. now. And so I follow her car the five minute drive to Salola. We take several jogs and turns I would’ve never taken based on my sketchy map, and then she turns on her blinker, signaling a left hand turn for me. I’m so relieved, grateful. I smile and wave, thank God for this dear woman. I drive down Salola, follow it as it forks to the left, still seeing nothing familiar. Folks, I drive up and down the entire length of Salola three different times. Come to a dead end cul-se-sac each time. Then I drive round the curve, do it all over again. There’s just no one-way circle on Salola.
By now I’m thinking, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Yeah. And I’m worried that the girls are awake, ready to head out for the day. And I’ve got the car, no cell service, and not a clue where I am. Clueless, That’s Me.
More thoughts. Why oh why didn’t I drop breadcrumbs along the way? Eenie meenie minie mo. I turn left out of Salola, wondering where to go next. No address. No cell service. And the only ones to ask are furry, four-footed, and cloven-hoofed.
Then I remember. Either Tina or the kind lady who brought me to Salola told me there are several main roads on the mountain with a single yellow line down the middle. And each one eventually leads you to one of three main gates. It’s 8:15 now, and the girls must be worried sick about me. I nervously check the gas gauge, relieved it’s at half a tank.
So I drive randomly ’til I come to a road with a yellow middle line, Connestee Trail. Aha. The yellow brick road. Relieved, I turn left again, follow the road as it twists and turns, several miles all the way down the mountain ’til I arrive at a security gate. Never in my life am I so relieved to see a security guard.
I park behind the little station, knock lightly on the door and breathlessly recount my ridiculous tale. That I don’t even know the address of the house I’m staying in. And I’ve been driving around now for an hour and fifteen minutes. He keeps a straight face, asks the name of the home owner, which I thankfully know. And he’s able to find an address based on the name. The next confusion is that they own two homes in Connestee Falls, so I once again mention the fateful name Salola, which is all I’ve to go on. He finds the house and address. Pulls out a map. Highlights where I’m going in yellow. Thank God. My temporary address is apparently on Oakanoah, an immediate right hand fork off Salola at the very beginning. Somehow in all the excitement of arriving I missed that significant turn as we drove in yesterday. Sigh.
I thank him, follow his map closely, head back up the mountain. Take the immediate turn off Salola onto Oakanoah, which eventually becomes a one way circle at the end. A missing digit on the house number sign by the road causes me to bypass it the first time. But I complete the circle and start around again. By process of elimination, I pick the correct driveway and I’m “home.”
Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
It’s the right house, says Shepherd’s Croft on it. And I’m so so relieved. Inhale, exhale. I can’t even tell you. It’s 8:35 now, and my heart rate is just slowing. Boy do I have an adventure to tell the girls. I feel terrible having kept them waiting, and I’m incredibly relieved to not be randomly driving around the mountainside. Noiselessly, I turn the door knob, quietly enter the mountain house. All is dark, silent.
The girls, are fast asleep.