Friday, May 7, 2010

Random Post - My Drive

Okay this will be a random post where I will wax poetic about Spring. Wow, Spring has come to Western North Carolina in a big way. I get to experience it everyday because of my drive to and from work. A few weeks ago it was brown and dry and then a few trees began blooming and then BOOM, an explosion of green happened and it is just so beautiful that I can barely describe it but I will try. I only wish that I could actually stop the car and take pictures but that is virtually impossible when I am driving to work. So instead I borrowed a few images from the internets so you can see a little of it. The first picture is mine and is right in front of the house.

As I have mentioned before, the drive from my house to work is give or take 45 minutes. Sometimes 40, sometimes 50 but always around that time. My ride from work takes me from our house down a winding road to the major highway that will take me directly to work. The problem is the major highway is only a few miles long before the major highway turns into a 2 lane road up the mountain. But the first leg of my trip is nice. I drive by the river that is in front of our house, then through the neighborhood. There are several trees that are so beautiful and a few cute houses on the road. The ride isn't that long but there are areas that I can only describe as quaint and cute.

The major highway is nothing to look at until you hit The Catamount Gap. The Catamount Gap is between Sylva and Cullowhee. The Gap is pretty now because there are flowers and some green leaves and trees coming out of the rocks. But the Gap is the best during Fall. OMG during Fall it is so gorgeous. After going through the Gap, you can make a turn and there is Western North Carolina University. It sort of just appears out of nowhere. The campus is not huge but it's a pretty good size. Even after I pass the main entrance, the campus continues for a mile or so. But I still have a 35 minute drive after I hit the University.

There is nothing for a few miles except the road and the Elementary school. Then you enter the a mountain pass until you get dropped off in Tuckasegee. This is probably the best part of my drive. You enter this "town" and you start seeing houses and farms. There is a gas station or two and a little convenience store and also a little Mexican Tienda (store). On the right side of the road, is the river. The drive is so wonderful because you twist and turn and every so often catch a glimpse of the river. And on the mountainside you see an occasional house. Although you can barely see any houses anymore because there is too many trees blocking them. The road is filled with colors and because it's farmland, it still is pretty flat.

After Tuckasegee my drive takes me into the mountains. It starts slow at first with a flat part that leads me by the river, the power plant, a climb and turn that is cool because once you make the turn, a waterfall appears. The drive through here is often in the shade because no light gets through. After the waterfall you come upon the covered bridge that leads to, I suspect, a housing development. Then the climb begins.

I usually don't see much except the road during this part of the drive although the other day I realized that the mountains were no longer just brown. Now you see green! It is beautiful because depending on the time of day, you get the light filtering through the trees hitting the road. I noticed that now on my ride home, I am getting so much more shade because the trees are full of leaves. And the other morning, when it was raining and foggy, the road took on a whole different feel. It almost seems like my ride is so different everyday.

I almost can't describe how beautiful it is sometimes. It is beautiful and peaceful unless some jerk is on my ass tailgating me. This doesn't happen often because usually in the morning, I can be the only car on the road for the whole way but every so often there are others driving around that time. Now that summer is coming, the tourists and the part-time residents are appearing so I am seeing more traffic and that harshes my mellow. But honestly, the traffic is nothing compared to driving in a city. And when I am the only one on the road, I can actually take in more of the beautiful scenery.

My mini-car is perfect for this ride since it is so low to the ground and hugs the curves. The road is so narrow that many times, the cars coming on the other side are in my lane. That freaks me out some, but I have gotten used to it. I also have gotten used to the curves. A few weeks ago, I would take it really easy on some curves but now I can take them without even putting on the brakes. When it rains, a drive a lot slower because up in the mountain there is only that little guardrail between you and a plunge down the mountain. Luckily, the trees block that view now so if you crash through the railing, you won't see the drop-off.

Although this is totally a mountain climb, you see the occasional house or church but not too many. Sometimes I see these steep driveways up to god knows where but I figure some fancy expensive house has been built there. I just can't imagine why you want to live way up there especially in the winter but I bet most of those houses are second or vacation homes.

I know I am at the worst part of the drive when I reach the hairpin turn. This baby is tricky and usually people tend to slow way down because it is a bad turn. The problem is when I am going to work, the turn slows me up and it's uphill from there. So the mini-car, that has absolutely no power, must chug up the hill. I am sure I have been cursed at once or twice for driving too slow but once you reach the top, the road splits and the slowbies can move over and let the traffic pass.

Once that is over, you head into the town of Glenville. There is nothing much in Glenville during the first part of the ride. There are 2 gas stations, a few building and some roads leading up to houses. There are 2 restaurants that I know of, a Victorian Inn and some boats you can rent. They have a main Street but basically it is a strip mall and then a few other random buildings. Most of the residential areas of Glenville are at the lake. I always know that once I see the cemetery, Glenville Lake is right around the curve.

This is my second favorite part of the drive. Oh the lake is beautiful whether it is sunny or gloomy. It is a pretty big lake and it has houses all around. It is always something to see. Some mornings, it is foggy and the lake looks creepy like something out of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel. I love that. And the other day I actually saw a boater and a fisherman on the lake because the weather was so nice. For some reason, I never get tired of driving by the lake.

After the lake, it is a pretty dull ride up through more mountains. There are a few random houses and businesses but not that much. A few weeks ago, they started expanding the road to add another lane and it is a pain because they are actually taking pieces off the mountain to expand the road so often they stop the traffic.

Once I hit the other school in town, I know that it's just one more big mountain to go up and then down to Cashiers (pronounced Cashers). Cashiers is really cute. There are a few nice strip malls and a restaurant or two. I hit the crossroads and go straight until I find the street to turn on and take a drive up to school. Problem is that most of that ride is on a dirt road. The mini-car hates dirt roads and especially ones that get big giant potholes after it rains. The only good thing is that the dirt road reminds me of my life in Santa Fe since we lived on a dirt road that was often full of big giant potholes.

That is it. My ride to work. The ride home is the same but different because the time of day makes the road and mountains look totally different. Spring has definitely sprung in WNC. The mountains are no longer brown and dry, they are about 20 different shades of green with random specks of orange and red. It actually looks like a fluffy tapestry covering the landscape. It is just gorgeous. I lived in a lot of places but I think this has got to be the most beautiful. Sometimes, I can't even believe how pretty it is. Nature is fantastic.

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