This scenery is not too far from my home.
I took this photo in early November.
To say that my new place is located in a remote area far from town would be no exaggeration. In fact, I can safely assert that it's in an extremely remote area, very far from town.
When I first saw it in a real estate listing, my cousin Nancy and I decided to drive out and see it before I contacted the realtor.
I was a Tennessee mountain virgin, fresh from the flatlands of West Texas. The narrow mountain roads that we piloted seemed more taxing and dangerous with every curve. I usually don't get easily intimidated, but by the time we were halfway there I was tightly grasping my seatbelt with both hands as if it was a rosary - - and fervently praying to the Powers Above to save my ass if we go over a cliff..
With each unexpected turn, with every harrowing curve, I had unwholesome expectations of plunging off the road and tumbling down to hades - never to be heard from again. And that was with my cousin driving. I absolutely could not imagine driving there myself, utterly alone.
The scenery was gorgeous, and the place was in the kind of location that I had always secretly dreamed of living in - - but the drive to get there was a wicked carnival ride from hell.
Even after I finally purchased the house, I was more than apprehensive about driving there. In fact, the first few times that I went, I had my cousin drive. Along the way, I kept trying to mentally ingest landmarks that I could remember - - in the event that I'd get hopelessly lost or plunge down an unexpected embankment when I was alone.
"Are you sure it's only ten miles from town?" I asked.
"Well, maybe fifteen."
"Holy crap, Nancy, we started out an hour ago. We must have gone fifty miles. The sun is setting already."
"It only looks like it's setting because we're in the mountains."
"My God, I'll need a compass and several days worth of supplies. Are you sure we're still in Tennessee?"
We were indeed in Tennessee but - in truth - I am only a few miles from the Kentucky border.
To condense an extremely long story (and not a moment too soon) I've finally almost gotten used to the long mountain drive - - although I'm still genuinely terrified every inch of the way.
The first time I went there alone, I drove about 10 MPH, riding the breaks, and grasping the steering wheel with the grip of a boa constrictor.
Lately I'm able to execute the journey (what a frightening verb) at 25 MPH - - and my heart rate is only about 350 beats a minute. I'd call it progress.
In absolute truth, I live about 15 miles from town, but the perilous road makes it seem much, much longer. I can get there in twenty minutes - - if I really apply myself and have enough beer.
I only threw in the beer part to scare you. Maybe.
One day last week I was in town much later than I had expected to be. It was starting to get dark and horrific thunderstorm unleased its fury.
I made it only as far as my cousin Nancy's house and decided to stop. At least for enough time to summon some courage. She invited me to stay overnight, but I eventually decided to embark on the harrowing journey home.
Hell, I'm a man, not a mouse. But I more than occasionally have a craving for cheese.....
The ride home was beyond terrifying. The rain was torrential all the way. The road was pitch black - - not a light anywhere. I literally crawled along the dangerous curves, without being able to see a thing except for the feeble white line on the road. I was too scared to even pray.
When I finally arrived home in one piece, I breathed a sigh of relief so loud that it was undoubtedly heard in Kentucky.