Monthly Archives: November 2014

We Went Somewhere (part two)


My husband, Fred, and I rarely get the urge to go somewhere. Our comfort zone is pretty much Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. Nevertheless, once in a while we get the urge. In part one I told you we decided to travel to Bryson City, North Carolina and ride the Smokey Mountain Railroad. The railroad ride was scheduled for Friday. It was the getting-there part on Thursday that almost did us in.

With the help of the psychotic people who give out driving directions at Bing maps, we ended up on the Tail of the Dragon. A nightmarish 318 curves in 11 miles on US-129. The torture finally ended as we turned onto US-74; a very straight, lovely, civilized highway. Because we had waited until the last minute to book our hotel accommodations, we were unable to get a room in Bryson City. We ended up about eight miles out of town in Hotel Whatchamacallit Village. I don’t want to be sued by Hotel Whatchamacallit Village, which is the reason I am calling it Hotel Whatchamacallit Village. Relieved to have arrived at the Hotel, we went into the main lobby to find…not a soul. We stood around for above five minutes. I was elected to do the polite hollering, “Heloooo” “Yoohoo”. Nothing. Nobody. Silence.

Fred had the bright idea to call the Hotel. Which I did. I heard a phone ringing somewhere. Finally a very young woman appeared from the somewhere and we announced our name and produced our reservation information. She politely notified us that it was 3:00 p.m. and check-in wasn’t until 4:00 p.m. Housekeeping had not yet cleaned the room. This was a relatively small Hotel. Check-out is 11:00 a.m. It isn’t like they have 400 rooms to clean or anything. Still, she had a point.

We decided to drive in to Bryson City to find the railroad terminal for our planned adventure the following day. I asked the young woman for a local tourist map. She said she didn’t have any.

I said, “This is a tourist area. Likely tourists come here to ride the Smokey Mountain Railway in Bryson City. Tourists are usually not from the immediate area and may need a tourist map.”

She just looked at me. So far she was winning this debate. I asked, “Can you tell us how to get to Bryson City from here?”

She asked, “You don’t have a map of North Carolina?”

I said, “We live in Tennessee. Why would we have a map of North Carolina?”

We spent the next hour and a half driving up and down US-74; West and then East and then West again. We finally stopped at one of the only three gas stations that apparently exists in North Carolina and bought a map.

We made it back to Hotel Whatchamacallit Village and proceeded to check in. The same young woman was at the desk. She announced proudly, “Hey, I found the maps!”

I’m a non-violent, Christian woman. Good thing.

In all fairness to Hotel Whatchamacallit Village, the accommodations were fine…except…we had a king-sized bed that sounded like you were in the hull of a pirate ship whenever you climbed in and out of the thing. If you lay perfectly still, it was comfortable; roll over while asleep and it sounded like we were under enemy fire. That and the restaurant wanted you to sign over your life insurance money for a cheeseburger.

Other than that though, it was fine.

(Check back in about ten days for Part Three…the conclusion (I promise)

Recent blog post of Linda S. Browning




We Went Somewhere (part one)


Now, we are home. And, nevermore shall we roam.

My husband, Fred, and I live in a lovely home in a lovely retirement community. We are surrounded by pristine lakes, trees, majestic mountains, and old people. It’s great. Our retired neighbors and friends are always going somewhere. Mexico, Hawaii, New York, Washington, D.C. People are always going somewhere else. Every once in a while my husband and I question whether we are missing out by not going somewhere. About once a year we get the itch to blast out of our routines. It is never a good idea.

This year we decided to take a three hour trip to ride the Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City, North Carolina. We figured the fall colors would be awesome. They were. Because we don’t travel Fred and I do not have a GPS (global positioning something). We navigate via maps and the internet people who specialize in providing road trip directions to GPS deprived individuals.

Fred decided he liked the Bing map directions. He printed them off and away we went to go somewhere. The road trip took us through Lenoir City, Tennessee. We “turned right” onto US-129 which would take us into North Carolina. US-129 was only 32.7 miles. We had no idea US-129 is also called “Tail of the Dragon”. 318 curves in 11 miles. Wiggling up the mountain.

What a nightmare. Fred spent 32.7 miles tap-dancing between the brake and gas pedal. I spent 32.7 miles under the dashboard. I am not fond of heights. At one point Fred announced we were approaching a “scenic overlook”. I hate them. I know what thousands of miles straight down looks like, and I don’t like it.

Check it out.  Sheesh.