So here goes!.... Btw, this is a slightly long one so consider yourself forewarned on that.
|Pic of the town of Gatlinburg, TN.|
I do not like heights. This fact was not birthed from a childhood incident but rather recent. Like 3 years of so ago. Why so suddenly? Hell if I know. It just is. Although I’ve gotten a lot better with driving over tall bridges & tall bridges above water, it’s still something that I have to deal with.
So onto my story of our Gatlinburg, TN trip. As I may have mentioned earlier this week, my daughter had a cheer competition there. I had known about this since the gym issued the competition schedule back in the summer. After spotting the location on the schedule, I immediately pondered the drive. Whether or not it included tall bridges or not. I even asked a few parents about it. Yes I did. They laughed and never gave me a concrete answer. Whatev’s.
Fast forward to about 2 months ago, my brother decided to roll with us. Thank God! And again, I considered the drive cause I needed to know what I was up against. I wondered should I drive half way there and have my brother drive the rest or vice versa. Yes, all of these things would be considered. But I needed more info. I tried googling the drive for bridges but couldn’t find anything. But I just knew….
|Bridge at Vicksburg, MS by Michael Gilliam|
Okay. So of course we take that route. I start the drive, cause frankly (And I love my brother dearly.) my brother drives at a snails pace. Love you, Bro! Just my perspective. Okay, maybe not that slow but he’s definitely one of those extra, extra cautious drivers who waits for the oncoming driver who’s two blocks away to pass before turning onto the street. Seriously. So back to me driving because I just wanna get to get there.
The four or so hour drive was easy-breezy. Really simple. There were a few long bridges over water but it was no biggie for me. No major inclines occurred… That is until we go thru Pigeon Forge headed into Gatlinburg. It was quite obvious that we were in mountain country seeing as we were going up a steep (at times), windy highway. I felt a little tense but was more of less fine since there were a lot of other cars on the road along with us. On top of which, it was dark so I couldn’t really see any big drops and I stayed in the opposite lane from any ledges. *Yes, it’s like that.*
So we finally enter Gatlinburg and got final directions to the cabin from Cheer Mom 1. So I’m driving thru the town traffic looking for a short side street that would lead to them. And of course, my assumption is wrong. So I finally get to make the turn that I was told to make. And before I go any further, please note that just about every DAMN STREET had either a serious incline or descent. MOUNTAINS!!
Anyhoo, this road is a lot less populated because it’s going away from downtown GAT. And as we continue driving … I say we but it’s me while my brother is remarking about knowing we’re in a mountainous area because of the terrain. Anyhoo, we go down some long, and at times, windy dark street. *Faint heart palpitations begin.* Finally, making a turn onto a beast of a dark and sharply inclined street. *Oh damn. Please God, let our cabin be down a hill after this one.* Unfortunately, we continue going up (and sometimes down) this narrow –ass, windy, “darker than dark” road. *Heart rate slightly elevated. Breathe in. Breathe out.* I finally see some light. Its a few cabins—hanging on the sides of the mountains. * I swear that’s what it looked like to me.* And unfortunately, these cabin no’s were in the 300’s. Our cabin no. was in the 600’s. DAMMIT!!
So I continue driving on this tight-ass, windy road. By this time, I can see that there is a drop-off beyond the trees. The trees that are right next to this tight, windy road that I’m driving super slowly on to ensure that we do actually stay on it. *I slowly begin to cry on the inside.* My slightly elevated heart is guessing this drop-off is pretty high because my daughter just tells me that her ears have popped. In the meantime, my mind is telling me that gravity still works and will keep the car on the road. *It’s okay. Its gonna be fine.* However, the juice crew (my brother & daughter) have their own take on it.
Bro – “Oh, yeah. That’s a drop-off alright. I think we’re pretty high alright.”
Daughter – “I’m scared. I think I’m gonna cry.”
My thoughts – “DAMMIT, if y’all don’t pull it together & shut up! I’m this close to losin’ it!!”
My response – As calmly as I could I said, “Listen, I need you all to chill & keep me focused. Positive thought please. Positive thoughts."
*Breathe in. Breathe out. No sweaty palms. Stay calm.* And yes, I had to repeat this statement another time. Yes.
|Random pic.- I swear the only difference between this random pic and what the road actually was like was pavement and a few more trees. Just a few more.|
So we continue. My eyes glued to the snake-like road. We finally get to the cabin but it’s SO freakin’ dark that I’m not sure if it’s the right one. Should I go to the bottom right or the left? *Shit! Sick of driving this sh#t!* So I go to the bottom right down what looks like a steep descent into a bottomless night. But alas, I see a cabin. Quite a lovely one, too. Although, I can only say this now because at that moment it just looked like a savior. I parked the car, still not sure if it was the right cabin. Took my weak, shaky legs to the door and knocked, praying we’re at the right place cause there’s no possible way I can do any further driving. And fortunately, my daughter’s teammate appeared. *And the angelic chorus sang, “HAL-LE-LU-JAH”!!*
I yell to the car, “Come On! This is it!” Walked in the door and asked the mom for (a) a shot of Patron, (b) a therapist for me to lay this burden on or (c) a meditation room with aromatherapy and a masseuse. Instead, I promptly put the car key into my brother’s hand, looked him square in his eyes & told him, “From here on out, you got this.” Sat my shaken self down and thanked God my bro decided to come with us.
That is all.