Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good townspeople come to the aid of a gal in distress

I'm not going to even pretend that I saw Charlottesville. I did a total road trip foul yesterday by 1) staying outside of town in the business sector and 2) eating at a chain restaurant. Driving into Charlottesville, honestly, overwhelmed me a little. Too many cars and too many students crossing the streets. I'll need to do a proper trip some other time. (N? You know you want to drive me around C'ville.) But this morning, I just got back on rt 64 and headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
At the first visitor center, there's a replica 19th century farm that was cute and rustic.

The drive was kinda like yesterday's, but had a different feel. Crews were mowing the sides of the parkway, giving it a clean look, rather than a woodsy feel. There were plenty of vistas, though the lookouts were smaller. The weather was about the same, so the pictures came out about the same. I won't bore you with more gray distant mountain shots.

About 30 miles in, I saw a sign for Steeles Tavern (sic). I turned off the Parkway, thinking maybe this would be a cool watering hole. And because I didn't like the sweeping changes in altitude and what it was doing to my brakes.

In case you're ever in the same situation, do not go to Steeles Tavern from the Parkway. At first, I thought it was cool that I was suddenly going down down dowwwwn in hairpin-type s-curves with nowhere to pull over at 20 mph with signs that all vehicles should be in a low gear. It was deep woods, houses here and there, waterfalls. Beautiful (though depressed). But after a while, I started to hear something. Like a chain dragging behind me. I pulled into a driveway and looked under the car. Nothing. Back in the car, I heard it again. Getting worse. Frack. Finally, I got to an intersection (rts 56 and 11). I came to a stop at the Steeles Tavern Post Office. Wait--it's a TOWN?! Yeah, it's a town. Zip code 24476 (most of the numbers had fallen off the PO building facade). Oy, what a shit am I for breaking down here.

However, next to the PO is Walker Auto Parts. I sweetly explained my situation with my biggest aw-shucks smile and asked whether anyone could take a look at my car. Several very kind people took turns coming out to look at the car, look under the car, look in at the wheels/brakes/whatever's in there.

Mechanic dude: You just done come down off the mountain, didncha? Happens all the time. Gots to put it in a low gear.
Me: Yeah. And I did put it in a low gear, but . . . 
MD: Well, a lower gear then. [??] It's hot, see. Can't even nearly touch the hub caps, it's so hot. You just let'er cool down a bit; she'll be fine.

So, I let'er cool down. I journaled for a while. People kept coming out to talk to me. All saying the same thing. And after a half hour, I went to the shop, thanked everyone again, and took off. All good. No more mountains for the Focus. We stayed on rt 11 south toward Roanoke. And saw another pesky dino. This time causing trouble on an old Dodge.
Then I saw this:
I actually backed up to get that picture. Then I looked up onto a hillside:
I started to drive in, but there was a biker couple all alone and getting frisky by the entrance. The place appeared deserted; can't believe it didn't make it big. I left the bikers be. And ended up at the stately looking Natural Bridge. When I paid the $18 entrance fee (only to see the bridge, not the caverns), I realized why they could afford to have a grand building with pillars to house all the shitty souvenirs inside.
Okay, this dinosaur thing is starting to get weird:
On the walk down to the bridge, everyone was enthralled by this tree and taking pics. Eh, sure. Why not?
 The Natural Bridge is cool. Not 18 dollars' worth of cool, but fine, whatever.
Oh, and my ticket also got me "in" to the Monacan Village.

I'm assuming this is where the human sacrifices took place:
Walking back, I noticed this on a sign. The editor in me thinks the quote a bit too vague. Was Tommy absolutely talking about the Natural Bridge *pinky to lips*?
And I don't know what I think of this next "offering." Dude, it's just a bridge, not Babylon. And, personally, I think the no-smoking icon just cheapens the whole thing.
After you've paid the exorbitant entrance fee, you can give them more money by buying a . . . wait--Boston represent! 
Back at the parking lot, I saw this life-size wax figurine that has a weird grin and swings back and forth. Creepy factor: 11.
Finally, to Roanoke. But then hideously lost in Roanoke, with no detailed map. I'm now well acquainted with the Hollins/Roanoake/Salem area. I told a woman later in the day about being lost. "Honey, the whole thing is a circle. And if you look up, you're always surrounded by mountains. It's easy, see." ?? But I found my Hampton Inn (I now have an Honors Membership, so put that in your pipe and smoke it), but you will not see a picture this time. I'm giving this HI a timeout for 1) a very obvious hair on the toilet and 2) a weird bug I just smacked the shit out of.

I had dinner (in addition to the beer).
And then I went to the mall. Just 'cause. And as I walked by this guy, I thought, how the hell does he wear leather pants in this heat? He must smell otherworldly. Yeah, it's a fucking statue. Third day in this state, and I just don't understand Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. Virginia is a state that lets its Freak Flag fly! FASCINATING. Thanks for all the bizarro-ness.