The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The drive

The drive up to the lodge where my brother and I hunted the week between Christmas and New Years was interesting but not eventful.

Interesting in a butt-cheeks grabbing the seat so hard it ripped the upholstery kind of way.

Everything was cool through Chattanooga. We hauled up I-75, little traffic and far fewer worries. At Chattanooga we bore off north and east. For a while all was good. Mountains all around. Snow on the mountains, on the ground and ice sheets on the sides of the mountains. Several of the mountains were cut away to make space for the road. Under the strata of rock were veins of coal, some higher than I am tall. I thought that was extremely cool.

The roads were clear.


Well. As a chronicler, it is my duty to lay it out as it happened, set the record down correct and so forth.

Shag had a set of directions. I had a set of directions. His, as I understand, came about by an internet mapping program and calling the lodge for directions.

Mine were done by Google Earth. I prefer GE when mapping out because it lets me see the terrain and the kinds of roads, within some limits of course. Gives me an idea of where I am.

We followed Shag’s directions, which I wound up losing, but did not know that until we’d followed the directions onto what was either state highway, county highway or an ancient moonshiner’s road through the mountains. Possibly it was an Indian trail.

Regardless, we had to cross a mountain.

We called the Lodge for help. When we finally got a signal through on his cell phone, they explained we were probably some 30-45 miles away.

Ah easy. We’d be there within 30 minutes.

Had this been S. Georgia, yes this would be true.

This was in the mountains where miles traveled does not equate to time spent traveling. It was about 2 hours to get there.


There were no road shoulders.

The pavement ended. The pavement crumbled at the edge of the road. The pavement fell thousands of feet down.

The road was narrow. By narrow I mean two logging trucks could not have easily passed, if at all.

Some places you’d make a turn and look back to see your own tail lights 100 feet above or below you.

Yes. Shag drove slowly. Very slowly.

The passenger side of Shag’s truck is now form-fitted to me. The floorboards are bulged where I pushed the invisible brake hard enough to develop leg cramps. The armrest is now contoured to fit my fingers.

At that we later learned THOSE roads were sterling examples of the state Department of Transportation. Other roads we traversed were NOT wide enough for two vehicles to pass. If someone was coming the other way, one of you backed up to a curve where that person parked on the side of the mountain to let the other person pass.

Provided, of course, the road wasn’t frozen. If the road was frozen … I dunno. I don’t wanna know.

We don’t get iced roads in South Georgia. They do up there.

Our guide explained when the roads ice up you have to keep the vehicle speed up to keep control. Shag rode off with the guide one morning taking a road which was impassable the day before. He reported the truck fishtailed across the road, which was still frozen.

When Shag got out of the guide’s truck, the seat cushion was pulled up into a miniature volcano shape.

The ride back saw us take a different route. Still mountains, but 4-lane roads. At that, the recommended return route was a bit different than mine too.

Still by taking that way, we shaved more than an hour off our travel time.

It was a good ride. More to come, and yes I'll get to the hunts.

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