Carters Lake, Near Ellijay, GA – Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, near Birmingham, AL
Do you know that feeling when a drive that should take maaaaybe 5 hours at the outside takes, instead, SEVEN AND A HALF? If you don’t, I envy you. You are a creature of beautiful and blessed innocence. I have learned several valuable lessons today, among them:
- Fuck the back roads. This seemed like a good idea, and it worked for William Least Heat Moon, but that was a long time ago and the world has changed. I can’t hack the back roads. I don’t know what kind of hippie crack I was smoking that made me think I would meander among beautiful country roads, stopping here and there to take undyingly beautiful pictures of, I don’t know, barns. And ruins. And roadside attractions. But the thing is, by the time I spot something cool – the Cat Museum! Bill’s Bargain Barn! Actual ruins! A giant frog made of lawnmower parts! A clock tower in a cow pasture (yes, I am a dork: what are we, in Fillory? I said) – it’s too late, I have passed them. And I can’t turn the trailer around. U turns are a no go with a trailer in tow. Plus, there’s nowhere to make a U turn, the maddened local residents in line behind me are already planning my imminent demise. Plus, I’m already running behind and behinder. Plus, there is nowhere to pull over. When you are 32 feet long, truck and trailer, and you can’t back up, parking options become a little, uh, more limited. I guess I thought I would be driving horses through the goddamn gingerbread forest and it would be easy to pull over at the enchanted fountain. It might have been quicker, that’s for fucking sure. 25 MPH. That’s my average. TWENTY FIVE. This is not going to work. If I wanted to go THIS slow, I’d kayak to Colorado. Also, there’s scenic and there’s scenic and then there’s 30 straight miles of fucking pine trees and methed up farmers in beat toyotas shooting me the finger when they finally manage to pass.
- I need to stop setting myself artificial deadlines and then sticking to them like glue. I was DETERMINED to get here tonight. And that determination, along with the time change (time change! It’s an hour earlier here! I’ve been here before and yet every single time it completely screws me up!) that the Garmin knew about and I didn’t, made my evening miserable. Caveat, though: I was right. I got the last camping slot in this entire park and I am incredibly lucky to have even gotten it. I’m exhausted and fuck it, I think I will just live here forever and never drive anywhere again, but I got the last slot.
- I need coherent backup plans. I wish I was a “I’ll just sleep over there!” kinda gal, and maybe by the time this trip is over I will be, but I’m not there yet. I’m still at “I want electricity and running water and friendly people” and also, it’s hot as hell here and I need AC. And so when I decided this would be where I would shoot for, I wasn’t flexible enough to change it. Which is bad, because if they had been out of slots when I got here I would have been FUCKED, FLUSTERED AND FAR FROM HOME. I honestly don’t know what the hell I would have done, besides cry and beg to be allowed to use the bathroom.
But I did make it and my Birmingham friends are going to be kind enough to come all the way out here tomorrow, yay! And I am going to go into B-ham for a day or two as well, also yay! So the next couple of days look eminently, but eminently, doable. And, OMG, y’all, this park is decorated for Halloween. Like, that is what this place is all about – HALLOWEEN. And I like Halloween. So I am very very happy although I wish I had brought some of my own decorations! NOTE I WENT OUT AND GOT SOME DECORATIONS OF COURSE i DID but hey are just one or two pictures of THE INSANITY THAT IS TANNEHILL AT HALLOWEEN. There will be more!