Somewhere near Ellijay, GA
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
I am sitting at a picnic table in the dark near a huge manmade lake* somewhere in the mountains of northwest Georgia. I’m near Ellijay, which is a town I visited some four years ago with my friend Elizabeth. I’m on my way to see her in Alabama, actually.
It’s oddly fitting that I ended up here in Ellijay, because it was my trip there and back again in 2014 that started me on the path to this trip. It was that road trip that made me realize I was invisible (middle aged women, particularly those with a certain amount of extra tum, are invisible) and thus, for the first time in my life, oddly safe traveling alone. Thus was hatched an idea, and then a plan, and then a bunch of weird shit went down and so here I am, back in Ellijay, where it all began. I also started writing a horror novel set in this town (I’ve been here now twice in my life, both times in October, and Ellijay has a . . . weird. . . obsession. . . with scarecrows) which sort of explains a bit about how I feel about it. I did have to remind myself this afternoon in the middle of one of my multiple panic attacks that the chances of me being seized for sacrifice to the scarecrow god are remote at best. If you never hear from me again, though, that’s what happened. I’ll be fighting my way through the secret tunnels to Asheville. Can’t believe I never finished that! Whoo! Still! When I was here before I had no idea there was a HUGE LAKE! I am fond of lakes! Go lakes, say I! Much better than scarecrows.
I left around 1:00 pm. I got here around 6. I cannot believe I drove the truck and the camper this far and conversely, I cannot believe we only got this far. Ellijay is 133 miles from Asheville. Granted I’m about 10 miles on the far side of Ellijay, but. I averaged 25 miles an hour. It is all very well to say that this trip is about the journey and not the destinations, about taking my time and not following a clock, and it’s even true, but. 25 MPH? This is not good. I would like to get to the west coast before I die of old age.
It was scary. My truck cannot make it uphill. We go so slowly, I feel for everyone behind me. The road made me dizzy and it went, as JRR wisely observed, ever on and on. I panicked a little several times. I had to talk out loud to myself in a calming manner. I talked to the garmin. I talked to the truck. And I made it here, even if it did take way too long.
The Woodring campground is at the end of a very long road on which there is, really, nothing. I asked the nice lady at the gate, do you have any spaces for one night? “One night?!?” she exclaimed, and I thought, oh god, no, I can’t, I can’t face that long road back to wherever the fuck I can go, but yes, they did have a space. They won’t by the weekend, I was told proudly, it is APPLE TIME. Huh. October in Georgia. Who knew? Still, on a Tuesday night, there were spaces. The problem is, the spaces are scenically distributed around the aforementioned huge lake and you have to back into them. Well.
“I am, uh,” I said to the lady, “Not very good at backing up.” The lady laughed incredulously. “Oh dear,” she said, “That isn’t good! You have to back up!” So she summoned her husband.
“Come with me,” he said, “and we’ll take a look and see if you think you can get into any of these spaces.”
So we proceeded slowly in his car around the campground, which is super scenic and requires rather major backing up skillz. I thought desperately about leaving and then thought no, I can’t, I can’t drive any more tonight.
“That one,” I said, “I bet I can get in there.”
So we duly went up and I got Moby and Amelia and we came on down to give it a try.
It didn’t go very well.
But, thank the gods of good samaritans, this perfectly lovely couple showed up and asked if I could use some help.
“Absolutely!” I said, and they laughed like crazy and then the man jumped in my truck and proceeded to back the whole rig up into the campsite about 2 easy peasy minutes. And here I am. I am not sure I can ever leave. And thank the GODS that Rvers are such a nice crowd. People said they were, but I didn’t quite believe it. I am starting, though, to get an idea just how nice all these people are. They keep parking my rig for me! Thank all the gods that ever were!
The campsite is beautiful. I can see the lake. Unfortunately, it’s about a mile from the bath house and I am not unhitching, nope, uh uh, no how. So I had to use Amelia’s toilet for the very first time.
It is small. Yes, very small. I am large. Very large. So that was interesting but we both survived and then, I went to flush. Whoops. I should have practiced that. I could figure out how to get water IN the toilet but not how to get, um, water, OUT. It turns out you must push the same lever, only harder and suddenly the valve will open. This is a good thing because I was about to despair.
There’s no power now though. A different couple stopped by to tell me this when they saw me out with a flashlight helplessly flipping breakers on the power pole. Power still confuses me and I was afraid I had blown a fuse. I have no idea WTF to do when that happens as it surely will. I have a half page of illegible notes on it, but I know already from my previous adventures with the awning and the toilet and everything that they will not be useful. So I’m actually quite pleased by the power outage, as it is a problem about which I can do nothing.
It is certainly very dark, I must say, and I am glad I have this battery powered light and the battery powered fan? Has already earned its weight in gold. It’s fucking hot. It was hot in Asheville and I, like an idiot, drove south. Happy October, where it’s in the 80s at night. Ugh. But happy me, because I have done it, I have left Asheville, I am on a journey, a long journey of uncertain destination and here, oh here, whereever here is, I am.
- Carters Lake! You can look it up!