Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
I used to like Robert Frost and this poem. Then I drove the back roads of Kentucky.
It started with following my mapquest directions to Whitetop, Virginia, where I was meeting my college roommates for a weekend getaway in the mountains. The gradual slope from five lane highways to three lanes, to the eventual one and a half lane roads was fine with me because the scenery was worth it.
(I have to ask the obvious-why does Eastern Kentucky insist on making roads that are one lane, but then sometimes open up into two lanes, only to quickly go back to one lane? Is it simply to toy with our minds? It did create a fun challenge for this city driver to see how many vehicles I could manage to pass with each section.)
So I continued following my directions. At one point, the road I was on became another road. However, mapquest neglected to tell me which direction to take it. So, using my normally keen sense of direction, I figured I would go south, since I was already heading that direction.
South took me up into the mountains, which really was breathtaking. The problem is, while driving, one should not be taking in the beauty while operating the vehicle-it could lead to problems like a flat tire. Or death. Thankfully, I did not experience either of these after I quickly jerked the car back from the thousands of open feet beneath the cliffs.
After ten miles, I realized I was not seeing signs for my next road. I kept trying to find a place to turn around, but after the 50th dangerous curve, I realized I would have to find a place of business to stop at since turning around on this particular road would most certainly lead to destruction.
I finally reached a gas station another six miles later and met very friendly people (Nick claims they were friendly because I am white and-in his opinion-hot) who all had an opinion on how I could reach the correct road. Even though I was only dressed in gym shorts and a t-shirt, I know my northern accent and apparently bad sense of direction made me look like a snobby city girl. They looked at me with a sense of pity. I felt like shouting, "I am a farmer's daughter!" Anyway, some men offered directions through a local town, which led the cashier to quickly state I would easily get lost. Finally, the consensus was to send me back from where I came from.
So, I took the road back to where I came from, went north (in order to eventually go south) and finally found the correct road. It only added an additional hour to my trip.
What kept me from losing my mind were four things:
1) I was driving alone and did not have to hear my husband saying, "I told you so" or seeing the frustration on his face.
2) I was using a rental car and not the van. I have a feeling if I was trying to maneuver the van on this road, I would have ended up sideways in a ditch.
3) I did not have the kids with me fighting with each other or whining about being hungry or bored.
4) The scenery was amazing. Driving through the mountains instead of around them was something worth experiencing.
Okay, so maybe the road not taken can be worth it. I got to see sights that most travelers have missed. And I met some nice and helpful people. There really is no reason to take the road I did (unless you really want to get gas in the middle of nowhere).
The ridiculous thing is that I almost made the same mistake on my way home. I do have a good sense of direction-I promise.