September 8, 2017
Last week I had a last-minute chance to attend a four-day women’s retreat in Goshen, VA. It was a fairly expensive event but I was given a scholarship to go, so I wasn’t about to turn down that down. Plus, it provided me with a road trip (about 850 miles total) so I was a happy camper on several fronts.
The retreat was held in the middle of some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. You know how I love my rural, picture-taking jaunts. Well, on Friday and Saturday afternoons during free time, I went out and just drove and drove and then drove some more. Absolute heaven.
On one particular trek, I ran across this quaint Post Office.
There was one lone mailbox standing sentry beside a sparsely traveled road.
The inside of the Post Office had a Norman Rockwell-ian vibe.
A few minutes after seeing the post office, I happened to see a rusted out pickup of some mysterious vintage parked at the end of a long driveway next to the mailbox. Stuck up in the windshield was a large, hand-printed sign that said, “Leave packages in here.”
I can just imagine that this particular mail delivery person had made a choice to turn a blind eye toward a decrepit Chevy being used as an official mail receptacle. I certainly got a good chuckle out of the whimsy and creativity of that particular Federal Mail Delivery System.
Here are some photos of some other sights along the way.
One particular thing I saw did not fall under the heading of natural beauty but was interesting in its own weird way.
This was near Natural Bridge, VA. I am not sure what its purpose is but hey. How often do you get to see a large sculpture of a woman’s face? (You’re welcome!)
As much as I enjoyed my jaunts and journeys, one particular trek took me down a road that was decidedly non-enjoyable.
I almost always avoid unpaved roads but somehow in my meanderings I found myself on a one-lane gravel road. I had seen a sign and arrow that said Turnpike Rd. and since I was running a little low on gas, I figured it was time to head back to civilization. In my opinion, Turnpike Rd. sounded like it would be a pretty well-traveled thoroughfare.
Well, it turns out my assumption was mistaken. The gravel road wasn’t taking me to Turnpike Rd. it was Turnpike Rd. And in that particular neck of the woods, I found that Turnpike Rd. simply meant that you were going to drive up a pike with a lot of turns.
Under any other circumstance, as soon as I saw the lay of the land I would have turned around immediately. However, I quickly discovered that ye olde Turnpike Rd. had narrowed dramatically and was barely wide enough for one car. There were no shoulders, no wide spots, no way to turn back unless I was to somehow find a way to levitate my car, do a 180 degree turn in the air and then come back down facing the other way.
It appeared as though I was getting ready to take a one-way trek up the side of a strange mountain whether I wanted to or not.
As the minutes and miles ticked past, I grew more and more uneasy. It was drizzly and overcast and I felt like I had been transported into a primordial, mist-filled existence, miles and eons and whole continents away from the peaceful beauty of the other roads I had just been so happily travelling.
Every minute or two, I would come up on a hairpin curve, each one taking me to an even higher altitude. I hadn’t seen a house or any sign of civilization in many minutes which certainly wasn’t a good feeling.
I was also worried about what would happen if I were to meet another vehicle coming the opposite way. Besides the possibility of a collision, there would be no way for us to get past each other.
On one side was a mountainous wall and on the other side (at various times) was a straight drop off with nary a guard rail to be seen. And that was another reason I didn’t want to attempt a three-point turn; I was afraid I would misjudge the available space and go sailing off the mountain. I really didn’t feel like becoming an object lesson for the old hymn, “I’ll Fly Away.”
Then just as I started worrying about a deer running out in the road and startling me into jerking the wheel, a deer actually did run out in front of me. Thankfully, since I had just been thinking about it, I wasn’t as startled as I might have been. I was also thankful the deer didn’t crash into my vehicle.
On top of the fog and the fear and the rain and the road that was leading me to the end of civilization, I was also dealing with three additional stressors: no cell service, an almost empty gas tank, and an almost full bladder. I was trying to picture what would happen if I damaged a tire on the rocky, gravely road and I was also trying NOT to picture a lot of other scenarios, best left unimagined.
As you can probably imagine, I did more than a little praying as I wound my solitary way around yet another hairpin curve on an increasingly narrow road.
About twenty worry-filled minutes had passed when I suddenly caught a glimpse of something that made me cheer out loud. There was a small wide spot in the road with sufficient space for me to eke out a three-point turn, being careful of course, not to fall off the side of the mountain in the process.
Here I am, happily turned around.
Back down through the innumerable turns I went, keeping an eye on my gas gauge and hoping not to have to stop in the middle of the road for an emergency potty break.
I was so thankful when I finally found myself back on a paved road leading to blissful and blessed civilization.
Steve had cleaned up the car for me before I left . . .
but unfortunately, the mountain pretty much erased all of his hard work. I felt like just like a genuine huntin’ and fishin’ woman, driving a vehicle with so many mud spatters.
When I got back home and told the story to Sarah and Steve, I got a stern but loving remonstration from my hubby who was understandably worried at hearing the story. He was relieved right along with me that none of the many possible awful things had happened. We were both thankful that God had mercy on this sometimes scatterbrained, loving-to-wander woman.
Shifting the focus back to beauty, here are a few photos from the actual site of the retreat which was held at the Rockbridge YoungLife Retreat Center.
Aside from the scary mountain road experience, I so enjoyed my time away and was thankful for the privilege of getting the chance to do it.
In closing, all of us are keeping an eye on Irma’s path. Nathan and Meagan live about an hour from Orlando and will definitely feel the effects, although it looks like it will only be a Cat 2 when it comes through which is serious enough, but much better than what other areas are experiencing.
They are not evacuating but are moving to their church which is cement block, has lots of inner hallways with no tall trees near it. The rest of their family (Meagan’s two sisters and families and Meagan’s parents) will be there, as well as any folks who don’t have a safe place to be. We will be anxious to hear from them after the storm passes.
We continue to pray for all the areas that have been hit and are yet to be hit. Our church is taking offerings all month to send for disaster relief. Prayers are good but practical help is what puts feet on our prayers.
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.