It started out as quick trip up the mountains of North Carolina for a weekend getaway. And, it ended up being a trip from hell. I had checked the weather all week. There was no sign of rain, sleet or snow. However on the way up when I stopped for gas just before crossing the South Carolina and North Carolina border I felt the change in the air. I mentioned to my wife that something is not right. Before I could get the receipt the first flake hit the windshield. It was the first of a eight hour fall. By the time we reached halfway up the mountain trail it was in blizzard mode. At this time there was no where to stop without getting stuck on the road all night. Needless to say the wife was in full panic mode by now. She knew that each turn on the mountain that we were going to (as she said) fall off the mountain.
We eventually made it to the only place on the road still open. Since it was on a weekend trip ia had only packed a few protein bars and water. I knew that we would be able to stock up when we reached the populated area. However, the local people knew more about the weather than the meteorologist and had cleaned most of the local food. We did however find some essentials and a enough sweets to make a weekend last.
The clerk mentioned that if we were going to the lodge that we need to make it on up there. Things are about to get really bad. Inside I of course thought that it was already bad. My wife would not see that on my face. We still had another hour of snow driving to do. And, it was the steepest part of the mountain.
We eventually make it to the lodge around eight o'clock. At this time we both are exhausted. My wife is exhausted from screaming and I am exhausted from listening and eye straining. The office is closed with a not that says "Closed Due To Snow.: What?
We eventually find the paper work for the rental and call the office. The operator switches us to the sheriffs office. What?
A deputy answers and informs us that we will need to come back down the mountain road about half of a mile and get the key. When there is an emergency the office closes early so that the local people can get home before the snow gets too bad. What?
Well at this time I am cold, frustrated and exhausted. However, what were we t do. We drive back down the snow covered road to the Sheriffs Office. The building looks like it was plucked right out of Mayberry. I had expected to see Barney when we walked in. What we see are three deputies trying to put a desk together. It was really getting to them because they all had taken off there shirts. They all had on white T-shirts kaki pants and gun belts. Barney was not there but I am sure he wasn't far off. After a few minuets of looking they found our villa number.
Back up the mountain and to the lodge we drive. Of all the places that we have stayed I would not have picked this place to have electronic keys. You know what comes next. Yes...the key does not work. At this time I am about to pop. We call the Sheriff's office again. They take a while to answer so I know the desk was really working on them. When the deputy answers he seems puzzled that an electronic key wasn't working. After going through several checks he says we'll send Barney down with a a master key. Of course you know his name wasn't Barney But I had to throw that in. The deputy does make it up to the lodge and lets us in. He leaves us with the master key.
Once inside the lodge and after a quick check of equipment we find out that the main heating unit does not work. It only blows cold air. Luckily the wood stock was full and there were fireplaces in the right places. I get all of them going and we finally get to put or feet to prepare for a great weekend.
The next day was so sunny and warm by mid day that it melted most of the six inches of snow that fell last night.
The wife enjoyed the rest of the weekend but was quick to remind me once we reached South Carolina again that
"You know that was my last mountain trip."
Inside I'm already thinking of survival kits for the next one.