So we were headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains for Memorial Day weekend. Michele only had to work half a day Friday and we thought we would be getting a jump on the traffic. Wrong! We reached the HRBT (Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel), or tried to reach it. About six miles before it there was dead stop traffic.
We were in my truck with the two dogs. I had lowered the back seat so that there was just cargo space in the back. In an attempt to allow Sawyer, our almost 100 pound golden retriever, to be able to be near us on the trip, I stacked all the cargo in the rear of the truck and left him an empty area right behind the front seat to hang out. See where this is going yet?
So this next part I totally blame on Michele. The traffic started to go again and we were actually making some MPH’s when Michele pointed to a plane flying over the Naval Station and asked me what kind it was. So of course, while I was looking, the traffic came to a dead stop again and I had to slam on the brakes. That’s when the suit case that I had sitting on top of one of those big tupperware bins came flying from the back. As a former sailor I should be ashamed of myself for not securing for sea, or even interstate travel. The suitcase landed right on Sawyer’s back and he freaked out and decided to leap into the front seat! Now picture this. A 100 pound dog in the front seat with Michele and our other Jack Russell Terrier dog. At this point traffic starts to roll again and so do we, all over the road while trying to fight to keep my hands on the wheel. I had to pull over to the left on the Willoughby Bay bridge. I was right against a guard rail and there was absolutely no room for me to open my door. So I had to turn around, fix the suitcase as best as I could and shove Sawyer into the back. All this while people were passing and staring us down. I’m thinking we might have appeared in a news traffic report as Kristen Crowley pointed to us on a traffic cam and called us morons. OK, so looking back, I might have been somewhat culpable.
Oh, but the trip was not over yet. Not by a long shot. Once we got over the bridge and through the tunnel I pulled off to rearrange the cargo, this time with bungee cords. Thought I was all set, but no, about 30 minutes down the road we had another sudden stop and an old bungee cord I used snapped and several camping chairs flew forward, raining down on Sawyer. He only half jumped into the front seat this time. Please don’t call the SPCA. We were able to get him pushed back and with one more stop to replace the bungee cord we were on our way again. Traffic was a nightmare all the way to the other side of Richmond before it finally let up and started to flow normally. So a trip that usually takes 3 hours ended up taking us almost 6 hours.
When we finally got to our cabin in the mountains we quickly unloaded our stuff, put the dogs inside, and headed down to Waynesboro to pick up some groceries for the long weekend. Around 9:30 we ended up getting back. The owner of the cabin had opened up the front door and shown us around when we checked in. Then he had handed us a key. When we left to go into town we just locked the door from the inside and shut it. So you know what happens now right? Yup, key didn’t work. Dogs inside freaking out at someone trying to break in. Owner gone home for the night. No cell phone service. The hits just keep on coming.
So after Michele walked around the whole resort area she was able to find a spot where she could get one bar if she stood on her left foot, stretched her right arm way above her head, and crossed her eyes. After several aborted attempts where the phone assured us it was making a call, she managed to get through to the owner who told us that oh yea that’s right, he changed the lock the other day and only replaced his maintenance key and not the one he gives to the guests. He promised to be there in 15 minutes. That wasn’t too bad, no sweat. We decided to make it a productive 15 minutes by unloading all the groceries and placing them on the front porch. Then we settled down to wait. BAM! Thunder! Lightning! Rain comes down in buckets! Scramble, get the groceries piled up under the awning which afforded little protection. More like 30 wet minutes later the owner pulls up and unlocks the door for us. Then he tells us all about how he saw a bear on the parkway coming here and he stopped to watch it for a while. I’m thinking cool story dude, did you get any pictures? We were having a grand ole time here in the rain while you were being Grizzly Man. Actually there aren’t any Grizzlies in the Blue Ridge Mountains, only black bears. But Black Bear Man doesn’t sound right and might actually be racist.
Even after all that we were just glad to be here. Sure, I didn’t get to grill my bratwurst until almost midnight but there was beer so all good. Just when I was thinking karma was through with me it offered up one more little gem. I was brushing my teeth before bed and something did not taste right at all. I looked into my toiletry bag and saw that the “motion lotion” that I had brought for our romantic weekend in the mountains had leaked all in my bag. BLECK! It didn’t taste good but I had to admit, my toothbrush seem to be a little more friction free. I didn’t need the stuff anyway. After the day we’d had I was too exhausted for any motion except closing my eyelids.
Throughout the whole day we could have lost our cool, and there have been trips when we did, but we managed to keep it together and by the end of the night we couldn’t do anything but laugh about the whole experience. The next day totally made up for it. A beautiful day with hiking, grilling, drinking, and bon fires. So price well paid. And thanks to all those who paid the ultimate price to give us the freedom to enjoy ourselves on this Memorial Day Weekend.