A Day Off, Coursing Through North Carolina Back Roads


Yeah, that’s us (not the photo)…Toss a bottled water, add a plastic baggie of cut-up apple for a snack and off we go, in the SUV, traveling through the hills of western North Carolina.  We’re noticeable:  We’ve got Grandpa and the Truck emblazoned all over our car. We get honked by truckers, too, when they see the back:  “Tribute to America’s Truckers!”  “You copy?”

After a punishing winter, it’s the first 70+ degree weather we’ve had in what seems like a century.

Hell, it’s the first over-45-degree-day, if you want to know the truth.

Sometimes I just love it here, in Western North Carolina (we live in RI for 7 months of the year and claim it as “our primary state.”)

I know why so many artists live here, because each turn of the road presents a vista of unbelievable beauty…rolling hills…wheat fronds swaying in the breeze…ramshackle fences…skeletal remains of old barns, close to collapse but still standing upright.  All invite an artist’s rendition.

I attempt artistry with my camera.  When I see a particularly-compelling scene, I leap out of the car (barely remembering to put it in “park”), fumble with glasses, uncock the camera, free up the lens, and ramp up the viewer.

Thank God for digital cameras because I end up labeling many shots unappealing…unacceptable…or JPA (just plain awful).  Then, I delete them. Why?  The wind’s blowing (hair wisps cloud the lens)… sun’s too bright (prevents proper viewing)…I’ve lost the shot (gotta move quickly, especially with light and cloud formations.)

But I persevere and try mightily to hold steady through it all.

You see, photo-shooting’s how I unwind.  I gotta get away from that damned computer (a writer’s bane) and just take in the natural splendor.

Good thing we have a GPS, however…It’s not always easy getting back when you’re out in “them thar hills.”

I love it when we follow a road for about 10 miles and then come to the sign “Dead End.”  That’s when I release a stream of niceties, saying:  “*##@@@##They couldn’t have told us that ahead of time!?”

Nope, I’ve begun to think North Carolinians do this in some skewed attempt to say “Gotcha!” “Let’s give these Northerners (there are a lot of us here) something to bitch about.”

The hillside shots are what’s at the end of one of these roads…Bell Creek Rd., up the road from Mars Hill. Aside that road sits a crazy red barn…It’s still decked out for Christmas, with Christmas tree front and center.  That’s another thing with these backroads…It’s literally as if time stands still.

Look what’s directly across from our complex, on Reems Creek Rd., in Weaverville….the cutest little herd of mini-donkeys (I just love them!) That’s a pic of my husband petting them (they all saunter over to greet us and don’t leave, either, when they figure out we’ve got no food.  They just nudge their noses through the fence for a scratch.)

Doesn’t it look and sound like we live in Mayberry?

4 Pix in slide show compliments of Dr. Michael Messino, Asheville oncologist, at WNCCC (Western North Carolina Cancer Center.)

paul petting mini donkeys--ncvista on Bell Creek Rd. NC

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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