December 30, 2011
Huntsville, AL to Helen, GA
After waking up early and dropping off the dogs, Steve and I set out on another adventure, this time accompanied by our dear friends Josh, Jeoff, and Anthony! We had decided several months ago to rent a cabin in Helen, GA for a low key new years eve, so after meeting up at the SProcket (ptooey), our caravan headed off. We had our GPS, of course, but Anthony, a seasoned (and by that I mean super old) traveler, knew a quicker way to get to our first stop. It wasn't too far off from what our GPS said, but it was just different enough to confuse it. At the point where our new route diverged from Jeepus' route, it kept "recalculating" and trying to turn us around. By the time we had ignored it through several "recalculations" it basically said "screw you guys" and simply said "there is a better route." Poor Jeepus.
Other than that, though, the first leg of our trip was uneventful. We made it to Cleveland, TN and stopped for lunch, and then got back on the road. This time, however, we weren't following each other, so things got a little mixed up. Steve and I needed to stop at a gas station, while everyone else was going to head on and get through the Cherokee National Forest. We were going to meet up right after getting through and recombine, but Steve and I managed to go completely the wrong way. Since we had to ignore the GPS once again to get to the Gas station, and since Anthony had also gotten confused and given us the wrong direction to turn, we actually drove around for a bit before realizing we weren't going in the right direction. We couldn't get either Josh or Anthony on the phone to tell us where to go, so we had to stop and ask for Jeepus' forgiveness before she'd show us the way back on track. Anthony had also gone the wrong way, so we finally got a call from him saying he was on the same road as we were and would be right behind us! finally pointing in the right direction, we made our way into Cherokee National Forest.
The drive through was gorgeous. I'm sure the place wasn't at it's prettiest, since most of the leaves were gone, but it was still lovely. I never realized how much touristy stuff had sprung up around the Ocoee river. I'm also fairly baffled by that, seeing as how Deliverance wasn't exactly a chamber of commerce recommendation of the surrounding areas and it's inhabitants. Steve says he's been white water rafting down the river before, but the river seemed to have been turned down, or dammed or something, because the rocks were very high and the water was very low. Unless I'm completely confused about how rafting works, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around!
We didn't catch up with Anthony or J&J like I thought we would, but I did get several calls from them that my phone would completely drop the minute I answered. (Seriously, I hate my phone.) I finally managed to answer when Steve and I made it into North Carolina. (As an aside, the route to this place was crazy...I mean...North Carolina, what?) Josh and Jeoff were waiting at our rendezvous point right across the Georgia state line, but Anthony was still MIA. Steve and I weren't that far away, so we met up with them and we waited in an eating area flanked with slot machines! Jeoff, who had never been to Georgia before, "enjoyed" his first taste of boiled peanuts, and we sat and waited on Anthony to arrive. It got to the point where we honestly started to worry that he might have ended up in Florida or something, but he finally made it! We weren't that far from our destination by this point, so Steve took the lead again and we got back on our way.
The drive was absolutely gorgeous from here. North Georgia is hilly and pastoral, plus the light had a filtered, otherworldly quality that made everything look as if it had been painted in oils. We had to go through another national forest, this time the Chattahoochee, and it took us up through the mountains. The sky had gotten cloudier and everything was misty and very dim. I don't know if we had gotten high enough to be in a cloud, or if it just got very foggy, but suddenly our visibility was gone. We could probably see about 10 feet in front of us, and the road we were on was very twisted. Very, very twisted. The purple line we followed on the GPS was bizarre and looked less like a road than it did a roller coaster track, but it was almost the only thing we had to find our way by. I think at one point the line even twisted into the shape of a hand giving us the bird, but I can't be sure. I got a very strong Silent Hill vibe during the ordeal! Luckily when we descended, the fog was gone and the rest of the trip was easy.
We finally arrived at the cabin and it was so nice! It's very cozy and smallish, although it's plenty big for all of us. There is a hot tub and a jacuzzi, but as I didn't think traveling in January would require a bathing suit, I will not be enjoying either of them.
We stepped out to get provisions at the local Wal-Mart, grabbed dinner, and retired back to the cabin to relax. Josh and Jeoff had bought shorts, so they soaked in the hot tub, and I sat on the edge and we discussed important things! Steve and Anthony were inside watching a movie, so we joined them later on and then finished the evening by playing Scrabble and Scattergories. So far, we're having great time!