I have a fear of heights, maybe because I’m short, or because I come from a family built low to the ground, or from living in Houston for so long where the only hills were freeway overpasses.
Height can be relative (not “a relative” as just mentioned), such as when I participated in a university study to try to ease my uneasiness, the highest we could go here in town was the top bleacher in the stadium. It just wasn’t the same as being trapped against the outside wall of a glass elevator after lunch with 35 people on the way to the 60th floor of a skyscraper with a violent thunderstorm blowing outside.
Since I am as a babe in the woods in these local woods, I had a look at the website for directions before departing. My Fear-O-Meter ticked higher:
“Wyatt Mountain Road – gravel road” and “Proceed up mountain 2 miles to entrance.” I’ve seen a couple gravel roads around here and I’m not ashamed to say I prefer pavement. There was no warning or caution at the website though, so I figured I was overreacting. The drive would probably be no trouble at all.
Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink”? You should. It’s about how you should trust your first instincts because they’re usually correct.
“Gravel” and “up mountain” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Nor should they be used together regarding a road. Since I am our family über driver I was at the wheel of Mike’s pickup which is more body than engine (like some people you may know), making driving akin to trying to ride somebody else’s horse. About a quarter-mile onto the “up mountain gravel road” (UMGR) the drive pretty much turned into “do or die”. There was more dirt than gravel with underlying corduroy ruts. The road narrowed at places to a suggestion of single lane and offered delightfully blind switchback curves. Perhaps you recall my post about words suited to special occasions? Somebody in the truck said them. I worked the clutch and shifter maniacally as the ruts jiggled the truck bed sideways and the engine clunked and strained. And, just to get the full experience, we encountered cars driving DOWN the one lane road with the drop off to nowhere. I whimpered, literally, and Mike patted my sweaty arm to shore up my courage. Bless those other drivers, even that guy in the SUBURBAN at the worst turn who got past me. I certainly didn’t meet their eyes. I think mine were closed by then.
A dusty little sign finally indicated the winery entrance was just ahead to the left. The gate appeared and the road reared upward. No telling if anyone was coming out so I followed my motto of “when in doubt step on the gas” and we sailed through the uprights. I wobbled inside and asked for something stronger than wine, but alas, no luck. So we put away a couple hard-earned glasses of something red, which always makes everything better, and looked out from the substantial deck over a million or so trees and cloud shadows. Nice. Nice wine.
And, in accordance with the Theory of Relativity,
the drive down UMGR was half the distance and nobody was on their way up to the now closed winery.