I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

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. 

Mike came home enthusiastic about a local winery with a view that the Delta pilot told him about. And Mike’s such a great guy he thought I’d like to have a glass there. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my tiny brain, the word “view” drifted mist-like over other words (height, danger, bad). But here was my chance to pursue the end of my acrophobia, and one that involved my considerate husband and alcohol, two of my Favorite Things. So we decided on a Sunday afternoon’s short ride, according to the person Mike talked with at Stone Mountain Vineyards.

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:

The Fear-O-Meter

“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.

Trust your instincts.

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.

Don't turn right.

 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.

 I have a short memory and family members visiting next month. Maybe they’d like to see the view. Or not.

View of the winery from the parking lot.


4 responses to “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

  1. Oh my goodness, Linda! That was too damned funny!!! I have LIVED on roads like that :))………..hope you and Mike enjoyed your time together, despite, or perhaps partially due to, the awesome adrenaline rush…hope to see you two soon–Jim and I are always ready to share libation and food with you. He misses his sometimes chauffeur in white since the G’town Rd. closure.

  2. Great story. But no wine, how disappointing!
    I love the cow falling sign.

  3. You’d really like the tundra…no heights.

  4. That cow sign says it all. I don’t do well with heights unless there is a glass enclsure around me such as at the Guiness Brewery in Dublin. 360 degree view of Dublin- all within the safety of glass, plus a brew in your hands. What could be better!! A couple years ago I went with friends and students to Mt. Pilatus. A gondola took us up the mountain side to the visitor’s center and past many Heidi-like cows grazing with bells along the way.When we got to the Visitor’s Center peer pressure made me go the rest of the way to the top. The view (not behnd glass) was spectacular. However my good friend Janet thought she was going to have to carry me back down to the V. C. I sat on my behind and literally scooted down the mountain until I felt safe to put my legs on the ground.You know who your true friends are when they don’t question you!!
    I haven’t been anywhere tall w/o glass since then.
    PS- Why is Mike always riding shot-gun?

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