February 10, 2006

Oh, the places you'll go!

So I went to Tennessee today, and it caught me by complete surprise.

Having been spending the majority of my free time reading a book about taking the back roads, I decided to try it out this morning. Instead of turning left towards the highway back to Huntsville, I turned right which (it turns out) drew me deeper into the mountainous regions of north Alabama.

It was a twisty road, following beside the Paint Rock river. The river is usually not much more than a stream, until this time of year when it often breaches it's banks due to the heavier than normal winter rains. Lining the road were several share-cropper shanty's nestled into the mountain. Many were obviously abandoned, though more surprising were the seemingly abandoned shack's with the fresh laundry outside on the line. It's hard to imagine living in a place like that, with patch-work siding, and a rusting tin roof.

Lining the road, among the stray cotton balls were the remants of several possums, skunks, and other creatures that shall remain nameless. I met a possum once. He was mean and hissed at the girls when they chased him. I'd hiss too. I imagine that like his mushy comrades he valiantly attempted to defend his territory against the Ford invader. It was an unlikely match.

I kept going down the road, aiming my tires between the rocky cliff and the marshy banks. I passed countless engineless cars that had long since been taken over by vines and underbrush. I drove through Paint Rock, Gurley, Princeton, and Mount Nebo. Communities by name only, as many of the residents had given up on mountain life and moved to the city.

Eventually, and much to my surprise, I came accross a sign that said Tennessee state line. I had no idea I was so close to the border, as I had only driven about a half an hour past Three Springs. The road became smoother and wider, and the houses changed from decrepit to decadent. But I was more frustrated by the fact that I hadn't found a back road to Huntsville, and would have to back track all the way to the interstate.

It still wasn't enough. I'm still going to apply for a job back home. I look forward to driving on familiar back roads to places with familiar names. Though I'm pretty sure that once I get there I'll be wishing I was someplace else, lost in the heart of Dixie, the land of cotton, the rocket city, or whatever the heck they call this place nowadays.

The Olympics start tonight. The only (and I mean only) downside is that I'll have to deal with American coverage until I go home next Monday (next Monday! Holy crap!). That and I'm working most of this week in order to get the time off to go home.

But just to know that the greatest sporting event will be going on somewhere in the distance will help me make it through! *sigh*

I've wasted my library time updating this, so I'd better go ahead and get that cover letter done. Truro here I come!


Andrew said...

I hope you were listening to the soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

Anonymous said...

Oh that is funny!!! The Saggy Bottom Boys blasting on the CD player.
But then again it might have attracted attention from the occupants of the shantys and then, oh my, what ever would you have done. They might have surrounded your vehicle demanding you let them take your engine to use in one of there abandoned vehicles.

Oh yes, whatever would you have done!!!