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  • Riding to Hell in a Jeep

    Riding to Hell in a Jeep

    By Kelly Anne Corwin
    There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
    Mark Twain I am lucky in the fact that my husband does not like sports. I am not forced to deal with him and a bunch of his buddies screaming in front of our television set on Sunday’s. Instead, I am forced to deal with him and a bunch of his buddies trying to drive their mammoth vehicles up the side of a mountain. My husband is into off-roading. The definition of this term would be….men and women who enjoy taking their trucks places where no car should ever dare venture. An example of this would be an old mining road, as well as a field of boulders. In fact, just about any place is fair game for these adventurers.

    I don’t remember exactly how my husband got into this hobby but he was (and still is) determined to get me to love it just as much as he does. I remember the first time I ever dared to go with him. A group of people from work were going to be heading up to Georgetown one Saturday to do a trail. I voiced my concern of dying to my husband and was reassured repeatedly that it is perfectly safe. That was to be the last time I ever believed those words.

    We woke up at six o’ clock Saturday and hit the road. The drive up to Georgetown was beautiful. The sky was a piercing blue, and the temperature was warm but not stifling hot. We could not have picked a better day to head up to the mountains. Now at this point of the trip all is going well. I am excited and anxious because I don’t know what to expect from this day. We finally arrive at our destination and I slowly feel the color drain from my face. I am looking at a single-track dirt trail that gradually climbs up through pine trees. Now I know this sounds ok so far but let me explain the fact that the trail is only big enough for a bicycle, not a large truck. I look at my husband with fear in my eyes and he reassures me that “it only looks scary.” I am still ok at this point because why would my husband lie to me? The truck crawls forward and I grip my seatbelt with every ounce of strength I can muster. Upwards we climb. I was actually doing ok until I decided to poke my head out the window to get a better view. You know that stupid thing people always say? The one about not looking down? Well, they are not kidding! My husband’s side of the truck was hugging the inside of the mountain. My side of the car was hugging nothing but the air around it and a sheer drop off to a horrible death. “How ya doin?” my husband called to me with a grin wider than the front grill on our Jeep. “Peachy,” I spit out through gritted teeth. Every pebble we hit that would bounce the truck made me think oh Lord this is it, this is my time to die. Around each turn, I waited for the horrible plunge off the mountain. I wondered if the car would come to rest on a rock outcropping somewhere. I wondered if it would burst into flames. I wondered when this damn trip would be over with.

    I remember going around a very tight turn and glancing yet again out the window and down the side of the mountain. Only this time my eyes were rewarded with what I knew our fate to be. Lying about twenty feet down was a very small red car. It was old and rusted out showing it had been there for quite some time. It was being supported by some large pine trees that acted as pallbearers to its tiny corpse. I wondered if someone years from now would find our black jeep rusted out and mourn for us.

    My husband sensing the mood had gone from bad to worse tried telling me we were almost there. Once we hit some level ground, I started to enjoy myself a little more. I unclenched my teeth, and relaxed my death grip on the seatbelt and took in the scenery. I saw several old mines and insisted we stop so I could get out and take some pictures. I found two old abandoned cabins with graffiti all over the inside. At felt anger for the people who found it satisfying to carve their initials in what used to be someone’s pride and joy. Their home. We stopped for lunch in a clearing and I absorbed the fresh smells. I let the sun warm my dirt-streaked face. I watched bees dance on flowers. I decided to re-evaluate my hatred for the black monster we had been riding in. How many other people would get to experience this? Certainly not the little red car we passed down below. Slowly the smile that I had left at the bottom of the mountain began catching up with me. After lunch, we all got back into our trucks and continued the slow process of climbing the mountain. The hardest part was still to come. There is a tough area called The Rock Garden. Most hard core off road fans love this area. What it consists of is several large boulders that you climb in your truck. The best way to describe this area is to stand in front of a wall and smash your head into it really hard a few hundred times. The trucks slam into these boulders hoping to get a foothold to be able to roll over the top of them. Some people made it with minor problems. Others took several hours attempting to pass through this area. After several hours at the Rock Garden my smile I so happily found decided to pack up and walk home. I was tired, dirty, my teeth were stiff from being clenched, my muscles all hurt from being so tense, and I had a raging headache. I assured my husband that this was the first and last of these adventures. My husband determined to save the day promised me we only had ten more minutes until the top. Once we got out of the unforgiving Rock Garden, it was smooth sailing to the top.

    We actually made it. We were at the top and I was in one piece. I always laughed at those people who actually kiss the ground because they thought they would never walk on it again. Well, let me tell you I wanted to bury my face in the earth and whisper sweet nothings in its ear. I was so happy we survived. The trip was well worth it. The view from the top was magnificent. It was clear and you could see for miles in every direction.

    I took tons of mental pictures because I knew this would be the first and last time I would see this view. I love my husband and want to enjoy hobbies with him but I think I will leave this one to the brave men and women who enjoy jeepin’ it.