Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A-Z Challenge - C is for Crooked Road Commuting

When you buy a place way out in the back of beyond, sometimes it takes a local perspective to realize just what you've gotten yourself into. Not long after moving in it was time to put up a horse fence. When you live in Appalachia, it's not like you run to the 1/8" thick yellow pages and find just what you need.

So what do you do? You run an ad. One that might read like this: Wanted, someone to put up a horse fence. xxx-xxxx

Then you wait. And you might get a call like this.

Fence Dude: "Where you at?"
Me: "I'm on Anonymous Road."
Fence Dude: "Anonymous Road. That's a crooked road."
Me: "Yes it is."
Fence Dude: "Well, do I got the job?"
Me: "Um, I'm getting estimates."
Fence Dude: "Well, if I ain't got the job, I don't reckon I'll ride on out there. That's a crooked road."

Now, fifteen years later, six miles in, six miles out, fifteen full minutes each way, new tires at least once every nine months, I realize the wisdom of his words. I might not reckon to ride out here either if I'd known I'd eventually have a day job that took me out of the house five days a week. But it's a pretty commute and it's helped me learn more about the region. Here's how:
 If your twelve mile road has four Baptist churches (two of which are pictured above), it's a pretty good indicator that folks didn't get along too well and found the need to break up their congregations into separate factions.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. This fellow owns a roadside worth of Ford vehicles, but with more and more appliances and trucks being winched up off the sides of mountains (due to the now high price of scrap metal) where they've been dumped, he's sitting on a gold mine. But you're likely to come round the bend and find his tow truck in the middle of the road like he owns it. Not good when you're in a hurry.

Cows are kind of cool. Did you know that when the calves are young, cows will assign one cow to hang out sleeping with them, while the rest of the cows go off to graze. Calf Sitters. Occasionally I get to see one being born when I'm driving to and fro.

(P.S. - All photos taken from the driver's seat)

So, that's my commute. How's yours?


  1. Wow, gorgeous region! I don't commute, but if I had to, I'd love it to be a crooked road through Appalachia instead of a one hour, fender-bender-laden honk-happy drive through a big city. :P

  2. Love your theme! I'm a Florida boy, but I've thought about moving further North many times, and North Carolina is always top of the list. I've visited the mountains a couple of times on snowboarding trips and it's gorgeous up there. Everyone I know who lives or lived there has lots great to say.

    J.W. Alden

  3. I work from home, so no commuting. Those are such gorgeous places you go through...

    ---Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  4. Vero - yes it's gorgeous here. I love my commute
    J.W. - Lots of folks from Florida move here, some that moved there from the North - we call them "Halfbacks"
    Damyanti - I used to, still my goal for a future time.

  5. What an interesting commute. Mine is about an hour on the bus through the hood to South Shore Drive and then the turn onto Lake Shore Drive. LSD is gorgeous and I love looking at gorgeous Lake Michigan on the way to work.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog. You commented on Corrie. I think we may share a similar mixed up religious upbringing! The way you captured local dialect is hilarious, and I can just picture the details. NC is beautiful.

  7. Lucky for me I have always lived close enough to walk to work. My favorite commute was while working on a cruise boat. Out of my cabin, out on deck and a breezy salt spray in the face before walking to a finished breakfast :)

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  9. Ha. So between the time I deleted my last messy comment and now, I've walked the dog and commuted six miles down a crooked road to my job :)

    I passed a junk yard and lots of hills and trees, but no churches.

    It's interesting actually. Up here in the north we have two Catholic churches in our town of 1,000 people and one United Methodist (which is used a couple months of the year).

  10. I used to live out like that, though not in such mountainous country. I miss my little farm. Now I drive past cotton fields and peanut fields and about 90 different pawn shops. Yeah...that's Albany. (sigh)

  11. You've heard the expression the Bible Belt? Well I live on the little metal part of the buckle that goes in the belt hole. About 15k in my county and probably, if I had to guess, at least 200 churches. Most Baptist. One Catholic Church, no Temple.

  12. I love your A-Z theme so much! Embracing where you are and looking for the beautiful & amazing in the everyday.

    My commute depends on the job I happen to be going to, I do past 2 catholic churches in our small town, and have wondered the same thing..."What torn them apart?"

    Great stuff!

  13. You certainly have a very pretty commute and driving home at the end of the day must be blissful - for all sorts of reasons.

  14. These peeks into Appalachia are so cool. Your commute looks very peaceful (as long as cows or trucks don't block the road).

  15. Calf sitters! Thats brilliant, I love the area you live. It's so beautiful, I'm more of a city girl myself, but I am definitely not opposed to visiting for a few months on the summer to get away from the hustle and bustle.

    Looks beautiful.

  16. Oh, that's a different world from me! My husband rides his bike to work, which is less than a mile from us. I drive about 3 miles. And no cows.

  17. These are great posts for A-Z. I don't have a regular "paying" job, so I don't commute. I pretty much see the same things daily--houses, schools, churches, and stores--when I'm taking the kids to and from school or running errands.

  18. Another awesome post. You're a beautiful writer. I'm glad you didn't end up in the scrap metal pile trying to take pictures while driving!

  19. Your story about the fence guy cracked me up. Did you ever find someone to build that fence?

    I don't have a commute - I'm a stay-at-home-mom/wife/housekeeper/cook/writer. But I take the kids to school every morning on three buses, all along very straight roads full of school buses and cars and trucks and ambulances.

    I look forward to the day when my writing earns enough to send the kids to school on the school bus, so I can commute to my office, which is the room adjacent to my bedroom. :-) That will be one awesome commute.

  20. Thanks Ishta - Though I love my students, I wouldn't mind that commute either.
    Julie - you made my day
    Thanks Linda!
    Theresa - I would take my life in my hands if I rode a bike!
    Andrina, I like the city for vacation!

  21. Gosh, you could have been describing this area. Crooked roads, tow trucks, cows and all.

  22. My commute is one of two straight boring highways, one with lots of businesses, one with lots of farms.

    But I did set one of my mss in a place that's probably a lot like your current hometown.
    It seems like it would be an interesting place to live, at least!

  23. Living in the Rocky Mtns, I thought we had pretty precarious roads, but NOTHING compared to what I saw in my visit to Asheville and the surrounding area. I'm impressed by your commute!

  24. Calf sitters, wasn't aware of those. You have a beautiful commute, though.

    Mine passes a lake and the biggest tree in the state, but for me the highlights are the sign outside a church saying "Come worship with us while you have the chance" and the sign across from my work for Anal Place (the C in Canal is blocked by bushes from my angle). Sadly, no cow births.

  25. This is an intriguing peek into your part of the world. I didn't know about calf sitters either, even though I was brought up on a dairy farm.


  26. Although I don't always take it, one of my available roads for my daily commute is through the Saguaro Nat'l Forest, which is full of desert scenery and millions and millions of Saguaro Cacti. I consider myself lucky to be exposed to that beautiful, crooked road. You're lucky to have yours!

    My C

  27. Yeah, the calf sitters are a weird phenom but it's consistent every spring.

    Nate - you cracked me up.

  28. living in Phoenix {we don't build up, we build out} a fifteen minute drive isn't considered a commute. no matter where one drives in the valley, just about the only scenery consists of concrete, buildings, buildings, concrete and an occasional palm tree.

    i loved your telephone conversation about the fence! i have to ask though, are you pulled over when taking the photographs or actually driving? {smile}

    {i came by from the A to Z Challenge}

  29. When I moved from the Tampa area to small town TN, the one thing that stuck out to me was the fact that they expected everyone to know where things were.

    For example, the humane society had an ad in the weekly paper. No phone number, no address, just "Located at the old Baker swimming pool." Always made me laugh...


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'