Thursday, September 13, 2012

Road Fever

I saw an article on the Outside magazine website recently and instantly loved it. The article (which you can, and should, read here) was about the best road trip albums "for when Pandora just doesn't cut it."

I went on my first real road trip this past winter (I don't consider it an actual road trip if its vacation with your family. A true road trip is you and your buddies packing the car and heading out on an adventure) to Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia. We headed out there to ski and snowboard for a long weekend before the start of our spring semester.

According to MapQuest, the drive from Madison, IN would take about nine hours. We planned to leave my friend Zach's house around noon so we could get settled into Snowshoe and get to bed early before getting up to shred some powder in the morning.

Right on time, we piled into our brand new 2012 GMC Denali (courtesy of our friend Grant's dad) and headed east. We made great time early, flying through Kentucky on a brilliant sunny day.

I had made myself "leader" of our trip, planning everything out, making our reservations, and getting the directions to Snowshoe. Driving the first leg of the trip, I had brought along an atlas just in case, but I was sure we would be just fine.

Five hours later we had reached the West Virginia border where we switched drivers. I was the only one who really knew where we were going, so I volunteered to ride shotgun and navigate.

A few hours later, our written directions and GPS told us to exit the interstate and begin to head into the mountains towards Snowshoe. Looking closer at the map, there was an apparent shortcut (or so I thought.) Following my advice, we got off the interstate a few exits early and began looking for Highway 20.

We missed it.

After about twenty minutes, we realized we were way off course and lost in the heart of backwoods West Virginia. As we began to pass through the run-down miners' cabins, the scenery started to look like it came straight out of Deliverance (or any of the Wrong Turn movies for my more contemporary readers.)

The road soon turned to dirt and we decided it was time to turn around. While upset with myself for getting us lost, I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the adventure through a part of the country I most certainly would not have seen otherwise.

A couple of my carmates did not share quite the same attitude with one becoming visibly shaken after seeing an old man with a waist-long beard (he was certainly a cannibal) stare us down from the front porch of his shack.

After almost an hour of driving around (the GPS was woefully inadequate now) we finally popped out on a road I recognized and made it safely to Snowshoe that night.

It should come as no surprise that we closely followed the GPS back home after the weekend.

As crazy as it sounds, I actually enjoyed getting lost. Nothing serious came of it, and I had a great time with my friends as we jokingly exchanged ideas on what to do if an inbred came after us with an axe.

This December the same crew is headed out to Copper Mountain, CO and I can't wait to see what adventures (or misadventures) we'll have next time we catch the road fever.

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