I am leaving work early today to go and get my niece in Clinton, South Carolina and bring her back to Bristol during her Spring Break. It has turned a bit cold again (Bradford Pear Winter????) and are calling for the possibility of snow in the higher elevations. I am wanting to get back across Sam's Gap before it changes over.
I reach the top of Sam's Gap and it is already snowing. Just a few flurries, but I am worried what it will do while I am on the east side of the mountains and if, by the time I get back, it will be a problem returning. We shall see. There is a little snow on the very tip top rocks. Sam's Gap missed the 6-8" of snow that fell the previous night in Western North Carolina but more on the Roan Mountain Side (Avery County, NC).
An uneventful trip has me pulling up to the House that my niece lives in at her school in Clinton,SC. Clinton is inbetween Columbia and Greenville and is far enough into the coastal climate to have numerous Live Oaks around the campus and the town. I love these trees. Anyway...my niece is surprised for me to be there so early, but is for the most part ready and we leave shortly thereafter.
Nearing the place where I lose cell phone signal because of the mountain pass, I decide to call my bowling partners to see if they would mind my niece coming along. I didn't think it would be a problem but wanted to ask to make sure. I hang up and notice that it has started snowing again..ever so slightly.
There is a blizzard coming down . Probably the hardest snow (or a least tied with one earlier snow squaw - but this earlier one only lasted 5 minutes) I have driven through all season. It is dark and the wind is creating votex of snow tunnelling by the car. Turning on the high beams is mesmorizing. The road continues to be be good though. The new road (on the NC side) is continuing to be just wet and everything is still going smoothly. As long as I can hear the hum of tire against asphalt under the car, it should be alright.
There is no more road. Everything is white. Even through the darkness, the white snow is visible on the road ahead of me. I am at the very top of the mountain. Sam's Gap has gotten very bad, very quick. Snow is still falling like it is being sifted out of the sky through a broken sifter. I start bracing for a long and stressful trip down the Tennessee side of the mountain when the road clears completely and it quits snowing. Shew...
We arrive at the bowling alley and stay long enough to bowl 2 games. Tonight was not one of my better nights bowling. We leave around 10:45 for me to take my niece on to Bristol.
I help my niece carry in her stuff to my parent's house. They are already asleep and we are real quiet. As I am pulling out of the driveway I remember the call I had gotten earlier from my friends at school about going to Halo. I think about the long day that I just had (600+ mile round trip) and decide to go home. That is until I remembered that a group I really wanted to see again, The EverybodyFields, was playing there. Then it made perfect sense why my friends were down there - one of them dating the slide guitarist. So instead of heading to Elizabethton, I exhale deeply and head to downtown Johnson City.
April 3, 2004, 2:45am
The show was great. I relieve one of the group from having to drive the rest back to where they came. I volunteer to do it because I had only one beer. I even had an unexpected visitor stay in the guest bedroom because of other family issues (like too late to go home to their parents house) which actually helped me have someone to talk to during the trip back from JC to Betsy. Even though I had one beer, it had been an extremely long day and it was nice to have someone riding shotgun.