Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week Two - mountain living

Yesterday marked the end of my second week in the mountains - although I did go back to Phoenix twice last week. After giving my friend a ride to Phx, I decided to bring a load of VIS (very important stuff) up to the cabin and unpack it before going back to spend another night with my family.

It was 8:30 PM when I headed up to Rim Country. I took I-17 since it is close to our side of town and I figured by then the traffic going to Anthem would be light. All went well the first 80 miles past Horsethief Basin and Bloody Basin (did they catch the horsethief there???). It was very dark as it is when there are no city lights, but there was a nice amount of traffic, so it wasn't too bad. Once I turned off the Interstate to the two lane mountain road, the drama began.

The next 40 miles were into the forest, the dark, dark forest with eyes shining in the brush as I rounded corner after corner. The road was on the side of the mountain. There were three possible travel conditions:

1) Deer or Elk crossing the road. They stand there and dare you to get stopped before they reconfigure the front grill of your car, and they never travel alone. Having a low to the ground car and a rag top, I began to think about whether their hooves would come through the top if they jumped over the car and sort of missed, landing on the roof.

2) The signs read, 'Watch for Rocks' but the stuff on the side of the road wasn't 'rocks' - it was boulders. Once again, what are the chances of one landing on the roof and not coming through the rag top? It isn't the same kind of problem during the day, you can look ahead and up, and see if there is anything on its way down. I suppose you would swerve if you ever saw a boulder coming, I never have seen any in transit.

3) The side of the road without the boulder issue is the side without a is the 'Thelma and Louise' side. The over the edge side!

There was not one inch of that road that was straight. Plus with tall pines on either side, it is very, very, very dark on the road with a little strip of dark midnight blue over head. So there's that and the sharp curves back and forth. Some turns were hair-pin turns, but most were sharp switchbacks. My shoulders were tense and becoming sore.

No one, I mean no one, else was on that road. Then I came around the corner and saw reflectors for a driveway on the left. Odd, but hey some people are more into rural living than I am. I've always been perfectly happy with city water, I don't need my own well - how do they drill a well up here anyway?

As I passed I saw that the driveway reflectors were really an old beat-up pickup truck. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the headlights come on. And yep, it turned nearly clear around to follow me. It was making ground to catch up with me.

Remember the other day that I said my friend watches lots of crime shows. Well they are actually more murder solving shows. So my mind begins to think how this is a lot like one of the shows we watched. OMG!

I downshifted and took the curves a bit faster than the pickup truck could and slowly put some distance between us without going over the edge of the road. I knew I had to be getting to the end of the road and would have to turn right or left soon. Finally I couldn't see the headlights behind me and hoped they weren't fool enough to drive this road with no lights. I got to the end, tapped my breaks, down shifted, and for the first time in my life, I turned without signaling. The next 15 miles to town, I didn't see lights behind me. I met a couple of cars, but that was it. I felt better on this road because I was almost to the place to turn up the mountain to the cabin.

I found the cabin and unloaded everything, including the printer from the front seat, to the front deck. Then I climbed the steps quietly and hurriedly put everything inside the house. I wished I had thought to smoke as I finished the drive because I really wanted one now.

I couldn't find the key to the back door, the one to the back deck, the one were the wild things do not go. I went onto the front deck and stood right by the open door for my smoke. I heard something move under the deck, my heart was pounding in my chest. I did the only thing I could do - no not run - I stomped my foot hard on the wook planks of the deck. There was an 'OOooH!' sounding scurry out the other side. I bravely walked to the ashtray and came back inside. I checked the doors and looked out to make sure all eight yard lights were on, plus the two that are left on inside at night.

I hadn't slept in a house alone for 24 years. I heard every pine cone that fell in the entire forest. I heard the water heater come on and I had never heard that before. The refrigerator makes a light knocking sound. The clock is REAL loud, oh yeah, that was my watch, never mind. Man have I got material if I ever want to write something scary!

OMG! See there are havalina up here and they are really loud when they squeal at night.


  1. Hee hee - yes, even the most idylic surroundings can become scary when you are on your own and in the dark. The truck driver probably forgot something, but you did the right thing.

    Havalina - hmmm, nice barbecue ideas filling my head...

  2. It doesn't help to have the imagination of a fiction writer, either! It turned cold. My friend pulled the blankets out and we raced to see who could get their blankets on their bed first. It felt nice and snuggly. It is supposed to turn warm for a few days...Autumn is here. Lots of Pine trees, but the underbrush is turning colors. Just like the harvest bit in Kathryn's Beach, I'll have new material to toss into some book; maybe into Raven's Song.

  3. I was shocked to see the temperature was 39 in Pine this morning. Brrrrrr. ~Joyce~

  4. No kidding. I was glad for the blanket. I wore layers for our walk this morning. The last bit I had my zip-up tied around my waist. It has been very windy yesterday and today. It is pretty here and a few trees are turning color, but I do miss the ease of city living. Good thing we get along so well, but that has always been the case in our 35 yr friendship.