I journeyed out once again for that ever elusive waterfall here in northern Georgia. Actually, I was really going to just sit by Blue Ridge Lake. Close to town and my latest couch. It’s right behind Wendy’s—the sign said so—but of course, I had no luck in finding it. Truth be told, one could say I had no luck at all today, but since I am here telling you this story, I’ve been very lucky. But I have no pictures to support that.
Yesterday I had my couch’s mechanic do an oil change and rotate the tires on the truck. I’ve driven over 3000 miles, so it was time. As he was looking under the vehicle, he informed me the rear shocks were broken off. I said replace them. After all, if I’m going to get lost on gravel roads at 4000 mile elevations, I need the truck to balance properly and stay on the road. It really did handle better, felt tighter this morning as I set off on a new expedition.
I again ended up on a gravel road winding up and around the side of a mountain. You see, there are no roads around here that don’t wind around a mountain, however, I understand there are a lot more paved roads than what I’ve been finding. Today’s route was different in that it was primarily residential, albeit foreclosed residences. Every 100 yards or so was a monstrous sized new construction home with a for sale sign at the end of the long and winding driveway. Log homes built, I imagine, for only sitting on the deck, inviting folks to see their elegant abode, and then closing up and heading back to whatever corporate urban area they hailed from. Large, glass-paned structures with no one to see in or out any longer, except maybe a squirrel or bear. They were very pretty to look at although I enjoyed more the wilderness path of my last excursion.
As I slowed to let a couple bikes exit a campground, the brake pedal didn’t stop—and neither did the truck. It just kept going and then slid on the gravel. It finally stopped and my mouth fell open at the bikers who I’m sure thought I was demented. They rolled on and I did not. I tried, but the right front clunked and clanged and groaned until I was afraid the whole front end was falling off. I got out and looked, but I didn’t really want to crawl under a truck on a 45 degree incline. So, I got back in and tried to drive again. There was no change.
And of course, there was no signal on my phone from the world’s largest 4g network—T-Mobile, so what could I do? I put on the flashers, jammed my foot on the mushy brake pedal and went forward. A man I had talked to earlier said it was about 12 miles to the Interstate and then who knew how far back to Blue Ridge because, once again, I had no idea where I was. I was just rolling.
I eased over whenever I saw a vehicle coming up behind me, and since it was a residential area, there were quite a few. I thought of stopping at one of the hundred churches I saw along the way, but I wasn’t sure how their god, or his followers, would take to me in my sports bra and dago-T interrupting the Sunday hellfire and brimstone rally. So, I went forward, clunking, clanging and groaning all the way, while pumping the brakes whenever I came to one of those usual hairpin turns going downhill.
By the time I got to the Interstate, the clunking, clanging, and groaning had stopped. The brakes hadn’t come back though. Without the noise, I felt safe. Similar to smoking. You know perfectly well your lungs are corroding, blackening and shriveling but if there’s no cough and no pain, you keep right on going. And so I did.
I parked in the Burger King lot in Blue Ridge and returned my sons call. We talked about his garden and fishing and my loss of brakes. Didn’t seem so drastic sitting in Burger King. Even though the fear oozing from my pores made me smell like I’d not showered in weeks—he didn’t know that. I laughed and he laughed and all was well. I talked to my grandsons and smoked a few more cigarettes. Afterward, I called the mechanic and his girlfriend said he was still in the bed—11am. I asked her to have him call me because I’d just lost my brakes in the mountains. Told her it was a scary situation and I’d be by the phone when he called.
Hell, I figured since I’d made it down the mountain, I could make it downtown to the coffee shop. It would be a nicer place to wait and I could do some writing. At 2pm I called Rick, the mechanic, and he said he’d planned on coming as soon as he finished for the day. When I told him where I was, he was surprised. She hadn’t told him I’d lost brakes on the mountain and that I’d be waiting—just that I needed brakes. I must get better at my southern language skills.
He came, looked at the right front where the noise had been, and nothing was leaking. Looked at the brake fluid, which was dry, but nothing leaking. Then he looked at the rear wheels and the right one was soaking wet. Who knows? Certainly not me. As I write this I had a passing thought if maybe he had knocked something loose when he replaced the rear shocks, but does it really matter? I sit here safe and he’s there. Tomorrow, I will be short more dollars but I’ll be on the road again, this time not waterfall searching, but viewing a house. I think I’m going to leave the waterfall searching alone for awhile. I mean after all, they aren’t going anywhere. Today, I was brakeless which caused me to be pictureless; I don’t want to be less anything again for awhile.