With all the excitement in the last couple months, I've forgotten to share one of my favorite, perhaps the favorite story of my summer.
When we drive to and from Indiana we often stay in West Virginia since it's halfway. We know the area well, we've travelled the road so many times. But this time we had our GPS and when Stan located a nice hotel off our usual route a tad, we decided we should try it out. He knew exactly how to get there, as he is the map-man but we said, "Eh, it's late, we're punchy, what the heck, we'll just follow the GPS instructions."
The "lady" on our dashboard immediately took us off the interstate once we'd chosen our hotel as the new destination. This slightly annoyed Stan who could very clearly see a main highway route straight to the place, but we were driving parallel to our usual road and could even see it for a while, so we just followed along. What could it hurt? Soon we were entering a dark, empty town. Then we were on a two lane highway. Stan was getting a tad anxious in the passenger seat. I drove on. The lady told us to turn onto another road, one that was more desolate and seemed confusing to Stan's innermapsense. I put up my hand.
"Oh, let's just take this, 'she' knows where she's going. She says we're going to be there in 5 minutes. How bad can it be?" I turned onto a country road on the side of a steep hill. On our left there were small homes and farms nestled down deep into the green coziness. Close on our right the road hugged a steep forested hill, black and thick. As we drove along, she kept saying that we'd soon be taking a right onto "Dr. Doody Road," or at least that's what it sounded like. Dr. What? we laughed nervously. Stan's dis-ease was growing. I was sort of feeling adventurous.
There was no good place to turn around at this point. The road was narrowing, trees on our right and the slope down into the small farms on our left. The road turned and twisted. Stan read the gps, "Dr. Judy Road?" He was fidgeting. We were driving around a tight curve when the gps lady announced assuredly, "Turn right onto Dr. Judy Road."
The steep dirt Dr. Judy road appeared out of nowhere on our right and I jerked the wheel to make the turn. Let me stop time here. One sleeping child in back. Two children craning their necks, with wide, curious eyes peering out into the darkness. One husband actually on the edge of his seat. Did I mention that it was around 11pm? Goldie has two tires on the bottom of a dirt road, two tires behind on the pavement of a narrow paved road which would go on to bend severely to the left. Through our windshield we see thirty feet of gravel ascending into the trees before us and cutting sharply to the right, disappearing into the abyss of a black forest. And somewhere deep in our souls, we would swear we heard banjos.
Stan popped. "NO! STOP! We are NOT going there! STOP THE VAN!" I slammed on the brakes, coming to a sliding halt all over Dr. Judy. "We are not going down this road. Turn around." At this point, sleeping child awoke. Well, we all were very much more awake than we'd been for a while. I whined. "How? - But!" The road behind us was black and there were close curves on either end. I moved quickly, however, before Stan could force me to relinquish control of the wheel and make me change seats with him, thereby making us both actually open the doors and get out on this forsaken Dr. Judy Road nightmare. I held my breath and swung backwards onto the road using a nearby driveway, and turned the van around hightailing it outta there.
She mocked us, "Re-calculating." Stan fumbled for the phone and called the hotel to ask for directions because at this point in the West Virginia wilderness, we had no idea. Plus, we were sleep-deprived and freaking hysterical. Well, inside we were, actually the van was quite silent. He got a hotel employee on the phone and explained our situation. Her reply was a strangely knowing one: "Why would it take you to 'Dr. Judy Road?'
That remains a mystery that will not be answered. The next morning in the sunshine, the kids begged, looking out over the rolling mountainous countryside around us, "Let's go to Dr. Judy Road! Let's go see! C'mon!"
Stan said, "No."
That's our story of Dr. Judy Road.
Those that dwell on that dark mountain know The Legend.