Thursday, March 25, 2021
It was a grueling drive from Nashville on I40 and 81 to Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia. Traffic was heavy, and the rain was coming down so hard, I never took my windshield wipers off high speed all day. Everyone likes to pull right in front of you after they pass, even the tractor trailer trucks. Of course that just splashes all that water all over your windshield, and then you can’t see, and you no longer have proper stopping distance, so you have to slow down. To make things worse, there was heavy fog for the first couple of hours.
I thought I81 was a treacherous road to drive, but 40 is worse. For the first time in my life, I was happy to get on 81. People like to complain about tractor trailer trucks, and no doubt there are some bad truck drivers, but for the most part, they are professionals. They know how to drive in these conditions. It’s the cars and pickups that are nuts. Not slowing for the conditions, they zip in and out of lanes. One mistake and we’re all toast. Generally, I like to follow behind a good tractor-trailer driver. If there is an accident ahead, they will be a good blocker. The trouble on these roads is there are hills and mountains, so the trucks go slowly up and fast going down. If you pass, you’d better finish before the top of the hill.
Thankfully, the rains stopped as we pulled into Hungry Mother State Park, but we were still tense. There are two campgrounds, one below the dam and one above the lake named “Creekside”. Ruff and Sandra drove up from Martinsville to spend two nights with us at the end of our trip.
As we pulled through the tight, little campground, Ruff’s car was sticking out a little bit. rolling down the window, Ruff cried “Help”. It was the perfect campsite next to the creek, but it was an L-shaped, narrow paved site…..with two trees guarding it from the front. He had about two inches clearance from one of the trees and their new camper and appeared to be stuck.
I backed into our straight site, then jumped out to help Ruff. For 40 minutes, we wiggled, started over and wiggled some more. We were about to give up, but finally made it. We were ready for a drink! Of course this is when you make a mistake – when you are tired at the end of the day. Ruff did a good job of staying cool. I’ve never seen a tougher spot!!
We were grateful for the rains to stop, building a fire right beside a beautiful stream with two mallards swimming and feeding right beside us. Campground host, Dale Saunders came up with his raincoat slicker on, and said this was a very old campground, built long before there were campers like these. He said more rains were coming, along with high winds. Great! I looked around at all the big trees.
By 8:00, the rains started again, so we departed for our campers, but the mallards didn’t seem to care.