My life has officially become a country song: Lost my guy, lost my dog, and here I am, driving through the back country roads on my own. But I’m driving a Jeep instead of a truck. Can you hear the tune? No? Good. I’m not a fan of country music, anyway.
I arrived pretty early in Charlotte and had a lot of time to explore today. But first, a couple “housekeeping” notes.
Losing Dewey, the best.dog.EVER
I adopted Dewey eight years ago. He and I had an instant connection. We had SO many special times together over the years. I’m still not 100% sure what happened, but I am taking some comfort that it was a quick deterioration and I didn’t have to watch him struggle as he got even older. He was going to be 11 next week. I even had birthday plans for him. I know every dog owner says this, but if you ever met him, he truly was the SWEETEST dog. I’m so glad I had him in my life for as long as did. My life is much richer because of it.
I’m also so incredibly glad I have my other pup, Frankie, to help me through this. I did do a lot of thinking about what’s next. Do I get a puppy to replace Dewey in a couple months? Or do I find a way to bring Frankie with me on my travels. Driving today made me realize how much I love having her in the car with me. She always stays in the back seat but will occasionally put her front two paws on the center console and rest her head on my shoulder to remind me that she’s there. Once I pat and scratch her head, she gives me a quick lick or two on the face before retreating to the back seat. She starts the whole process over about a half hour later. I could have used her little hugs today.
“Getting it all out” on a much-needed day of solitude
Not gonna lie, I cried a lot today. I made the mistake and read a lot of wonderful texts and messages from friends on social media before I boarded the plane. I was a hot mess when I boarded. The poor, sweet 13-year old girl next to me on the plane…can you say awkward? Despite my shit show, the flight attendants were incredible. Unfortunately, they could relate to my situation, as they both lost their dogs very recently, too. We all literally cried together in the airplane galley for a little bit.
I at least learned to put the social media down when I landed, or at least until I was safely in my rental car, where I then proceeded to cry for a solid half hour before I even left the lot. And I continued to cry in the car through a large part of the drive today. I’m SO glad it was just me today. If people would have been around me, I would have held it in. I called a few friends who I needed to talk to, but it was just me today. I needed this…both the solitude and the crying.
First stop: Greenville, SC
Located two hours southwest of Charlotte, Greenville is a really lovely little town. A small city with a cute Main Street and the well-manicured Falls Park. The “falls” is actually a 6-foot dam, with lots of different birds hanging out around it. I enjoyed lunch before walking around, then went back to my car so I could start heading north into North Carolina to find the Blue Ridge Parkway and Sliding Rock.
A creepy drive through back country roads
I had a slow drive from Greenville, stopping at various overlooks, my favorite being Bald Rock, which should have instead been called Graffiti Rock. It was covered in graffiti, but not in an unfortunate way, if that makes any sense. It added an interesting pop of technicolor to a world that was otherwise surrounded by a lush forest that was clouded in a misty haze. It was nice taking my time today, which I don’t get time to do. The weather matched my mood, so I didn’t feel forced to feel any other way than I did.
While driving, I kept noticing these large white things in the trees that looked like tops of lacrosse sticks. After getting out at a stop, I took a closer look to find out they were GINORMOUS spider webs. They were very tightly and intricately woven and are able to hold tree branches and leaves in them. I had zero interest in discovering what else was in it, so I stayed away. But they’re everywhere. (I was definitely having a “Deliverance” moment at this point.)
Laughing at Sliding Rock and finding peace on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Sliding Rock came as a recommendation, and I’m SO glad I did it. It took me a couple hours of stunning views to get there from Greenville. Just 10 miles outside the city of Brevard, NC, the 60-foot Sliding Rock has a creek pushing water over it. It’s one helluva fun and bumpy ride before it throws you into an 8-foot deep pool at the end. (I did it three times.) The water was COLD but it was really invigorating. It was the first time I forgot everything else that was going on and genuinely smiled and laughed. It felt good. Really good.
After a fun journey down Sliding Rock, I finally connected with The Parkway. The views were stunning. My photos literally don’t do it justice. But I really enjoyed the 4 hours of slowpoke driving and pit stops to check out the views. It was terrific. It was therapeutic. It was everything I needed before getting to Asheville.
I’m going to bed puffy-eyed and exhausted. Hoping to get a solid night of sleep before heading to the Biltmore Estate in the morning.