Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Journey Home from the Eclipse

Did you know there is a Nimblewheel in NC?

I've lived here all my life and had never heard of it. Of course, I'm sure there are 1000s of people in NC who have never heard of it.

I can't locate it on a map either. I've tried to Google Earth it, but the closest thing I came up with was Nimblewill (GA). I don't think it's possible, but after the trip home we had, it may be.

Just about every year, we go to Pigeon Forge, TN. (I know. I've said that like 1000 times!) We go to Cherokee for a day and then go back over the mountain to stay in TN.

When we went up for the eclipse a couple weeks ago, we should have taken a RIGHT and gone over the mountain! I'm sure we wouldn't have taken as long to get home as it did.

So.... here's the story (as condensed as I can get it!)

We turned left to head out of Cherokee. We left the reservation (stopping to take pictures at the sign). We got on Highway 74, maybe it's I74 (not quite sure).

I started dozing off a couple miles down the road; I hadn't been up that early in a while, and I was tired. The Princess was dozing also. Right as I was starting to sleep, Tony says, "Oh great! Brake lights."  I opened my eyes just a little to see where we were, but then went back to sleep. An hour later, I woke up and we were only 5 miles (yes FIVE) down the road.  FIVE miles in an hour.

The traffic on our side of the road was not moving... obviously. The other side of the road only had 1-2 cars every few minutes. Something was blocking both sides of the road! (We never found out what it was!)

We turned on the GPS and it kept saying that the congestion was only for "another mile" or "another 10 minutes".  Finally, the GPS said to take the exit toward Western Carolina University. We did.

When we got off the exit, there was at least 4-5 miles of cars trying to get on the highway. The traffic moving with us (away from the highway) was fine. But, the traffic toward the highway was at a standstill.

We kept driving straight because the GPS said so. Then.... then GPS lost signal. We looked for signs, but we kept driving straight. Every now and then (about every 20-30 minutes) the GPS would grab some signal and tell us to continue forward for X miles or X minutes. Then it would lose signal again.

We kept driving. And driving.  And driving.

We went through some beautiful countryside.

We passed a gorgeous lake. There were no signs, and I was tired (like I said). So I started asking the lake, "Lake...what is your name?  What lake are you? Where are we?" (Unfortunately, the lake did not answer.)

We kept driving. We never changed roads or anything.

Then....we saw a little green sign in the trees that said "Nimblewheel (Unincorporated)". 

Finally, we kept driving..... and saw a sign on the side of the road that said, "Welcome to South Carolina"!! We stopped for a picture just because I was in awe that we had driven that far out of the way.

By now, the sun is starting to set. We finally get signal.... strong enough to get us to Six Mile, SC. We stopped at the first service station we found. As we paid, I asked the lady, "Where are we? How do I get home from here?" She was really nice and wrote down directions to I85 for us. That took us through Pickens, SC.

When it was all said and done, we ended up just South of Greenville as we were getting on I85 to head North to come home

The ironic thing is that Greenville, SC, had a 100% TOTAL eclipse that day also. I just didn't want to go there. I wanted to go to Cherokee.

As the sun turned the sky a radiant orange, we put gas in the car, stopped at McDonald's, and turned North to home.

In total, we drove 9 hours home..... a trip that shouldn't take more than 3!!! Five of those hours were in SC... a completely different state than where we started or needed to be.

We finally arrived home at MIDNIGHT! It was crazy! However, forever, I have the story of seeing the total eclipse and the story of our journey home from the eclipse to share.

What's the longest (most of out the way) trip your GPS has taken you on??

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