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A honeymoon shortcut

 

PAULETTE BALLARD
Guest Columnist

 

As told by Kyra Hoffman

John and I were married on Saturday, August 7, 1999. I was 18 and he was 19. We scheduled our wedding for 11 a.m. because it would take us most of the afternoon to reach our honeymoon destination.

Because of our age, we could not secure a hotel reservation. We were allowed to rent a privately owned cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. for several nights. We planned to spend the remainder of our honeymoon camping. This is where our story gets interesting.

I’m from West Virginia and the weekend after our wedding was my family’s annual reunion. John and I decided after leaving Tennessee we would travel into West Virginia, camp for three or four nights, and end our trip at the family event. We had no specific destination in mind, but were sure we could locate a suitable accommodation to camp.

We drove into the mountains of West Virginia for what seemed like forever. At long last we decided to look at the map to try to find a campsite.  Being the navigator with the map, I noticed an opportunity for a “short cut” not far from where we were. It was a dirt road, but it appeared as if it would cut out about thirty minutes of our driving time so we decided to take it. I mean, really, a dirt road wouldn’t be a problem. We thought our big, jacked up Toyota pickup truck could handle anything.

We left the main road and drove down the deserted dirt road. Fifteen minutes into our drive we noticed the dirt road was getting narrow and rocky. We stopped and pondered whether or not we had taken a wrong turn or if we should keep going. Again, being as young and naive as we were, you can only imagine what we decided….. yep, we kept going.

Finally we had to stop and put the truck in 4-wheel drive to go over the boulders in front of us. We then reached a point where the road was only a narrow path and it dead ended into the side of a mountain! I’m sure you can guess what we had to do … turn around and drive back the way we came to reach the main road. We had driven an hour and a half out of the way taking this short cut which we had thought would save us 30 minutes.

We eventually reached our destination and finished our honeymoon. We look back now at our “detour” and realize all the negative things that could have happened. What on earth were we thinking driving down a deserted dirt road somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia? No one knew where we were and cell phones were not available then.  The movie “Deliverance” comes to mind when I think back to that trip.

There was a third person riding with us on that trip and he was looking out for us. He has been looking out for us ever since and we are very thankful.

Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it to pballardnc1029@yahoo.com. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.

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