After a brief stop at Starbucks to fuel up with some iced green tea, my travel companion and I were on our way to the Outer Banks via Charlotte, NC and the garden of Elizabeth Lawrence.
I was fearless and intent, the GPS was programmed for Charlotte and the forecast was for temperatures above 100 F all along the route. We drove down I-65 heading toward Louisville. All was well on the road, though the corn fields we passed were not well at all with the drought.
I put the drought out of my mind, along with the high temperatures and what they might be doing to my garden. After all, what could I do? Stay home and water? No, I could not stay home and miss this opportunity to see Elizabeth Lawrence’s garden.
One of my sisters who lives nearby agreed to stop by and water as she could, though when she saw the long-range weather forecast and all the days that were supposed to be over 100 F, she asked if maybe she should have me sign a waiver in case any plants should die under her care. I assured her that some plants would die in the drought but not to worry about them. Just water as best she could.
We drove down the highway. What did that sign say? What did that sign say about the exit I want in Louisville being closed? Yep, the exit to Lexington was closed, temporarily, and I was stuck in a line of cars and trucks trying to figure out where to go next. I also soon figured out that the GPS I had borrowed for the trip didn’t know any better than to keep routing me past the same closed exit. I felt like a gardener who keeps pulling out the same weed over and over, that weed that keeps returning in the same spot no matter how you try to weed it out.
We ignored the GPS momentarily and followed the detour signs. Finally a bit further down the road, the GPS figured out that we were not going to take that exit and got us back on our chosen route.
Having driven this same route earlier in May to the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Asheville, NC, I knew that a section of I-75 was down to one lane south bound near the Kentucky/Tennessee state line. The first sign said to expect some delay. How bad could it be? Should we take the alternate route or forge ahead through the one lane and “some delay”. We decided to forge ahead and take our chances.
It turned out to be a bad idea. The last sign we saw was blinking “Expect Significant Delays”. We had not counted on an accident or two slowing and stopping traffic or for some unfortunate motorists to end up with over heated cars pulled off to the side of the road. The thermostat in the car at one point showed an outside temperature of 108 F. But it was too late and too far to turn back and take the alternate route. We lost some time, a lot of time, but finally made it across the state line and into Tennessee.
Passing through the area around Asheville, NC, it pained me to ignore the exits for Clyde, knowing that Christopher was Outside Clyde and would be more than happy to have us stop by. But there was no time, and I had visited Outside Clyde during the fling, so on we drove.
And we drove some more, turning where the GPS told us, as the sun set behind us.
It was well past dark o’clock when we finally pulled up to the hotel in Charlotte, unloaded the car and settled in for the night. We wondered how we could have lost so much time, adding nearly four hours to what was supposed to be a ten hour drive. The only thing we could figure out was that between stops for lunch, bio breaks, and two traffic slow downs, time just adds up.
No matter. I was finally in the hotel in Charlotte, a mere three miles from Elizabeth Lawrence’s garden.