October is one of my favorite times of year for many different reasons. One is the changing of the seasons; the second is our family trip to Cataloochee Valley North Carolina. Having lived many years of my young life in Londonderry N.H., visiting this part of the Mountain chain floods my memory of many positive events.
To this point this trip has not disappointed.
Friday evening we left the Taylor house at 11:15 PM, right on schedule. The drive up was a peaceful one. About 4 hours into the trip we started noticing the outdoor temperature change. The outside temp was in the low 60′s, mission 1 accomplished. Mission 1 was to find cooler temperatures. At 9:30 AM we pulled into Waynesville N.C. Our hope was to attend the Apple festival. Man it was packed, so in our own best interest we decided to skip the festivities. We moved on and decided to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. We hit one of our favorites, Water Rock Knob. Or as our 5-year-old says “Water Knock Rob.” About 2 years ago our Poodle Callie of 13 years needed to go onto a better place. This was one of her favorite spots to get wind in her ears. This day would not have disappointed. It was a cool 55 degrees with about a 20 knot wind. Very refreshing. We had a very cold hard Salami and Butterkasse cheese sandwich. It was time to move on.
Best Poodle Ever
Upon getting in the truck I noticed a light on the dashboard. Missy (Wife of 16 Years) pulled out the manual. Thank you, Honda. Well that is interesting, the low pressure light is on. We had experienced this one time before when we had the truck in the snow, so we thought nothing of it. I went as far as checking the tire pressure. Nothing really out of the normal, and I did not hear the leaking of air. We decided to come down off of the Blue Ridge and head down into Maggie Valley, a city made for our Motorcycle friends. By the way, the concept of free air has not left this town. I filled the low tire with air and the light went off. Issue resolved at least that is what we thought.
We have been looking for property of our own up here, so we decided to head back to Max Patch and get a lay of the land. About 30 minutes into the trip I noticed that the low tire pressure light was on again. I pulled over into a local parking lot and check out the tire. This time my worse fear was realized, we had a slow leak in the tire evidenced bythe all too familiar sound pssssssssssssssssssss. O.K. this is serious… time to get into town and resolve this issue. Living in the Tampa area one cannot throw a stone without finding a tire retailer. Not so here in the mountains.
The search for a tire shop should have caused panic. However, I am quite proud of the family. Missy was doing Google searches attempting to find a tire shop. Pretty much everything was either closed or very far away. We remembered seeing a small gas station back in Jonathan Creek which appeared to be open and had a sign that said brake and tire repairs. To the gas station we headed.
Once at the gas station we noticed quite a bit of activity. A couple of the technicians were working on a big ole’ RV. They were fixing a tire; yeah we are in the right place. I pulled up and spoke with Nate. Upon talking with him I felt like we were in good hands. Nate was able to jack up the truck with all the gear in place. He quickly pulled off the tire and found the gash in the middle of it. Dang you highway debris. Michelin makes a great tire, but something to keep in mind is that they are difficult to patch. On his third try the patch took for Nate. We were all very happy including Nate. I went in to pay for the Patch and we were done with that part of the adventure. Before leaving I went to give Nate something for his troubles. He would not accept any gratuity from me and was very gracious about it. He kept saying it was too much. Even at the small dollar amount Nate kept saying “It was too much”. It soon became evident that Nate enjoyed what he did. He would not accept our gratuity, and I was close to insulting him. I shook Nate’s hand and we were on our way to the cabin.
Jen & Gary’s Cabin ( Our friends Cabin )
Sitting in the Cabin in front of the fire watching my wife read and my son play, the day’s events gave me hope. It also made me think.
Often as DBAs or Developers we are not often accessible to each other. Especially after late nights or early morning production calls. We are those little gas stations in the middle of nowhere. However, we are the people who often make it happen. Well a little gas station called Sorrels in a place called Jonathan Creek made it happen. This goes back to the old Cliché, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. We passed the Sorrel gas station much earlier in the day. Based on how Sorrels looked I passed without stopping. This was a huge mistake on my part. Often times we pass on things because they are not the most appealing or most glamorous. This latest life lesson with the tire gave me glimpses into the past. Some of my most challenging projects and or tasks have been those that were either not glamorous or appealing. Many of these have brought me to today and have provided me with this incredible time with my family in the mountains.
This event also gave me pause and hope for the state of the United States. I found a group of individuals in the small town of Jonathan Creek working at a gas station by the name of Sorrel. These are hard working Americans helping a town survive. Swing on by and talk with these folks and experience what I did that day. This town could have easily given up, but everyone here is surviving and trying to make it to the next set of glory days.