Getting off the Highways

Hacker News LinkedIn Facebook Twitter by Abby Fichtner

This post is part of my month-long Road Trip! HackerChick style.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty disorienting when you have no idea where you’re traveling each day or where you’ll be staying when you get there. The little bit of a plan we did have: Charleston, Savannah, then along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, got botched by the terrible flooding.

We decide instead to head north. So many places with deep music history: Nashville, Memphis, Muscle Shoals.

Okay, great! Input Nashville into Google Maps and off we go up the highway.

I can’t actually remember why we decided to get off at a random exit but we do, for whatever reason, only to find ourselves right smack in the middle of the most beautiful farm country.

 

Horses and cattle and cornfields. An older couple driving down the street in what I could only describe as the love child of a tractor and a golf cart. Stopping in the middle of the road to catch up with another farmer.

We really want to fly the drone but it’s so freakin’ peaceful, we can’t bring ourselves to break the spell. Instead we drive along until we find a farm so beautiful we have to pull over to take pictures.

 

 

So we’re standing there in the middle of the road, snapping away, when we notice the golf cart/tractor couple has turned around and is heading our way.

Shit! We’re gonna get yelled at for taking pictures of people’s property or for stopping our RV basically in the middle of the road. We jump back in the RV and hope hope hope if we close the doors and go into the back they won’t yell at us.

But, no. Here they are, coming right up along side our driver side door and stopping.

We roll down the window with much hesitation, but what else are we gonna do?

“Are you guys stuck? Do you need any help?”

Wait. What? They’re offering us help?

It turns out they’d seen us pull over so had come all the way back down at their rapid 10mph max-speed to see if we were in trouble.

Wow! Okay. Hello, South. We like you already.

We immediately fall into conversation. (remember, part of our goal of this trip is to meet the locals?) It turns out it’s their farm we’ve been photographing. We tell them it was so beautiful we stopped to take pictures, is that okay?

“Of course, take as many as you want!”

We talk about the weather, something that actually isn’t just small talk in farm country. While it’s been raining so hard it’s flooding not too far below them, they’re in the middle of a drought and so their beautiful cornfields are turning brown. Yeah, we noticed that! Does that mean the crop is wasted?

“No, no – they’ll be fine, they just won’t get the yield that they could have.”

And on and on we go. Them telling us about their farm, which used to be run by their son, but he died 10 years ago. Oh my god, so sad. Us telling them about our trip and how we wanted to learn more about the culture of the south and take in the local flavor.

“You better stay off of the highways then. You won’t see any of that on the highways.”

Geez. Yeah! We know this. But, somehow, in our rush to come up with a new plan we’d fallen astray. Why do we want to waste our time in cities on this trip that’s about getting away from it all?

This Right Here is what we want to see. And these Right Here are exactly the type of people we want to be meeting.