I suppose it all started when I saw signs for CAVES! from the highway.
I mean, how do you see CAVES! and not stop? Even if those CAVES! are 20 miles up a mountain. So as I'm racing up this mountain, enjoying the crisp mountain air and scenery right out of a Maggie Stiefvater book, when I hear CHUNKA-CHUNK.
I'm no car expert, but I'm pretty sure cars shouldn't make sounds like CHUNKA-CHUNK.
But, I had arrived at the CAVES! and thought, "maybe the car will stop making that sound if I go into the CAVES!" (seriously, this sounded pretty sound at the time because CAVES!).
AND MORE CAVES!!
AND CAVE WATER!!
7 MILLION YEAR OLD CAVES!!!
All the while, my car was sitting in the parking lot, giving me evil glares and thinking, "Just you wait. This problem isn't going anywhere."
And it didn't. I get back in my car and now the CHUNKA-CHUNK is louder and...bumpier. So I pull off at the first gas station I can find. And by "gas station" I mean shack that has two gas pumps and sells beer. Beggars can't be choosers, guys.
Inside the "gas station," a local tells me I need to see Randy at the garage across from BO'S BELLY BARN. He tries giving me directions, but I'm all, "it's okay. I have Google Maps...so is Bo spelled B-O or B-O-E?"
For real. BO'S BELLY BARN, which is another gas station identical to the one I was standing in, except they also have chips and soda.
I turn into the garage and find this Randy guy in his no-name garage. Although, there was a sign on the door that read KEEP DOOR CLOSED SO CAT DON'T GET OUT.
Guys! Garage cat!! Eeee!
Okay so after a little explaining and hand motions and translating from my "city slicker" fast talking, Randy understands that my car is making CHUNKA-CHUNK noises. I hand over my keys and he proceeds to get in my car, turn on the engine, back out into the road, AND COMPLETELY LEAVE ME IN FRONT OF THIS NO NAME GARAGE ACROSS FROM BO'S BELLY BARN.
I panicked. Just a little.
But then realized it was my oversensitive city instincts because he came right back and pulled the car into one of the garage bays. I sat on the concrete and waited for him to tell me my car was ruined and I was going to have to stay in the mountains forever and carve a new home for myself out of a log or something.
Turns out, my wheel wasn't screwed on tightly. As in...it could have COME OFF. It was in that moment that Randy with his Duck Dynasty beard and greasy baseball cap became my hillbilly mountain savior.
"You were lucky, ma'am," he said to me.
I was, Randy. I was.