Dismal Creek Road

I’m still spending my Sunday mornings on the road.

I got about as far down Rt. 11 I as I could reasonably get in a morning, so recently I’ve varied my rambles a little. I didn’t really enjoy the trip I made two weeks ago, since the highway took me in toward D.C. The closer you get to the city, the richer and more self-consciously cute the towns get. I prefer to see places where, as my mother says, real people live.

Today I chose a different direction, and spotted a sign for Dismal Creek Road. Obviously I had to get off the interstate to drive that. It was narrow and winding, with lots of stretches under arching green trees.

There was a sign for a one-lane bridge, which I took seriously. I learned to drive in a small Southern county where one-lane bridges were a normal part of life, like waving at other drivers and holding up traffic to let somebody in. But this morning I rounded a curve, and all my startled brain took in was, “THERE IS NO ROAD JUST WATER.”

Haha, brain! It was just a wide creek. And there was a road across it. Kind of. The bridge was narrow, low, and made of concrete. It was definitely a one-lane bridge. In fact, as I edged my little yellow car onto it, a frantic estimate told me that it was about 27 inches wide, two miles long, and probably sagging in the middle.


No, really, it was perfectly safe. Good thing, too, because there was steady traffic across it.


I stopped to wade for a while. And also collect rocks, because that’s what happens when I stop at a Virginia creek.


I’m collecting skipping rock for my father-in-law’s visit in October. That’s one way we’ve bonded, skipping rocks together when we happen to be on the waterside. Until, of course, he skips his rocks better than I do mine, at which point I get tired of bonding.

I turned off Dismal Creek Road onto Happy Hollow Road (I did change the road names slightly for this post, but it captures the dramatic emotional life of the road-sign-maker.) Under the deep green trees, a breeze threw down some yellow leaves. Fall is coming, but today it’s still summer.

It was a fine day for driving. Thanks for coming along.


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