After my tinkle, and the boys have had their fill of shooting practice, we're back in the car... and the road only gets bumpier. We are seriously in the middle of NOWHERE. S is doing his best to hold it together. M & I feel just terrible that he is not totally enjoying this excursion and apologize profusely. We can't believe that the guy who goes motorcycling, ski-dooing, white water rafting and 4-wheeling gets this affected by motion sickness! We do our best to focus on the scenery as we've been on this road for quite some time (it's a looong trail, folks), and the jostling and rattling around is growing old. M insists that S will feel better if he drives; that it has worked for him in the past. S refuses a few times, dramatically moaning, "I'm growing weak," but after yet another urgent roadside pit stop, he finally relents and begins driving.
After driving for about 15 minutes, S starts to perk up a little. The driving, he says, is actually helping. We start to relax and joke around and make light of his predicament. We begin to notice ourselves amongst dense trees, and the road now has a little stream running alongside it. S comments on the fact that we've not yet seen any wildlife, and this seems strange to all of us given that it's such a remote, wild area. I had seen rabbits, eagles, and even a roadrunner along this trail before, so I felt certain something must be lurking nearby.
We drive a few minutes more when suddenly, a huge stag grandly LEAPS out from behind the bushes on the side of the road and bounds out in front of our truck. S slams on the brakes just a few feet from the beast - and without missing a beat, it scrambles up the hill on the other side and up, out of our sight. We jump out of the truck to see where it has gone, STUNNED by the near miss and the sheer size of it! It was gigantic! We all need a moment to calm our nerves, so we decide to check out the stream.
After a couple minutes, and some more pictures, we pile back in the truck. By this point, we're starting to feel impatient. There's been a lot of stops, and the drive is feeling long. We consult the map again, and it appears we're on the right track, so we continue to forge ahead. We stop once or twice more once the road starts getting higher, and perhaps even bumpier (poor, poor S), and we find ourselves driving along the edge of a VERY steep cliff. Even though we weren't making great time, we had to get some pictures of this view...
We even find a shot out car on the side of the road, which granted, is a bit creepy, but naturally the boys decide that it could use a couple more holes... (please, for the love of god, let there not be ricochet!)...
The map indicates we're on the right path, but we have been driving much longer than we anticipated. It's been a lot further than 60 miles, and we're getting cranky. To buoy our spirits, we begin to crack jokes about the film, DELIVERANCE. We've not passed any vehicles at all along this trip (did I mention that this trail is looong and remote?), but surprisingly, we suddenly see one headed our way. It's a beat-up, dusty pick-up, and I tell M to slow down and ask the driver how much further we have to go. M slows, and the other truck slows, and we see that the driver is a scary, weather-beaten, straight-outta-Deliverance kinda character, missing his front teeth and wearing an INS cap. (I worry that it might be a trophy from the last guy who stopped to ask him directions). Through cracked lips he grunts that we have 6-8 miles more, so we meekly thank him, then peel off.
Having just seen this unbelievable guy, we now have a fresh arsenal of Deliverance-inspired zingers about where we're likely to end up. We joke that the guy is using his CB radio right now to set-up a road block ahead to capture us "purdy, white city-slickers
." We joke that he must've said "68 more miles" instead of "6-8 more miles," because we still only see dusty road stretched out in front of us.
And we drive... and we drive... and we drive, drive, drive, drive! We keep thinking that this road HAS to end soon, but it just keeps going on for as far as the eye can see. We're really getting testy at this point. S flirts with the idea of hurling again, so we let him out and drive slowly ahead, to give him a little privacy. After that's done, we start off again, and mercifully spot a sign that tells us we're getting close. S has a hard time believing it: "nooo...it's just a mirage,
" he whimpers. M chooses to let loose and cheer enthusiastically. I'm like S, reluctant to get my hopes up. This drive had already been at least 3 times longer than we anticipated. Not to mention the fact that the sign says we're on the outskirts of a place named Bloody Basin.