Swan Drive Inn

Blue Ridge Journal Day 1

Day 1

Saturday

Went to Fred’s house the night before for C-mans 4th b-day party and ended up getting in so late that we didn’t load the van till this morning (Saturday). After piling a weeks worth of clothes, mountain-board, canoe, fishing gear and a freshly laundered Scooby Doo we headed out…sort of. We stopped at Bob Poock’s Hardees for a new creation; I had them combine the the breakfast bowl with the low-carb breakfast bowl for something that probably had about 18,000 fat grams…energy for the road, right?On the way we stopped at one of our favorite stores on the planet, Mountain Crossings at Walasi-yi. It’s a popular stop on the Appalachian Trail which if you haven’t noticed, has become an obsession with me. We didn’t encounter any thru-hikers but greeted several section hikers, most of whom had just completed 30 miles or so. While Jo and I were lusting over the gear and amazing t-shirts Dana took Scooby and beat me to the trail. And when she saw us again, believe me, she took no small pleasure in letting us know! So Jo and I took the leash (with the dog) and set-out. Within the course of a matter of minutes we found our first white blaze! We were stoked. (Blazes are just strokes of paint on trees used to identify the trail you’re on. The AT, which stretches from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, Maine..approximately 2175 miles…this year, is identified with white blazes.) Before we found the blaze I told Jo that we’d just walk until we found one. I kept saying, “just a little further.” He said, “Let’s just go. Let’s keep walking.” I was tempted. Later he chuckled and said, “It would make a great book: Woman’s husband, son and dog set out for short walk and don’t come back…for 5 months!” I mused, “Hey babe, we’re in Maine. Come get us, would you?” The appeal of the trail has now become almost mystical for me. Near the white blaze was a tree that Jo, of course, had to climb. As he was monkeying to the top my gaze was drawn back to the path. The allure of the beautiful trail stretched out before me seduced me once more. I reminded myself soon…soon.Once we arrived and got unloaded we looked up the number for the Swan Drive-In. One of the more significant losses I’ve seen in my lifetime is the extinction of the Drive-In movie. When we discovered that one of the rare survivors of the VCR/DVD revolution was just down the road from where we were staying we determined to make a visit. Dana and I as well as Keith and Michelle all have fond memories of the inimitable Drive-In. It’s something we’ve longed for years for Jo to experience. As we were digging up the number we talked about what movie we’d like to see. All of us agreed that either Kung Fu Panda or the new Indian Jones would be fantastic. Dana said, “Wouldn’t it be great if they were showing a double feature?” A feeling of wonderment came over me. Double-feature. A term that from the advent of digital recording technology, had been deleted from our lexicon. While we waited in the stifling heat of a local restaurant for our food to arrive (Apparently the AC was down) Dana made the call to see what was showing. She erupted in a blood curdling scream. I honestly thought we’d won the lottery…even though we’d never played. She informed us that tonight the Swan Drive-In would be showing a double-feature. Yep, you guessed it. Kung Fu Panda and Indiana Jones. We were all pretty worn out but couldn’t pass up a chance like this so we loaded up and headed for the Swan. One of the things I miss the most about the demise of the Drive-In is the pre-film activity. At the Swan, like our own beloved Augusta Rd. Drive In, families gathered in the patch of grass before the giant screen for Frisbee, football, tag, hide and seek and various and sundry other activities. We had a blast. Keith brought a Frisbee and before long kids were gathering from everywhere. The infamous flying disc made it’s long and seemingly random circuit repeatedly, interrupted on occasion by the tag football game which would barrel right through the crowd. It was chaotic, it was crazy and it was beautiful. As nightfall approached we made our way to our camp chairs, opened the back of the sports utility van and cranked up the radio to 101.5 fm. I’m sure the giant soft drinks, corn dogs, nachos and funnel cakes were partially to blame but we all found ourselves nodding out during what were probably two pretty good films. It was never really about the movies anyway. Good times.