So I'm sitting on the back of my car with the hatchback up removing my waders after an afternoon and evening on the WPLP just above the Chimney Tops trailhead. I am at a pull-off parking area along HWY 441. It is getting on toward 8 pm, pouring rain and dusk is coming early. Not even much traffic on the road when an SUV comes barreling into the lot and pulls right up to my car, T-bone fashion. Guy gets out, walks over, ducks his head under the hatchback and says, "What are you doing?"
Heavy accent, middle eastern appearance, mid 20's and I am having to look up at him (I hate that, makes me feel vulnerable). "Well, I've been fishing," says I. I get a blank stare back. Raise my right hand, pretend to cast, then pretend to crank with my left; "You know, fishing?" More blank stare. About this time I see motion to my right as the passenger side car door opens and a young woman emerges and walks off down toward the river. Did I mention it's pouring down rain?
Well, feces, I have gone off and left both Ms. Annie AND Mr. Kimber at home. Silly me!
Guy seems to finally wake up and says, "I need a house to sleep in." Steeples his hands like a roof and then puts them together against the side of his head and tilts it. "Oh," says I, "You need a motel room for the night?"
"No, no," says he, "I need a house." Well, okay, guy has a thing about motels. "What you want is a chalet," says I, making a roof with my hands to indicate it is like a house. "Yes," says he. Hey, we are making progress after all. "So, where do you want to stay?" says I. He points up the road toward Newfound Gap and says, "What's that way?"
"Either Cherokee, Maggie Valley or Robbinsville, North Carolina," says I, "but you may have a hard time finding a chalet in any of those towns, especially on short notice." He points down the road and says, "What's that way?"
Well, duh, you came from that direction, didn't you notice when you drove through? But being the nice guy that I am and remembering how I am missing Ms. Annie and Mr. Kimber, I says, "Well, that way is your best bet to find a chalet for the night. Go past the first traffic light to the Econolodge and ask the person at the desk for help finding one." Blank stare is back.
By now, it's getting late, I'm tired and hungry and getting a little weary of playing sixty questions with this guy so I go on about my business with securing things for the ride home. Next thing I know the car is leaving; didn't even say thanks, have a nice day, drop dead, nothing. Just left.
And I still don't know if the young lady left with him. I forgot to look for her before I left. And it was still pouring down rain!