I'm going to school in Williamsburg, VA, which is a very nice area. It's beautiful, really; when I get a chance, I drive off to the various forests and plantations around here to take it all in. Turn the music up, roll the windows down, that sort of thing. On my way, passed a minor tributary of the Chesapeake Bay earlier this week, and it was gorgeous. I resolved to come back and find a way to reach the water's edge; there was no clear road, and I was wearing nice clothes, so traipsing about just seemed like a bad idea.
Went back yesterday, and noticed a little sideroad that I hadn't, before. There was a church off to the side, several mailboxes, and a lot of forest. Yellow sign that read, 'dead end.' Figured there was a good shot that that was what I was looking for - a tiny riverside community, and hopefully the road dead-ended at the pier!
Headed down this winding, and let me say, very narrow path. And it wasn't cleaving any closer to the river; the opposite, really. I saw a number of roads that went perpendicular towards the water's edge, but each was clearly marked 'private property, no trespassing.' And the houses weren't little cottages, but expensive looking waterfront manors with piers. Which is around when I started to feel a little bit uneasy.
Before long, I reached the 'end of state maintenance' and the road turned into a sort of very pretty straw-and-leaf covered dirt. Definitely come too far. With no room for me to adequately turn around. But there was a ray of hope at the end! The driveway ahead was circular, with some trees in the middle. So I could quickly loop around and get back onto the main road!
...Or so I thought. The trees obscured a car that prevented me from taking the circular way around. So I resigned myself to backing up. As a note, I don't actually drive that much. I didn't get my license until two years into college, barely used it there, and most of the time that I worked between college and grad school, I drove down pretty straight highways. I am not good at things like backing up, or parallel parking, or backing up. So I have to go slowly. Reverse, wait until my car's warning sound goes off to some low thing I cannot see in my mirrors, get out of the car and see what it is, adjust.
Before long, an old man comes out of the house and slowly approaches me. I get back in the car and repeat my little ritual of ineffective reversing, so that he's aware that I am not trying to intrude on their property, I am trying to get out. But he keeps walking toward me, so after a few more cycles of this, I get out of the car and wave at him.
"I'm sorry, are you heading towards me, sir?"
"What are you doing here?" He snaps back, as his face like.. contorts in anger at me. It suddenly went from curiosity to irritation, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm A) Young, B) Asking a stupid question, C) A stranger with no business being here generally, or D) Non-white. But he's very clearly angry now.
"I got a little bit lost, sir. I'm trying to get out now, I apologize."
"Can you read? It says private property! Get off!"
"I'm sorry, I went down this road trying to get close to the creek and I couldn't really turn around-"
"It's private property! Are you stupid? Get off!"
So I scrambled back into the car. What followed was an almost comical exercise in me continuing to fail at backing up, thrown in with him constantly heaping verbal abuse in my ability to drive, the fact that I occasionally kicked up dirt on his road, and my periodic apologies. It did help me get out faster, at least; I didn't have to get out of the car anymore to find out what I was doing...
I am going to be considerably more cautious when exploring in the future, I can say that much.
Story does have a happy ending; when I finally got all the way out of the little road, I parked at the church and traipsed through about a half-mile of long grass in the rain, thunder and lightning to the part under the bridge that I am sure is public property. And I got a lot of pretty pictures!