Take a ride on the Hillbilly Mothership


In all my travels across this country, I have to say that there really couldn’t have been a better place to come home to than North Carolina.  We really do have a little bit of everything you need right here in our diverse little state.  We have the beach, mountains, flatlands, swamps and illegal immigrants.  The state is even shaped in such a way as to point at the rest of the country demanding that the rest of the states bow to it’s superiority.

“Ya’ll go and wup us up sum RESPEKT now, ya hear”!

Clearly Virginia isn’t paying attention because it’s just up there laying on its ass.  Tennessee is trying to be defiant but it can’t spell “defiant” and Oklahoma is kind of an 8-bit wannabe.

Despite what you have heard, it is NOT legal to marry your sister in North Carolina.  On the other hand, oral sex isn’t legal either but who is really checking as long as you’re not doing it in the Home and Garden department at WalMart.  Even then I think it’s just a written warning.  Oral sex with your sister is ok, just don’t get married.

Boy, did I just run with the sick turn that took, didn’t I?  Back to relative normalcy . . .

My growing up “formative years” were spent in our state capital, Raleigh.  It’s got all the big city life you need with malls and clubs and museums and damn near anything you can imagine to keep your nights and days occupied.  You can also drive 20 minutes out of town and get yourself a healthy dose of quiet country if that is what you’re looking for as well.  I don’t care where else you take me, Raleigh is always going to be my favorite city in the world.  Hopefully someday they will lift the ban and let me back in.

The City of Oaks
I have never been drunk under that overpass. Much.

For now I’ve made my home in what I’ve come to call The Hillbilly Mothership.  This is different from The Redneck Mothership (AKA:  Dunn, NC).  Rednecks and Hillbillies are different.  Rednecks live in trailers, drive trucks with tires bigger than their homes and single-handedly keep the cheap-ass beer industry alive.  Hillbillies live in shacks, don’t own a vehicle that can’t tow a plow and the stuff they’re drinking isn’t made “at no damn fancy brewery”.  A hillbilly will also kill and eat pretty much anything that wanders onto his property.  You may want to send in a warning flare before entering and even that doesn’t guarantee anything.

West Jefferson, NC is where my brilliant ass currently resides.  West Jefferson was chartered in 1917 and was little more than a train stop for the Northwestern Railroad, also known as the “Virgina Creeper”.  As time has passed, “Virgina Creeper” can now be cured with Penicillin and a soothing salve.  If you want any history beyond that, click the link I provided as they seem rather serious about it over there and in case you’re new to my blog, I just don’t do a whole hell of a lot of “serious” up in this bitch.

Purgatory -er, I mean- West Jefferson is still just a small, quiet town nestled away in the mountains only 20 miles from both Virginia and Tennessee.  Population as of 2009 – 1,135.  This is serious, North Carolina country, folks.  There are more women than men.  Given what I have observed around here, I suspect the women are eating the men.  There are no African Americans here.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even the least bit racist, it’s just not something you’re going to see around here.  A large chunk of this town still thinks it’s 1917.

The biggest source of income for the town is tourism.  It’s small, quaint, vaguely historical and you can’t beat the damn view.  When the leaves change colors in the fall, it’s gonna get busy up in here!  (From this day forward, these people are to be referred to as “Leaf Peepers”.  Thank you, Tom, because “Goddamn Slow-ass Drivin’, Squirrel-pointin’ Fucks” just took too long to type out.)  So what I thought I’d do is take you on a short tour of West Jefferson 1) because I like you and I want to share the quaint little town with you and 2) if I show it to you here maybe you’ll keep your ass at home and not be in front of me driving 10 miles an hour pointing at squirrels playing with their nuts.

So let me show you around . . .

This here is the view standing out in back of the house.  The mountain you see is, for lack of anything better to call it, Mount Jefferson.  I have indicated here where I’m going to be taking the next picture from, or where I took the next picture from.  I’m having issues with tense today, bear with me.

The drive from here to there takes all of about 10 minutes.

Not bad, eh?  It really is a great view and you really should see it in person, but do me a favor and warn me first.  Also, if your car has Florida license tags on it, I already hate you.  I’m just sayin’.  Your car really does go faster than 20 mph uphill, I KNOW it does!  I did it yesterday, which brings me to the next picture, taken from that place up there that is really high . . .

Most people would worry about stalkers trying to find them after posting where they live on the internet. The fucking mail man can’t find us and he was born here, so I’m not really worried about you finding it.

The town itself, well it’s pretty much what you see there above that red line.  The rest of the pictures I show you today were taken down there, above that line, on one road.  The main street in town.  S. Jefferson Ave.  We really haven’t jumped on the placement of a Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd like everybody else has, but then there’s really nobody here that’s brought it up.  I’m just sayin’.

Now for the Saturday afternoon stroll . . .

I hope you appreciate this. I was nearly killed for this picture.

That is it, people.  You are more or less looking from one end of town to the other.  It’s around 4:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday in the middle of July right there and that’s what you get.  Basically what that means here is that I really needed to get moving because everything was closing in about a half hour.  Seriously.  5:00, so we gotta go!

(In case I haven’t mentioned it, you can click on any of these images to get the larger versions.  For those of you that found your way here by way of The Bloggess, this process is known as “embiggening”.)

No town is complete without it’s local “watering hole”. Welcome to Black Jack’s! Shirts and shoes are totally up to you!
It’s THE place to be on Friday night! It’s also very conveniently located directly across the street from the WJPD, so you don’t have to walk far to get home!

You may have noticed that something looks a bit out of place in front of our little tavern.  It would seem that West Jefferson is full of “artsy” types that like to paint stuff.  There are murals painted on walls all over town and random sculptures placed in odd places all done by local artists.  Some of them are very nice and tasteful and some just don’t make any damn sense.  We’ll start with the aesthetic attack in front of Black Jack’s (also the title of my next rap song).

Two years ago the place nearly burned down because the fire department couldn’t find the camoflaged hydrant. Luckily, Jeb really had to pee.

As odd as a fire hydrant with a mountain scene painted on it may be (technically, it’s not even legal), at least this work of art has some kind of function.  It serves a purpose and can potentially save lives.  If you’re not careful and looking for it, it is invisible and you will stub your friggin’ toe, but it has a statement and it is displayed in an appropriate place.  There are “less fortunate” works to be found.

I still have no fucking idea what this is.

There is no sign or plaque with this.  There is no title.  It has the artists name on it, in the back, on the bottom.  It isn’t even displayed anywhere relevant to . . . anything.  It’s just stuck in an alley between a couple of stores.  Since it doesn’t seem to have a name, I have taken it upon myself to give it one, because I am cool like that.  Henceforth, this work shall be known as “The Irrelevant Whatthefuck”.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be to hard to find the artists’ tie-dyed, bare basic, patchouli reeking home and ask him what the meaning of it is, but that just sucks all the fun out of educating the tourists in my own special way.

You can get all the hiking gear you need at Mountaineer Outfitters. Located in the brick building right beside “The Irrelevant Whatthefuck”.

I haven’t gone to verify this yet, but if I had to place bets, I’d say that this art gallery belongs to the same artist that made “The Irrelevant Whatthefuck”:

You can get this color at your local Home Depot. Just go up to the paint counter and ask them for “Blue as Fuck!” They’ll whip it right up for ya.

Another “artist”, of sorts, is located just two buildings away from “The Irrelevant Whatthefuck’s Blue as Fuck” shop (this is the Bible Belt so it probably isn’t called that and I’m going to Hell but I bought my tickets for that trip a long time ago).  This is Tri County Monuments.  The good folks at TCM make headstones, and they are very proud of their work.  Their choice of “display models”, however, is just a tad questionable.

Of all the names they could have picked for a display, they chose THIS one!
Do ya think George and Mary Jo are freakin’ the fuck out right about now??

Yeah, I’m going to Hell for sure, but you’re all laughing so at least I know I’ll have company.

One of the more popular features of downtown West Jefferson is Good Ole Days Ice Cream in the building the locals refer to as “The Old Hotel”.  Oddly enough, it’s the back side of an old hotel.  There have been many things in this store over the years, the last of which was a beauty parlor, but the quaint, “old timey soda fountain stand” feel has made the current resident fairly popular with the locals and tourists alike.  I’d like to find something funny to say about it at this point, but seriously, the place is just cool and you’re not going to find anything like it in your big-ass city.

I still haven’t figured out why the back of the hotel is what faces the main street.

The “open” sign is a sure indicator that I managed to catch this picture before 5:00. Come on in and get ya some Blue Bell! 😉

So you may be asking yourself, “What is there to do at night in this fine little town”?  Quick answer, not a goddamn thing.  Alright, alright, that’s not totally true.  You can take in a movie at the Parkway Movie Theater.  You’ll get to pick from 1 of 2 movies and you’ll never see anything there that’s rated “R”.  They just won’t allow that kind of filth in this town.  (Clearly, they have not caught on to me yet!)  If you want anything more than that for some evening fun, plan on at least a half hour drive and unless you’re a 21 year old college student, you’re going to be overwhelmed there too.  (I’ll talk about Boone, NC in another post ’cause that’s my college tromping grounds and that is a WHOLE other story!)

This weeks choices are Harry Potter or Captain America! *snore*

Finally, I come to West Jefferson’s claim to fame and believe me when I say, this is some goooood stuff right here!  There is only one food in the world that is absolutely superior to any other.  That, of course, is bacon.

No, we don’t make bacon here.  We totally should, but we don’t.

Second only to bacon, is cheese.  Cheese is never wrong, ever, no matter what the recipe.  No one should ever have to say, “Do you want cheese on yours?” because cheese is where it’s at!  Well folks, cheese is made in West Jefferson!  Not just some old milk in a bucket, but all kinds of cheese.  Cheddars flavored with all kinds of different tastes . . . including BACON!  I mean, check this place out, friends!  Ashe County Cheese is the BOMB!  If it tastes yummy and you can jam it into some cheese, they’ve done it.  The store even has samples set out on the counter.  I don’t know why all the kids hang out in the next town over, ’cause my ass would be hangin’ out at the damn cheese counter!

Um, yeeeeeah, it was kind of after 5:00 at this point.

That is just the store.  It gets better and this is why I’ve saved this part for last.  I’ve linked several times to TheBloggess’ post about the Giant Metal Chicken, made many references to it and I even own my very own Little Acrylic Giant Metal Chicken which it now annoys me I did not take down and photograph for this next part.  (I will fix this tomorrow.)  Across the street from the Ashe County Cheese Store is the Ashe County Cheese Factory where the making of the cheese actually happens.  It even has an “Observation Room” where you can go in and watch the cheese dudes make the cheese.  But if you’re here, Jenny, most likely because this entire post just pingbacked the living shit out of your site, I did not bring you here for the cheese.

I brought you here because I will SEE your Giant Metal Chicken and RAISE you not 1, not 2, but THREE Giant Metal Cows!

I bet your giant chicken doesn’t lay eggs. My giant cows are actually full of milk! (Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound right to me either.)

I bet your giant chicken doesn’t lay eggs. My giant cows are actually full of milk! (Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound right to me either.)

Ok, I’m done.  Jenny’s Giant Metal Chicken will always be cooler than my cows.  I’m sorry Jenny.  I was just really excited about my cows.  I won’t let it happen again.

All in all, West Jefferson is a great place . . . to visit.  Living here is a bit of a snorefest.  Don’t come here if you’re looking for work, unless you can make cheese.  Cheese with bacon in it.  There are a few businesses here that keep the townsfolk employed, and of course there are the shops down the main street.  If you want anything more than that you have to go 2 miles up the road to the next town which is only marginally bigger and you may be surprised to find the name of that town is just Jefferson.  They have a Super WalMart over there, but cheese factory trumps WalMart so we are easily the greater community.

I eventually plan to make it back to the city, or even the beach again because Wilmington, NC also rocks the Atlantic coast with style.  Next trip I manage to make down there, I’ll snap some more pics and show you the other end of the state.  In the meantime, I’ll kinda shut up for now and just leave you with a bunch more pics that I took yesterday.  If you still like what you see, I invite you to come on up and take a look around!

Unless you’re from Florida.

Town Hall, also convenient to Black Jack’s!

Even road construction is all “Bible Belty”.

Tell me about where you live and why it’s better than someplace that makes it’s own cheese!

Or come and worship with us at “The Irrelevant Whatthefuck”.



13 thoughts on “Take a ride on the Hillbilly Mothership

  1. That totally reminds me of the place my mom & her brothers & sister have outside of Yellowstone (without all the Bible-belty stuff). Have to go 3 miles to the next town to get to a general store. I’m not going to post any photos or tell you all about it though — there’s already enough tourists. 😉

  2. I totally see your car in one of those pics. 🙂
    Besides the fact my town has a staggering 5000 more people in it than yours, we are kind of the same. (besides the cheese part, but you know my thoughts on cheese lol) We get the damn leaf peepers when the leaves change color (or so i have been told), all of our stuff is basically on one main road. But you can see a R rated movie in my town. We have no Walmart or Target or any big chain, you want that you have to drive 30min to get to them. lol

  3. Haha, you are SUCH a liar, you were in no more danger of being killed taking that first picture than I was looking at that first picture. The person driving that car was probably 150 years old, wearing a hat and driving 3 miles an hour.

    All in all, I’m starting to feel like the “unless you’re from Florida” sentiments are personal….

  4. Oh em gee. I love you tour of the town. I want to come visit! I am in Columbia, SC and just vacationed in Holden Beach. It was very peaceful. We have our fair share of Rednecks (redder than yours), but very few hillbilliies. Ain’t the Bible belt fun. Crazy times.

  5. p.s. just visited the Cheese shop website and I am deeply disappointed. I love cheddar w/salami bits in it and can’t find it anymore. I was sincerely hoping that they made it. pps. the Cheese shop website features a picture of a man with a hairnet on but he has facial hair. Is it acceptable to have moustache or beard (**shudder**) hairs in your cheese? just asking

    1. Actually, they do have a salami cheese. Why it doesn’t appear on the website, I’m not sure, but they have it in the store. The only possibility I can think of is that it may not ship well or be expensive to ship. As for the mustache or beard hair all I can say about that is, the government has an “acceptable level of human hair” allowed in ALL foods, not just cheese. Think about that tonight at dinner. 😉

  6. Um, no I don’t think I will. I think that I’ll just have a “fresh out of my friend’s garden” tomatoe with ground pepper. But thanks for the thought all the same. Smiles from a new fan.

    1. Probably a wise decision (although you have no idea what crawled on that tomato in the dark of night). Thanks for being a fan and keep stopping by! I’ll try to get off my lazy ass (or get on it?) and get a new post up tonight. Please subscribe if you haven’t already, or like my Facebook page to get notifications of new posts! Thank you again!

  7. I have been to the cheese store twice & the factory once. The cheese & cracker selection was much better the 1st time. Maybe the renovation had something to do with it. Have seen the cows, the sculpture & the mural. Looked at a spec house on top of a mountain, lovely in summer, but must be brutal in the winter. Love the whole area. Please don’t hate me, I’m from Florida.

    1. lol, there is no hate here. Come on back anytime! By the way, burgundy Nissan Sentra in your rear-view mirror, bald dude flashing his headlights and screaming obscenities. Totally wasn’t me.

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