And by "decided," I mean I begged and pleaded and cajoled until I brought him around to my point-of-view.
The day was cold, but still sunny, and knowing that most likely we'd be trapped inside for a few days, I thought it would be nice for us to get out in nature, even if just for a little while.
So we decided to drive up the road to visit Tallulah Gorge, which is some sort of natural canyon in the Appalachians. The GA State Parks website says that it's 2 miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep.
This place is about 20 minutes from our house, so we bundled up, grabbed a camera, and hit the road.
I had faulty directions, so the first place we stopped was actually not the park or a good view of the gorge, but it was still pretty. We did the picture thing, then got back in the car.
We figured out that the actual gorge was just a little further down the road. There was a tottering souvenir shop nailed into the side of the cliff, plastered in signs boasting of their "best view of the gorge," so we stopped.
The wind was howling, and tiny snowflakes swirled all around, despite the bright sun. It was beautiful:
Feeling happy-go-lucky, we decided to go into the store and browse around. Lots of fun, cute stuff. We bought some hot cider, then went out on the porch to see the sights with a little protection from the wind.
This was actually at the first spot, but demonstrates out happy-go-luckiness.
The entrance to the state park was just a few hundred yards away from the shop, but Evan wanted to go home. Neither of us had dressed warm enough, so I agreed. We got back in the car and drove a little ways more, eventually crossing into the uppermost county in the state, then pulled a u-turn and were on the way home.
Now, ever since we'd gone to the first viewpoint, we'd noticed a white Toyota following us. We didn't think anything of it, even when I noticed it again at the store, and again when we made the u-turn.
The Toyota followed us all the way back to the town where we live. We were a little uncomfortable, but still figured it was coincidence. As we approached the first turn-off for our neighborhood, Evan decided not to put on his turn signal, so he made the turn suddenly.
Toyota followed, and parked at the bottom of the hill.
Now, I was more creeped out than Evan at this point, so I asked him to go straight over the hill and drive the loop around the neighborhood, rather than pulling directly onto our street, where the car driver could see us. He did, we parked at the house, and went inside.
We needed to go back out to the grocery store, but for whatever reason we puttered around inside for about 25 minutes before going back outside. Just as we approached the car, we happened to look up at the road--to see the white Toyota driving by.
We got into the car and started back onto the road. Just down the hill from our house is the tiny "town center," which consists of a post office, bank, and police station/city hall, all in the space of about 500 square feet.
As we approached the post office, we saw the Toyota sitting on the edge of its parking lot, facing the road. Not parked, but waiting.
As we drove by, toward the traffic light, the Toyota pulled out and followed us.
We turned left. He turned left.
He followed us all the way to the grocery store.
Now, keep in mind that we were in the house for almost half an hour--and this guy was circling our neighborhood, looking for us (we guess).
Evan still thought it was coincidence, but I've had nearly 25 years of worried mother in my head, advising me not to trust anyone, so I was already determined that something was Wrong.
When we got to the grocery store, Evan turned toward the gas station instead of the parking lot, and the car followed. We did several strange maneuvers, all of which the car followed. At this point, it was pretty damn obvious, even to Evan, that we were being followed, still.
So instead of parking, we went back to the road and turned down the road for the next little town. I wanted to go to the police station, which I'd always been told to do in these circumstances, but we didn't know where it was exactly.
As we approached the town square, Evan pulled off into another parking lot near a bunch of restaurants and parked. As the car turned in after us, I grabbed Evan's arm and asked (told) him to back out and keep driving. As luck would have it, the police station was behind these restaurants, and we drove straight into the parking lot.
Now, I didn't see what happened, but Evan said that when we pulled into the parking lot, the white Toyota went straight down the little road instead of parking. So when we parked at the police station, we didn't see the car.
I ran inside, only to find the place was locked. Locked! On a Saturday! There was a little foyer, so we stood there while Evan called one of his co-workers, who gave us directions to the sheriff's department.
To sum up this long story, we went to the sheriff's dept, filed a report, and a deputy followed us back home. We didn't see the white Toyota again.
Why was he following us?
Why was he circling our neighborhood?
What if I hadn't gotten Evan to drive the long way to our house?
Did he see where we lived, for sure?
Evan and I didn't even have so much as a baseball bat at the time. But we live in the basement apartment of a house, and we're surrounded by 5 other families, all within 30 feet. Not an ideal place to try and rob, if that's what the guy was after.
I know appearances can be deceiving, but it was a nice car--nicer than ours, for sure. Probably a 2008 Corolla SS, GPS on the window. Guy was dressed for cold weather, but had on sunglasses. I saw a wedding ring glint in the sun at one point.
Who was he? We still don't know.
Going to sleep that night was terrifying, and the next day we bought some motion-sensor security lights. Then the snow came and trapped everyone for a week.
All I can hope is that the guy was trying to pull a very not-funny prank on a young couple.
Has anyone else had this experience? What did you do?