Asheville vacation 2011

Abouttoleave

On Thursday, Al and I had another great time in Asheville. We rented another cabin with a spa, pool table, fire place and a wall full of windows that overlooked the tree tops. From what I can recall, we left early Thursday morning and we arrived in Asheville around 2ish. We killed some time by going to the arboretum,

Arboretum
Arboretum_garden

which is like an educational/park where we got to do a brief hike, checked outcome bonsai gardens

Bonsai

saw art from quilts and paper. After that, we found the infamous Asheville mcdonalds.

Golden_mcds

I am no longer a fan of mcd’s food, but such a trashy tourist stop was a must on our adventure since we didn’t have a chance to go last time. We got some sweets and watched the self playing piano, but except for a few chandeliers and decorative wall sconces, they didn’t really snaz the place up to be any classier than a normal Mcdonalds. We knew we would have to do something for dinner, or at least a few snacks and accessories for the weekend. We went to a local grocery store named ingles, where I giggled and asked al to take a pic of me under the “best meat in town”

Best_meat

neon sign that advertised their butcher shop. We had to go hunt down our cabin next, which was about 30 minutes up a treacherous dirt road that barely had enough room for two cars at the same spot at the same time. When we arrived, the rooms and features took our breath away,as did all of the dead bugs that Al swept out and the handful or so of spiders that I had to put out of their misery in order to claim our dominance of the territory.
We put the food away and we had a snack on the counter The rest of the night was spent relaxing and unwinding from our drive. We enjoyed the cushiony couch

Living_room_to_kitchen

and watched tv, we then realized h

ow spoiled we were with the dvr at home. Couldn’t really get the Netflix or dish apps on my iPad working, so we sat through boring commercials and desperate viewing of Robin Hood: prince of thieves

 

 

On Friday, Al was really determined to tackle Chimney Rock

Chimney_rock

and hike it to the top. But we took our sweet time leaving in the morning. The porch outside wrapped around half of the cabin and overlooked the tree tops of our little mountiain, it was such a peaceful and serene site, I knew we had to enjoy breakfast and coffee out there.

Coffee_on_porch_6-10

We sat in rocking chairs, but I almost broke mine Our master bath had a huge tub to unwind in,

Master_bath

then to properlly wash, shampoo and clean off in the tiny shower stall After cleaning up, we acted as the two cautious nerds

Silly_in_downtown_asheville_6-10

that we are and coated ourselves in bug spray and sun block. Def the bug spray since entering this new environment where we were likely to be bitten and/or contract west Nile . Well it turns out that the stuff ruins hard wood floors, so Al had to clean it before we left while I did the dishes. Arriving at the mountain (and driving what felt like an hour of twisting, turning and winding roads) we were told that the elevator was out of commission. How fitting, since we were even more determined to beat this thing.

About_to_go_up1

The trail of thousands of steps also had several viewing spots under construction, as it seems that Chimney Rock is striving to modernize itself with hopefully safer engineering than the splintering wooden stairs that have been the stable of this site for ages. Well, we made it to the top of chimney rock and I took Al’s picture,

Al_at_the_top

as she wasn’t able to climb the mountain last time due to the pain in her knees. We celebrated by eating at this little restaurant called the Esmerelda,

Bo_at_lunch_at_esmereldas

which was on the outskirts of the Chimney Rock touristy area. We ate on the back porch which had a baby trickling waterfall and a little stream. It seemed to take us a while to eat our meal and contemplate what to do next. And thus began a quest to find Ali a hat

Al_chimney_rock_hat

prior to our rafting adventure. We travelled to Walmart and so  on. A quest to find Mr K’s Used Bookstore, which Al and I

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always have a great time doing. Along the way, we decided to hang back out in downtown Asheville. We got a smoothies on this renovated double decker bus,

Al_drinking_coffee_in_double_decker
Bo_drinking_coffee_in_a_double_decker_bus

where you could bring your drink upstairs and have a wonderful view of….construction We then drove around in circles for a while trying to find a decent place to eat. My argument was that we needed to eat at as many local spots as possible and avoid the chains, which was what my parents always strived for the old “mom n’ pop.” We settled on Cheddar’s, which granted, is a chain but I never heard of it and we were getting argumentative to find a place to order dinner and take it home. We also killed some time by going to Pet Smart and spoil the babies, which ironically enough, we fawn and whine about when we miss them on our trips, but not this time. It was fairly dark at the cabin when we got back. Ir must have been well after eight that we finished dinner and decided to unwind in the spa down stairs. The spa/ hot tub was similar to the one that Al had in her first house, but our main difference was that we were surrounded by darkness and wilderness.

Backyard

Which, unto itself, has it’s advantages and disadvantages. What was initially exciting for secluded privacy, soon turned to paranoia from watching too many horror films that show the scenario of the couple in the hot tub. It didnt help much that I joked to Al about “the red eyes that I am looking for in the darkness and the blinking lights of yellowish green that illuminate the edges of the forest” Yeah, bad idea as it was a total mood killer. We left, but not before I squealed like a girl as I lifted the tub cover and this little reddish/brown toad was hanging out underneath it. We went up to our lumpy and stiff mattress to play cards and watch a movie before passing out.

Master_bedroom

 

On Saturday, we were really stoked about white water rafting.

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We got up around 8ish, but with a slew of things to do in Asheville or the cabin prior to checking out. We had breakfast outside again,

Porch

but this time I was really motivated to make some art. We budgeted a tight schedule that allowed me to draw some of the tree tops that overlooked the back porch and had a slight opening in the branches that showcased the pale blue sky of the mountains.

Asheville_trees_final

Al kept an eye on the time for me so that we could have some bath time to unwind again. Our cabin also had a basement that was decked out with a pool table

Bo_pool

and a booming stereo. We played for what seemed to be the longest game of pool in our lives, but it was still fun at that especially watching Al try to hit

Al_playing_pool

a ball with her cue that kept smacking into the wall, or my failed attempts to create a bridge and do cool trick shots.
We had to travel about 45 mins total from down our mountain to the white water rafting hq in Marshall. We had to climb up this really steep and rocky road that Al was worried she’d flip over if she stayed in that spot much longer on the incline. We ended up parking next to a couple and their two boys who were also from Myrtle beach. On the raft, we got constant safety meetings and demonstrations by our guides, who seemed to be hippies, hobos and/or gypsies. Our guide,Tim, told us how he does this job for the summer, then lives in his camper in West Virginia for more rafting and then sells Xmas trees and snowboarding lessons. Sounds like the adventurous life of a drifter with no strings attached in his life. But aside from his life choices, he knew that river a lot better than the other guides he told us when to paddle forward, backwards, stop or just two easy forwards” to row us into a current and get sucked into the rapids. It was a lot of fun going down a waterfall

White_water_rafting

and big splashes, unfortunately I was at the front of the boat and I had to fold my three foot long leg under the other one, causing it to fall sleep. So every time that we got out for a little break, I hobbled like a fumbling drunk. One time I had to get out and tug on the raft’s ring to shore, without realizing how bad my leg was. I did my best to suck it up, but once I put that dead leg down, put my weight on it, I fell backwards on the shore and onto a few rocks. Ah well ,all in good fun. We had some breaks so that our guides could smoke cigarettes or let the riders hop out to swim or float down thriver. The four people in or boat didn’t go for that option, I think a big part was how much this guy in our boat had to keep asking nonsensical questions that I am sure our guide must have bs’d his way through. Such as the average height of the river, elevation, pricing of rafts, etc. These questions caused Al and I to focus on our rowing duties and having fun. We had a great time and will have to do the nine mile rafting experience next time

At around 6ish, we left the French Broad river, which is the third oldest river in the world- did you know that true believer? Most of the day was now shot, so we had to go look for dinner. We hunted down Fiddlin’ Pigs restaurant, which had gone out of business since our last trip. We instead chose a Greek diner place called Cornerstone. We didn’t have much of a choice, as every other surrounding restaurant was fast food or a big chain like Red Lobster or the Olive Garden. It was again a late night dinner. We had to pause so that Al could beat me in pool. Went back out to the hot tub before it got dark again. This time, I noticed a house that wasn’t too far away from us, so I began to worry and wonder just how truly secluded we were up in the mountains. We were also greeted by two dogs who came up to us and they were both quite friendly. We wrapped up the romantic evening with dessert and freaking each other out to An American Werewolf in London. We got through about twenty minutes and just before you get to really see the monster, I accidentally turned it off. We had a few hours to clean up an relax on Sunday morning prior to check out.

Al_and_bo_on_the_porch

I devoted my time to finishing off whatever I could to conserve little blue buddy storage space.I had the rest of the pizza and Al had mashed taters with fried chicked fingers-not the best choice. Refinished the cleaning and packing and were probably on the road by about 10 30.

I have been really amazed with my wife’s driving skills on the trip,

Sassy_and_sexy_ali

especially going up and down the mountain and easily remembering routes and connected highways- reminds me so much of my father the road warrior on our annual multiple days of driving trips to family vacation destinations. On the ride back, I got to finish my tree painting, and hope to posterous about it and a lesson plan for next year how to do it. And it is currently 2 30,and I do not know how long that I have been writing this since I finished the drawing, but my hands are seriouisilly cramping and could use a break. Will talk to you then as we are in Florence right now.

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