Hey Guys! Sorry for the extended radio silence…
After packing up and leaving Blue Valley, I drove about 75 miles north, camping just outside Asheville, North Carolina. I had arranged to meet a close friend in Asheville, but I was running a few days early. So I spent a wonderfully quiet three days and nights deep in the Pisgah National Forest, with none of those annoying distractions like phone, internet or television reception. I did find a couple of hikes, reminding me that
hiking in the mountains is a little more challenging than a walk around downtown Austin;-) Other than that it was just a whole bunch of reading!
I was looking forward to taking the Blue Ridge Parkway into town, so when Sunday arrived I packed up early and took off. The views from the parkway are simply staggering, at least when they aren’t obscured by the densest pea-soup fog that North Carolina can dredge up. That was indeed my story as I crawled my way into town.
Asheville was great. I met up with my bestie, Lisa, who is one of my favorite people ever. We spent Sunday evening catching up over
beer flights downtown. It was rainy most of the day on Monday, so we drove out to the Biltmore Mansion for a tour. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt, grandson of none other than the Commodore himself, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the mansion is the largest personal
residence in the country. George was evidently not the curmudgeonly miser that his grandpa had been. He was an avid outdoorsman, intellectual, and lover of nature. To design the grounds of his sprawling estate he enlisted the services of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York. Apparently Olmsted considered his work at the Biltmore Estate to
be his finest. And it is indeed a magnificent place.
That afternoon, the rain cleared out and I was finally able to take a drive on the parkway as it was meant to be driven. Actually we took Lisa’s little convertible which made for a perfect ending to a perfect day.
Now it’s off to Virginia. Viva la vida Bohemia!