Friday, March 16, 2012

Two Recent-ish Adventures

I think I forgot to mention our whirlwind trip up Asheville, NC on the last weekend before Christmas.  We were hoping to take a four-day weekend but, alas, only 2 days were available, so we were determined to make the best of it.  After work on Friday, we were hitched and ready to go by 6:00pm.  We stopped for Chinese food a little way up the road.  A little farther up the road we found a place stop for the night.  We woke before it was light outside (admittedly, this is something we do rarely do at home) and headed down the road.

We arrived at the historic Grove Park Inn just in time for brunch.  We called ahead to make sure they had parking for us but the parking was still an adventure when we got there.  (I wish I had taken a picture.)  Brian did an amazing job backing the trailer up a steep hill and into the spot on the far right. The parking attendant said she had to get 4 tour buses in the other three spaces.  She managed to do it, too. 

The Grove Park Inn is home to the National Gingerbread Competition.  What a treat to stroll around the hotel and view the entries!

The gingerbread man may have been running as fast as he could, but he took a small break on the bench in the gift shop.  We snapped a picture really quick:

The Grove Park Inn has a charming car museum, too. There were three 50s cars.  I tried not do drool directly over them. (Didn't want to mess up the finish or anything.)

This Edsel, the car everyone loves to hate, is a 1959. 

After brunch we headed to the campground we had picked out ahead of our visit.  It was by the river and the prices were much better than the others in the area.  No one was in the office.  We called the posted number.  No one answered.  We drove in to see what sites might be available.  The road was rough.  Pot holes, mud, permanent residents... When we decided to turn around our tires began slipping in the mud on a hill. (Sliding toward the river!)  I remember thinking "What?!  This can't be happening!  Why do we always get more adventure than we bargain for?"  Anyway... whether the moment was really as perilous as it seemed (or not)... we were glad to get out of there.

Fortunately, I remembered passing a campground on the way in.  We dove up a twisty gravel road to a nice campground with a splendid view.

Before going to bed Brian made sure to unhook the water and sewer.
Our mountaintop campsite was chilly in the morning, below freezing.
This was only the second time we had stayed at a facility with sewer hookup at the campsite.  
In the morning, the cap for the sewer was frozen shut.  Whoops!  I guess we should have wiped it off before we closed it.  After a little rummaging in the trailer for a pipe wrench the cap was loosened and we could empty our trailer.  (Everyone travels with a pipe wrench, right?)

Our trailer empty, we headed down the mountain to the largest house in America, the Biltmore Estate.  We took the meandering 3 mile driveway to the parking lot.  Then, we took the shuttle to the house.

 As an adult, have you ever visited some place that you haven't been to since you were a kid?  When you got there did you find that everything seemed so much smaller than you remembered? I hadn't been to the Biltmore since I was 8 years old.  For me, the Biltmore is a definite exception to the "smaller than I remembered it" rule.  It's size is still overwhelming.  

There's an indoor pool, a bowling alley, a library with some fantastically fussy Victorian (but masculine) furniture, elevators, and a way-before-its-time intercom system.  Maybe the Biltmore just seems big to me as an adult because I couldn't stop thinking about the 43 bathrooms those poor maids had to clean.

House for 5 on the left.  House for 3 on the right.
(Come to think of it, the house doesn't look so big in this picture.)
I'll still take the one on the left, thanks!

-------------------on to the next adventure--------------

Brian had a week off in February.  We planned to work on the trailer for the week.  After a couple days of polishing we had a problem; our feet were itchy.  Again.  (Think we have itchy feet now?  What is it going to be like when we get this thing finished?)  So, on a random Tuesday afternoon in February, we packed up and headed out to Georgia's newest state Park, Chattahoochee Bend.

Wednesday morning we hiked the trail along the river.

We hiked 5 miles and found 6 geocaches.  Did I mention the park was brand-spankin' new?  The hiking trail meandered next to the river and crossed several little creeks along the way.  Many of the crossings still didn't have bridges yet.  We thought it was part of the charm.  

Can you spy the geocache in this picture?
Chattahoochee Bend was just the right amount of adventure. 
Well, all except for that time in the bathhouse when the lights-on-a-timer turned off.  The girls and I were soaped up in the shower.  I'm not sure if I'm ready to talk about that though.