I had requested the cheapest groundfloor room available in Eden. The motel clerks were very generous and friendly, we talked for awhile. The trade-off for the room placed me near the highly trafficked ice maker and housekeeping laundry room. The first day excitement had me totally amped and I finally drifted off around 2am, only to sleep lightly. At 7am I was awoken by a bunch of hullaboo.
The weather forecast called for intense thunderstorms, but miraculously as soon as a couple of drops fell, I donned my rain suit and the sky cleared. This makes the Sentinel rainsuit truly water, if not storm, repellant! This fortune however was a trade off for what turned into a frustrating day of riding. The ride quickly turned into a horrible series of misdirection and searching for non-existent roads. I traveled on roads that not just took me of course, but roads mislabeled and with the mileage horribly miscalculated. I called the day itself a bad blow job-I was blown around by storm winds and blown off by a disgruntled mean shop clerk. One man kept referring to me as “the boy”. ” The boy needs directions, it sounds to me like the boy can’t follow directions.” I tried big smiles on him, but he wasn’t responsive.
I’m not exaggerating about the re-routing. The predicted mileage, 8 hours before the ride ended, was 200 miles. At the end of the day it was 275. I try to enjoy every moment of the ride, including getting lost; it’s an interesting feeling how everything looks familiar once you’ve circled around and have no bearings. And I was in the middle of North Cackalacky nowhere. I try to avoid slamming the throttle and get frustrated, despite the fact that it takes 2x as long to reroute. More than halfway through the day I stopped for coffee and conversation with the baristas at the Blue Moose drivethru. I didn’t stay long, as the sky kept changing from sunny to overcast and I was in riding mode. I became lost again when the directions led to a fictional fork in the road. The kinder locals I met at the intersection confirmed that the directions were bunk. Eventually I jumped on Interstate 40, only because 70W dumped right into it. Apparently this was the only way into Asheville or a dirt road over Black Mountain-which I NEVER found.
The scooter hauled up and over the this part of the Eastern Continental Divide, the view was gorgeous and the storm winds had ceased by this point. I was on the interstate for 25 miles, breaking the law but appreciating the direct route for once in the day. My friend Jaymii gave me the most specific directions to her house. I worked with her and Hannah at Omega and they both greeted me outside. The bags were unpacked and I had some food after a long day. Jaymii and Hannah are both talented ladies; there seems to be no food or item that they can’t craft with expert care. We went out on the town for a burlesque show and then to a bluegrass band at the local brewery. Brew, burlesque and bluegrass- a wonderful conclusion to the day.
It feels like home here, Asheville is often compared to my hometown in Charlottesville; both are the progressive oasis in conservative Southern states. And the Blue Ridge Mountains surround the towns. But, She-ville, as Asheville is called, has NO Ladies Arm Wrasslin League! Saturday was a late night.
We stayed up talking about politics and the importance of one creating the change they want to see in the world instead of hoping the government can do it for you. We discussed what we want in leadership, the odds that we will get it and the general pessimism that surrounds politics these days. Sunday was an early morning, made earlier by the late night. Our destination was Sunny Point cafe, the most scrumptious local spot for brunch. After a true Southern meal of fried green tomatoes and grits we came home to craft, sitting on the lawn in the radiant warmth of the sun. I finally sewed on patches that I’ve been carrying around for a year, in addition to the cool, bright pink sQream patch that came in the mail right before I left town.
I will stay here in Asheville another night. My Aunt lives in Birmingham, AL but she will not be home from the beach until Thursday. Tomorrow finds me in Atlanta, GA, for two nights. I’m excited about my first couchsurfing.com experience. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an international network that helps travelers find free lodging. My two hosts seem to be about the coolest you could possibly find in ATL. I will arrive Tuesday night and attend an Alice Walker speech at Spelman College. I hope to attend in exchange for volunteering, but have not heard back from the two emails I’ve sent out.
Thanks for reading, thanks for the words of support and offers for lodging. The new raffle started today, they will run every week. You don’t have to dig deep to help P.E.A.C.E SCOOT fund raise, entry is only $5. ROCK ON!