I feel that a trip like this requires a certain mindset. I am having a hard time with it. Every time we get in the car so far, my mind goes to what we need to do next. It is a ridiculous way to think on a trip where, in reality, we don’t NEED to do anything. The idea is to be driven by what we WANT to do. I am not sure why that is so hard for me, I didn’t feel like I had to try to let go when travelling in Europe. But at the same time, this trip is different. For one, I am back in charge. Weird but almost every time I went somewhere outside of Budapest, someone else was calling the shots. Who knew it would take having to make my own decisions to realize how much I hate to decide (or maybe everyone who has known me has noticed). Anyway, something to work on. Doing what we want.
I guess it doesn’t help, but it has kind of been a quest so far this trip. 12 hours of driving in two days. Better than the 10 hour direct trip I am used to making, but still kind of tiring. We finally got on the road around 10am Friday after saying goodbye and gaining advice from every single one of our parents. JJ the Jetta was packed full with four weeks of everything we could imagine we could possibly need. We drove for a couple of hours before stopping for lunch in Harrisonburg. We stopped at Chik-fil-a because I had been craving it since returning home from Europe to find it completely packed even though it was relatively early in the lunch gap. It turns out that July 13th is “Cow Appreciation Day” so there were lots of people with their small children dressed up like cows. Apparently a drawn on white t-shirt and a pair of ears earns you a free meal. Too bad we didn’t get the memo early enough to come prepared…
The rest of the drive to Asheville was uneventful, and we got to the campground just after 6. We picked a site pretty far in and set to work pitching our tent before dark. The campground was right on the French Broad River and was relatively small and compact. Our tent was not. Molly borrowed it from her aunt who seems to have some strange need to sleep around a dozen people in one place while camping. It was far too big to fit on our two tarps and could zip into three rooms. It took us a while to assemble it, so we drank a beer meanwhile. The rainfly was the hardest because the Molly hadn’t put it on in the practice run and we weren’t entirely sure how to attach it to the tent.
After we had the tent together we decided to go into town to find dinner. Asheville was packed with people even though it was already sprinkling off and on. We parked the car in a lot and walked around and eventually settled on the Asheville Bier Garden for dinner, working with the logic that if you can’t be guaranteed good food you should at least go for good beer. We had some sandwiches and I drank a something Highland Wit. Molly went for a Kolsch instead, but I drank half of it because she was full. Both were really delicious and locally made in Asheville. We discussed checking out another bar type thing because it was only about 10:30, but we were actually really tired. And it was already raining. So we headed back to the campground and were in bed not after 11. It seems kind of like wussing out to be in bed so early on a Saturday, but I felt like even if we went somewhere else we wouldn’t really enjoy it.
We woke up the next morning to pouring rain. We found out the gargantuan tent was indeed water proof, although the humidity made it feel like everything was slightly damp and sticky. We packed up the car and both experienced the joy of packing a wet tent for the first time. Instead of attempting to cram it back in the bag we put it in a trash bag. Yay for being well prepared. Then we drove to Asheville intending to walk around and find a place for some coffee and ended up at a café called “Ello”. They had good coffee and I had a breakfast sandwich. Molly had some banana oatmeal, which was also delicious. By the time we finished eating the parking meter was already running out so we tried to check out the Biltmore, just to drive up and look. We decided the admission wasn’t worth it (the women at the gift shop claimed it would cost us $64?) so we came straight to Nashville instead. We had a few torrential downpours on the way and it was still raining when we arrived limiting our ability to entertain ourselves. We got some Paletas and went to Fido to try to get on the internet. When my friend Alex got back from New York we met him at his apartment so we could get a pair of keys, then he ran out to go to two separate dinner engagements and Molly and I went to dinner at Jacksons. We had some buffalo fingers and salads and discussed how birth order has effected our personalities. Afterward we went downtown to check out Paradise Park and the Stage and were interested to see the abundance of bachelorette parties that had taken over Broadway. Seriously though, I guess it is the time of the year but there were at least 5 at each bar. We headed home pretty late and stayed up a bit chatting with Alex. It feels really good to be back.