Monday, March 4th – Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
It was a lovely, sunny drive to Asheville, NC, perfect for walking around all the tiny hippy shops. A very kind soul from within one of the shops suggested a free place to park for the night down the street. He said there was a time not long ago when he stayed there for about a year hassle-free before he got a place to stay. Another shop owner gave us a good suggestion for buying bread at the French Broad Food Co-op, where we ended up buying lunch.
A pattern we would repeat in just about every town throughout the trip (to the point where it became a scavenger hunt), would be to search for a library (for WiFi), a post office (to drop off post cards), and, you guessed it, a bakery. I would soon develop an unhealthy obsession with raisin bread and would pursue a local bakery if one was available. Although my bread obsession wasn’t, what was healthy was Asheville’s street art scene. So many murals and tags to stumble upon there.
In case you didn’t read the previous chapter, I mentioned we would be doing this road trip completely dried out (no booze, no brews). Asheville is known for its breweries, so we both became enslaved to coffee instead, something we drank at home, but not quite as frequently until it became a substitute. On that note, I’d like to introduce our second home in Asheville, “Izzy’s Coffee Den”, or “Izzy’s Crack Den” as we playfully called it since we returned there up to 12 times daily to get our next fix of liquid crack and WiFi.
When we weren’t hiding out there, we wandered the vicinity, window shopping and people watching. For example, a man sat on the sidewalk all night illuminated by his lap top that rested in front of him near a free Wi-Fi connection. On another street, a man performed exceptionally well on a miniature drum set. We would start to notice the same people everywhere we went.
After the usual meandering around and hiding out at Izzy’s, we grabbed some pre-made meals at the grocery store near our van to re-fuel from all the walking. We hid from the rain inside the van in between eating our food and returning to Izzy’s. Later that afternoon, some asshat gutter punk tried to pickpocket Trevor, but failed miserably, running away in defeat. We were annoyed, and I decided to carry my pepper spray with me in the future in case we had any more run ins with him.
We took a short drive back to the Blue Ridge Parkway visitors center and found out they were closing the road due to snow, so we returned to our designated spot in town. That evening, we made the dumb decision to roam around in the pouring rain to eat dinner at The Noodle Shop up the street. We were cold and wet, but the food was tasty.
Before bed, I had to poop. We brought along a “Luggable Loo” in the van which was lined with two trash bags for each day. I made Trevor sit up front and he turned up the radio blasting some horrendous glam rock. This left me in a state of performance anxiety, and I laughed hysterically at the awkwardness of it all. Afterwards, I headed out in the snow to search for a trash bin to dump the double-sealed bag of waste. Trevor laughed as I ran up and down the street with my bag of poop. I found one finally, but then realized on my return to the van that there was one behind the van the whole time.
We woke up cold, damp and stinky. I made everyone’s snowy morning commute entertaining as I walked my dumb head into a street sign at a busy intersection on the way to Izzy’s. We said goodbye to our favorite barista that we had seen the past three days in a row. It was time to leave Izzy’s and Asheville behind for some warmer weather down south.
We must have looked, and smelled the part of vagrant since upon getting lost, we asked a local in Spartanburg, NC for direction. He responded by repeatedly telling us, “I ain’t got nothin’.” We eventually became aware of our surroundings, pushed through Georgia, and made it to Oxford, AL. We were nearby Anniston where Trevor’s aunt lives, who we planned on visiting the next day.
First things first, we got a hotel room, dried out our clothes, and got hot showers so we wouldn’t smell so bad. We had just entered a new time zone (Eastern to Central Standard Time) so we gained an hour, but wouldn’t feel the difference until waking up the next morning. We would wake up early the following 3 days. That evening, I spent relaxing in front of the TV and ate a whole jar of beet balls that I purchased before we left, for dinner (Don’t knock ’em ’til you try ’em)!
Jump Ahead to Part 03: Bama, Butt Cheeks & Great Eats