Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Asheville (North Carolina)

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This trip has been on the calendar for a while. Its date was set when we were invited to attend Carrie and Steve's wedding at the Black Mountain Sanctuary, but its timing could not have been more perfect. The fall colors were in full effect, my Jeep was roadworthy again, the cold was sort-of-exciting in our cozy digs - but let's face it. Asheville has been a great trip over, and over, and over, and over, ...

One of the highlights this time around was our airBnB, the eco-tiny house in Alexander, NC. It was immaculate, well designed, and fucking adorable.

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On Sunday Rebecca and I chose to tackle the Kitsuma Trail in Black Mountain, NC.

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The trail began with a series of steep climbs, punctuated with switchbacks. As compared to the climb at Sherando Lake, it was just as steep, but shorter and less technical. Surprisingly enough, the downhill was far more technical. I slammed the seat down to its minimum and tried to stay light on my pedals as I sailed from rock, to root, to rock. Rebecca followed suit and skidded her way down, above the rainbow floor of sun-burnt leaves.

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As these weekend getaways go, we'd just hit our stride when it was time to go! After the quick 10-mile ride, we packed the bikes and headed north in search of BBQ [on a Sunday afternoon]. A few hours later we were greeting the dogs and preparing for Monday morning.

Until next time...

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mammoth Cave (Kentucky)



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When I learned that I'd be heading to Louisville, KY to attend ICUEE, I immediately checked to see its proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park. The park has been a destination I've been hoping to reach for a few years now. I was delighted to learn that it was only about an hour south of Louisville, so I decided to drive to the expo and stay in Kentucky a few days following the event.

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The expo was a fun eye opener to the wide variety of manufacturers in our industry. The Morooka machines had a good showing, despite the rainy weather during the first half of the show.

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I camped in the Hoosier National Forest two nights before Rebecca's arrival. The first spot was especially epic, as I perched my hammock above the Hemlock Cliffs.

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Rebecca was flying in to Louisville on Friday to meet me for the drive to Mammoth Cave, so I snuck in a visit to Mega Cavern in between. The bike park was pretty fun and definitely a unique experience to ride dirt jumps underground.

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The second night of camping was at the Indian-Celine Lakes Recreation Area within the Hoosier National Forest. After hiking for a few minutes, I found a dry creek bed to call home for the night.

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At last, the main attraction was upon us!

With only a couple of tours offered this late in the season, Rebecca and I signed up for the Domes & Dripstones Tour. It was a good introduction to the cave, although the entire tour only covered 0.75 mile. We decided that our next trip there would be a good opportunity to sign up for the longer, more advanced Wild Cave Tour.

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A free backcountry pass allows visitors to camp at one of several camp sites within the park. We chose the First Creek Campsite, just over a mile from the trailhead. It was late when we began the hike to our site, so the short hike was perfect.

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After a week away from home, I was excited to head east to Virginia. On our way back, we swung by the New River Gorge Bridge for a quick glance before finishing the drive.

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