Sunday, August 17, 2014

Asheville (North Carolina)

The first day of our three-day trip to Asheville, North Carolina was spent primarily on the road. Rebecca and I took our time leaving Richmond and were south bound by 11am. We stopped midway through the drive in Chapel Hill to check out the town and visit the Chapel Hill Rumors, a Richmond-based thrift boutique.

Once we arrived at our AirBnB in Brevard we were ready to unwind. The loft apartment above our hosts' garage was comfortable and inviting; and it had DirectTV! We lounged for the rest of the night and planned the next two days rides.

The next morning we headed out for DuPont State Forest. Just as we left our hosts' neighborhood we spotted a fresh produce stand, so we pulled in to grab fruit for the day and fill our water bottles for the ride ahead. Just a few minutes later we were in the Reasonover Road Parking Area, unloading bikes and gearing up for the ride.

The trails were spectacular. Even more impressive was how well-marked they were. Navigating with our free trail map was a breeze.

We made our way to the Bridal Veil Falls where we dismounted and took a break.

After that we had a few more miles of trail to complete before returning to the parking lot and heading into town for a bite to eat. Our hosts own a BBQ joint in Brevard called Hawg Wild, so we decided to check it out. We were very pleased, especially so since we ordered the fried mac-n-cheese bites to wet our appetites! Rebecca and I decided to restrain ourselves though, taking a few last scraps home in to-go boxes so that we could indulge in Dolly’s Ice Cream across the street.

Once back at our AirBnB we lounged in the pool before retiring to the loft to explore their Blue-Ray collection - we landed on Lincoln and Olympus Has Fallen ;-)

The next morning we slept in before packing up and heading out towards Pisgah National Forest. I found a Strava ride in a local biking guide for the area, so we decided to try it. The ride consisted of a long fire road climb that connected to the Black Mountain Trail. The climb was a good burn - just a slow churn in our granny gears for about an hour. One last, hellacious ascent to start the section of Black Mountain Trail gave way to a steep, rooty descent. Rebecca handled the technical trail very well. I was delighted to see a smile on her face in the midst of a truly intimidating section of singletrack.

Once we reached the Jeep we drove down 276/Pisgah Highway until we spotted a suitable watering hole in the Davidson River.

Our final stop before hitting the road was an early dinner at Mayfel’s in Asheville, where we met Rebecca’s friend Steve and his girlfriend Carrie Sue. Following dinner we pointed the Jeep north and reached Richmond just after midnight.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Outer Banks (Rodanthe, NC)

Our second trip to the Outer Banks this summer began with a gloomy forecast. There was a huge rainstorm moving east and our camp site in Rodanthe seemed to be directly in its path. This trip, however, could not be dampened by a bit of rain - after all, we were there to celebrate Warren's birthday.

The rain moved in Friday night and persisted throughout Saturday morning. I was beginning to lose hope for the weekend when Joey found light at the end of the tunnel - in Kitty Hawk to be more specific. He found a surf cam that showed sun north of our location so we decided to head towards it.

On our way north we spotted a stranded Jeep Cherokee in the ditch. Since Warren's new Jeep Rubicon has a winch, he jumped at the chance to put it to use. In just a few moments he'd freed the Grand and elated it's Aussie driver.

Once we approached the Bonner Bridge to Oregon Inlet the rain subsided and we found a secluded pull-in to the beach. The cloud cover was still thick, but it was almost better that way since we didn't need to worry about sunscreen.

The majority of our time was spent watching Ruprecht battle the ocean. He loved biting the surf and chasing us into the deep water while being tossed by the waves.

That night we celebrated Warren's birthday at Sting Wray's. After stuffing our faces the group of twelve headed back to the camp site. We didn't last long after the restaurant though and soon retired to our tents.

The next morning we were woken by the warmth of the sun. After emerging from the tent Rebecca headed to the nearby pier to stretch and get in a few yoga poses while I struck the tent.

Once we had packed the vehicles, each car set off individually to find its own adventure. We decided to revisit the beach near Oregon Inlet. This time the sun was out in full force and we spent far more time in and out of the water.

Just before the end of our time at the beach, Ruprecht found a Fiddler Crab. To our surprise, he didn't attack it. He actually just seemed to consider it a new friend, as if the crab snipping at his nose was an invitation to play.