A friend mentioned that he was doing a half marathon in Asheville, NC; arguably one of the best destinations in the state. The opportunity had finally arrived. Of course I had to give myself trouble and sign up for the marathon as well. If your a fan of the outdoors and small town intricacies, look no further than Asheville. My only regret was that I couldn't stay longer.....and maybe running all those hills....
Before arriving in Asheville there is the drive. From the eastern side of the state there are two main routes. One takes you directly through Charlotte(top); and one that runs from I-73 to I-40W(bottom). The latter is the much better choice for a number of reasons. Avoiding an ocean of traffic followed by the opportunity to hit other favored locations such as Pinehurst and Asheboro are the most notable. I say this out of experience, as I drove both routes.
While the Pinehurst route was beautiful, the only criticism I would have is to avoid long night drives. It will be dark and you won't get to appreciate the landscape. More importantly, it will be dark.....; those beautiful winding roads turn into black winding death traps. Especially avoid this if you aren't accustomed to driving in mountainous areas. Weather can be drastically different; ice and slick spots come out of nowhere at times.
AND A YURT IS WHAT, AGAIN?
Have you ever sat there and said to yourself, "You know, I would love to live in a tipi for the rest of my life, but I just can't get past the lack of head room". Well then, wow, do I have just the thing for you.....
A technical description of a Yurt is [a portable, bent dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia as their home.] This is what happens when Hippies start poking around on Wikipedia. They get ideas......
Our yurt was surprisingly similar structurally, using the same traditional interior lattice work. The bathroom and washer/dryer were located in a small room separate from the Yurt itself. My immediate thought was two bad decisions 1. Signing up for a 1/2 marathon w minimal training and 2. Being in a Yurt. Luckily, it turned out I was wrong on both accounts. We liked the Yurt so much we booked it for an additional night after our friends left on Sunday.
BAD CHOICES WITH A HAPPY ENDING...The BiLTMORE 1/2
After climbing back up a few miles of incline it flattened out at the 8 mile marker. Apparently, running on flat ground wasn't as easy as I had planned after all the downhill/uphill drama. At this point I was probably running something like Frank the Tank, less naked though, but still filled with shame; you get the idea.
I must say, when this is all written out it doesn't sound good for me. I'm about to redeem myself though folks. It definitely wasn't the smoothest performance, or the fastest time, but I ended up in 3rd place for my age group. Looking at the results and assuming it was some sort of malfunction along with a few wtf moments I came to the realization that somehow I actually did well? 55th out of 712 and 3rd in my age group; and that is the happy ending (if your still wondering, yes its a pun).
Probably one of the most lively and eclectic towns I've visited; Asheville has a very unique style all its own. It is in all respects, quite the hippie wonderland. At least it was a relaxing.
Something was always happening on the street. The bars, restaurants, and shops usually had something unexpected to add. One of my small moments of Zen was catching a glimpse of some odd characters who called themselves the Carolina Cat Skins.
What do you get if you give a group of hippies some old household items,a string, a spoon, and fork? I give you (exhibit A).
BREAKFAST? GOT JUST THE PLACE...
MAN'S BEST FRIEND, BOOKS, AND WINE