Paddle Faster, I Think I Hear Banjo Music III

Thursday we drove by Cold Mountain on the way to the Pisgah Inn, a beautiful lodge and restaurant at the base of Mount Pisgah, for lunch. We were able to get a table by the large window that looks out on several nearby mountains and valleys, and the view was spectacular. Some pictures are here. After lunch we drove into the Pisgah National Forest and hiked up to Slick Rock Falls. Even though it was a treacherous, strenuous and dangerous hike of one-tenth of a mile, we arrived at the falls safely and took pictures that are here. On the way out of the Forest, we stopped at Looking Glass Falls and pictures of that are here.

Friday we drove 32 miles from the campsite to the Biltmore Estate just outside of Asheville, touring the gardens, parts of the ancestral home and enjoying a delicious lunch at the Estate’s Stable Cafe. Lots of pictures here from that delightful day trip, but unfortunately none from inside the house because they don’t allow photography of the interior.

That evening, our new tent received its baptism of fire when we were hit by severe thunderstorms AND a hailstorm around 10pm and another severe thunderstorm around 11:30pm. The tent kept us warm and dry, though in the daylight of Saturday morning we could see where the rain fly fabric had been “dented” but not ripped by the hailstones, which were about the size of a dime and smaller.

Since Sunday would be another 11 hour day of driving to get back to Orlando, we spent Saturday just relaxing around the campsite. Cindy reading her Kindle and me reading, writing and going through our photos and deciding which ones would make it up to Flickr for your viewing pleasure. As night fell, we packed as much of our gear as possible into the truck so we’d have only the tent, sleeping bags and ground tarp to pack Sunday morning.

Around 3am Sunday morning severe thunderstorms arrived in the area and when the alarm went off at 6am it was still storming. We hoped to wait for it to end before exiting the tent, but you know how the sound of water running makes you have to go to the bathroom…? Yeah, so do we. At 6:30 we couldn’t wait any longer so we had to try and get the bedding into the truck as quickly as possible to keep it from getting wet and then we worked in the rain to take down the tent and fold up the tarp. Can you say muddy mess?

After showering we stepped out of the building to find the rain had stopped, of course. As it turned out, we ended up leaving just 20 minutes after I had intended to leave, so that wasn’t bad. We had a nice drive back to Orlando and arrived home safely about 7pm.

After not seeing each other for 6 months while I was on the road (we had about a week at Christmas time and 2 days at the end of January), Cindy and I truly enjoyed the time we were able to spend together in North Carolina. We have another week together at home and then I’ll be on the “available” list to be sent back out on the road again. In the meantime I’ll get to spend some time with our grandchildren, visit with friends and go to various medical appointments (three in one day!).

Oh, and the title of these last three posts? That came from a tee shirt we saw someone wearing while we were at a general store in Waynesville. It made Cindy and I both burst out laughing because the day before we had seen someone on our way to Cataloochee who looked like a “Deliverance” character and I had hummed the “Dueling Banjos” theme from the movie as we watched him.

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