Part of the fun of our trip was Roy's choices with the Biltmore's Outdoor Center. He did the Segway on the west side of the estate, river rafted the French Broad River and we both went on the shuttle tour of the west side. Since he hadn't planned on the river rafting trip we had to find some water shoes or some cheap tennis shoes for him. This sounds like it would be a rather easy thing, but Roy wears a size 14 in sporting shoes and he has a narrow foot. I wasn't exactly excited about the hunt. I Googled to see if there was an Academy store nearby...no. There was a Dick's Sporting Goods and several sure to be expensive outdoor recreation stores.
On Tuesday we left the estate and went to Linville Falls. When Dena and I were there in May, I barely could get across the bridge and just a little way up the trail. Last week I hiked with Roy to the Falls but realized that I shouldn't probably try to go to the overlook with him. I was content to sit on a rock and do some people watching. I was a little ashamed that 70 and 80 year olds were passing us at breakneck speed on the trail and they jumped and maneuvered the descent to the overlook like it was a short line at Luby's. It was a God thing that Roy picked up the wrong back pack when we left the Inn. Instead of having his camera and lenses, he had his Kindle and lap top. So iPhone pics had to suffice thus ending our visit to Linville Falls rather quickly....well quicker than if he had his camera. As we came back across the bridge over the stream, there was an elderly lady in a wheel chair with drawing pad and pencils in hand sitting there on the bridge. She looked to have a careful eye for detail as she studied the trees with their branches bending down toward the water. Was she taking in all the water covered rocks with brilliant sunlight making them reflect such a beautiful array of colors? I could hardly wait to walk by and sneak a peek at her artwork. As we walked by trying not to disturb her concentration, I had the biggest let down, sort of like the Texan football game last weekend. She was drawing stick figures and straight lines. Dang, she's as good of an artist as I am. Stick figures are my specialty.
We drove a short ways on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Blowing Rock. My prayer is always Lord, please help me find a parking place where I don't have to parallel park Sequisha. The Lord answered my prayer. Roy and I ate lunch at the same place Dena and I had found only Roy thought it was more like ladies lunch. I could see why he thought that because it must have been southern ladies who lunch day at the outdoor bistro. Make that older, refined, southern senior citizens women. There were tables of southern gentlewomen in counts of 6 or 7 and there was a smattering of twosomes. The accents were flying high that afternoon. These women were dressed in their best designer named clothes. Perfect coifs and manicures. Etiquette and good manners coming out the yahzoo. From the top of their heads to the tips of their comfort shoes....yes comfort shoes...with socks...complementing their Chanel, Ralph Lauren (the equestrian look was well represented) and Michael Kors clothing. SAS shoes, Keen, Merrill and Clark seemed to be the shoes of choice. I didn't feel one bit left out or under dressed in my black cargo capris, LSU t-shirt and tennis shoes.
We looked around in a few shops. The best one is the one that Dena and I loved. I helped the local economy. At a produce stand, I saw scuppernong grapes. There is a reference to The Bad Seed right there.
After Blowing Rock, we drove up to Boone. We are returning to Boone on our next trip. There were so many cute shops in the downtown area. We had come to Boone for two reasons; Roy wanted to see Appalachian State (they beat Michigan a few years ago) and to go to Mast General store to look for water shoes. The only parking we could find had a thirty minute limit, so we would have to be quick. We went upstairs to look at shoes, Roy went off to the right but I made a bee line straight ahead to find a pair of size 14 water shoes marked down 75%. He tried them on, they would do and we were out the door with time to spare. It was a divine shopping appointment! We were praising God for the shoes and for the fact we wouldn't have to give a lot of precious vacation time searching for shoes.
There was a lot of road closures and construction in Blowing Rock, so we looked for another route to head back to Asheville. Word to the wise, if you see the route and the sign says Scenic North Carolina, turn around. Take your chances with backed up traffic. Oh scenic highway, started out so nice, just a few curves in the road but quickly it became blind switchback curves and lots of 20mph driving, on a narrow road with big trucks coming at you. At times I would glimpse at the beauty but if we were going to arrive alive at the Inn, I pretty much kept my eyes on the road. I was a little nervous because I did not want to be on that road at dusk. We finally came to the main highway we needed and slightly curving roads were a welcomed sight.
This last part of the day was disturbing and rather strange. On our way we had seen a Dairy Queen and on our return, we decided to stop and get some ice cream. The Dairy Queen was attached to a Stuckey's. First things first, we went to the bathroom. As we went toward the DQ it felt like a huge step back in time. It has been eons since being in a Stuckey's and I saw the pecan logs and all the other souvenirs that are usually found in a Stuckey's. But along with the Stuckey staples were so many politically incorrect items, Aunt Jemima salt and pepper shakers, plates. You could buy various sizes of Confederate flags. I think I saw some white sheets for sale as well....no not really but it wouldn't have surprised me. The people working there were downright scary and would rather cut you than serve you. We took our ice cream and headed out the door quickly only to be greeted by two rough looking rednecks. They were beside their Dixie truck with a hot mama sitting in the front seat. Soon a couple of other trucks pulled up and we didn't waste any time getting out of there. I don't know if Stuckey's was around in the 30's, 40's and 50's but it certainly did feel like we had stepped into a time warp. A not good time warp.
So, that was our Tuesday. Lots of fun, lots of shopping with a little bit of scared and unbelief thrown in.