Longest Span Bridge in North American Over the New River
Well this part of the trip been just gorgeous, in that I’ve hiked down into a number of gorges. Starting in Eastern GA with the Tallulah Gorge and later into the New River Gorge; counting up and down I think I’ve done over 3000 steps. Stairmaster eat your heart out! In between my gorging adventures I made my way to Asheville, NC for some food, friends, funky jams and ferocious rains. The night of my arrival I decided to walk the hour or so from my West Asheville hostel (Bon Paul and Sharkey’s) to the downtown area for dinner. On the way, slight rumblings in the sky ominously approached, but I chugged along, inspired and enlivened by the fresh mountain air and strong independent community. Plus I was hungry. Within 15 minutes I was alone,
Blue Ridge Mountains Around Asheville
walking alongside a 4 lane highway across the river when the rains let loose, and in a big way. Instantly soaked, loving it, and wishing I’d left my Iphone at home (I started trying to decide how much this experience was worth in dollars and if that amount plus the coolness of having the new Iphone 4 would make accidentally drowning my Iphone 3gs financially acceptable). After a soggy, chilly dinner I walked back home (luckily the rain had stopped) and was intrigued by the strains of fairly out-there jazz coming from a dark, dingy little bar. Really dark. Like, no-lights-on dark. The smokers in front informed me that the transformer had been blown in the lightening storm and so the regular jazz gig had turned into an open jam: two upright basses, a drummer and an Eb Clarinetist (a rare instrument in jazz, the musician there joked that he was the best he’d ever heard… but unfortunately also the worst). They were fantastic, and the candlelight by which I drank my locally brewed ale only enhanced the experience.
The next day I tried Kava for the first time. I had read about this island-intoxicant first in a book called “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”, and upon seeing the ad in the local newspaper I knew I had to try it. After finding the Vanuata Kava Bar tucked away in a residential section of town, I was presented with a coconut bowl filled with what appeared to be dirty, milky water. Its taste matched its appearance. It does get you buzzed though; not drunk, not high, but certainly altered. Sharing the less than pleasant experience of actually slurping the stuff, I quickly made friends with the fellow tasters. In typical Asheville fashion they were dashing my stereotypes with every word; discussing philosophy in thick Southern accents: “Shit, this book here’s on ex-ee-stentialism… I wonder if they got some Neee-cheee (Nietzsche) and shit.” I really like Asheville, and will be back very soon.
A few mores campsites and cheap motels later and I stopped through Morgantown, WV for some more local
Self Pic Above the Gorge
brews and tunes at the Black Bear Burritos. This is a neat little town with a cool feel and some beautiful surroundings. Seated by myself while listening to music I was asked by one of the summer-session university students if I would like to join their “philosophy club” meeting. I did, and discussed life in Morgantown with the (self-proclaimed) premier tuner of American thumb pianos.
Next Stop: Ohio!