Yep, after 6 pretty glorious weeks in Asheville NC we are officially back on the road. We really loved Asheville and since we had to be sidelined for 6 weeks that was the perfect place to be. We loved just about everything in Asheville, most of all, we loved how beautiful it is, and the fantastic hiking. During one of our last days we toured the Biltmore Estate which was quite lovely and impressive. The Châteauesque-style mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet. Much of the Biltmore area revolves around the estate and is a large source of their local economy. The day we visited they were expecting over 8,000 visitors.
Before leaving Asheville, Jeff trained and ran a 5K super-hero run. He was the super-hero of the day in my book.
We left Asheville on Tuesday and spent the next two days at Stone Mountain State Park. We were super impressed with the park, considering it’s close proximity to Atlanta, it felt quite remote. We lucked out and managed to get a campsite on the lake. During our days in Atlanta, we were able to spend an evening with my sister Colleen and her husband Randy, and we also were able to meet up with a couple that we meet in Italy a few years ago, Chuck and Lori. It was a whirlwind few days but got us back in the spirit of the road.
From Atlanta we headed to Cheaha State Park in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama. The campsites were in a very remote location and we are survived (barely) without internet. We were able to drive up to the lodge to get internet if needed, but this was a good practice for us as our travels continue. Cheaha State Park is at the highest elevation in the state of Alabama at 2400 feet. We were surprised to see the mountains during the drive up to our location. It is really beautiful spot and the hiking was pretty spectacular. Luckily, we had access to several TV stations in the Airstream and are super pleased to be able to watch as much of the NCAA tournament as we can handle in one day.
Go Blue!! For those who are not aware, U of M women’s basketball team also made the NCAA tournament this year as a 7 seed. Go Blue!
We departed Cheaha State Park early Monday, while trying to outrun some pretty strong storms that were hitting Alabama. We arrived at Oak Mountain State Park just outside of Birmingham early afternoon without getting caught in the storm. The park is impressive with lots of good hiking and lakes and rivers. Yesterday, we spent the day in Birmingham and visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. As you might expect it was pretty disturbing, and we both felt pretty angry and disappointed in mankind when we left. Being in the South for only a short time, it’s hard to tell how things have changed over the years, I can only hope that they have.
We also found one of the best restaurants we’ve been to on our trip. It was Saws Soul Kitchen Southern BBQ joint. The place was packed and we ended up sharing our table with a couple of guys from Ohio and also met another Michigander.
During our stay here, we received news that our PAWS pup that we raised has made it onto her next level of training. This is the final level before being placed with her client. We are so happy and proud of Chili!
Tomorrow we depart Alabama and will spend the night in Mississippi and then head into Texas where we will spend close to a month. We are excited to visit family, check out Austin and hike in Big Bend National Park.
Hope everyone is well and that Spring is arriving in your neck of the woods
Erin, Jeff and ……..Ola