Enough of all the philosophical stuff. Let me tell you how freakin AWESOME the first half of the trip has been. Day 1 we drove to Asheville. First time in four years I got to visit which I feel is sad and depressing but I'm happy I got to do it on my way out of the state (at least for the time being). Asheville is hippieville for those of you that have not been or won't ever get the opportunity to go. Its a mix of culture that is reminisce of San Franscico meets bohemian New York with a flare of Chapel Hill. During the day we ventured out around the downtown area getting the vibe of the place. Had a quick bite for Happy Hour at Scully's which so happens to be (ironically enough) the place the Elon Basketball team and fans hang out during SoCon. People are so mellow which was exactly was we needed. We spent our first night in a Super 8 a few exits away and it was so comfortable there - brand new construction. Late that same night we ate at Olive Garden - after five years since my last experience - down the road and it was so satisfying.
Cat sculpture for Cat's Alley
Live cover band at Scully's
The next day we decided to go to the River Arts district. It was such a soothing and interesting day walk through the galleries and art studios in that area. The artists were particularly interesting especially talking to a few that turned out to be from the Northern states. We also went walking around downtown to eat lunch at this fresh Mediterranean place on College Ave. Later we drove near the Biltmore estates to find the Blue Ridge Pkwy and decided to take a drive. It was the BEST decision ever. The view from the pkwy was spectacular! Unfortunately lacking less than a 1/2 tank of gas permitted us to go a certain (minor) stretch of the way but of what we saw was worth every gallon. Back at normal elevation we stopped at a local brewery for a flight tasting :) That evening we ate at Mayfel's in downtown and almost died during the bread pudding and french press coffee for dessert.
River Walk District galleries
Colorful house in the district
The Mediterranean place we ate at for lunch
Up and coming Johnny Cash standing next to a random iron sculpture
Photo op along the Blue Ridge Pkwy
French Broad brewery flight tasting
The best dessert thus far on the trip
That night we packed up and hit the road heading through the night towards NW to St. Louis to visit my friend Jay. After about 12 hrs (2+ hours for a nap) we met up with Jay at Washington University campus near her job site and around the corner from her spacious apartment. Motoring through the day after organizing our stuff and settling in we did the tour/tasting at Anheuser-Busch, walked around the downtown area near he Arch and drove around the city (Forest Park). We treated Jay to dinner at a local joint nearby her apartment/school called Mi Ranchito. The next day we were up early to head to the Basilica and go up the St. Louis Arch (Nat. Park) before we headed out on the road to Memphis.
Lobby to Anheuser-Busch
Inside the Basilica
Outside Jay's apartment
Local band lets some of the tourists play with them
Ben from Daytona Beach FL
Ms. Blues from Norway
The biker's alley on Belle St
Delicious meal on Belle St. in Memphis
One of many women represented at the Freedom Sisters Exhibit
Entrance to Graceland
Lifetime of achievements
Car used in Blue Hawaii Movie
Elvis painted this custom purple...he had me in mind
Alcenia's - best soul food in town!!!
Her version of my favorite fried pickles - these are fried cukes