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Issue #221, Epic Road Trip, July 13, 2018, Grindstone Campground, West Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina

July 13, 2018 I’m sitting down in the bamboo grove at Suzanne and Evan’s house in Asheville. It’s 6:53 am, and my ears are ringing severely. There are several birds calling out, adding to the din in my head - squawking and chirping, sounding almost like monkeys. Despite the noise, the bamboo grove is peaceful. Evan has made an enclosure with a bamboo fence and spread mulch, chairs and plants about.

It’s fairly dark in here as the dense stands of bamboo block out a lot of the light. We arrived here around 3:30 yesterday after rolling down the highway from West Virginia. After eating breakfast, I went for a 40-minute run up the Mt. Rogers trail at the campground, wearing my toe shoes, it was the first significant run I’ve done on this trip. I enjoyed the trail, which was mostly through deciduous trees - never any views to speak of - but I felt quite good as I ran, and turned around after heading up for 20 minutes.

As I was writing yesterday morning, before the run, the camp host came by, and he expressed how much he liked our Cricket; how it fit his idea of traveling lighter. He was also clearly a talker who mentioned many more things such as how he might stop being a campground host at any time. I think he took the job with enthusiasm, initially, but now was tired of it, and talked of how all the folks with huge RV’s had trouble getting into their spots. A friendly guy. He lived 80 miles from the Kentucky border.

We visited Evan and Suzanne back in 2014, when the kids were 6 and 8; that time, we stayed at an air ‘b-n-b’ outside of town, but this time, with the Cricket, we were able to park right above their house. It took some maneuvering to get the Cricket into place, but once there, it was far more convenient than staying out-of-town, and more fun,too.

The kids are loving Ev and Suz’s dogs; Nigel is a Jack Russell mix with something else, and the other, Kikosan, is a Japanese Chow. They are small and hardly bark at all. The kids keep saying, “Dad, we need a dog.” and “See, Dad, how great dogs are?” Suzanne has switched her job to real estate, and since she has chosen this path, has closed on 7 houses so far. Hopefully she will continue to make sales; she seems to like the job, as it gets her connected with many people. Evan is still running his ‘start cleaning job’ business, so that has provided them with some stable income. I am not sure what we will be doing today.

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen