Friday, June 27, 2008

Blue Ridge Parkway

Hey all,

okay, I'm not sure I haven't skipped a part now, but here it goes. If I did skip something, I'll make sure to blog about it later, okay??
I'm pretty determined to finish blogging about this 2006 trip, coz DH is now talking about going to the US again in 2009 or 2010.... This time we'd probably fly to Seattle and tour around that part, maybe even over the canadian border for a bit, and he wants to see the Rocky Mountains. Any great ideas on where to go and what to see?? Including shopping opportunities of course... heheh ;-))
Now, I'm wondering how many people still check up on my blog here.... LOL

So, are ya ready for the next part of our trip?? :-))

So, after our belgian waffle experience we hit the road to follow the Blue Ridge Parkway till Asheville, at least. In Asheville we were supposed to meet Anne around noon, for lunch and shopping (of course - heheh). ;-)
The biggest problem of the Blue Ridge Parkway is of course that you absolutely NEED to stop about every 10 minutes because there is yet another fabulous scenery to see at a viewpoint!! Btw, the road is very well maintained and the viewpoints are well organized. Anyway, it also became clear why this was called the Great SMOKY Mountains as well as the BLUE Ridge Parkway. The hills were almost constantly covered with a kind of smoke (could be just water evaporating, but still...) and the further you look the more it turns into shades of blue. What an amazing scenery, even with not so good weather conditions!!
Despite all the pulling over for taking pictures we still managed to get to Asheville at about noon. I had to call Anne on the cell phone and she guided us to where she was. Too bad her husband Roger couldn't make it, she told us he had wanted to meet us too, coz apparently he had been following our trip through the blog too!! She was now under strict orders to report back to him in great detail!! LOL
Oh gosh! It's so much fun to meet cyberfriends!!! We hugged of course and then she guided us to a large paper store with really pretty and specialty papers. Very very nice store! I even saw that chinese black and white printed paper that Karen's friend had used to wrap her present for us!! Remember, the one that needed to be opened so careful that I could use it later?? LOL
But being as good a girl as I can be, I didn't even buy one sheet of paper there even though there was that little twitch. ;-)
I realized that the paper would get totally crushed and maybe even damaged in the luggage before we got it home. What a pity!!! So I resisted the urge to buy some of their wonderful selection of papers... With pain in my heart we left the store... ;-)
Then, Anne took us to a huge bead store where my eyeballs nearly popped out as I was so amazed by the large selection of beads and silver clasps!! While Jan and Anne were sitting on a side bench and talked for a while, I could shop and shop and shop!! Since I didn't get anything at the paper store I figured I could do some extra damage here. LOL :-))
During lunch with Anne at a Mexican style restaurant we talked about the huge quantities of food you usually get and the famous doggy bag! You should have seen Ann's face when we told her that in Europe you normally don't ask for a doggy bag. It is not widely used in Europe. Although restaurant owners here would *PROBABLY* not be offended (really depending on what type of restaurant you're in), it is just not done in Europe. If you do ask for a doggie bag, changes are you'll get everything thrown together in a simple plastic bag, coz they'll assume it really IS for the dog. Anyway in Europe you usually get manageable portions so we don't need doggy bags. That's the really smart way, isn't it? ;-))
As we've tried the american staple peanut butter earlier, we weren't gonna be put off by that and I wanted to try another typical american thing, rootbeer. OH MY GOSH!!! It tastes just like our cough medicine!!! How on earth can you people drink this stuff???? YUCK!!!
Lucky for me, Jan had already suspicions that it might be something we wouldn't like too much, so he ordered a Corona beer. I quickly switched the drinks. ;-))
But his idea about the rootbeer was identical to mine. Sorry guys!!

I do wanna come back to my earlier point of a lawsuit-happy America. There is this one story that we kept hearing over and over, and to us europeans, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. It was about a lady that ordered a coffee at a McDonalds (or the likes), and clumsy enough she spilled the hot coffee over herself, resulting in burn marks. She sued the company coz of the burns and coz it didn't say the coffee might be hot. HUH???? I would expect nothing less than that my coffee is hot!! I'd probably complain if it wasn't!! So you KNOW the coffee is hot, and you need to be careful. Isn't that what we teach our kids?? Stay away from the stove coz it's hot?? Be careful with hot soup? So why on earth would someone sue the company for getting a hot coffee when they ordered a hot coffee?!?!?! What happens after she gets the coffee is totally her own responsibility I would think. I hear lots about the declining economy (and that's not only in the US) but people, by attacking your own companies, aren't you in fact destroying that very economy?? I'm just wondering what foreign company would want to invest in a plant in the US and provide jobs locally if they know that they're in a lawsuit-happy place??? None, I would think. People really gotta stop trying to get a few bucks out of something that they themselves have brought upon them and start taking responsibility for their own actions. Just think what kind of example they are setting for their kids, our future leaders. How can we expect them to even wanna take the risk of owning their own company??
Okay, this is enough food for thought on this subject. Back to the trip now.

After lunch we continued on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a small sidestep to Mount Mitchell (highest point east of the Mississipi), which I completely missed because I fell asleep in the car because of all the excitement of the last couple of days. I'd rather die before admitting it, but by then my energy was really running low. The trip has been simply amazing already and of course I want to see and do as much as possible. So yeah, by then I was so tired that I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I asked Jan if he needed me to look at the map, he told me he'd manage and I should get some sleep. Hmm, he usually can tell if I'm really tired and need sleep. :-))
Jan tried to take some pictures of the scenery while driving (does he have 5 hands or what?) and they're not half bad either!! He didn't want to stop too often in order not to wake me up (snoarrrr snoarrrr snoarrrr). heheh :-)
Originally we planned to follow the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Boone, but because of time constraints we left the Parkway at Little Switzerland. Err, we are still in the USA, aren't we??? Besides the fact that it was indeed little, it didn't really look like Switzerland. Well, maybe some of the houses did resemble the housing in Switzerland from afar, but the mountains are very very different. We caught the I40 again at Marion and continued till Statesville, where we got a room at the EconoLodge. Believe it or not, but Jan had to debug the hotel's wireless internet first, with some help from the hotel manager, who was very helpful because he felt that internet access was one of our prime requirements, and if it didn't work we would go somewhere else.
Tired of a long day of driving we decided to have dinner the REAL american way: chinese takeway while watching television in our pajamas in the room! Very relaxing indeed!!!
In the mean time I logged on to the internet to read my mails and work on the blog some more. Can you imagine my surprise when I read to my horror that Ann's husband had been taken to the hospital???? I couldn't believe what I was reading and made a note to call her the next day. We certainly would have liked to meet him too!!



ChezChani said...

Loved the blog. I adore road trips but unfortunately my boyfriend hates them.
Root beer is vile stuff, but then I feel the same about regular beer as well.
Doggie bags are a dieters best friend. If I could not take leftovers home I would eat and eat until I blew up rather then have it thrown away. This way I know I can stop because I will get to eat it another time.

Anna Lee said...

Hi Wezz, I guess I'll have to research the Blue Ridge Parkway! Wonderful articles girl, so keep it up. Let's hear about your artwork, okay? I'm gonna add you to my technorati favs.
talk soon,
-AnnaLee in Toronto

mygemstonebox said...

I'm so pleased to meet you...go eSMArts Team!


Queentypo said...

Hey, Wezz:

I do have ideas for your next trip...will em privately.


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