Yet another trip without Riva, but definitely a camper-worthy vacation for next time. I can't wait to bring Riva to Asheville and Hendersonville. I've gone to the mountains nearly every summer since I was a baby. This time, it was a September trip to drive my grandmother home to Melbourne.
I flew out of Melbourne, Fla. on September 11. That was a sobering experience in and of itself. While I wasn't afraid to fly, it is still an incredibly sad day. The years haven't eased the terror or the hurt. Around every corner was a painful reminder of how our lives will never be the same after that horrible day.
I arrived at my grandmother's house in Hendersonville later in the evening. I never tire of the country road that leads to her place, or the sweet smell of the mountains.
The next morning, I went on a trail ride through Dupont Forest and finally fulfilled my life-long dream of galloping through a mountain meadow. Made a stop at the Farmer's Market and the expansive farm I've pined over for years. It's been for sale for a while, but unfortunately out of my price range at $3.5 million.
The following day, I arranged to do a 12-mile paddle down the French Broad River with Asheville Adventure Rentals. I ended up being the only one on the long paddle that day, and I enjoyed the peaceful paddle (along with a few rapids) through Biltmore Forest and the River Arts District. I worked up an appetite, so I ordered some ribs and cornbread from 12 Bones - a BBQ restaurant that recently received a visit from President Obama. Then I browsed the racks and shelves at REI, one of my favorite outdoorsy stores.
I helped my grandmother with dinner, chores, and helped get the house tidied up before we departed for Florida. It's always a sad feeling when we leave in the dark, quiet and cool morning. I can't wait to return. The mountains are always calling...
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