For anybody that didn’t catch part one - you can find it here
Ok so pick up on the action after we checked into our hotel in Elkin, NC.
We decided the night before we would get a latter start the next morning. The mountains of North Carolina shouldn’t have quite as much traffic as the more densely populated North Virginia. We grabbed a couple bud lights and went to our room where to our surprise they had Top Gear! It wasn’t until after the two beers I noticed just how tired I was, not long after editing a couple photos and loading them into Facebook, we decided it was time to pass out.
The next morning we were up and gone out of the hotel by 9:00 and wandering around looking for breakfast. We stopped at a local place called the coffee and waffle shop, it was interesting to say the least. You could get a feel it was a small town type of place and we were outsiders, everyone coming in knew each other and the wait staff. Browsing through the menu, Drew and I had a chuckle because unlike the name of the place, we couldn’t find waffles listed.
After breakfast we decided the car was disgusting, I had driven it the week before working from WV, VA, Philly, up to VT and the weather was terrible so there was no reason to clean it. While driving to the car wash, we both agreed that we couldn’t spend an absorbent amount of time in the car today, we would do a pretty easy drive from Elkin to Ashville.
Now just a small backstory, my job is very high stress working with some very influential people in the car business. There is no such thing typically as time off, this was the first time I’d actually taken time off for myself in the better part of 3 years. After washing my car, I noticed my phone was ringing; of course it was work. The call was regarding a project that went completely sideways, things were in disarray and I needed to get things done. Long story short it took the better part of an hour on the phone, while Drew finished drying and detailing the car.
It was then we turned the phones back into airplane mode (since we were headed back into the mountains) and off we went. As we hurled towards the Blue ridge entrance, my emotions towards the BRZ started to change. When you spend a couple days driving through roads with no civilization, no distraction, no cell phones or texting you realize the strengths and weaknesses of a vehicle. I started to grow a fondness for this car, it felt like it was a living being and had a soul. I’ve owned both an Evo and STi but this car has a certain character that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until the end of the trip (stay tuned).
The traffic was much lighter today than the day before. We were able to tear through the road with breath taking speed. At points the trees and scenery blurred together almost as if it were an abstract painting. Though I wasn’t pushing the limits of the car, I was driving it at 7/10ths, enough to know it felt as if it were an appendage of my body. But even with all of this driving nirvana, the road and views trumped all things.
The road was nicely paved, some rough patch but nothing compared to the roads in Jersey, Philly, or Vermont. It had adequate passing lanes and plenty of pull offs for a bunch of yeyhoos like us to pull over and gawk at the unbelievable scenery. The day was pretty short; I think 6 hours in the car and dinner time when we were encroaching on the Ashville city limits. Neither Drew nor I had spent any time in Ashville, but we needed a great place for dinner.
The great thing is we were back in cell range. With a quick ask to Siri, “what is the highest rated BBQ place in Ashville” resulted with a restaurant named Luella’s Bar-B-Que. By early evening we had reached the restaurant, and from just the smell alone it was mouth watering. The wait staff was friendly and we got a great seat looking out the window. I wont describe the food, but it was some of the best BBQ I’ve had in a long time, its apparent they take pride in their food. On a side note, the best I’ve had is outside DC at a place called Smoke House Live, if you love BBQ and are in that area, check it out.
While at dinner Drew and I were going back and forth on where to stay at in Ashville. There is a Grand Bohemian in Ashville, and if you’ve never stayed in one do it, they are great! Thinking back, it might not have been a great idea, I’ll explain that late, we should have stayed somewhere less expensive. After we finished dinner, we set Waze to take us to the hotel. Ashville is a very cool, upbeat, energetic city with a lot of young population moving to it, reminds me a lot of Burlington VT, just larger! It was a treat to drive through such a neat city to the hotel. That said, I never expected what this Bohemian would look like. We drove into an all brick area, and the parking was covered, the woodwork on both the inside and the outside were unearthly.
We checked, and immediately decided tonight would be the night we were going to drink a little. Little did we know that a little would soon turn into a lot but we will save that for Part 3 which will come Monday.
I also apologize some of the pictures are dark - I messed with the settings after taking the night shot and forgot to change them back.