Our Airstream travels have come to an end! We are back in Asheville, NC and plan to stay here until our house is ready—our closing date is scheduled for September 4th.
We camped last week at Lake Powhatan, a very nice campground in Pisgah National Forest, about eight miles from our future home. Most of our time will now be spent preparing to move in so blog-worthy activities will be limited—unless you would like to hear about our shopping for a refrigerator and washer/dryer. As a result, this week’s blog consists of a random assortment of unrelated observations.
As we become familiar with Asheville, it is inevitable that we discover some negatives to go along with all the positives. While being surrounded by mountains provides beautiful views, it also results in an Asheville road system that is much more challenging than that of our flat former hometown, Gainesville, FL.
As shown on the left, Gainesville primarily consists of roads that run either north/south or east/west, and they are numbered sequentially–for example, we lived on NW 43rd Street. Once you know the system, you can find most locations in Gainesville without a map, Garmin or smart phone.
It’s not so simple in Asheville, as shown on the right. First of all, there are three interstates, I-26, I-40, and I-240. You can go east/west on I-40, east/west on I-240, and (despite what the map shows) east/west on I-26. This has already caused much confusion, especially for Patty, but Ed is quizzing her during each car trip and her understanding of the road system is improving.
Once you get off the interstates the roads are even more confusing. We have been using Google Maps Navigation on our smart phone to find our way around Asheville, but it continually gives us questionable guidance. If our smart phone can’t figure out the Asheville road system, what hope do we have?
As if to foreshadow our driving future in Asheville, we met a lost elderly couple from Georgia who asked us for directions. Normally we would not be too concerned about lost Georgians but these were Florida Gator fans so we felt obligated to do our best. We hope they made it home but their predicament raised a question: Is old age and a confusing road system a bad combination? Being optimists (well, at least Patty) we will take the glass half-full position that the road system will help keep us mentally sharp as we move into our golden years.
Ed always tries to make sure that the information we post on our blog is factual so he was upset to learn that we incorrectly identified a photo of a damselfly in last week’s blog as a dragonfly (our friend and biologist, Don Holmes, pointed out our error). As a public service, we are reposting the following photos from previous blogs so no one else will have to suffer the embarrassment of making this mistake.
On the left is a dragonfly which has wings that remain open when the dragonfly is at rest. On the right is a damselfly which has wings that close together when the damselfly is at rest. There are other differences but this is the easiest to identify.
In a previous blog, we discussed the potential advantages of keeping a bike rack and bikes on the back of your vehicle if, for some reason, you do not want anyone to see your license plate. There was a significant change to our license plate last week as shown on the following photos.
On the left—license plate before, and on the right—license plate after
As you cannot see, we now have North Carolina license plates. As a result, we have proven the advantage of bike racks because we drove with an expired Florida license plate for two months as shown on the following photo. (We did not intentionally do this but getting North Carolina license plates was a challenge—it’s a long story.)
We will miss our Everglades license plate, even if we rarely saw it.
Ed calculated that we have towed our Airstream about 12,000 miles since we left Gainesville last June. That is equivalent to driving from New York to Los Angeles and back—twice—and then taking a leisurely drive down to Asheville. Therefore, we would like to apologize for both accelerating the depletion of the world’s petroleum resources and significantly increasing carbon emissions. To make amends, we plan to replace our Toyota Sequoia with a hybrid car.
Cereal update—we previously reported on the many imitations of brand-name cereals we have spotted on our trip, specifically imitation Crispix. Here are some photos of one of the imitators.
On the left—the old box, and on the right—the new box
Laura Lynn is a brand name of Ingles Markets—apparently someone determined that shoppers would be more likely to buy imitation Crispix that is called Hexa Crisp rather than Crispy Hexagons. Maybe they felt that an actual geometric shape was too intimidating.
Ed would also like to point out a new cereal marketing scam. On the grocery store shelf, the cereal on the left looks like a good deal until you pick it up and realize that the box is much thinner than typical cereal boxes.
By the way, note the recipe for Chicken Picatta on the Hexa Crisp box—Ed wonders what percentage of imitation Crispix sales are due to the making of Chicken Picatta.
Finally, Ed came across a Henry David Thoreau quote that we should have included in our blog, To Retire or Not To Retire:
“There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.”