As we approach one year of living in our Airstream, we still don’t know when we will be able to move into our new Asheville home. Our best guess is September but we’re not sure we can survive three more months in our 8’ by 23’ trailer. Things we are tired of include:
- Showering in public bathhouses
- Eating the same meals prepared in our small kitchen
- Dragging our laundry to laundromats
- Living within 204 square feet
- Moving our Airstream every week
- Not having a real home address
- Climbing over Ed at night to get to the bathroom (Patty only)
- Making the bed that is against three walls (ditto)
- Wearing the same clothes day after day (Patty only, Ed doesn’t really care)
But this all came to a head last week when Ed was draining the gray water tank of our trailer. We have two tanks—the gray water tank stores waste water from the sinks and shower and the black water tank stores waste water from the toilet. If we stay in one place more than one week, Ed usually has to drain the gray water tank to a portable tank and then convey it to a dump station. After filling up and conveying the portable tank twice, and spilling gray water everywhere (which can be surprisingly foul-smelling), Ed said to himself: “Why are we still doing this?” Patty readily agreed so we are now looking for a hotel, apartment, cabin or anything that will allow us to get out of our Airstream in the upcoming months. Stay tuned.
So we have been getting a little squirrelly but the photos above are of the famous white squirrels of Brevard, NC (We just missed the annual White Squirrel Festival by one week). Several decades ago, a man visited Brevard and brought two white squirrels with him that had apparently escaped from a carnival truck (Would anyone actually pay to see white squirrels?). He gave them to a local family but one escaped and, feeling sorry for the one still left in captivity, the other one was let loose. As squirrels and other rodents tend to do, they multiplied and are now protected by Brevard City ordinance. We have to admit they are very cute, but probably cause as much destruction as their gray cousins that terrorized our yard in Florida.
In addition to white squirrels, Brevard and surrounding Transylvania County is a great place to visit, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities. The county is known as the “Land of the Waterfalls” with more than 250. It is also a very popular mountain biking area with hundreds of miles of trails, as evidenced by the mountain bike racks on half the cars in our campground. We both agree that we will visit Brevard in the future—it’s only about 45 minutes from our future (we are really tired of saying future) home.
Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest—several waterfalls including this one can be seen in the movie Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis. Portions of Hunger Games were also filmed in the forest (Woody Harrelson reportedly enjoyed the Laughing Seed Café vegetarian restaurant in Asheville).
Patty at the bottom of Triple Falls
The top two-thirds of Triple Falls—it was difficult to take a photo here due to the spray from the falls.
High Falls in DuPont State Forest
Patty relaxing on the Little River downstream from High Falls
Fawn Lake in DuPont State Forest
“May the forest be with you” (saying from one of Ed’s tee shirts). With an average annual rainfall of 80 inches, Transylvania County has one of the highest annual average rainfalls east of the Pacific Northwest. In contrast, the average annual rainfall at our future home on the north side of the mountains is about 40 inches.
Connestee Falls not far from our campground—although difficult to see, there are actually two waterfalls with one beginning at the bottom of the photo where we are standing.
Our daughter Adrienne suggested that Ed provide some guidance on taking waterfall photos. He is no expert (but he does have a book) so here is an example of different approaches to photographing waterfalls.
Three photos of the top of Connostee Falls. Taking a photograph consists of two variables: 1) how wide the shutter opens as indicated by the f stop setting, and 2) the time that the shutter is open. With most single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, you can choose a shutter speed setting and the f stop setting will be automatically selected. That is the technique Ed used to take the three photos above:
Upper left – Shutter speed is 1/60 of a second. This is what your eye typically sees.
Upper right – Shutter speed is 1/4000 of a second. Very short shutter speeds “freeze” the movement of the waterfall.
Lower – Shutter speed is 1/8 second. Longer shutter times of 1/8 second or more produce the blurred waterfall photos that are very popular. It is important that a tripod is used for these longer shutter times to keep the camera steady.
In the old days of film photography, you had to wait until the film was developed to determine if you obtained the effect you wanted. With digital cameras, you can take many photos with a range of settings and select the one(s) you like the best.
Saturday night we went to a CD release party for Balsam Range at the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in West Asheville. Ed heard this group on the radio in Knoxville a couple of years ago and loved them, even though he was not a big bluegrass fan. It turns out they are from the Asheville area and are great musicians, singers and entertainers. Here is a video for the song Ed originally heard, Last Train to Kitty Hawk, which was voted the best bluegrass song of the year for 2009.
It’s not all fun and games here in Asheville—we have been meticulously visiting microbreweries to determine those beers that we would recommend to future visitors (Ed is preparing a spreadsheet). In Brevard we have visited Brevard Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewing that is pictured above. It’s a lot of work but we are glad to do it for you, our future visitors.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder”—Kinky Friedman