I drove eight and a half hours with just me, myself, and I in my Hyundai Sonata from my home in Orlando, Florida for the purpose of conquering mountain trails, taking photos from the mountaintops, and drinking at the dozens of breweries in Asheville, North Carolina. Fueled by Monster, boiled peanuts, and sunflower seeds I alternated between listening to country music and the Joe Rogan Experience and somehow the miles and minutes flew by.However, I had some of my worst travel experiences.
- My car battery died due to failing cells in a small, rural town in Tennessee I had never heard of. I sat in my car waiting two hours after calling triple AAA for a jump start then had to spend an additional $200 for a new battery. I indefinitely got ripped off but all other local auto-shops were closed on Sundays so it was either bite the bill or walk. May karma bite you mechanics in the ass in the near future.
- Having my hostel locker popped and my possessions robbed while I was hiking. I had a quality lock but the lockers itself were the simple wire mesh style that you see in schools. The hostel apologized but didn’t move a finger to really help me as there is always a disclaimer that a hostel is never liable for stolen items prior to reserving a bed. Bon Paul and Sharky’s Hostel — no hard feelings but I’m obligated to give you a bad review because I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy.
- Getting cut off a snow-covered road driving down from one of the Appalachian Mountains and, I kid you not, literally Tokyo drifting over the edge to avoid a horrible death. Having that sobering moment of clarity while hovering over the edge of a steep mountain path, switching gears, flooring my gas pedal, and swinging my steering wheel like my life depended on it, because it did, was a moment I’ll never forget. I did not have snow tires and figured I could manage 3 miles of icy roads each way, easily one of the dumbest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life.
Driving in the Snow Minutes Prior to My Near Death Experience:Looking Glass Falls: 2.4 Miles Round-Trip (Beginner)Looking Glass Rock: 7 Miles Round-Trip (Advanced). I really wish I had brought a walking stick, a water bottle, and a flashlight for this trek as the hike is time-consuming, steep, and draining but my ego got the best of me. Eventually I settled for a big stick, my cellphone flashlight, and relenting as I endured my dehydration. Foolish, stubborn pride will humble you every time.Alcohol Laws: The laws in regards to drinking in Asheville are odd to say the least. A patron cannot have or order more than one drink at a time, that drink cannot not be bigger than 20 ounces, and a flight of 6 or more must be shared between two or more people. Weirdly enough bars that do not serve food must charge patrons a one-time membership fee, generally from $1-$5 dollars in order to visit their bar regardless if it’s a one-time visit or you intend to become a regular.
Urban Orchard Cider Bar:Some of the pesky drinking rules and examples of bar membership cards:
Pigsah National Rainforest:Sierra Nevada Brewery: I visited around a dozen breweries and bars and without a doubt Sierra Nevada is the best! Something like a theme park of breweries this place is immense with a huge selection of micro-brews and a mouthwatering menu!
Blue Ridge Parkway:Max Patch: 2 Miles Round-Trip (Intermediate). This trail generally wouldn’t be very difficult but because of the heavy snowfall and extreme windchill it was a bitch to hike. Prior to coming to Asheville the weather reports had given nothing but good signs but alas mother nature can be a fickle bitch. That being said, this was still one of the highlights of my trip.