back to reality from a cloud…

There were some pretty bad storms forecasted for Saturday, our last day in Asheville, so we planned to get on the road as soon as possible.  However instead of rain the sun shone brightly and it looked as though the President brought some nice weather with him on vacation!  Suddenly the urgency to leave was gone; we closed up the cabin and headed downtown to check out a few shops and grab our special edition Asheville Brewing Company Ale.

Upon pulling into the parking lot at one of the local shops, three men came running over to us.  I thought something was wrong but they just wanted to check out my bike on the roof!  Good to see some love for Felt! 🙂

Visiting the Penland School of Crafts was also on the agenda and we decided to get there via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I was hoping to squeeze in a short ride to Mt. Mitchell from the Parkway, but the clouds came rolling in and this is what it looked like!

Driving in the clouds was enough excitement and we decided to continue on.  There weren’t many radio stations available and certainly no phone service, but Dave was thrilled to find a bluegrass station coming in loud and clear.  What could be more fitting than listening to bluegrass where it began?  Here are some other views from our drive:

Finally we arrived at Penland and looked around in the galleries and studios spread over a mountain top:

I miss making art terribly and it was sort of a bittersweet visit; the campus was like a dream come true and it made me realize how much I need to get back into the studio…it stung a bit to feel so detached from one.  I am motivated to make that change soon!

After grabbing some coffee it started to rain and we knew we really had to get on the road.  The rain came down steadily for a while and then pretty hard..and harder.  Dave is an excellent driver, but I got really stressed out when we started hydroplaning on some of the mountain passes.  After hours of driving in the bad storm, we hit a break in the weather and even saw the sun in Kentucky.  I finally learned how to use my new iPhone (I am not very wired or technologically advanced) and it told me that the worst was yet to come.  Sure enough, the sky grew darker and the clouds were just flying over us.  We were in a strange dry patch but it was eerily dark and flashing lightning all around us.  There were a lot of tornado alerts on the radio and we opted to pull in to the closest hotel and call it an early night.  Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up to sunshine was well worth it!  We arrived in Chicago just in time to hit traffic from both baseball games (go Sox!) and decided to visit our families in suburbia.

What should have been a one day drive was drawn out even longer as we decided to get our ride in at the Kettles on Monday morning on the way back to Madison.  We were flying on the well-ridden trails and shortly into the ride Dave took a turn a little hot, hit a slippery wet patch and went down HARD.  I think I have only seen him crash maybe twice ever in all of the rides I’ve done with him.  He was hurt enough that he couldn’t continue riding and I was worried that he broke his collarbone.  Fortunately he has health insurance!  Oh wait, no he doesn’t.  Luckily nothing seems to be broken and he is healing, although not fast enough to race at Iola this weekend, which is a huge bummer.

We made it back to Madison, barely!

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