Lesson in flying from this vacation:
Flying from the east coast to the west coast rocks.
Flying from the west coast to the east coast sucks.
We arrived in Raleigh right on time and Teh Advising Sister was at the airport waiting on us. She brought us back to Yurtle, who was dirty, but unscathed. We loaded up Yurtle and decided on Gypsy's Shiny Diner for late lunch/early dinner. Teh Advising Sister met us there after she made a quick work related stop. I should have ordered what I suggested to Teh Bear to get, but I didn't. Bleh. Teh Bear was kind enough to share his chips with me though. Seriously, be jealous.
After foods, I gave Teh Bear a quick NC State tour. We stopped by the Bell Tower and took photos (I'm sure that all his FSU friends will now de-friend him), then we went on campus (yay for it being after 5!) and I showed him the 2 non-brick buildings, the brickyard, the free expression tunnel, and we made a pitstop at one building to use the potty, then to the bookstore so I could stock up on my NC State swag.
Kinda related note: when I was leaving RDU to fly to Denver, I spotted a table outside one of the stores that had NC State shirts (and that gross light blue team) for 50% off. So $8 for a NC State shirt. I was thrilled. Luckily, I found a small for myself and went to the register. When the lady rang up the shirt, it was only $4 so she asked me if I wanted to get 2 more. I told her I'd get one more. They only had x-large, which was perfect for Teh Bear. Yay for matching NC State t-shirts!!!! (Now if he still has FSU friends, I'll be surprised). I kept telling Teh Bear I had a surprise for him, but failed to show him until our last day in Denver. Oops. He did actually wear the shirt one day. I told him it made him super sexy. :)
After we left the bookstore, we decided to head home since it was "after 7pm".... except that it wasn't really. You see, what had happened was.... When we left Gypsy's, I saw that my watch was different than Yurtle's clock. So I set my watch to Yurtle. I had been thinking it was super late and that we weren't going to get to Home, Home until late, late. Once we were almost Home, Home, I realized what had happened. Yurtle's clock hadn't changed automatically. I'm not sure why I thought that Yurtle was correct, but I did. And when I set my watch to Yurtle, I had reset the wrong clock. I thought Teh Bear had let me do it on purpose at first, since I'm super gullible, but he insisted he wasn't even aware of what had happened. Umm hmmmm, likely story. Once I got my times figured out, I realized we weren't actually going ot arrive after had gone to bed, I was relieved. We headed to Teh Dad's house, unloaded Yurtle, took over Teh Stepsister's former bedroom and soon it was time for bed, after a quick soak in the hot tub.
|Judge is like, where's my giraffe?|
Phil is like, uhhh? guys.. there's something on me!
Friday morning, we kinda slept in. We were still on a pretty wonky schedule considering the time zone change and the actual time change. I had made arrangements with Teh Worldwide Jesus Lover and Teh Kenyan (not the President Kenyan, Teh Worldwide Jesus Lover's husband, Kenyan) to meet in Boone, NC for lunch at Makato's, my favorite Japanese/hibachi grill. They've been working at a tree farm and they even changed clothes for us! We picked up some bones for Phil (since we brought him with us for our after lunch activities), to keep him entertained while we were inside eating. BTW, this isn't animal cruelty/neglect. It wasn't over 60°F in the car, he had water, and the windows were cracked (enough to let air in and keep Phil from getting out)... and let's be honest here... it's Phil. He probably slept the whole time we were inside, that's kinda his thing.
After a delicious lunch, they had to get back to work and Teh Bear and I drove through ASU.. and by that I don't mean Arizona State University... I mean the real ASU... Appalachian State University. I don't know the campus that well, so our tour wasn't as thorough as the NC State tour, but he can say he's been there now.
Then, we headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were gonna use our hiking boots, dammit! We headed to the Julian Price Park. Back before I left for bootcamp, Teh BFF and I and 2 others went up and we decided we were going to do a trail. We had Teh ZepZep with us, and we only made it to the 1 mile marker before we decided to turn around. I didn't know at the time what a wise decision that was... But I learned about 2.5 miles into our hike this time around...
|Phil was leaning on Teh Bear so hard that he was keeping his balance with the post.|
We walked through camp grounds, I got jumped on by a Goldendoodle looking dog, who put a muddy paw print on my brand new, first time worn, white, NC State shirt, we walked through the wetlands and I slipped into the creek, we even had to off-road for a while and we were sure we were no longer on the actual trail. Every time Teh Bear would start to doubt we were on the trail, I'd look up and there would be a trail marker. It was magic, ya'll. We almost ran into barbed wire, Phil almost ran into barbed wire, we had to coax Phil over rocks and logs and fences. After the 3.5ish mark, we came to a ladder. A LADDER in the middle of the wilderness. There were no signs at the start of the trail that said, "There will be a ladder, please plan to carry your pet up/down this ladder, as the trail doesn't exist around the ladder." Yeah, the 80 pound Greyhound was NOT pleased with us trying to get him to step on the ladder. So, we had to go rock climbing.... At one point, Phil slipped out of his collar. Soon after that, he almost slipped and fell off a rock because we got tangled in a few trees trying to get around this ladder.
Teh Dad was listening to our tale of woe and said, "Why didn't you just turn around?" Because. It was past 4pm, which meant that dark was coming soon. It had taken us over an hour to get through 3 miles (we did the trail backwards, so we were counting down mile markers instead of up), and we'd passed through treacherous terrain... and to do that in the dark.. No thank you, I'd rather have to go rock climbing with Phil. I knew that once we hit the 1 mile marker, we were golden. I didn't remember any crazy paths for the 1 mile we had walked before... nor did I recall any ladders that we'd had to deal with, with Teh ZepZep.
We made it out of the woods as it was starting to get really dark. Teh Bear and I were both starting to worry that we were going to be trying to get through the woods in the dark, so we kinda stepped up the already quick pace so we weren't bear bait. Teh Phil slept all the way home and for the rest of the evening. As we came down the mountain, I called Teh BFF and we made dinner plans... we decided on meeting for Mexican after we dropped Phil off at Teh Dad's house, since it was his dinner time too.
There was actually a wait at the Mexican place (it still makes me put on my WTF? face when I have to wait for seating at a restaurant in Podunk) since it was Friday night and apparently we picked the only place in the area to eat at. /shrug. Teh BFF's boyfriend joined us, and he got to meet Teh Bear where they both made Teh BFF and I laugh for over an hour. Sometimes, good company soothes the soul. After dinner, Teh Bear and I headed to Krispy Kreme to obtain the doughnut that I've been trying to get for months, the chocolate covered kreme filled.
Side story: When I got to NC, Teh Dad had KK doughnuts sitting on the counter, but when he'd went, they didn't have any chocolate covered kreme filled, they only had chocolate covered custard filled and plain kreme filled (no chocolate on top). I accepted the kreme filled for the time being, since Teh Dad had made the effort, so the thought was obviously there.
Teh BFF gave us coupons to use to get free glazed doughnuts, but we didn't use them since we ordered a half dozen. Teh Bear got his chocolate covered custard filled, I got my chocolate covered kreme filled (which I confirmed via taste test before pulling away) and we got some original glazed. They were out of the pumpkin spice doughnut.... Satisfied for the night, we headed back to Teh Dad's and made a pit stop in the hot tub prior to crashing in bed. Phil had to be coaxed downstairs since he was passed out upstairs.
|This is the face of sweetest dreams.|
Saturday morning, we got up early.. and by we, I mean me. Mostly to let Phil out, but also because it was RENN FAIRE DAY!!!!! A day that I'd been waiting years on. The Carolina Renaissance Festival (which has a post of it's own) is my fave. I went to the MD Scottish Festival and the VA Scottish Festival and I just wasn't impressed. Maybe I'm just not going to the right festivals? I've got 2 more years here, so I have some time to do research. Teh Sister and her BF were going with us, after some scheduling deconflicting, we were all ready and on the road.
Lesson of Renn Faire day:
When Teh BFF tells you she drove somewhere in an hour.. ask her for specific directions on which way she went... Because the way Suzy (the GPS on my phone) took me, was NOT the most expedient way. We sat in over an hour of traffic. Suzy sucks.
We watched Hey, Nunnie, Nunnie while we ate, which was our first priority. Then we watched Zilch the TorySteller (one of my faves). We split up for a little bit to wander around (where I found the glassblowing shop and acquired 2 glass balls for my window collection) and then we met back up for the Pirate Shanty Man and the Bonnie Lass show. We watched their fire show, which I wasn't aware was the show we were watching, then we decided to watch their R rated/dirty show instead of going to see the Ded Bob Show. Before the dirty show started, I purchased a t-shirt that is naughty and makes me laugh. We wandered around for a little bit after the 2nd Pirate Shanty Man and Bonnie Lass show, and made it to the Tortigua Twins stage about 20ish minutes early and got a seat up front. We watched their final show of the evening, which actually ran 15 minutes long because of how much audience participation they had. They not only kept cracking themselves up, but kept getting interrupted by members of the audience. Teh Bear was singled out early in the show as "The Fuzzy Hipster" and ended up not only get smacked on the ass by a dude, but also kissed on the mouth.... TWICE. The show was hilarious, as expected, and since it was Teh Bear's first time at the Renn Faire, I don't think he was disappointed.
We had some traffic issues on the way home, in addition to some starvation issues, so we stopped at Cookout on the way back and everyone got milkshakes. YUM! Once we got home, dinner was waiting for us, as I'd told Teh Sister to call Teh Dad and inform him of our arrival time, so foods would be ready and I wouldn't have to gnaw off anyone's arm. Teh Bear and I decided to soak in the hot tub again and then it was time for bed.
Sunday morning was one of very few days we actually got to sleep in. It was delightful. We woke up slowly, had breakfast, and got ready to head up the mountain. I had purchased tickets for Biltmore Estate's Candlelight Evening Tour for us. I was super excited about these because 1) I had never been to Biltmore while they had the Christmas decorations on display, 2) candle.light.tour...=awesooommmee. We left by 1 so we could get up there early and get some photos. First though, we had Suzy navigate us to Krispy Kreme. Since it was Veteran's Day, both Teh Bear and I got a free doughnut. Actually, we were entitled to a free doughnut and a free small coffee, but the girl gave Teh Bear 2 doughnuts and gave me a doughnut and a small red velvet latte. WIN!
After ensuring I had acquired Diabetes for the day, we headed on to Biltmore. We were able to take pics of the grounds and the gardens and the greenhouse and the start of the walking trail before the sun started to set. Our tickets were for 6, so by 530 we headed to the house to stand in line and freeze our butts off because the wind. Upon entering the house, and starting to thaw, I realized that the tour wasn't guided. I was crushed. There were some info blurbs on the handout they had given us when we walked in, but I wasn't impressed. I wanted an actual tour (I'm pretty sure that the Ft. Defiance work seeping out of me) with a tour guide with the candle light and Christmas decorations (and considering what I'd paid.........). Additionally, since it wasn't a guided tour, people would stand in one area and block all the traffic so others couldn't get past them. We were in the entry hallway for about a quarter of our entire visit because of a group of older people who were oooo-ing and aaahhhh-ing at the tapestries and table and china in the massive dining room. It had been so long since I'd been to the Biltmore that I didn't remember anything about the house other than it was big and pretty, there is a bowling alley and pool downstairs, and you can't touch the walls because the "wallpaper" is fabric, which meant Teh Bear didn't get any history lessons from me.
|Whoever planted that stupid tree in the middle of the yard needs to be shot.|
|Dear Beautiful Tree,|
I love you long time.
|Oh Blue Ridge Mountains.. you make my heart go aflutter.|
|Hi, Mr. Lion.|
What do you know about the Lannisters?
|Seriously though, Western NC, I love you forever. |
I don't even care if that's biased.
It was still big and pretty though. After our walk-through (where cameras weren't allowed, le sigh), we headed to the gift shop to look around and take photos of ourselves in silly hats and then decided to leave and find dinner.
|A christmas tree that snowed on itself.|
|We can be members of the Crawley family, plskthx?|
We did a little bit of research, since it was Veteran's Day, to see who had the best deals/what was available in Asheville. After much debate and some mild irritation, ok fine, han-gar (hungry+anger), we managed to settle on Chili's. We ordered soooo much food and couldn't even come close to finishing it. And then I ordered dessert because I'm a fatty. Judge me, don't care, I love DELICIOUS DESSERTS.
|Huge chunks 'o chips|
|My trying to eat a huge chunk 'o chips.|
By this point, it was after 9 and I was le tired. We headed back down the mountain, which always takes half the time it took to get up the mountain. We got back to Teh Dad's and hung out for a little while with Teh Family and did some minimal pre-packing before finally heading to bed.
PS. Teh Bear told me that he'd definitely love me less if I ever wore this hairstyle out in public again. Let's just say crimping is NOT for Teh Megan.
Vacation Recap Map:Pre-vacation
Being in Denver for the weekend, part 1
Being in Denver for the weekend, part 2
Being in AZ for half the week, part 1
Being in AZ for half the week, part 2
Being in AZ for half the week, part 3
Being in NC for an extended weekend (this blog)
-Carolina Renn Faire (photos)
-Biltmore Flowers (photos)
Being in MD for the remainder of vacation