Michael’s Thoughts 3/2/2014

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The last time I was able to write about our trip was over two weeks ago, and that gap in writing pretty much sums up what we’ve been doing: keeping busy. Last I wrote we had just arrived at a family friend’s house in Birmingham, where we ended up staying for a few days; Birmingham is beautiful, btw. From there we made our way up to Decatur, AL where we camped out in an RV park – we were the only tent set up there – on a night that had temperatures hovering around freezing.

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[Space Rocket in Huntsville, AL]

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[Tennessee!]

The next morning we made our way into Madison, AL where, after talking about how we had camped out in near freezing temperatures and were expecting rain that night, we were invited to stay the night with Matt – a guy whose name we didn’t even know until after he invited us to stay at his place. His overwhelming kindness could not be appreciated more. We ended up staying there two nights in a row, where we got to catch up on some TV watching and just had some good times chilling. From there we made our way into Chattanooga, TN and, after visiting with the brewery there, went to check out Community Pie in downtown. We enjoyed one drink each, sat and talked with locals for a little bit, then made our way into Knoxville that night.

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[Haggis, Matt, Me]

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[Sunsphere in Knoxville]

After setting all of our stuff down in Haggis’ distant relative’s empty apartment where we were going to stay in that night, we met up with Cynthia. Neither of us had met her before, but she reached out to us through our website months back offering a place to stay. We first met her up at Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern in downtown, and almost as soon as we introduced ourselves, I got a text from my brother-in-law. My sister had a baby! They had chosen not to figure out the sex throughout the pregnancy, so I ran outside to video call them and found out I have a new nephew. A cute one, too! After heading back in, sharing the news, then hanging out at Suttree’s for a little longer, we made our way over to Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria for a couple more drinks to finish the night. Haggis and I parted ways with Cynthia and slept over at the empty apartment that night.

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[My new nephew, Connor!]

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[Me, Cynthia, Haggis]

The next day we met Cynthia again at Saw Works Brewing. After taking the photos we needed and doing our usual interview, we all sat at the bar and talked with some of the employees for a while. A few hours later, Haggis and I followed Cynthia to Sunspot where we enjoyed a kickass meal and then made our way back to her place. When we got there, we tried out some Hop Vodka that was really intense, popped open a few good beers, and watched Donnie Darko – one of my all-time favorite movies. A lengthy conversation ensued before I ended up passing out sitting up. The next morning Cynthia had already left, so we each took a shower, packed our stuff, and hit the road again.

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We planned extra time that day and went a little out of our way to make a trip through the Smoky Mountains. After picking up some maps and postcards at the welcome station, we then made our way to the Laurel Falls hiking trail. It took us a little less than half an hour to make the hike up to the actual waterfall and it was absolutely beautiful. The sound of the rushing water combined with the fresh nature smell surrounding us was calming; I needed that. From there we made our way winding through the National Park, stopping off at multiple viewpoints to take in the scenery and grab a few photos. Near the end of our slow trek through the Smoky Mountains, we crossed over into North Carolina where we would be staying for the next couple of weeks. Oh, did I mention my socks had gotten wet back at the waterfall, so I hung them out the window to dry, then forgot about them, rolled down the window, and heard Haggis say: “you grabbed your socks before you opened the window, right?” I didn’t. At some point in the future, someone is going to find a pair of socks that have the phrase ‘Your mom smokes crack’ stitched into them…

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Once we got into Asheville, we went to Burial Beer Co and then walked over to Green Man. We ended up hanging out with Jenn that works there for a while, and then she took us over to Bywater. A local band was playing that night and there was a fire burning outside, so we all hung out and had good times before Haggis & I passed out in a random parking lot… in our van… down by the river. We took the next day ‘off,’ but still found ourselves up at Wedge Brewing Company on Saturday afternoon. There were a bunch of people up there that day because the weather was absolutely perfect, and they have a great outdoor area for everyone to hang out in. On our way out, this group of girls celebrating a bachelorette party tried to get us to do burpees, whatever that is, while one of them hugged Haggis for a solid 5 minutes. Later on that night we ended up camping at a site that was in between a busy highway and a river.

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The next day, we went to Wicked Weed Brewing and ended up staying for quite a while, since they have a ridiculous number of beers and we wanted to try as many as possible. Jenn from Green Man ended up meeting us up there, too, so we all hung out on the outdoor patio downstairs before splitting up and heading back to the same camping site we slept at the night before. At this point it had been days since our last proper shower, although we had been brushing our teeth, changing, and washing our head and beards in sinks at Subway, the public library, and random gas stations. So, after some never ending pancakes and coffee at Denny’s (we each barely made it through 5 pancakes), we drove out to a travel station and paid to use their showers. It was a religious experience. This was, by far, with no question, the single best shower I had ever taken in my life. Hell, it might have been the single greatest experience of my life.

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[Epic trip milestone]

The next day we went to French Broad Brewing and, immediately afterwards, went to Moe’s Original BBQ based off of a local’s suggestion from the day before. It was absolutely delicious AND they had Galaga! From there we made our way back to Green Man where we hung out and talked with everyone there for a few hours before finding another random parking lot and falling asleep in the front seats of Homer; our Honda Odyssey Minivan. The next day we did our official brewery stop at Highland, then later that night found ourselves at Hi-Wire brewing enjoying their $2.50 pints while playing MarioKart on Super Nintendo, which was being projected to the wall so everyone could see just how awful we both are at that archaic game.

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[Moe’s BBQ]

It was supposed to freeze that night, but luckily we had run into this cool guy, Ricky, back at Green Man the night before, and he was willing to lodge us for the night. When we got there, we ended up watching old school Star Wars Episodes IV and V while talking, and I ended up passing out close to 1am. The next morning, based on Ricky’s suggestion, we went to HomeGrown and had a stupid awesome breakfast; those cheese grits were just plain fantastic. After that we finally made our way out of Asheville, stopping at Pisgah and Fonta Flora breweries on our way to Charlotte. Once we got into Charlotte, we met with Erin, a girl who had worked for a vendor that I worked with back at my previous job. She’s cool as hell and ended up giving us the key to her place since she would be busy for the next few days.

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[Haggis, Ricky, Me]

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[Mother. Flippin. HomeGrown cheese grits.]

The next night we chilled at NoDa Brewing in Charlotte, where the headbrewer suggested we go check out this awesome local bottle shop called Salud. We first made a quick stop at The TIN Kitchen food truck, checked out Birdsong brewery for a second, and then made our way to Salud. While there, we ran into the brewers from Heist brewery, Eric and Josh, and a girl that works for Unknown brewing, Elizabeth. All of us ended up having a small bottle share while talking about all kinds of things. Afterwards, Eric & Josh took us over to Cabo Fish Taco where we had the single best fish tacos on the friggin’ planet, accompanied by $2 pints of NC beer. The next day was a busy one. We first went by Heist to talk with Eric & Josh again, and ended up having some beer cheese soup, lobster mac & cheese, and a BBQ burger. Again, ridiculously good. From there we went to Triple C, had good times, then trekked on over to Unknown brewing to say hi to Elizabeth again. That brewery is brand new, but it’s going to be absolutely huge when all is said and done.

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[Heist Brewery]

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[Elizabeth at Unknown]

We stayed the night at Erin’s again, even though she was not home, then headed north to Winston-Salem the next day. That was yesterday. We ended up hanging out with Chase and Nicole, who are some of the employees from Foothills Brewing, and they took us to a few local spots all around town for some food and drinks. We also randomly ran into this guy that we had met and talked with back in Dallas, Tony, who is actually from Austin, but had been traveling for work both in Dallas when we met him first as well as here when we met him again. He joined us for the rest of the night, then at the end, we ended up staying with Chase & Nicole. That’s where we’re at now. So yea. That’s what’s been up.

More photos!

**Note: most of our time has been spent in the library, but that’s boring, so I left all of that out.

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[MarioKart World Headquarters in Charlotte, NC]

One thought on “Michael’s Thoughts 3/2/2014

  1. Like reading the details of your trip! Glad you liked the Smokey’s.
    They are beautiful! Connor is so cute and you’re a great uncle ! I also loved reading about the stats!! Good idea and humorous!
    I’m looking for old pix to send to you but no luck yet!! Don’t worry , I’ll text them to you and won’t put them on the web site!
    So glad you stayed with us!

    Love,
    Becky

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