This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hilltop Hideaway: Day Five

Tim and I went for another run down the mountain today. Going down is not a problem. Coming back up, well, that's enough to make an old runner like me recite a few expletives.

It's not just going up. But going straight up for a long time. And I can't catch my breath. And I can't recover fast enough from the heavy breathing, so the only way to start running is just to run while you're catching your breath. Not 'fun' but still, a fun thing to do for someone who likes to run. :-) Oh, and Tim beat me both times we ran out here...bastard.

Toby, Joey and Judy's dog, joined us for our run, along with our dog Brenna. They both did really well, once they got 'ran over' by me a couple of times.

It's been great having Brenna out here. She's gotten along well with Toby, despite the fact that Toby is constantly trying to hump her (and he's fixed).

She's been off the leash and during our run, she ran alongside of us. Well, "run" is what I was doing. The dogs look like they're walking.

So we ran further out than last time and passed our new doggie friend, who was hooked up on a dog run. But he happily barked some hellos to us and I thought he was probably really jealous that he couldn't join us for our run.

On the way back, however, Toby and Brenna decided to pay our dog friend a visit. Dog friend's house, however, is on an upslope of the mountain, so it's not easy to get to them. Calling them back didn't work either. Well, Toby did come back. He's slightly older and more mature than Brenna, so he came right back to me and quite happily too. I don't think I can forget the look that dog had, running up the gravel path to me.

And by the way, this took approximately 10 minutes or so? And I was still trying to catch my breath, although we hadn't even started up the mountain.

Brenna would not come back. Not only did she not come back, she did not respond to Tim's calling. It's as if her name wasn't even Brenna!

So we left.

And Toby followed through and ran with us back up the mountain. He was a great dog, though, and made sure to keep his scent on every other tree limb to make sure Brenna could figure out how to get back. But she *is* a city dog, so I worried a little bit. Well, I worried about her _after_ I finished my run. During the run, there was little worrying to do except worrying about passing out since I wasn't getting any air!

She never came back on her own and so Tim and Joey got in the truck to go get her. Tim said as soon as they started down the hill, he could see over the 'cliff' of our path, to the really steep part of the road, our dog booking like crazy up the hill. So essentially, she was on her way back after her romp with our new dog friend.

We ventured back down the mountain that afternoon, this time in a motorized vehicle. I thought it would be nice to see what Banner Elk looked like. Judy joined Tim, me and the girls and we took 194 South to Banner Elk.

It's funny, when you think "south" you think, towards heat and Florida. You know, down. Not 194 South. This took us on a beautiful scenic route UP another part of a mountain. Way up. We just kept going up and up and up. We passed by a sign that said "bus stop ahead" and I wondered, where do the kids stand for the bus? There isn't even room for two vehicles to go both ways on that road, let alone a wide bus and kids. But somehow, these mountain people manage.

Tim was getting worried so he stopped to ask someone that had an art shop (when the mountain finally flattened out). He said the old man said, to the question of where Banner Elk was, "four miles ahead, you can't miss it". Four miles, up in these here mountains, feels like forty miles...

We found it, just like the old man said and boy, what a quaint, pretty mountain town Banner Elk is. We found a conglomerate of shops and restaurants and decided to park and make that our destination.

We ate at a cajun place - isn't that a hoot? A cajun place in these here mountains?

I opted for the most cajaun food of all, chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, cream gravy and fried green tomatoes. Wow. It was greasy and tasty. But I kept it in check and ate about half of it, which filled me like crazy.

We then roamed the hood and I found some good buys on interesting mountain stuff.

On our way back, we took a different route that was less treacherous. We passed through Beech and Sugar Mountain. We could see a lot of the homes and condos we can see from our own mountaintop.

We stopped at a world famous General Store in Valle Crucis. What a great store. The building is old and full of really great old and new stuff. Well, mostly new stuff, but it looks old. The floorboards tilt to one side and it's wide with another whole other story.

The picture on this post is one of the first things I saw when I walked in. And I almost left without picking up a slab of mountain butter...

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