Excited and saddened by the thought of leaving North Carolina, our favorite place thus far, we packed the bikes and said farewell to Ginny, our host. Today’s ride was an easy ride to Brevard followed by a long and steady climb up to Caesar’s Head, the final mountain we would cross leaving Appalachia and entering South Carolina.
Over the past weeks we have notices that many of our days seem to follow a daily theme and this one was no different. Leaving from Ginny’s house we followed her directions biking blissfully down the road, until something felt wrong. Signaling to stop, Amanda looked up our location on her phone. As it was we missed the turn and were several miles headed in the wrong direction. back on route we crossed the French Broad River and entered into Brevard’s commercial district. Our original start time would have prevented us from visiting Oscar Blue Brewery, however our earlier mix up put us at their door 20 minutes before opening. Serendipity?
A few beers, hours, meals, and conversations later our love for Brevard had begun to grow and we set off toward downtown a car free bike path. We found our way to a much too fancy organic market to eat many, many samples of bread and buy some produce. Downtown Brevard was much as we remembered and inspires us to help them push forward with the revivalist feel that is transforming much of the town. Stocked up on chocolate, produce, and still sluggish from the earlier beers we set off on US-276; the road that would be our home for many miles to come.
The miles ticked by and the grade started off flat, slowly increasing to a climb that we could feel. It was only a few miles of climbing before we were back off the bikes at an open house for Duck Pond Pottery; a wood-fired pottery shop that was serving pizza, snacks, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments. Pottery places and similar crafty stops are dually frustrating as we often times find amazing pieces of art, but cannot take them with us due to logistical impossibilities. A few of the sinks at Duck Pond Pottery were no exception to the want, but can’t have dilemma.
Our legs were even more uncooperative after the assorted snacks, pizza, and mulled cider; but we pedaled on. Stopping only briefly at Connestee Falls to admire the view.
Passing Creekside Market, a country store, Amanda suggested that it was a good time to use a restroom and refill our water. The store was technically closed, but Amber let us use the restroom and offered us a cup of coffee. The usual questions about us and the bike trip came up, as did the question of “where will you sleep tonight?” As is the case nearly everyday, we didn’t know where we would be come sundown and therefore didn’t have a planned place to sleep.
Less Ten minutes after meeting us, Amber offered her sofa as the answer to tonight’s sleeping arrangements. With the daily challenge of a nomad resolved celebration was called for and beers were passed out. Amber gave us directions back to her house and we were greeted with smiling faces, more beer and appetizers. Eventually beer turned into moonshine and Amber’s mom sent over stuffed shells for a late night snack! After our impromptu party and many hours of riding, we finally passed out on the sofa warm and dry indoors.
Today’s theme completely unplanned and unrealized in the moment was that magic can come from unplanned events (and beer flows freely.) It is not the first time we were welcomed into a strangers life temporarily (and hopefully won’t be the last), but each and every time our faith in the goodness of people grows as does our want to return the favor one day!