Happy 2017 friends and family!
Just like last year, we have found ourselves in a new year and a new place to call home. On January 3rd, we began the longggg drive from Colorado to Carolina with a couple stops in between. We brought a snow storm with us. We got to see some good friends who will also be moving this way soon, along with their super cute twin babies. I finally got my iTunes music labeled and in order so I could jam out along the way, and also so the majority of my music isn’t listed as Unknown Track by Unknown Artist anymore.
It was a process.
And we experienced a few other gems along the way which I’m going to share with you today, as well some stark differences between our old home and our new one that we are adjusting to. Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?
1. Dixie the Prankster
Anyone who wants to get their security deposit back in full knows that you spend a lot of time cleaning to leave that house in as pristine condition as possible. We had our movers come on January 2nd and we spent the evening cleaning behind them. We also spent the entire morning on the 3rd cleaning and loading our cars just so everything would fit. After exhausting myself before we even set out to leave, the last things I put in the car were going to be one dog and the cat, and since we had a three day drive to look forward to, I thought I’d be nice and let the cat roam the car, so she could access her boo boo box and stretch her little legs. This is one, because she normally pees in her carrier within the first 30 minutes, leading to an immediate bath at most of our destinations.
And two, because ya can’t just stop along the way and walk a cat like you can the dogs.
Well, some cats you can do this miraculous activity with.
But definitely, DEFINITELY not this cat.
So, I started my car to get the heat going since it was freezing in Denver that day, I put the animals in the car, I walked around to the driver’s side to put myself in the car, the very VERY last thing one would do before beginning a three day drive, and that’s when I heard it.
That noise that is not a bad thing if you are the one pushing the button and you are, ya know, ON THE INSIDE of your running vehicle at the time.
You may have guessed it… about this time, I heard the familiar sound of my car doors locking.
The damn cat locked me out of my own car literally ten seconds before we took off to move 1600 miles across the country, and I swore that my spare was packed on the moving truck that I would not be seeing for another week.
She had stepped up on the control panel on the driver’s side door and managed to hit the lock button.
I tried not to freak out, and think, of course, why wouldn’t this happen to me? Random occurrences like this really should be expected in my life by now.
I tried to remain calm and call the cat from outside the window thinking, if she can lock me out, she can unlock it too, damn it.
But she wasn’t getting it. And in fact, around this time, in typical cat fashion, she turned her back to me and settled down in the driver’s seat, MY driver’s seat, probably totally satisfied in her actions like she was just toying with me.
So somehow, although my purse was locked in the car with this evil little creature, I had my cell phone on me and looked up a locksmith. They answered the phone and before I could even say hello, they put me on hold. This made me incredibly pissed off at the time because COULDN’T THEY SENSE MY EMERGENCY?!
But now I realize it was a good thing.
Because during that period of time, Sammy started yelling, COME OVER TO THE PASSENGER SIDE, SHE’S ROLLED THE WINDOW DOWN!!!
By god. This cat had indeed rolled the window down so I could stick my arm in and unlock the doors.
My dad still thinks I’m full of shit about this whole thing, but you really just can’t make this stuff up.
Needless to say, Dixie spent the rest of the ride in her carrier so she couldn’t, as my uncle predicted, “push me out of the car in the Rockies and take the car to Mexico.” We made it until day three shockingly until she peed in it, but I’ll take what I can get.
Oh, and somewhere in Kansas at a remote gas station, I found my spare, right in my purse.
Speaking of Kansas…
2. Good Ol’ Wheat Jesus
Behold! In all his glory. This is the billboard I lovingly call “Wheat Jesus”.
I mean what the actual fuck is this thing?
I guess they believe he’s watching over or blessing their wheat fields, I’m not sure. But it’s a gem that I was reeeeally looking forward to seeing again. I was secretly really excited when Sammy called me to say, let’s get gas in Colby.
I thought to myself, that’s where Wheat Jesus lives! Because obviously I’ve Googled him (in fact, you can Google as little as “wheat j” and he’ll come up — the more you know!) to try to find out just what the hell I had seen when driving by and swearing to, well, Jesus, that I had just seen his face and telltale perfect beach- (Jerusalem-?) wave hairdo floating in a field on a billboard.
He’s staring deep into your eyes, holding up that heavenly wheat stalk as if to say, YOU WILL EAT THIS WHEAT. AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.
I have told you guys before that eastern Colorado is a pancake. Well, so is Kansas, and Oklahoma. And most of Arkansas, for that matter, but somewhere in eastern Oklahoma we started to notice the little things, like TREES, and LAKES, again which we had not really seen in some time. Up to that point, it was all farm grids and windmills, and maybe a co-op or small town off in the distance.
The GPS took us on several turnpikes which are infamous for tolls, and we threw away a bunch of money on Oklahoma infrastructure. I could think of a better use for my money, but getting home will do.
Once we got through Knoxville, TN, the road turned into twisty-turny mountain highway FILLED with 18-wheelers making me white knuckle my way through the whole thing in the dark. Erratically picturing imminent death by trucker on a steep mountain road, or in one of the many tunnels you pass through, is always fun.
But Asheville itself is SO SO SO much smaller than Denver, and we love this about it. We are NOT city folk, and we really only ventured into Denver to eat or entertain ourselves with music, comedy, or baseball. It takes MAYBE 10 minutes to get from one side of town to the other here and that is just amazing. There are mountain views all around, two rivers running through town, there WILL be fall foliage, and oh speaking of baseball, the minor league team here is affiliated with the Colorado Rockies 🙂
4. The Weather
The day after we arrived, it snowed. Y’all are welcome.
That was fine, only we live on a road barely wide enough for two cars to pass at once and it’s also up a hill. This pushed back the arrival of our worldly possessions by a couple days and also forced the movers to have to transfer everything to a smaller truck, twice, because the big truck wouldn’t fit. But we finally got it all and two weeks later we are still living amongst, shall we say, luxe cardboard decor, but we’ll get there.
Also, the humidity is something else. Colorado has an average humidity of 30%, an easy thing to get used to, and I’m guessing western Carolina is between 85 and 100% at all times. Our house came with a nice dehumidifer in our basement, aka the master suite, which was great because our landlord told us, for instance, “suede boots left in the closet with this humidity will grow mold; trust me, I know.” So we keep it on at all times and have to empty the bucket DAILY. It grosses me out, but not as much as mold in my closet or bed. Takes sleeping with the enemy to a whole new level.
It’s rained and/or been overcast pretty much every day for the first two weeks we’ve been here but I’m hoping that turns around one of these days.
Speaking of that nasty humidity…
5. The Spaniel Stench
This was something we didn’t have to worry about in CO because the humidity was so low, we figure. But our little Boykin Spaniel apparently develops a pretty unique stench in this type of weather.
My grandfather has always had boykins, and the faint smell in his basement kind of reminded me of bacon and woodsmoke, and something else mysterious mixed in there, and now I get it.
Commence the 1-2 week bath schedule NOW.
6. The Food
Okay, I’ve lived in Charleston, SC, arguably THE food mecca of the southeast. Granted, I don’t like seafood, so maybe my opinion is biased, BUT as a tourist trap, the Charleston food scene was a bit of a rotating door. Some of the local staples would remain year after year, but it was a tough place to start a restaurant and have it stay and succeed for say, 5 years.It was kind of hard to find places I absolutely loved that I could also afford to eat at. I found some gems that I still insist on eating at whenever I visit, but Asheville is NOT hit or miss in any way. It’s ALL good in these here parts.
In Denver, I felt the really great food was buried among shit tons of Mexican restaurants (literally on every corner, right there with the liquor stores – more to come on this), or maybe there were just a LOT of really hard-to-please Yelp reviewers, but there were very few restaurants that we really loved and felt like returning to. In our suburb, I could look up restaurants near me on Yelp, and the reviews did NOT jump at you as particularly amazing. They were not highly rated, and not very unique.
In Asheville however, you look up restaurants, and EVERY SINGLE ONE is rated over 4 stars, and oh yeah, nothing at all is far away. They all seem to be unique with their own twists on their menus, and importantly to me, BOJANGLES EXISTS HERE.
I know, that one shouldn’t even be included in the mix, but seriously, I was missing those biscuits and seasoned fries.
In our two weeks here, we have stumbled upon Standard pizza, where we tried and immediately became obsessed with the cuban pizza containing jalapenos, bacon crumbles, ricotta cheese, and BANANAS. I know, we were hesitant too, but they actually are freaking delicious. Don’t knock it til ya try it.
There is a Zia Taqueria here, a Mexican style lovefest which I was super excited about since I knew and loved this place from the Charleston days and this is it’s sister location. I no longer have to sample the Mexican fare to try and find some chain I can deal with well enough to return a second or third time. Everyone needs a Mexican staple in their life, my friends, and this. is. it. Quote the Steve Winwood y’all, cuz I’m back in the high life again.
Last night we tried King Daddy’s Chicken n’ Waffles and ho-ly-SHITE, we’ll be returning to say the least. I plan to work my way through the menu one item at a time. Or three. But who’s counting? You choose your style of fried chicken, then the style of waffle, syrup, and toppings. They have a Cajun twist going on with Blues music playing in the background. They are all fried green tomatoes, and syrup, and gravy, and get in my belleh.
Our waiter at last said, “can I twist your arms into dessert?” Obviously, this man did not know us. Because there is in no way, shape or form ANY arm twisting required when it comes to the D-word and the Kliewers.
Bring it now.
7. The Booze Situation
We walked into Wal-Mart on day one post-arrival in NC, and it hit us like a ton of bricks: THERE’S BOOZE HERE!
You can buy normal beer at the gas station. Some even have taps.
You can get it at Wal-Mart.
At the grocery store.
I know. You guys are like, so? What’s your point?
In Colorado, they have this wacky law in effect, along with four other states, where you can buy only 3.2% beer at the grocery store or other retailer.
This is probably like getting hammered one night and pissing in a can the next morning. Who wants 3.2% beer?? Might as well stick with O’Douls if that’s the game you’re playing.
There is one grocery store per chain, per county, that is allowed to sell full strength beer and wine, but we never were able to locate exactly which one that was in our county. So they have compensated with locally owned liquor stores on literally every corner where the prices of beer are hi-jacked and you can find no quantity of good beer higher than a 12-pack. Yeah, you support the little guy, but frankly, I like the convenience of getting everything I could possibly ever want at one place rather than several.
We were pumped to be back in the land of being able to buy what you want, good stuff too, pretty much wherever you want. Colorado does have its share of delicious breweries, but Asheville boasts the highest amount of breweries per capita than other city in the U.S. Heyo!!
We will miss our Colorado friends and activities, but are at the same time looking forward to making memories with old and new friends here. Oh and we are also in much closer proximity to three things we care about deeply: friends/family, the coast, and Virginia Tech. Let the good times roll 🙂