Monday, December 15, 2014


Well, well, well... What do we have here?

Could it be? No...

Wait........ yes! It is...


But you know me... I cant complain.

For it was a most excellent weekend. One for the ages matter O' fact. Rad shit went down across all three days (yes I have a three day weekend. No, it doesnt suck) and just about everything we set out to do this weekend was accomplished. It was somewhat bittersweet though. This weekend was the annual gathering of my people down in God'sCountryFortMillSouthCarolinaUSA and K.A.W and I missed it. We chose to spend some one-on-one time with eachother here in AVLUSA. Since our legally and fiscally binding ceremony a few months ago we have been bouncing off the walls here and there and all over the place and to be honest we are fried. We needed a weekend to ourselves and now that its over we both feel a little more rested and ready to grab the Holiday hustle and throat punch it square in the larynx. Bam!

That being said here is how it went down....


As mentioned on Fridays post I had plans to play tour guide to a few folks from out of town. Pisgah mountaincycling was on the agenda and I was pretty stoked to be getting out into the wild wildermess for some riding. Jason from Maryland, Alex from Charlotte, and my old pal Tom and I were going for some classic routes in the mountains.

Up Clawhammer road, Black Mountain left, Buckwheat, Bennet gap and done. 

Tom and I had done this route plenty of times before but the other two duders were unfamiliar. Five miles of straight up then some pretty nasty climbing on Black Mtn. followed by some fun gnar gnar on Buckwheat and Bennet Gap. Both Jason and Alex crushed it and it was awesome to see them ride Pisgah like they'd been doing it for years. 

After that we drove over to sample the recent rework on Lower Black Mtn. Perfect way to finish a ride.

These next two moves have been on my personal mountaincycle bucket list for a while. Finally stuck both. I was pretty stoked to clean them and have video evidence to boot...

After the ride it was to The Hub for beers and then I headed back to AVLUSA and to 32 ounce Dos Equis at Mamma's and Beer with K.A.W...

Good Friday. 


Slept in late and slowly made plans to go back out in the mountains. Mamma Nature was spreading her good vibes all over western NC with warm temperatures and more sunshine than you can handle. K.A.W and I had already promised each other to go for a long hike somewhere. We slept in too late to travel so we just drove up the Parkway and set out to find Rattlesnake Lodge.

Rattlesnake lodge was the summer home of Dr. Chase Ambler. Built way up in the mountains the doctor and his family spent many summers there in the early 1900's. Sadly it burned down and now all that's left is some stone walls and foundations. K.A.W and I started from Craven Gap and hiked out via the MTS trail. It was stupid beautiful outside and The Bear and The Goose were happy as shit to be outside too.

Four miles after starting we hit the ruins of the old lodge. A snack, some pictures and we set off back to the truck. A really nice eight mile hike on an awesome day. Just what we both needed to decompress and recharge.


We woke up and set off for The Pisgah.

K.A.W was super jealous of my awesome mountaincycling ride a few days earlier and she wanted to shred too. From the Fish Hatchery we went up FR 475B, Cove Creek, Up FR 475, Left on FR 5095, down Long Branch to Cat Gap and done.

Cove Creek Falls...

Nothing gets you up the hill faster than some Cabernet... 

Another stellar day in the mountains.

Back to the grind and I hope you folks have an outstanding week!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fir Day

Hey now.

Our Christmas tree is still outside. I know this because it doesn't smell like an alpine forest in my house and also because I can see it chilling out in the back yard as I type. We bought a live tree (with root ball attached) last year and planted it in a big ole' tub. That way we could enjoy the same live tree year after year. Good karma.

Other than that one item Christmas is happening in a big way 'round Greenview Manor.

K.A.W's festive creation...

I enjoy "the season" and usually try to spread a little cheer and good tidings... maybe even some Figgy Pudding,

whatever the hell that is.

This morning my cheer spreadage will take place on the trails of Pisgah-God'sCountryUSA. A couple of Pisgah newbs are coming up and Im playing tour guide for them. I really enjoy showing people around these mountains. Mostly becuase I have a love and respect for them that my parents helped foster when I was just a little Banjo. My fondest memories are our trips to the mountains and now that I live here I really want others to be stoked on them as well.

Another reason is because these trails are rad as shit. Matter o' fact they are now considered somewhat of a "destination" for mountain bikecyclers from all over the world...

For someone unacquainted with such radness this can be intimidating. My first trip had me soloing it down one of the most difficult descents in the woods. I say "soloing" but really it was tumbling head over heels down the mountain. I crashed more than I cleaned sections but I was sold and have kept going back often as I could.

So hopefully today these guys will have fun and become regulars to the mountains and help spread the gospel that is Pisgah...

This past week was lame as far as adventures go. I went on a miserably cold and wet bikecycle ride Tuesday. It was spitting snow and gusting 20mph winds. However, like most cold weather rides I was still glad I did it once I was back in the warm truck heading home. These shitweather rides will pay off come spring when I need every ounce of my fitness to make my summer plans happen.... More on that to come...

Thursday K.A.W and I had the honor of serving as judges for the Buncombe County Schools Graduation Presentations for the class of 2015. Bam...

Every student in Buncombe County has to complete a senior project and present their project to a live audience of folks from the community. Folks like me!

I was a judge along side two other fine Ashevillians and we made sure the kids earned their diploma.

I tried desperately to get my fellow judges to pretend to be on American Idol but they werent too keen on it. Everyone wanted to be Randy.

Everyone knows you can't have two Randys.

It was great fun and pretty swell listening to our future leaders present topics such as:

-Rebuilding a '79 Chevy Camaro
-Why Title 9 is awesome
-My trip to Florida to scuba dive and the BP oil spill for some reason...

Cool stuff.

So now onto the beer portion of this mess...



Drink all of them.


Semi-incoherent ranting ahead...

I enjoy Country Music. At least what used to be Country Music. Artists like Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, John Pryne, etc etc etc.

What you find on the radio now-a-days is garbage and its borderline abusive to call it "Country Music". It is nothing more than teenybopper, overdubbed, faux-rock crap and if I hear Florida-Georgia Line sing about girls and trucks and Fireball Whiskey one more time Im going to freak the hell out, This junk actually has a name... Bro Country. Artists like Jason Aldean, F-G Line, Luke Bryan (sorry Heather), Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, etc are ruining one of the only true American musical genres. This music basically says the same stuff over and over and over. "Girl get in my truck", "Oh girl lets ride around in my truck", "Hey Girl checkout my truck". This music appeals to women mostly and thats great. However, "Country Music" in its classical themes reflects deep loss and sadness and the songs actually had body and creativity. Not just songs about trucks.

So please folks... stop listening to this garbage and start listening to good Country. The classic stuff to start with. Pretty much anything before 1970 is awesome. There are still people out there doing good stuff and you will never hear any of it on Top 40 radio. Specifically this guy...

Sturgill Simpson.

Listen to as much of him, and the OG's of country, as you can and maybe someday you can forgive yourself for listening to Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney. It will take a while to cleanse your soul of this trash but listening to Willie Nelson and Hank Williams is a good place to start.

Have a hell of a weekend folks!

Monday, December 8, 2014

That just happened...

Hey gang,

Once more the gods have aligned the stars, Mars has eclipsed the moons of Jupiter, Haley's Comet exploded, and Orion's Belt broke and his pants fell down...

All these cosmic shenanigans can only mean one thing.

Its Monday. Bleh.

Hope everyone's end of week activities were of a Rad nature and that many a high five hand slaps were implemented. You gotta get it while the getting is good and folks, I got it good...


With my apathy toward doing anything bikecycle related still in full blast I had to make other plans. Luckily Im surrounded by awesome forest and plenty of fellow forest-activity enthusiast to hang out with. Luke-from-Black Mountain (now from Swannanoa) had posted on the page of faces that there was some hot fly fishing action to be had up in Middle Prong Wilderness. The gate at Sunburst was open, which happens almost as often as Orion's pants falling down. He had already scoped it out earlier in the week and knowing that I would like to catch fish too, he gave a holler and plans were planned.

We took off late morning and upon arriving at the trail head we hiked in. I really enjoy doing this particular type of fly fishing. Most of your average troutfolks wont hike forty five minutes to fish. They would prefer stepping out of the car and immediately into the river with hatchery fish that have been hand fed their whole lives. Not to mention that this style of fishing requires crawling over monster boulders just inches from 10 foot cliffs over deep pools of ice cold water. However for those of us that are dumb enough to enjoy it, we are rewarded with solitude, barely fished water, and occasionally huge wild native Appalachian Brook Trout. "Brookies" are the only native trout to the Southeast. Brown trout and Rainbows were brought in from elsewhere a century ago. Brookies are just plain badass. They hit harder, fight tougher, and live in harsher places than any other fish.

This was the driving force for our adventure today. There arent too many places left in the Western mountains where you have long stretches of Brookie water and we were What lures me (pun intended) to these waters isnt so much the size of the fish, its the experience of catching a totally wild trout. These fish live an extreme life and though they dont grow huge, they are still a bitch to catch and you can consider yourself lucky to land one. Luke and I fish/bouldered our way up a few miles of river and caught some beautiful Brookies. Of course Luke killed it and landed a solid 10" which is about as big as you get em'  in Middle Prong. Well done sir...

Photo cred: Luke-from-Swannanoa

A hike back and a few tailgate beers later we were on the way back to AVL.

Friday crushed.


I didn't do anything. Momma Nature blessed the Western mountains with much rain and cloudy skies. K.A.W and I did a little housework and pretty much laid about all day. Good thing too because we had our neighborhood Christmas party to attend and yours truly had to be Good Ole' Saint Nick. Im not a super Christmasy person but how often do you get to be St. Nick? Well the answer for me now is at least once. Good food, good people, and a festive time.

Photo cred: Greta


K.A.W's folks were in town searching for the elusive "Perfect Christmas Tree" so I opted out and went for a crossgravelcrossgnarbike ride. Nothing against the festive deforestation of our mountains but after a week of bikecycle apathy I felt the need to get out and go for a nice long pedal. Bent Creek's miles of gravel road were calling my name. The plan was for a nice easy ride up to South Ridge Road and just take it all in. Heading out from Rice Pinnacle the legs started aching, the lungs started hurting and I soon realized what a week of shitty food and no exercise feels like. Up Rice Pinnacle to Ledford Branch, Ledford to Boyd Branch, down Boyd Branch singletrack, up Bent Creek Gap toward South Ridge Road. At this point my legs and lungs had mellowed out and I was feeling pretty good. I hit the climb up to South Ridge and something in my mind started telling me that I had to pay for my laziness over the past week. The little sadist that lives in my mind started telling me to keep going, embrace the suck that is to come...By the time I hit the intersection with South Ridge I thought F*** it. I pedaled right past it and was committed now to making the Parkway. The ride up to the Parkway from this point is probably the hardest gravel climb in Bent Creek. It just goes and goes and goes with no flat to catch your wind. By the time I hit the third switchback I was struggling hard. Although it sucked majorly I was strangely enjoying it. Something about a really hard climb, when your lungs and legs are screaming, makes me feel alive. Its like your body is on the edge of its physical limits and stopping means death. Don't stop or you will die. Like that game when you were a kid when you had to crawl across the furniture because the floor was lava...Maybe thats just me. Its weird but kind of awesome at the same time.

Sooner than later I reached the top and took a few photos of the graffiti under the Parkway before bombing back down to South Ridge Road and continuing my "mellow" ride.

Sugar poop.

The rest of the day was spent decorating for Christmas and whatnot, Many lights were strung, beers were had, and I only fell off the ladder one time. Success!

The Goose seemed to be be in a holiday mood as well...

Well folks I really hope you have a fantastic week.

And may the odds be ever in your favor...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Slow ride...

Hey there now again now there now...

Friday has arrived like an old man browsing the laundry detergent isle in the grocery store.... Slowly and without determination whatsoever. The work weeks after holidays always seem to take For-Ev-Er to get over. The 7 of you that read this blog are still working today... poor souls, I feel your pain.

Im sure that this Friday will take a good long while getting to the end but dont fret! Becase once you reach the destination of Friday afternoon the weekend will come and all will be forgiven.

This past week here at Greenview Manor AVLUSA has been great. I havent done a dadgum thing at all. No bikes, no hikes, and I drank two beers. My afternoons were spent coming home, playing banjo/guitar, and lounging about doing my best impersonation of a throw pillow. Despite afternoon temperatures in the 60's I just didnt feel much like riding or hiking or doing anything outside. Why?

I dunno. Its not that I dont want to its more that I dont "feel" like going. Winter time has a tendency to bum me out. I correlate that directly to lack of exposure to sunlight. When you dont see the sun but for a few hours a day you start to feel like an ostrich with its head in the sand.

And everyone knows how melancholy those guys are...

Part of me embraces the apathy. This time last year I started "training" for my first mountaincycle race in over 15 years. PMBAR.

The race is pretty brutal and I wanted to make sure I was strong as hell by the time May came around. I doubled my weekly mileage, rode during rain or shine, and pretty much hammered down in preparation of this race. I did everything your NOT supposed to do when training for a race. No rest days, no easy days, terrible nutrition. By the time March showed I was trashed. I could barely ride a bike.

Im not making this mistake again and something tells me to take it easy this winter and slowly build to a place I want to be. Having fun is more important now than slaying mountains like a madman. I had this conversation recently with a friend and he's going through some wintertime lack of stoke to ride as well. The things we do for fun should be that.... Fun. When it starts to feel like an obligation we need to chill out, step back, and get grounded. Re asses why we do things. Whether it is riding, crossfit, crafting. cooking, whatever.

Im lucky to live in a place where there is a million awesome things to do. Hopefully taking a break from one thing and trying new stuff will reset my batteries and bring the stoke back.

Either way I have something to look forward to this January...

Riding bikes and drinking beer. Im in...

This year its hosted by Pisgah Productions (of PMBAR) and is sure to be a shit show. From those that have done this before, I've been told its basically "a party with a bike race in it". I have signed up for the sport XC race and the night Downhill race. Riding at unsafe speeds, at night, through the mountains, slightly under the influence? Of course!

Hopefully my apathy and lack of training will put me in position to be extra mediocre at mountaincycle racing this January.

Anyone who likes bikes, or beer for that matter should come and participate in the partying, or the riding, or both. Don't forget your puffy down jacket!

Music and Alcohol

Well ya'll know that its the last day of the working week so lets get to the music and alcohol portion of this mess.


I always like to drink beer from our home sweet home-Old North State good ole' North Cackalacky. This beer from Mother Earth located in Kinston, NC is a swell lager that doesn't have too much of a malty, bitter taste. It's super drinkable and just so happens to be on tap this month at K.A.W and my local watering hole.

If you find it at yours, get you some...


Twenty one years ago yesterday, the world lost one of the greatest, most wonderfully wierd legends of music.

Frank Zappa.

Here is a few selections for you all to get weird today and don't forget... Every Friday at noon my local public radio station pays tribute to the man with Frank On Fridays. Tune in each week and enjoy...

Thanks to Wes for reminding me each week to Tune In...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gobble Gobble

Greetings all!

Hope everyone's Turkeydaystravaganzapocolypse was great. A few days off work (hopefully), raging on some seasonal delicacies, and spending time with the family is always good to reset the batteries... as long as you don't over do it on pie and discounted crap at Wal-Mart.

 As for me I did all the usual cliche's...

Ate too much
Drank too much
Slept too much
(insert cliche holiday activity) too much...  it was a hell of a time!

My activities over the holiday weekend were mindbogglingly uneventful.

Lets recap:

K.A.W and I celebrated the pre-feasting of roasted poultry flesh by drinking hearty beers at Pisgah Brewing Wednesday night. The band was good, beer was great, and I bought a new hat.

epic shit.

We awoke to a snowy and cold Thankzgiving Day morning

makin' it mean..uh....snow?

and proceeded to shake it off down the mountain. By the time we hit Morganton, NC the sun was out and it was a gorgeous fall day.

We arrived in the flatlands and commenced to feasting promptly. Family time is always awesome, especially when you haven't seen them in many months. The best part of this Feastgetting was that I had TWO dinners to attend. After Feastgetting with my folks, K.A.W and I headed over to her folks' to feast numero 2. After that I was promptly wheel barrowed away to sleep off the bad decisions I had made at the desert table. Pie is my only weakness...that and pimento cheese. Its like Kryptonite for God's sake! Orangy-cheesy crack.

Friday plans were made to mountaincycle at some local trails in Charlotte. It had been a good long time since I had been on anything other than trails up here. I was actually pretty stoked to be riding tight, twisty singletrack again. A group of us met at the Backyard Trail!!! (BYT!!!) for some post feast shreddage. BYT!!! is probably the most technical trail in town and I haven't been out there in like 2 years so it was a blast. Best part was some locals have built some pretty nice jumps that we spent some time on. Really fun stuff.

BackYard Trail!!

Charlene Darling...

BackYard Trail!!

The rest of Friday was spent with Burton at a bootleg Cyclocross race somewhere in NoDa. Im not sure what was going on but there were people riding bikes. drinking beer, and yelling at guys in spandex to gap the sidewalk jump. Only a few people jumped it but it was great fun none-the-less.

Heading home I decided to see what my old friend D. Scott was up to so after conversing on the telephone, we met up and drank beers around a propane heater til the early hours of the morning talking about all kinds of random shit and life in general. D is one of my oldest and best friends and its rare we get to hang out. Sitting in a barn, listening to 90's country music, and drinking Coors Light with a lime in it (for some reason)... Such is life in God's Country Union County, NC.

I for one wouldn't want it any other way....

Saturday hit like a runaway hay wagon and I was off to ride my old standby trail Col. Francis Beatty. Beatty, as we call it was "my" trail. I say "my" because for a while I was in charge of its care and maintenance. I also hosted weekly rides and pretty much rode it five times more than anywhere else. Me and Beatty were like Pabst and pimento cheese... we just fit. Mike B. met me out for a couple of hot laps at Ole' Beatty and it was great to be back on that trail. I know every root, rock, tree, off camber section, climb, jump, drop, etc from start to finish. I could provably ride that trail blind. I missed it more than I thought I would. Riding big ass mountains in Asheville is awesome, but something about ripping through tight singletrack with trees ricocheting off your bars and body is pretty fun. Definitely going back to ride it soon, hopefully with Trail Master extraordinaire David G. aka GravityThief.

until next time old friend...

The rest of Saturday was spent watching my beloved University of South Carolina Gamecocks get beat by some rival that shall go un-named. Then more food, pie, beer, and football. lazy as hell...

Sunday we hightailed it back to the mountains. It was about 65 degrees and sunny so we loaded up the bikecycles and headed to Bent Creek. With me in tow, K.A.W went on her first mountaincycle ride in at least two months. She crushed it as usual.

Well folks, now that we have Monday under our stretched out belts, lets hope this week goes by fast and we can get into some awesome stuff this weekend.  Whattaya say?