Sunday, February 22, 2015



Things are slowly getting back to normal around AVLUSA after the Hoth-like conditions of last week. It was so cold here I seriously considered finding and gutting a Tauntaun just to crawl inside to keep warm. But like Han, I don't care for the smell. A Patagonia puffy jacket will have to do instead...

The weekend hit with a little bit of a bummer. First It was only two days for me, which is one day short of my usual three day weekend. I know... only having two days off a week is awful and I should probably just kill myself... Seriously though once you get used to working four days a week you really start to appreciate that third day off. The icepocalypse 2015 had kept us out Tuesday and we had to make it up. Not all was lost though because K.A.W had some plans planned out to make those two days as rad as possible.


Many years ago a dude was born in Staten Island, NY. He was the son of a billionaire and pretty much fell into money once his father passed away. Somewhere along the way he decided to build a massive house in Asheville, NC and so it was that Biltmore was born. Many years later on a cold ass February day, K.A.W and I found ourselves standing in front of this monument to capitalism and narcissism.

the house is so big it wont fit in the photo...

 George W. Vanderbilt II was a rich dude and could have built his home anywhere he wanted. He chose western NC and I can respect that. Even that kind of money cant buy the beauty of our mountains... but he surely tried. The Biltmore Estate is hard to describe in words or pictures. The best way I know to describe the level of opulence and the display of wealth is "stupid". That place is stupid opulent.

I'll spare you the pictures of the inside of the house because 
A) they wouldn't do it justice and
B) I didn't take any.

However rest assured that its pretty bad ass what this fellow had in his home. Swimming pools, telephones, call buttons in every room. Even a damn fireplace you could park an F-350 in. Seriously I measured. All this was circa 1900 a.d. Not to mention his land holdings there were so vast that on his death, his widow donated it and it became the Pisgah National Forest which is now my favorite place on planet earth.


Plus he looks like someone who, when not monocle shopping, is busy tying damsels to train tracks... 

After touring the home, K.A.W and I went to to what most folks who visit The Biltmore come to do... Get liquored up on free wine at the Biltmore Winery. Im not much of a wine drinker but free booze is free booze. After getting our fill we headed back home to sleep off the wine and plan where to put the butler's pantry and bowling alley in Greenview Manor.


Temperatures 'round the western part of our state were scheduled to creep up into the mid 50's. After the previous weeks cold I HAD to get outside and do something. I haven't been on a proper bikecycle ride in a long time and so I headed out to the N. Mills Rec. Area for some gravel grinding on my gnarcrossgravelgnar bike. I had wanted to ride trail but I knew by looking at the massive meltdown happening all around that the singletrack would be peanut butter soup. No fun at all. "Surely the gravel would be OK" I thought.

I thought wrong.

FR 1206 leading into the wilds of Pisgah was looking pretty terrible when I arrived. I thought to myself "F* it... I'll give it my best shot". I headed up the road spinning tires and slinging mud like a spandex clad Burt Reynolds (try to remove that visual from your nightmares). The whole way up 1206 was pretty much a mess. I kept telling myself that it would get better the higher I climbed. However the opposite seemed to be the case. I rode to just on the other side of FR 1206B and called it quits. Riding is supposed to be fun and this was not. In fact it was pretty damn sketchy and not in the "hauling ass down a mountain slope jumping rocks and roots" sketchy. It was the "I cant stop on this ice and I'm going to crash into a frozen mud puddle any second" sketchy. It was strangely fun descending on skinny tires through snow and ice. Not something I want to do regularly but it was that "riding on the wild edge" feel that is the reason I keep the wheels rolling year after year.

I only crashed twice but that was enough to have me soaked head to toe and freezing. I made it to the truck, changed into dry clothes, and high tailed it back to Greenview Manor. K.A.W was busy prepping the weeks super delicious and nutritious meals(she's awesome!) and after hearing about my awful attempt at riding she suggested a fix to my out-of-doors craving. Trail Run!

I washed the snowmud off my crossgnargravel bike and we drove out to Warren Wilson College to run the trails on campus. The trails were muddy but nothing like what I had just come from. We ended up running about five miles and got in some pretty nice river front scenery. I really like Warren Wilson because it reminds me so much of Union County with the rolling hills, cows, barns, and acreage of farm lands. But we don't have 4,000' mountains down there... 

not Union County. 

beast mode.

oh you silly Warren Wilson hippies...

equivalent of "bike leaning on something" for runners?

K.A.W even got a chance to air out her recent addition to the ever expanding art project on her back...

Elephants never forget.

This coming week looks to be more of the same. Cold, dark, wet, and sad. Hopefully we'll stay dry long enough for the trails to become ridable. I need to get out and soon or else I may go mad...

Two weeks until Daylight Savings. 

Have a great week ya'll.

Party on.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Hey now,

So in case you have been living under a turtle hamburger, on the surface of Proteus, are suffering from a severe case of CIPA, or have been too busy scouring Wikipedia for the last week its been on the cool side here in AVLUSA. In fact as I type this its a balmy 7° outside....

I know right.

So its been cold. So what. Millions of Canadians deal with this shit everyday. Im pretty sure it never gets above 20° there so what are we (as in me) complaining about? I say embrace the suck and go outside and get rad to spite the weather gods and if that doesn't work sit at home and eat pimento cheeses and drink heavily.

Its going to be a short post today folks.

A) because I have to work today and
B) because with the stupid temperatures outside, post work radness out in the mountains has been kept to zero.

The one saving grace this week was we got called out of work due to the iceshitstorm that hit AVLUSA. K.A.W and myself were faced with the prospects of being stuck inside all day watching the gray sky and putting off filing our taxes. Fortunately by the afternoon the sun was out and we decided to do a little trail running. Contrary to most beliefs I do enjoy a run every 8-10 months and with wet weather and my apathy to ride my bikecycle, a :30 minute trail run is a great way to get a quick workout and mix it up a bit. Now that my hiking legs are back under me its even more fun...

Another fortunate gift for us is that we live within a few yards of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. This trail stretches the entire state of NC and that's alright with me. The trail is perfect for running with plenty of hills, roots, rocks, creeks, and even a few views to make it interesting. Pretty sweet to have close to 1,000 miles of trail out the back door. It would be a shame to waste it.

We set out for the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center to make a nice loop of about 4.5 miles. The trail was solid ice most of the way. Slipping and sliding all over the woods forced us to keep attention and light feet. Not to mention the frigid temperature kept us to a quick pace.

 Definitely going to start adding a little trail running for some much needed cross training and hopefully build up some trail legs for backpacking season when the warm temperatures arrive. Its no where near as fun as riding a bicycle up and down the mountains but its nice to have a little change of pace. Plus The Bear seems to enjoy it...

I'm glad we could get out at least once this week. The rest of the weekend is looking cold and wet with no sign of warm, sunny days for quite a while. If I do somehow manage to get out and have a little fun in the hills you'll be sure to hear about it...

Have a great weekend folks.

Party On.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Putting one foot in front of the other...

Greetings friends,

Glad you have made it to this here blog on this fine Monday. Sorry for not posting at all last week. It was K.A.W's birthdaystravaganza last weekend and my time was spent as it should be for such occasions... at the beckon call of K.A.W.

However, now that we are both back on a regular schedule I have had a little time to get out and about and enjoy the damn fine out-of-doors that we are living in. Things have been on the cool side at Greenview Manor this past week. It seems that Winter has finally decided to "get real" here in AVLUSA. Temperatures have been holding steady at "damn its cold" with forecasts calling for "mother of GOD someone light me on fire I'm freezing to death!" cold this coming week. But that has never kept us heartier mountain folk from enjoying the sunshine when we get it. You see K.A.W and myself are just so fortunate enough to be living in an out-of-doors person's paradise. Fishing, mountain cycling, rock climbing, etc are all at our doorstep. I'm not saying this to be braggadocios, more as a means to let you folks know that variety is the spice of life... and we got variety.

Lately I have been doing my best to fight the apathy and slothful tendencies that cold temperatures and short days bring to my life. Come February my seasonal effective/all I want to do is lay on the couch eating pimento cheese "disorder", is at its zenith. Fighting the wintertime blues gets hard. Luckily I have good friends up here to help pull me out of said apathy/imminent pimento cheese binges, and get me outside. Luke from Swannanoa is just such a dude....


Plans were planned and schemes were schumed and Luke, The Bear, and myself took off for some good ole' fashioned foot walking, or as the yankees call it "hiking". Come winter, Luke, much like myself, find it hard to get on a pedal bike for mountain rides. Instead of taking my route and bitching and whining he laces up the hiking boots and goes for gnar hikes up in the hills.

Luke on 6,621' Mt. Guyot.

I used to be a hiker first and mountaincycler second. This all changed a few years back and now I only occasionally shoulder a pack on a mountain trail. Its a damn shame too. Walking down a remote back country trail, in complete silence, with everything you need to sustain you loaded on your back is awesome. Mix that with some adventurous off-trail shenanigans and you got a hell of day...

Luke, The Bear, and I headed up to Middle Prong Wilderness so he could bag another 6,000 footer...  6.119' Mt. Hardy. He is well on his way to bagging all the 6k foot plus mountains in the southeast and Mt. Hardy was on the list. The day started pretty awesome with temperatures in the low 20's and no breeze at all. The plan was to access the summit from a spur trail off of the MST and hopefully hit some other cool spots along the way...

We made the summit in no time and the trail was pretty tame as far as 6k footers go. Once there we both were kinda bummed. It seemed too easy to just walk up to the top of a 6k footer like that. Luke called the plan and we decided to try to bushwhack down the side of Mt. Hardy back to the MST. Off trail travel is always interesting. You either make it fine, make it torn to shreds, or get lost. We ended up somewhere in the middle but no worse for wear. The Bear was in hog heaven running hither and fro through the forest. I'm pretty sure she was channeling her ancient wolf ancestors because I swear she was smiling as she jumped through laurel thickets and over stumps and rocks chasing us down the mountain.

old narrow gauge train track from the logging days 
cheers Pisgah!

"A man and his dog"
photo cred: Luke

Mt. Hardy

USGS marker from 1933 . Back in the day Mt. Hardy was called Black Mtn.

Summit of Mt. Hardy. Not too scencic...

The Bear raging on some bushwhacking

Along the return trail we started talking about the waterfall we had seen in the distance on the approach. It seemed fairly close and after surveying the map we saw no trail to access it.


mystery falls.

A few moments later we found ourselves balls deep in rhododendron thickets slogging our way up to an un-named fall in the middle of the damn forest. After some pretty tight and tricky crawling we made it to the base and stood in awe of the frozen image in front of us. Not too often that you get to see a 70 foot waterfall frozen solid. Of course we had to climb it so up we went for some pictures.

The Bear wasnt too happy to be around frozen waterfalls

REI advertisement.

After a not so difficult traverse back to the trail we hiked out and back to the car.

Another Pisgah adventure crushed. 


Valentines Day.

K.A.W and I do what any outdoor loving couple does when its 22 degrees outside and gusting 20mph. We climbed some big ass mountains.

Big Butt Trail in the Big Ivy/Coleman Boundary area was the destination. The Big Ivy is a fairly large, untouched tract of land in the Pisgah and this was perfect for a couple mountain folks seeking solitude on a romantic holiday hike. We didn't see a soul out there. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the freezing temps and wind chills in the teens but whatever, we were digging it.

Love of my life.

Summit of Big Butt.

Black Mountain Range

Cheers Pisgah!

cold and sad...

After the hike it was downtown for sushi and booze to complete the romantic festivities.

*** Logging interests are actively petitioning the USFS to open Big Ivy up to mass logging which would mean the total and absoulte distruction of an amazing and unique ecosystem. Please email the USFS and tell them NO to logging Big Ivy or click here to sign the ePetition

Send mail to:



All the hiking up and down mountain trail had left me a little lonesome for some two wheeled adventure. A deep cold and windy day had settled over AVLUSA but the sun was shining bright and begging me to get out and shred. I waited until the temperature got above 20 degrees and set out for the singletrack around Montreat, NC. I started up the Old Toll Rd., rock hoping and pedaling my way around the edge of town. The plan was to hit some trail down into Ridgecrest, climb back up and then rail it down Toll back to the truck. I don't know if it was the hiking or the carrot pancakes I had earlier at Sunny Pointe Cafe but I was hauling the mail up Toll. Pretty soon I reached Rhododendron Trail and bombed down into Ridgecrest. Knowing that I had a huge climb ahead on Rattlesnake I spun out my legs on the pavement approaching the trail. Once on Rattlesnake I felt strong and mashed my way up the summit. Soon enough I was back on Toll and ripped back down to the truck before the sun set and the temperatures took a dive.

That will probably be my last ride for a good little while since AVLUSA is set to get the mighty wrath of winter this week. The good news is snow may mean no work... snow day and a fridge full of beer makes for excellent times 'round here. Fingers crossed...

Well folks that about wraps up the goings on here in AVLUSA. Hope your weekend was excellent as well...

Stay warm this week.

Party on.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Hello people of the internet...

This past week at Greenview Manor has been a good one. Now it is the weekend and according to my local weather data, it is shaping up to be a painfully beautiful one. Good too because since we are now in February we have reached the zenith of winter and are on the home stretch of getting this cold mess behind us for the year.

I hate winter. Nothing good happens in the winter. You could argue "What about Christmas?!?". Well when compared to Thanksgiving, Christmas fails in every category... Days off work, food, no obligatory gift exchanging.... Thanksgiving F'n rules. Others might say "oh but it snows in the winter"... It snows in the spring too and I don't really care for snow unless its of the "feet" amounts. Even local brewing facilities try to cash in on winter with "seasonal brews" that really aren't all the great...

Face it. Winter blows...

nailed it.

One shining slice of silver lining that only winter, specifically February, can claim is that K.A.W's birthday is in winter. Matter o' Fact it was this past Tuesday and it was a grand occasion. You see, the anniversary of K.A.W's birth and her completion of the Whole 30 diet challenge occurred on the same day. This created a perfect storm of not giving a crap about what you eat.:

A) cause its the anniversary of your birth...and you indeed should party like its the anniversary of your birth. Which means beer and greasy, cheesy food stuffs.

B) the Whole 30 diet challenge is arguably torture and when your done, having gone through 30 days of no beer and no cheesy food stuffs, all you want is beer and cheese.


So it was that we arrived at Asheville Brewing and celebrated the best way we know how. K.A.W drank her first beer in thirty days and ate legit pizza. It was a grand time. Much pizza was consumed and many beers were raised in defiant celebration of births and diet challenge completions. Hopefully we'll be back to eating ever so slightly less healthy and pounding beers on a semi-regular basis...

Asheville Brewing's "Carolina Mountain Monster" Imperial Russian Stout
long name, good beer.

In bikecycling news,

I got out for a ride on Wednesday with E-Dub at Bent Creek. The recent snow made for shitty conditions. It was pretty much riding on peanut butter until we got to the high elevation trails. Never the less I needed to ride. As mentioned before, winter is terrible not only because of the lack of daylight and cold weather. It's all those things and the apathy to ride in that weather, and instead opt for sitting at home eating pimento cheese and Girl Scout cookies.

Which I did...  with fervor on Monday night.

Eating a quart of cheese and two boxes of Girl Scout cookies does not good fitness make. The lack of willpower is painfully clear when staring at empty cookie boxes.

The ride with E-Dub was great even with my cookie guilt lurking in my mind. Some rogue trail work on Greenslick made for some entertaining moments as well...

That's all folks,

This weekend looks crazy-awesome so go outside, get rad, drink all the beers.

Party on.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quick post.

Hello friends,

Hope everyone's weekend festivus was marvelous and filled with such joy that all those in your presence had their faces melted by the radiant euphoria released by your enjoyment of being alive...

Kinda like that dude from "Raiders of the Lost Ark"...

couldn't handle the euphoria...

As for K.A.W and myself, we traveled down to the land of our people, Union County, NC. For unto us a child was born approximately one year ago last Thursday. My nephew aka "The Dude" turned one year old and of course a party was partied in his honor. 

We ate cake, ice cream, and Bud Light... not The Dude of course, he prefers white russians. Not only did he receive guests from both sides of his parent's families, he got to experience his first birthday with my extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, the works. You see I have quite a large family and we always meet once a month to have a proper Sunday Supper with mac n' cheese, ham, deviled eggs, and other southern delights. During such occasions we toast and celebrate the birthdays of that month. The Dude was up for his first and he was treated like a king. He was also subjected to the "birthday song" which in our family means everyone stands right in your face and points at you while singing "happy birthday to YOOOOOUUUUU!!!!"

It can be very intimidating for a young'n. However The Dude was nonplussed by the crowd and proceeded to clap and dance merrily through it all. Way to go...

Other than that we didn't do too much of anything.

I managed to get out to my previous place of employment for a mountaincycle ride. Not much had changed and it was actually pretty fun riding on my old stomping grounds. I talked to a few former co-workers and even ran into some hippies I was acquainted with out on the trails. Good times and good memories.

Sunday morning K.A.W and I got out for a little hike on some trail in Mineral Springs aka Miserable Springs, NC. The Carolina Thread Trail network and the Catawba Lands Conservancy built a nice little hiking trail amongst the yuppified, sub-urban sprawl that is slowly choking my beloved rural home. 

Thank God for the folks like the CLC for saving a bit of wilderness before the developers could build 2 story homes "starting from the $260k's". It was pretty nice getting back out to what used to be my go to hiking trail. Sucks to see all the houses going up around it but thats the way of the world....

That was about it folks. Not too much radness to speak of but even if your weekend is a whirlwind of traveling and whatnot you still gotta get in some woods keep your sanity ya know...

Have a great week!

Party on.

*** :30 seconds left to win... 2nd and goal pass play? Ballsports are crazy.