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Archive for August, 2008

Good evening, its Syrah. In Taylors words: THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES!

We’re hangin’ in North Palm Beach at my family’s condo. It was a 15 hour drive – we got here about 5 AM, ouch. Slept most of today.

Google said it was supposed to take 11-12 hours, depending on the route. It took us 15! eeeeek!

Google said it was supposed to take 11-12 hours, depending on the route. It took us 15! eeeeek!

Its really windy and rainy outside now, we’re keeping the weather channel on and The New Orleans Hurricane Website in anticipation of what will happen. They’re continually playing fearful newscasts of past hurricanes, trying to scare people?

Hesitating to unload the car to avoid having to pack it all up AGAIN. Trying to guess what will happen, WHERE we’ll head to WHEN we leave here. It seems to be all up in the air right now, although we feel grateful for so many things.

Hope you’re all doing well!

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Hi! Its Syrah. Don’t worry about us, we are safe and sound down here in NOLA…

We are enjoying getting to know our way around this colorful city!

Hanging out with Sara P. has been great, and also the really super duper awesome family we are staying with, the Gills. Our favorite family member is Marigny, a 16-month old cutie pie who is obsessed with Elmo.

After visiting 7 1/2 apartments and calling and emailing about 30 more, we signed a lease today for a great one with a really quirky, friendly Louisiana landlady. Its in a superb location! We can’t wait to move in next week (keeping our fingers crossed about the weather)!

Our new place in Uptown NOLA... pretty between Magazine St. & the park.

Our new place in Uptown NOLA... between Magazine St. & the park! We can't wait to move in after the storm!!!!!!!

We’re just watching the weather channel and the news like crazy… hoping for the best with Gustav, Hannah and the two hurricanes that follow. Tulane is closing down tommorow. The storm is predicted to hit on Tuesday (the day my program is supposed to start).

Trying to decide WHERE and WHEN we will evacuate to . . . probably to the Ozarks or Austin or maybe Miami!

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Crowders Mountain State Park = F-
Spiders, huge knots in the rope, thorns everywhere, beat by what was supposed to be a 5.7, heat, biting ants, broken glass, people all over the trails, loose rocks falling from the top! This place stinks. I suppose on the right day, with the right folks and the right route it wouldn’t be too bad. One big BLAH! The other NC crags I have been to were spectacular, so my expectations could’ve been too high.

Hart State Park, GA
Good Morning!  Its Syrah.  Last night we moved on South on Hwy 85 through South Carolina peach country to Hartwell Lake near Anderson, Georgia… sustained by DQ along the way….hoping for a refreshing swim in the morning. We woke up at our nicely groomed campsite on the bank of yet another southern drought-striken lake.  Boo hoo.  Apparently the lake is 14 feet lower than it should be.  It is peaceful here though, the people are friendly as can be, our tent site is complete with running water, electricity, a grill and picnic table next to the fire pit and the Ranger Station has Wi-Fi! Neither of us have seen tent sites like this.  Like no other State park!

Off to Athens for lunch and then on to Steele, Alabama we go

p.s. we can’t find the camera

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Good Morning, its Syrah here.

Yesterday we made our way to Lake Lure where we intended to wash up and relax, but found it to be unsuitable for this: the lake was mucky from drought & the entire area way too crowded with tourists around Chimney Rock. This was a little disappointing because it was getting HOT, but we did taste some freshly pressed apple cider and caught some great views of the surrounding cliffs!

We stopped at this little shop to taste freshly pressed apple cider.

We stopped at this little shop to taste freshly pressed apple cider.

We splurged for dinner at Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, reccomended for its “made from scratch food using quality fresh produce and ingredients.” It was more than we could have dreamed of! This place is the ultimate in terms of both health and social conscientiousness – ingredients come from as many surrounding sustainable and organic sources as possible, the menu is diverse, inclusive for all palates and every bite nourishing to both the body and soul. WE ATE: Grilled asparagus salad on a bed of greens topped with local goat feta cheese, cucumber salsa & tahini dressing; grilled marinated portobello mushroom and local heirloom tomato napoleon made with lots of local basil and chevre, and drizzled with homemade balsamic dressing; pan roasted free-range chicken with herb gravy, mashed local potatoes, yellow squash casserole and sauteed chard & beet greens. WE DRANK: Tim loved the French Broad Brewing Co. Scotch Ale from Asheville. The restaurant itself is on hip Wall Street in downtown Asheville, the ambiance both funky and comfortable at the same time (I loved the paintings on vintage textile canvas and cute homemade-seeming curtains), the prices are VERY REASONABLE and the staff is knowledgeable and fun. Places like this give hope to the sustainable agriculture & local food movement! This restaurant is really the gold standard that others around the country would be smart to model after.

FYI these are my favorite websites to look for gems like Early Girl Eatery:
www.localharvest.org
www.eatwellguide.com

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CAMPING
From Boone we headed into the Pisgah National Forest where we settled into a secluded campsite off of FR 210 (A gravel road through the forest) near Gingercake Road for two nights. Our campsite was surrounded by rhodedendrums on three sides. At night the forest gave us a symphony of insects dominated by the rhythmic cry of the cicada (I can’t believe how loud they are!!!). The road from our campsite to the Table Rock parking lot is about 4 miles long and winds up into the mountains through gulleys and switchbacks with nobody in site except for the Outward Bound school and the North Carolina forest. The road is well maintained and there is a bathroom and trash barrels at the parking lot, so its not like we were in the wilderness.

We sustained ourselves with delicious local produce from Earth Fare in Boone. This included fresh juicy Watsonia peaches from Moneta SC; North Carolina heirlooom tomatoes, organic apples, zuccini & vidalia onions; natural peanut butter from North Carolina; Sweetwater Brewing Co. beer from Atlanta (and snacks provided by the Spooner Family!)

CLIMBING
To reach the Table Rock summit one can hike the NC sea-to-mountain trail or climb the face of the cliff. We decided to climb the face and walk down the trail. We took Jim Dandy (5.5) up to lunch ledge and continued on Cave Route (5.5) to the summit for a total of 5 pitches from top to bottom. The 5.5’s in NC are a bit different than the 5.5’s in the north east. I’m guessing this is due to the way your feet seem to stick to the rock down here making many of the moves just moving your feet to the right location for the next move. The rock is Chilhowie Quartzite with very gritty places in between large pockets of quartz. Check out Syrah’s photo below to take a look. I noticed that both of the routes were very foot orientated with smears on sandpaperish rock and delicate foot work at the “hard” parts. Cave Route could be one of the most wonderful two pitch combo I have ever climbed in any grade. it was completely exposed the entire way. The route meanders up one of the main features of the cliff leaving you with nothing but air below you and what seem like desperate moves above. Surprisingly there wasn’t a move harder than 5.6 on the whole climb. The second pitch even included stepping out onto a isolated block with a void underneath you right before pulling a small roof!!! unreal!!! Since photos during climbing is not a great idea, we don’t have any action shots, however, we got some nice shots of the view and even some videos you might enjoy. I love the fact that we hiked up to the cliff, climbed up it, and walked down the backside over the course of the day. I really enjoy adventure climbs like that as opposed to getting to the top and having to rappel down. My one complaint? Too many bolts!!!

Tim at the last belay of Cave Route at Table Rock.

Tim at the last belay of Cave Route at Table Rock.

Summit View

Summit View

Rock Close-Up

Rock Close-Up

Distant Chimney. View from walk off.

Distant Chimney. View from walk off.

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Boone

Hi its Syrah. We slept well at the Holiday Inn in Boone last night (thanks Beth & Jim!)

I has wanted to visit Boone since I read about Lance’s post-cancer training here in 2002. We have been enjoying bumming around the town today (great art shops, antiques, etc for window shopping – too bad we have no income or room in the car). We are preparing for the next 4 days of camping & climbing around here.

Tim in Boone. See how close the mountains are to King Street!

Tim in Boone. See how close the mountains are to King Street!

We ate lunch at the fabulous Tupelos World Cafe. Sustainable, local ingredients, friendly waitress, freshly squeezed carrot juice, yum!

Out in the woods we go. Talk to you soon!

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Syrah’s first experience in Tennessee: we ate dinner at a restaurant on the border of Virginia and Tennessee! We tried a fish called Hoki, and deemed it delicious.

Bristols State Street is the border between Tennessee and Virginia.

Bristol's State Street is the border between Tennessee and Virginia.

We have noticed that A LOT of people smoke here, including indoors.

We drove on the craziest mountain road, #421, from Bristol, VA/TN to Boone, NC. We want to know who designed & built it, because they did a fantastic job. No pics because we drove in the dark.

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