Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GSM: The (Long) Summary

- This place is almost unspeakably gorgeous. It really doesn't ever stop being gorgeous. Yes, that as a trailer park, but look just behind it and pooppooppoop it's pretty. Also, there are quite a lot more mountains than I had thought - just tons of them really, and they actually don't all look the same. I know this because we pulled over at 75% of all scenic overlooks.

- Kudos to the national parks of Tennessee and North Carolina for having some of the best maintained roads we have ever been on. It can't be easy to keep mountain roads in such pristine condition, but we would have been hard-pressed to complain about anything we drove over.

- Southern people, you really are very very nice. Not every last one of you - devoted partner felt one of you may have judged our living in sin status and been less pleasant to us on that account - but for the most part you said hello and please and thank you and have a nice day with such alarming frequency that my jaded ears nearly wondered if it was a put-on. I think I'm more than a little in love with your gentility.

- But, holy crap, are you people ever fat! I mean orca fat. I mean in any given grouping of people, devoted partner and I were the slenderest. BY 100 POUNDS! We are not slender people. In any given grouping in Greenwich, we are the orcas, but you all (and I mean ALL of you until we got back to Charlotte where women in expensive running gear were athleticizing with their labradors) made us look like we had just emerged from the pages of SI. I thought I had an eating problem, but you guys are probably the least healthy people I have ever encountered. Your fatness was fascinating it was so, pardon the pun, larger than life.

- Which is at least a little understandable given what you all eat. Let us, for a moment, put aside the sheer bounty of your fast food (I had my first Arby's sandwich - it wasn't bad, I just didn't think it tasted like anything; on the other hand, Arby's, your curly fries and god help me banana split shake were a little piece of heart attack heaven), and go back to your indigenous cuisine: bbq. There was not a plate that was put in front of me that didn't contain food enough for two-three people. In my defense, I did only eat the amount I thought was food for one (except for hushpuppies which, as noted last month, are only really delicious in quantities above 10), and I was still too full. A pound of meat, no matter how tender, fatty, and slow-cooked, is still a pound of meat and is, as such, an unsuitable amount for one person to eat at a sitting unless said person is an Olympic athlete which, as I have just mentioned, not one of you is.

- My entirely unscientific survey of what bbq was available gives the nod to Old Hickory House BBQ Restaurant in Charlotte. While your bbq was not wholly Carolina authentic, it was tasty and your hushpuppies were, well, let's just say I'm thinking inappropriate thoughts about them right now. It's still no Allen and Son, which now that we have some comparables, is off the charts delicious, but as a last stop before the north and food privation, it was a delightful send-off. The wood-paneling was a great help to the ambiance as well.

- Also, if I can go back to the fat thing for a moment, it doesn't help that you consider paved walkways "hikes." Hike to the top of Mount Mitchell, read the sign. The hike in question was 250 yards of slightly inclined 10-foot wide pavement. Chimney Rock's Exclamation Point, the highest part of the park, was billed as a strenuous hike. We were advised against climbing to Chimney Rock and then trying to make it to Exclamation Point. Exclamation Point, while making one's heart beat faster, was reached by stair. Some ricketier than others, but stairs. Not a hike. A stairmastering. Perhaps if more of your hiking trails were hikey, you could eat your bbq and assorted fried comestibles with more impunity.

- But none of this should dull the message that you put on an excellent nature show. I saw a bear. Actually I saw two, but only one was slow enough to be photographed (like many of you, it was eating). I saw a deer run by the side of the road - which is exciting for a city girl like me. And, if you've been following my tweets, I saw devoted partner make out with a camel. This was a good trip.

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