I’m always respectful of parents with children. Even when their children are imaginary.
Our adventure began when my friends Marque, Clint and I arrived in Murphy, NC, late Saturday afternoon after the 3 hr drive from Alpharetta. It was a great drive, the temperature dropped once we crossed the border into North Carolina and it felt like fall!
We set up camp at a familiar spot, just outside of the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s main outpost. It’s a gorgeous site despite the fact that your ‘neighbors’ are so very close to you. The rays of sunshine could be seen through the trees and the surroundings were filled with color. Pristine. Peaceful. No drama. Yet.
We hurried and unloaded the truck, set up our camp site, then ventured out to Bryson City to visit the Nantahala Brewing Company, a brew-pub I discovered on Facebook that none of us had been to before.
When we arrived at the brew-pub, we weren’t exactly impressed with the building. It was large and somewhat quaint, resembling an old airplane hangar. Having no doors, we were somewhat amazed that there were people playing bean-bag toss (or “corn hole”, as Clint called it) INSIDE the place before you even got up to the bar. I was actually impressed that there were real bar stools to sit on instead of wagon wheels or old, rusty tractor seats. Nevertheless, we couldn’t wait to sample the delicious beer from this unusual, bean-bag-tossing, beer-brewing establishment. I ordered the dirty blonde, the “special” brew on the menu. I prefer brunettes, but they weren’t on the menu.
After his first sip, Marque announced that he wasn’t mpressed with the beer. When it comes to beer, he’s like a sommelier sampling wine, so he knows a thing or two about good beer. I, however, found all their beers to be delicious and I really enjoyed myself there and would definitely go back!
Visiting a brew-pub with your good friends is much like going to a winery for a tasting. Over the next several hours, we ordered every beer from the menu, then had our own tasting. Unfortunately, the Nantahala Brewing Company had nothing but beer and pretzels on their menu so we decided to return to our campsite for the char-grilled Angus burgers and bratwurst I had been boasting to Marque and Clint I would cook on our trip.
Immediately upon returning to our camp site, I proceeded to start the grill while Clint worked on our camp fire. Since making fire is the most primitive activity pre-historic man ever engaged in, you’d think we’d burn the forest down having 3 men standing by with charcoal, lighters and kindling.
Once the grill and camp fire finally produced some flames, we settled down and decided it would be a good idea to consume more beer. After my 2nd beer, I developed a terrible case of hiccups. To put this in context for the un-initiated, my hiccups are a cross between the bark of a German Shepard and the squawk of an obnoxious parrot.
Right away, Clint and Marque, between laughs, pleaded for me to shut up as they were afraid I’d piss off our ‘neighbors’.
Like clock-work, the female from the adjacent camp site came over and screamed, “you guys need to be quiet, you’re too loud and will wake our kids!” By this time, I was holding my breath, apologizing at the same time as were Clint and Marque.belligerent husband appeared and gave us all an ultimatum, mainly yelling in Clint’s face, “you guys have two choices: either put your fire out and go to sleep, or pack your shit and go home!” REALLY?
Let’s examine the logistics: Clint is built like a ‘brick-shit-house’ and looks like he manages a gym. I’d be scared of him if I didn’t know he was a great guy and I wasn’t fueled by an alcohol-induced bravado warping my sense of reality. Plus Marque and I were back-up! We immediately started laughing as if this the best joke ever told, then tried talking sense in to him. He stormed off, kicking our camp fire while complaining about his sleeping kids….
The next morning, our ‘neighbor’ returned, apologizing profusely, citing that it was his birthday and he was very drunk. As we packed up our belongings, we observed he and his wife doing the same. The two of them. As we drove away, Clint suddenly stopped and said to the woman, “We’re so sorry for waking your kids!” Looking confused, her face screamed,‘KIDS? WHAT KIDS? Oh yeah, I forgot I told them I had kids….’
Deciding against my granola cereal, we stopped at the River’s End restaurant for a much needed, home – cooked country breakfast. Griddle cakes, eggs, omlettes, bacon, sausages and home fries were the fair and especially delicious. During breakfast over-looking the Nantahala, we marveled at the beautiful views while still a little groggy. Funny how a hang-over makes greasy, fattening food taste like the nectar of life.
Still having more exploring to do, we decided to head back to Bryson City, as we told that there are a couple of places that are note-worthy to visit. One of these places was Juney Whank Falls. Being in the same area as the previous drunken night, we couldn’t help but notice the “NO TRAIN PARKING” sign where we parked.
Between this crazy sign, our belligerent neighbors, and ‘Juney Whank Falls’, I was thrilled that my blog was writing itself. I was also stunned that the Smokey Mountain train had moved 50 yards down the street from the previous night. I was convinced that the train was a museum of sorts, not an actual moving vehicle. Clint and Marque merely looked at me and commented how I probably used to lick the windows of the ‘short bus’ while on the way to school .
Eventually finding our way to the falls, we walked a 1/3 of a mile trail to this local attraction. The falls were beautiful, but not impressive. Nevertheless, it was one of the many examples of nature we witnessed on our trip, cherishing the amazing views and splendor that is the topography of the SE U.S.
Passing through Helen, GA, a re-creation of a German ‘alpine city, we ended up on the porch of Margaritaville. Overlooking the Chattahoochee river, we enjoyed drinks and food while laughing about the comedic and amazing trip we had just experienced. Even though I still argued with Marque over what constituted a ‘water fall’, we all came to an under – standing (well, at least they did): I was indeed retarded and a possible threat to my surrounding environment.
I argued that there were no normal people left in the world, and that my insanity made me unique and diverse.
Certainly I’m safe to be around kids.
Even the imaginary ones.