Well, this will be our final 2016 Summer Tour blog post – but don’t worry, Der Blogmeister will still be posting updates on our fall and winter events and activities! We departed St. Louis and headed across Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, and spent 4 days in Asheville, NC. Suzanne and noted keyboardist/composer Richard Shulman collaborated on a guided meditation CD that Sanaya and Richard’s Team in spirit “directed.” Richard channeled the music and Suzanne channeled the words. The results left them both dazed and amazed. Here we see Suzanne and Richard setting up in Richard’s studio….
… and here, wired for sound. Both Suzanne and Richard were very happy with the production. You can download the CD, “Journey of Remembrance,” Sunday on Suzanne’s website, and very shortly on iTunes and Amazon.com. For Richard’s ethereal music, visit RichHeartMusic.com.
We also had time to go for a couple of hikes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville while Richard completed post-production work on their CD. I took another chance wearing the Alabama visor that our good friend Judson Emens had given me (ROLL TIDE!), but fortunately didn’t meet any overly aggressive SEC competitors that day who might have whooped my butt… This was a trail near the Blue Ridge Parkway – which follows the spine of the mountains in this area, making the footpath a rocky, up-and-down route.
Our next hike was on the sprawling Montreat (short for “mountain retreat”) trail system, an Episcopal getaway and college north of Asheville. Here is My Lovely Bride scampering up a mild incline (45-50 degrees, thank you very much) just below the imposing summit of Lookout Mountain. It’s times like this when (1) I start to feel my age and (2) wonder if Suzanne is part mountain goat…
Finally, at the top (our car was parked in that valley below MLB’s derri… ummm… backpack). The mountains here aren’t as spectacular as the Wind River Range in Wyoming, but they provide a good workout, lots of wildlife and pleasing scenery. Unfortunately, we were 2-3 weeks too early for the annual color change in Appalachian foliage, when the mountains are covered with bright reds and yellows, making it a mecca for “leaf-peepers”.
While in Asheville, we met our good friends Sandy and Lisa for dinner at a Greek restaurant in Weaverville (the fuzzy photo is the result of a hired photographer who was walking by who focused on the building behind us… not the result of too much retsina… Oh, you don’t know retsina?
Retsina is a Greek wine that has a slight (some may even say “overbearing”) taste of turpentine. It was originally flavored by sealing wine vessels, especially amphorae, with Aleppo pine resin. Retsina is called by some “an acquired taste”, but since we sailed through the Greek islands for several months back in 2006, at least one of us did acquire a taste for this unique wine – and it is inexpensive, at least in its home waters.
While driving around Asheville, we saw this billboard advertising a river tubing concession. The ad features a frog in a meditative pose and reads, “Zen Tubing… Get in touch with your inner tube”. Now, that’s my idea of meditation!
After a two-day drive from Asheville back to The Villages, we are now preparing for the arrival of a most unwanted guest… Hurricane Matthew. As I pen these words (that’s poetic license, for sure), this is the weather radar picture that Suzanne sent me from her phone – we are under the blue dot. We are expecting 50-70 mph winds tonight and tomorrow, and hope that our home rides out the coming storm without damage. Unlike when we lived aboard our sailboat Liberty, I won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to check the anchor chain or dinghy riding astern. At least on this evening, I am glad that we no longer live on the boat, or even in a house on the coast – but we are saying prayers for our friends who still do.
Late breaking news from The Villages, for those of you who make fun of us retirees in Florida and think that we lead boring lives… yesterday morning one of our residents awoke to find this water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) in her front yard. It had evidently broken through a fence at a nearby farm and wandered across the Amberwood 6th green before winding up in the lady’s front yard. The golfers also complained that the green had been disturbed by the hoof marks, but I am told that they were not allowed an extra stroke for the inconvenience. Surely this proves that The Villages is a lot more fun than, say, Coon Rapids, Minnesnowta…