Knoxville Gnosh and Asheville Action

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
Trip End Dec 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So we left Nashville, TN on our way to Asheville, NC.  On this journey we would stop at a Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives selection for pizza.  This pizza was in Knoxville and was full of surprises.  First of all it was a drive-in not a sit down place (we should have figured this out prior but, what the hey) second you order over old fashioned phones in the slanted parking stalls that surround the restaurant and lastly.  The pizza was really good.  The place we went to was called The Pizza Palace 

After fueling up there we hit the road for Asheville, NC.  We encountered some problems when I-40 was shut down throughout the entire state of North Carolina.  This presented a problem so after navigating through the Great Smoky Mountains we needed to handle some mountain passes via the Appalachian Mountains.  Kevin handled the driving and put some plaque on my arteries with his fanciful driving.  We made it there though and checked into the Downtown Inn after a lot of twists and turns down hilly interchanges.

 We are checked in and chilling and taking some phone calls and you can feel it getting colder outside but, we ain't staying in tonight.  We hit the ground a walking and started our night at Jack of The Wood.  A restaurant/bar famous for their Green Man Brewing Company.  They brew their own beer.  If I recall they also had brewing supplies and a brew-master night on the docket but, not this night.  Tonight was a songwriter's showcase.  Five local artists acoustics in hand playing songs they wrote to an originals hungry audience.  There was the guy with the faux hawk playing rock-a-billy country, the girl who sings songs about how she misleads and abuses guys who love her with all their heart, the quirky guy with the mustache and the bitter gal who just crushes it with her great voice and incisive lyrics.  I could write about all of them but, I shall choose our mustached friend Shane.

Shane wore a golf shirt and his left arm was adorned with bracelet that looked Hawaiian or at the very least Caribbean.  He meekly introduced himself and pushed the $5 CDs that the artists were selling then scolded himself "There I go again, pushing the merch before you've even heard me play, I've got to stop doing that he says"  half laughing at himself grasping his forehead and looking at his shoes.  He then shared that he lived in Australia for a couple of years and wrote a song called International Airport which could really be about any airport, you don't have to have been to Australia to get it.  He explained.  Shane was great and he was a unique character.  The songwriters all knew each other and seemed to have a good chemistry.  The Mohawk guy actually made us breakfast at this place we went to the next day. 

We departed Jack of The Wood after one round of song and a realization that I could be interested in 97% of the women at that bar which is rare for me.  They were all just my type.  I should have stayed.

We ended up at the Thirsty Monk where we just kind of looked around and quickly decided it was not our cup of tea.  As the night was freezing it did warm things up a bit before we headed further down the road.

We heard about a benefit at The Orange Peel,  The OP is a local club in Asheville and they had a line up of local bands for the Make-a-Wish Foundation or The March of Dimes one of those two If I remember correctly.

The cool part of the night was that the place was called The Orange Peel and we know a Peel who is indeed orange so there was a bit of irony in that occurrence.  The odd part of the Orange Peel part of the night was the cover band that went on during our visit.  The band was good but, what was sad was the caricature they had at lead singer.  He wore the MMA style T-Shirt and the dark jeans and the boots.  He also had what Brandon Marshall might call "Pop Corn Muscles" or muscle for show.  He then proceeded to sing a song with sexually explicit lyrics while his four year old daughter perched upon the shoulders of someone watched and listened.  I'm sorry but, I was horrified.  I also was secretly hoping she was wearing ear protection.  We left a short while later for food and thought about coming back. 

Along the walk in search of food we found a guy, weeded out of his mind and all excited that we were speaking to other people in town.  We ran across a couple and sought their dinner advice.  The gal was visiting law schools and her father had died recently.  She was 21, her dad was older than that.  Her fellow seemed to be from the area and directed us to the Bier Garden. He lauded the food and the mammoth beer selection,  The beer selection was huge and the food was a combination of Della Rose's and Gordon Biersch.  Upon leaving the garden I was angling to get back to Jack of the Wood as we rolled out of the restaurant we met Gary Barnett, Trey and Patrick.

Gary was seeking advice on where to go for more drinks.  I told him where we were heading and invited them along.  We got back to Jack in a matter of minutes and sadly the minstrels were breaking down their gear.  There were no more songs left.  Gary immediately bought us drinks and told us tales.  He and Patrick are Cellular/Wireless Tower technicians.  They work 300 feet in the air all over North Carolina and spend a lot of time on the road.  Gary told us he was 27 and had seen some things.  He once saw a guy get killed with by gunfire on a construction site.  He wrestled the gun from the assailant but, the victim quickly expired.  He told us that it screwed him up emotionally for a while and it made him do some really weird things.  Gary also shared his many DUI violations that landed him in jail for two years.  He still doesn't have a license.  Patrick was from Long Island and was a newbie to the job.  He was so very young and optimistic and he talked of hatching a plan to make it big based upon his experiences.  His friend Trey looked young and shady.  Trey worked on foreclosures.  He was there when they and the Sheriff had to physically evict people from the premises of their foreclosed home.  Trey talked about his work and how difficult and scary it can be.  He was in Asheville coincidentally to Patrick's arrival and Patrick was trying to get him a job working the towers. 

Gary bought us another drink.  Its our second drink and we haven't finished our first.  Kevin tries mightily to pay for the drink or buy Gary one but, he isn't' having any of that.  Gary buys 3 more bar patrons drinks and is selling everyone in the place on himself without even trying.  He's a born salesman, a people person.  Gary moves away from our table to talk to a local gal.  She comes back with a shot and says "My roommate is cool with it, she has a van, she'll be here soon"  The roommate walks in and the five of them disappear quickly into the night.  The van and the roommate and the gal are all mysteries to us.  We guessed that it was one of two or three possibilities and I'm sure you can guess them yourselves.

We marveled at Gary, Patrick and Trey and how so much happened at the end of the night.  How we were left in mystery over Gary and the van and the girl and her roommate.  It was all quite comical. 

The next morning we got up and had breakfast at the Tupelo Honey Cafe  It came highly recommended and was quite tasty.  Then we walked in and out of some downtown shops on our way to the coffee bus that Jane Debo had implored us to visit  It was a really cool stationary double decker bus that served coffee and other goodies.  You could barely stand in this bus but, the coffee was tasty indeed.

Shortly thereafter we left for home or did we?
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