We were just south of Asheville at a place called Taylor Ranch. It was my second time there for Overland Expo East. I’d been to the West version more often, this was only the second year for East, and I was slated to present a lot over the long weekend. It was a different experience than Horizons Unlimited events, which are smaller and definitely motorcycle-orientated. Overland is more about the trucks and 4x4s, but they allow us two wheelers in. What they don’t let in is RVs. They are allowed at OX West, and I hadn’t even checked about whether they were okay at the East event, so when I got an email making sure I knew Cliff wouldn’t be allowed it was a bit of a surprise and left us scrambling a little. But then I got another email saying they would put Cliff in some overflow parking. It wouldn’t be ideal, but at least I wouldn’t have to wake up as early as I would if I was off site.
We had agreed to pick up and overloading friend of mine named Michelle at the airport on the way to the venue. It was raining when we got to the airport, and the rain kept up all the way to Taylor Ranch. We were directed to where we were supposed to be setting up, and after a U-turn got the the entrance to the proper field. It was at the base of a steep hill, not the best location in the rain but we didn’t really have a choice. The gate was narrow and since it was a left turn with no shoulder I didn’t get a chance to walk the ground and work out the best angle. So I got the angle wrong. We didn’t get stuck, but we weren’t likely to get into where we were supposed to be without causing some damage to the grounds – something I knew they didn’t want. So, I messaged back to the Overland Expo staff to find out what they wanted us to do – try to get in or move somewhere else. It was raining and somewhat high stress. Sue was frustrated that we didn’t know what to do, while I knew all we had to do was wait and we would get help. Guess I am just more used to failures than she is – and the way that failure brings aid.
Roseann Hansen called. She is pretty much the face of Overland Expo, and I hadn’t been expecting to hear from her. She clarified that I wasn’t stuck. I wasn’t. She said help would be on the way, and mentioned there was a hurricane coming. I checked the radar and there was a large patch of red bearing down on us. I assumed this was her “hurricane,” and told Sue that people were on the way. With help, we got Cliff back on the street, facing the other way, then back to main area of the ranch. This wasn’t a camping area, but they were going to let us set up there. The rain had stopped, but we put out the awning and unloaded the bikes. It started to rain again, and I sat outside listening to the rain on the awning. It wasn’t a tent, but I liked it.
There was a hurricane coming. A real hurricane named Joaquin. We hadn’t heard a thing about it, and the rain we just had wasn’t even part of it. The next day, Thursday, was supposed to be nice in the morning but the rain would be back in the afternoon and last for days. Constant rain on ground that was already saturated. It was going to be a long weekend.
So, in the morning we decided to ride the motorcycles into Asheville for the day.
We found parking and paid for the meter through an iPhone app, which was cool, and locked up our gear to go for a walk.
We didn’t have a plan, just wanted to walk around. There was a monument that caught my attention, and a few other things.
Then we found the tourist information center who gave us a walking tour of art around downtown. This at least gave us a map, which we hadn’t had before.
We wanted to eat in town before go back to the ranch, and since the girls didn’t have rain gear we had to beat the rain, so we cut the walking tour short. We didn’t really know where to go, we’d been given a lot of suggestions at the tourist center, but none of them really excited us. Then we saw this place –
They just started serving burgers, but we got the pizza. It was a pizza place after all. With ambiance.
It was raining when we were done eating, but there was going to be a window we could ride in, so we got back to the bikes and started back in a light drizzle that soon stopped. Back at Taylor ranch, we were parked and off the bikes for ten minutes before the rain was back, so it worked out as well as it could have, and Sue and I decided it was time to get the girls the rest of their riding gear.