R & R in Marion

R & R in Marion

posted in: Bicycle Touring, North Carolina | 13

Day 14, May 13th:  Marion (REST DAY)

More rest and relaxation at my Grandma’s house in Marion today.  Lots of good food and a trip to Black Mountain where we checked out some different galleries and had some amazing pizza.  We also swung through the bike shop… I picked up a mirror for looking at traffic behind me on the parkway.  I also talked to the bike shop employee about some good routes up to the parkway.  He ended up pointing me too a gravel road that goes up from Old Fort with very little traffic.

IMG_4876Some of my Grandma’s work hanging in the gallery that she is involved with.  This one is titled “I’ve got miles to go”… I can relate to that.


IMG_4887She does great work!

IMG_4898Malaya insists on being a lap cat…

IMG_4897Getting my but kicked in cards has been a common occurrence during my visit.

Day 15, May 14th:  Marion – Parkway Joy Ride

I was planning to head out today and climb up to the parkway for a couple days.  Upon review of the weather report I decided to delay my departure for a couple days.  It looked like heavy rains and thunderstorms all day tomorrow.  Plus a few more days of good fun and rest in Marion is always a good option.  The weather was good today and Grandma had already loaded me up with a good breakfast so I decided to have a test ride up to the parkway.  I started another painting this morning while Grandma worked on some miscellaneous projects.  She had a meeting in Old Fort about 9 miles away so I took the free ride by car to cutout some miles.  From Old Fort I picked up on the gravel road and began my climb.  What amazing views once you finally get up there.  I wanted to take on Mt. Mitchell (highest point in Eastern US) but I thought I’d be risking running out of daylight on my ride back to Marion.


IMG_4912Grandma Jean still has the Mickey Mouse waffle iron she used when we were kids!  Still amazing…  I don’t think that other Mickey would be smiling if he could see my plate.

IMG_4920Encaustic #2…



IMG_4927Saving the scraping for tomorrow.

IMG_4930The start of my ride.  Time to start climbing…

IMG_4933And keep climbing


IMG_4936My steel bike feels like a feather with those heavy bags removed!


IMG_4948Just under 2000 feet to go!


IMG_4951Came back to an amazing dinner.

IMG_4909Followed by a rematch… I believe I lost again.

Miles:  50  (unloaded)
Acts of kindness:  2  – Grandma of course has been great… I’m only counting it as one act per day but in reality is probably like 100; Today I met Sara (former and soon to be Wisconsinite) at the Mt Mitchell overlook… she gave me some good vagabond advice.  Hostel suggestions in Asheville and good pointers for ‘hippy’ camping.  Thanks Sara!


Day 16, May 15th:  Marion (REST DAY… and rainy day)

The weathermen did not lie… for once.  It has been a steady rain for most of the day.  Had a relaxing morning drinking coffee and working on a painting.  Enjoying my time with Grandma Jean in Marion.  Hope I don’t wait so long to visit again.  Planning on prepping my gear tonight to head up to the parkway tomorrow.  Maybe it’s a bit ambitious, but I’d like to make it up to Mt. Mitchell.  I think my initial climb will be much more difficult than my unloaded ride yesterday!  I’m guessing I will spend 1-2 nights on the parkway on my ride to Asheville.

IMG_4917Malaya enjoys supervising

IMG_4965Preparing samples for a class

IMG_4954Meanwhile I get to a scratch’n

IMG_4956Prior to the heat gun.

I’ve had a great time with Grandma Jean in Marion.  I’m glad US Bike Route 2 passes close by here place… it has made my route planning a little easier.  Thanks for everything Grandma!  Hope to see you in the fall if you visit Minnesota!  Coffee shop is closing and I need to run and get stuff for strawberry-rhubarb pie!  It’s a good life! 🙂

I’ll shoot for an update in Asheville!


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13 Responses

  1. Lance K

    If you’re up for a great disc golf course in Ashville check out Richmond Hill. I played it when visiting Alex quite a few years ago. http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=453&mode=ci

    • Bradley

      Sweet I’m hanging out in Asheville today. Maybe I’ll go check it out. Need to find a frolf disc. hmmm

  2. A Mickey Mouse waffle iron – love it! Best of luck with Mount Mitchell. I still fondly recall the drive from Asheville NC to Knoxville TN. Breathtaking! And that was in a car on an interstate. Can’t imagine what scenery you’ll be enjoying (when you’re not screaming in agony due to your sore legs and buttocks).

  3. Jeff Makulec

    Finally Grandma Jean has a face! I was beginning to wonder. Is the artwork totally your composition? You seem to have some hidden talent. I like it as is — post scratchin’ and pre heat gun. Good luck on that climb to the ridge!

  4. jean Ryan

    I miss you already and you’ve only been gone a couple hours. good speed and be careful.
    Love, Grandma Jean

  5. I have to agree with Jeff – I believe you have great artistic abilities that are patiently lying in wait.

  6. christy

    I’m super impressed by your grandmother’s paintings and also that scratching painting is so cool! i’d love to learn that; someday youll have to teach me!
    The food looks awesome and your g-ma’s cat looks hilarious. What a fun adventure so far! Seems like NC treated you okay, minus the weather perhaps.
    Can’t wait to hear more!!!

    • Bradley

      Definitely! I’d like to try it more in the future… not sure I’d make a good teacher but I could show you how to make a good mess. Malaya has that cross-eyed look when she stares at you. I get a kick out of it every time.

  7. Erik Lewinski

    Another awesome post! Cool you and your grandma are artists too! Great views and good company. Have fun and I look forward to your next update.

  8. brad martin

    Hey If Grandma Jean wants another grandson named Brad, just let me know, she seems like the coolest!

    • Bradley

      Hahaha I’m sure if you’re in the Marion area she would be happy to have you.

  9. Mike Freeman

    I’m so glad you are getting to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s North Carolina’s primo gem. Enjoy and have a safe journey!

    • Bradley

      Thanks Mike it’s a great road! Planning to ride it most of the way today as well!

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