C-Day is the start of Cassey’s Excellent Adventure.

Whew… after my garmin watch told me that it would be a 72 hour recovery from hiking Mount Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains, I took it seriously. My legs were in pain. After eating a hearty meal Thursday evening, I laid down to read a book and enjoy the evening, waking early to hit the road toward Asheville/Bitmore Estate, and continue on to Charlotte to meet up with a dear friend from college.

The drive from the campground I was staying at to the Bitmore estate was about 1.5 hours and I had decided to stop and do the tour. I had seen a post about the Bitmore estate from a travel blogger years ago and I always have had it in the back of my head to stop, and as I have experienced multiple times throughout my life, fate always find it’s way of working things out.

Pulling into the welcome center I cued in the line and found out that the tickets for the tour cost $79! That’s a pretty expensive tour plus $10 for the audio tour. Whew. Old Cassey would have thought no problem but I’m on a budget these days so I had to take it into consideration. With the military discount, I was able to get it for $69 and I went for it since I was already there, but did not opt for the audio tour, although I am sure that is extremely informative and well worth it. I wanted to view the house and be on my way and there were so many people in line I knew it was going to be very crowded.

After walking along the grounds and through the gardens I made my way to the front for my tour time start and I was glad to be by myself, everyone was walking in groups slow and lumbering and I effectively weaved my way through the groups to see the house but also not dwell too long in any one place.

Once I finished the tour, I walked back to my car just as a huge storm was rolling in so it was nice that I was able to get out of dodge just as the rain came tumbling down. I was now back on the highway headed for Charlotte and to meet up with an old friend, Christine, and her fiance Kenny! It was so great to see her and meet him for the first time.

We know each other because we were both forensic science majors from West Virginia University and we also did our internships at the Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office (1 summer apart). Whereas I have not used my degree since graduation, she does Crime Scene Investigations for Charlotte and her fiance is in charge of the cadaver dog, who stays at their house with them.

It felt surreal to fall right back into that talk and here some of their stories. They were extremely gracious hosts and have just moved into a house they bought together. Kenny smoked some ribs and a chicken for us on Sunday and we made lunches and hung out. It was a wonderful way to escape the heat (because I did not take into consideration the temperature when I decided to live in the van during this time frame and also driving South) opps! They are getting married this October so they have many things going on in their lives right now! What with travel, and their families, unpacking the house. I am very excited to see them again in the future.

After spending 2 full days with them, they would be heading back to work, and I was heading farther South so we said our goodbyes that morning, as I hauled my laundry and groceries out to the van and started situating everything. I have a mission to find tea gourds in South America, one for each of them, and I aim to complete it!

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