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Girls Weekend in Asheville

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Asheville, NC
Friday, August 25, 2006 - Sunday, August 27, 2006
Girls Weekend in Asheville photos

Purpose: To get away for a fun weekend with the girls!

More details:
Five of us from the Raleigh area joined up with two from Kentucky for a girls weekend in Asheville. We stayed at The Wright Inn - Heidi and Jessica had rooms in the main house, and the rest of us shared The Carriage House. The Carriage House was our own cute little private house - it worked out very well for our late night fun. We toured the Biltmore House and Winery on Saturday and went to Mount Mitchell on Sunday.

Drive to Asheville
Audrey, Kara, and Melissa met at my house in Raleigh to load up my CR-v and head to the mountains. We stopped in Durham to pick up Erin, and then we were on our way! Well, almost...just as we were getting started, I got a call from Gabe (awwww). He was spending some time drinking beers on the beach with some of his buddies (and having a good time). Once we got on the road, we were all pretty hungry, so it wasn't too long before we made a stop at Wendy's for a quick dinner. The drive to Asheville didn't seem to take too long. We had a lot of fun talking about just about everything. Audrey had the brilliant idea to bring MadLibs - an Adult Bachelorette Party version. That provided a wealth of inside jokes that would carry throughout the weekend.

Arriving at Our House
We arrived at The Carriage House in Asheville around 11pm. Heidi and Jessica had driven from Kentucky (with a stop to drop off Jessica's kids in Hickory), and they had already received the keys for our house. The house was really neat! It was perfect for our evening festivities where we could hang out and avoid disturbing the other guests.

Friday Night Festivities
Heidi and Jessica had already set up a bowl of chocolate bars as well as a bag of toothbrushes once we got to the house. Chocolates and toothbrushes for all! We started to unload the luggage from the car, and I was surprised at the amount of junk food and alcohol that was packed into everyone's suitcases! I started to realize that the girls had quite a few surprises up their sleeves. Apparently, there had been a few email threads that didn't involve me between the other six girls! Several of the girls brought some presents for me, which I thought was very sweet (well, not all of it was "sweet" per se). We also had a pretty full bar and various fancy mixed drinks were made available. The girls had prepared a few games for our enjoyment, including "How much does Kerry know about Gabe?" and a variation of Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. The quiz about Gabe was mostly designed to ensure that I had a few drinks, ha! It was entertaining, and I didn't do too badly. Gabe was curious later about which questions that I missed. We stayed up for a few hours having some drinks, chatting, and making some phone calls. Good times!

Saturday at Biltmore
We took our time in the morning getting ready and relaxing before our Biltmore outing. Several breakfast items were provided for us in the house (bagels, fruit, and yogurt), which was nice. Jess and Heidi had the full breakfast at the main house of the inn. We all met up in the carriage house when we were ready to go. Melissa and Audrey had arranged for all seven of us to have FREE tickets! We started with a tour of the main house. I'm always impressed with the size of the house - it's HUGE!! We took a few photos outside, but just enjoyed the interior as they don't allow photos inside the house.

The Winery
After our tour of the house, we headed over to the Winery for lunch and wine tastings. The last time that I went to Biltmore, I wasn't old enough to go to the Winery, so this was a first for me! I had also never participated in a wine tasting prior to this trip. The winery turned out to be a very neat "girls" outing! I enjoyed it, and I even found a few wines that I thought were rather tasty. We sampled about 9 different wines with the "free" tasting. Erin and Audrey continued their tasting with the Premium and Sparkling wines. They claimed it was well worth the extra cost! Several purchases were made, and then we headed back to our cars.

Car Troubles
So, we get back to my car, and I discover...my car won't start. I'm not immediately convinced it is a battery problem as I didn't leave on any lights, to my knowledge. After trying a few times, we get out the jumper cables and start to hook up my battery to Heidi's (thank you to my parents who insisted on jumper cables as a Christmas gift in my early driving years). I've always been taught that it is something like positive-positive-negative-ground. While we're hooking this up, Erin makes the first of several phone calls to Julian to ensure that we're doing this properly. He assures us that we can hook the positive to the positive and the negative to the negative. While we're figuring this out, some random guy with a cigarette in his hand wanders up and starts poking around. Guess we looked like we needed some help or something (although we really had it figured out by this point). We connected the positive-positive-negative-negative, and it worked! The car started, and we were on our way. Next mission: stop by some place that can test the battery and replace it if necessary.

Advance Auto Parts
We had a little bit of an adventure getting to Advance Auto Parts (we weren't sure where there would be an open auto parts place that could help us). We had to wait a while for someone to come out and look at the battery since they had some rule about the number of associates that had to be inside the store at all times. Finally, the guy came out to test the battery. Once he figured out how to get the battery tester to work (this should have been a bad sign), he told us that the battery was "borderline." Considering the car is over 4 years old and has the original battery, this doesn't seem unlikely. If we were going straight back to Raleigh (which we weren't), he suggested we could wait until we got back to replace it. Otherwise, he recommended replacing it rather than risk getting stranded somewhere.

Replacing the Battery
So, we go back inside the store. He asks me which battery would I like, the standard battery or a premium one? I inquire about the price difference to find out that the only battery available for my car is the premium one. Ok, then. Guess that's the one that I'll get then. He gets the battery from the back, and we go back out to the car. He puts the battery in, and right away most of us notice that it isn't oriented the same way as the old battery. Hrm. But the positive was still in the same place as the positive, so it still looked like it could be correct. He gets the new battery into the car, but now he can't get the connectors on. He tells us that there's bad news. The battery that I had before was a Japanese battery, and the new one is an American battery which means we need to replace our terminal connectors. Um, ok. That doesn't seem quite right, but whatever. Just get the darn thing working again, please.

New Terminal Connectors
The guy disappears into the store for at least 15 minutes and returns with a new terminal connector. This is the point that he tells me that he can put it in for me, but he denies all liability for the part. If it causes some sort of issue, then he can't be held responsible. Whatever! The last guy who put one of these in caused the car to breakdown in traffic or something. I informed him that if he isn't selling the part to me and installing it, then that must mean I'm not going to pay for it either. At this point, we've called Julian at least twice more. Julian admits that this whole thing is a bit shady, but that it is probably ok...but to get it checked out once we get back to Raleigh. So the guy starts to put in the terminal connector. I didn't exactly realize what was involved with this change and became increasingly less comfortable as he started cutting and stripping wires. Too late now, just please get this working. He finally gets the terminal connectors on and connects the battery. At this point, there's some sort of fan noise which I thought was odd. I asked him if that was normal, and he brushed it off saying that it was perfectly fine. He starts to put the hood down, but the support stick for the hood won't fit back into where it belongs...so he just kinda lays it on top of a bunch of engine stuff. "We'll just put this here, you might want to look into getting this changed sometime." Um, ok.

Start Your Engine!
Now he tells us that we're ready to start the car up and be on our way. Hooray! I click the remote to unlock the car. No response. I ask, "Should this work?" and he mumbles something about how we're probably going to have to restart the computer. Uh, ok. I unlock the car manually and try the automatic lock switch inside the car. No response. "Should this work?" Once again, some mumblings about restarting the computer. I don't have a very good feeling about the car starting at this point, but I go to put the keys in the ignition to start the car. No response. "Um, should the car start??" At least at this point, he admits that the car should indeed start. He opens the hood and looks around and decides that perhaps we need another fuse. He returns to the store for at least another 15-20 minutes.

Remote Car Helpline
During this time, Erin makes another call to Julian. She explains to him what things look like over the phone and even holds the phone up to the car so that he can hear the fan noise. Without seeing the car himself, Julian figures out that the battery is in BACKWARDS. The guy had put the positive/negative felts on the wrong terminals. Nice job, moron! And yes, it's possible that further harm can occur the longer the battery is connected. Fortunately, some random passerby helped us disconnect the battery. Julian explains that the car's electronics are probably ok as there is a fuse designed to keep the car from being damaged in such a case.

Fix it.
Erin goes back inside the store to tell the moron that he put the battery in backwards (he never comes to this conclusion himself). He was in there helping other customers while we were waiting for him to show up and get our car working (after we'd already been there at least an hour and a half, grr!). He runs outside and starts to turn the battery around. He never apologizes or admits his mistake, simply tells us that he's going to replace a fuse and we'll "be on our way." Um, yes. And you put the battery in backwards, moron. He gets the battery in correctly, replaces the fuse, and the car starts up again (it's a miracle!). It took me about 10 seconds to decide that I needed to go back into the store and speak to moron's manager (who appears to be some 18-year old kid). I was so mad when his initial response was pretty much along the lines of "Ok. Well, what do you want me to do about it?" That's your response?? That's the best you can do? I told him what I thought and ended up getting everyone's names, a promise that they will rectify any problems that they may have caused, and a partial refund. It cracks me up that in their computer system they actual have an item for "Customer Satisfaction" which involves handing out cash to people like me. Ah well, at least we got something back from them. Morons.

Saturday Night
We finally make it back to the house and decide to take some time to relax before going out to dinner. We were all pretty exhausted by the full day (and then the adventures at the auto parts store!). We head downtown and end up eating at Mayfel's since Tupelo Honey Cafe was too crowded. We had some mixed reviews within our party for Mayfels. Some of our food was tasty, and then some of our food was just not great. Four of the girls ordered mohitos, and they were definitely subpar. The wait staff was very confused overall. At one point, they started to deliver our food to us...and then they whisked it away about as soon as it arrived. That seemed a bit fishy! Hopefully the food that we received hadn't been delivered to some other table!

Super Natural Hustla
On the way back to the cars, we encountered the Super Natural Hustla who was trying to sell us his CD single. Audrey ended up buying one of his CDs, and he gave us a sample performance. It was both entertaining and surreal! When we got back to the house, we played his CD over and over and over. The rule was that we were going to play it until someone couldn't stand it any longer and stopped it. Heidi finally gave in and put in some music that she had brought with her. We had a few drinks and hung out in the house telling stories and secrets which will not be repeated here!

Blue Ridge Parkway
After checking out in the morning, Heidi and Jessica started their trek home (by way of Hickory to pick up the kids). The rest of us decided to take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was the first time that I had ever drive along the parkway. I didn't realize how curvy the roads were, although I suppose it shouldn't be too surprising! The drive was very pretty, and we got some nice photos. All of us did get a bit woozy in the car before the trip was over, so I think that we were glad to be off the parkway shortly after our stop at Mount Mitchell! We spent a little bit of time at North Carolina's highest peak before heading back to Raleigh. Thankfully, the ride back to Raleigh was uneventful. We were all happy to get home, but we had a great weekend together!

Other Adventures
Booty calls. "Guess she's hooking up, let's just go, she'll be fine." Truth or ______... Winston-Salem stripper. The handful to be. The ghost of Macho Man. Straws. Late night phone calls. Kayra and Error. Lots of heads looking at you, they're scary, be careful, it's dangerous!