After such a long excursion to Charlotte the day before, I decided to take things a bit easier on my fifth day. I planned to just stick around and explore the area that I was staying in, Hickory Gorge. Earlier that morning to help out, I showed the kids how to spray paint, and we worked on priming some old vinyl records for an art project they had planned. In the music room the family was renovating they planned to cover the floor with vinyl records that people had painted. I was going to be one of the first people to paint one. It was definitely an interesting experience showing three kids how to use spray paint. Needless to say we, went through a lot of it.
After the records were primed, the whole family, Adam, and I all got ready to take a picnic down to Hickory Gorge. The kids made everyone peanut butter and honey sandwiches and packed plenty of fruit on the side. Part of staying with a vegan family is the overabundance of fruit. I won’t complain though. The drive to the gorge wasn’t too far, but it seemed like much further because of how curvy the roads are. It can take forever to go just a couple of miles. Once we made it to town we went to Hickory Gorge Brewery because they had a lovely patio area right on the river that had water access. William and I got beers, and then we all settled in by the river for a nice relaxing time. The kids played in the water, and William, Adam, and I sat on the bank and chatted.
After all of the sandwiches were gone we all made our way down river to stop in a local coffee shop called Coffee on the Rocks so that the kids could get chai lattes (almond milk, of course). Evan beat me at a game of checkers while we waited for the drinks to be made, and while my pride was a little hurt because he’s eight (he’s very smart for his age) it still made for a really good time. We carried on from the coffee shop and wondered back to the river to explore some more. This was one of those gorgeous mountain streams filled with giant rocks that you can climb out to, so we did just that. Everyone split up, the two girls, William and Adam, and Evan and me. Evan became my pal, so we wondered around together and skipped rocks. It’s amazing how enjoyable the little things in life can be. With the addition of it being a new place with new people, it definitely turned out to be a fantastic day.
Once we got back to the house, the kids, Adam, and I all set up to do some painting outside. The weather was perfect, so it made for a much better setting than sitting at a table indoors. We painted for about an hour before the girls had to go to soccer practice, and Evan was going with his mom to a banjo concert, so Adam and I stayed back to enjoy some time in. Adam was a very quiet man that took some coaxing to talk to, but once you got him started he was a very interesting and intelligent guy. So we spent that evening listening to the Great Lake Swimmers, eating mango, and I painted while he read. It made for a good ending to a laid back and enjoyable day.
I see now that days like these are few and far between on the road. Since you don’t have much of a home-base to return to, there’s a lot more time spent doing than resting. For someone like myself that tends to be more introverted that can be quite taxing. I enjoy going, but I also enjoy my time of laying around doing nothing, and that’s really hard to do when you’re living out of an SUV.