Our next stop was Cloud Canyon. That evening the Green Goblin went up easier than ever before, especially since there was a super handy big rock to pound the stakes in. It wasn’t until dinner that things started to get a little hairy.
I was making something i would never make at home, but made sense at the time – ground pork cooked with chili powder with grated cheese on top and salsa, to be eaten with stale organic corn chips. Not exactly a great dinner, but it was easy and fast.
Everything was working fine, even the stove, although it still had a tiny leak. I was sprinkling the chili powder on the meat in a tired and sloppy way (apparently), because it caught on fire and sizzled over to the second burner. The washi tape holding the stove together (see last journal if you need an explanation) burst into flame, and within seconds the whole stove top was covered in a huge fireball.
I quickly unscrewed the propane tank, and glanced around to make sure our very close neighbors all around hadn’t noticed anything suspicious involving a small inferno. Luckily, the girls had gone off to the bathroom, so Clo wasn’t there to talk about it loudly, and Rose wasn’t there to scream.
The washi tape was pretty scorched. The plastic beading band was melted. I tried sealing it up with another coat of nail polish, but when i went to light it, it instantly turned until another fireball.
It looked bleak with our half cooked pork, and I wished we had gotten a chance to stop at a Wal-Mart and replace the stove, but i examined Rose’s makeup bag and found a piece of regular scotch tape stuck to the side!!! Using the same method, i plugged up the hole and managed to finish dinner. The scotch tape is a much better seal (i swear we will get a new stove asap!).
The next day we went on the waterfall trail. More steps!! But Clo was used to it, and it was much easier this time. The waterfalls were beautiful. Unfortunately we encountered a lot of other people, complete with the massive toplesss guy sitting walrus-style in the shallows. It spoiled the natural beauty a bit.
This is a very popular and lovely park. They had a lovely native flower garden with labels, and a bird feeder so you can observe the native birds.
We left earlish, and headed towards Asheville for our next stop. Chattanooga was on the way, and seeing the Chattanooga Zoo on the map, we stopped in for a couple of hours.
The zoo was almost empty, so there were no lines for anything, and we could watch the animals at our leisure. It was a a great little zoo, with many different kinds of animals. The girls loved seeing the red pandas.
We ended up with a few hour drive ahead of us to Asheville, our next destination. We were cutting across on 74, a scenic and remote highway, with 100 miles to go, set to arrive just around dinner time, when something awful happened – our left rear tire deflated.
So there we were – it was raining, we had a flat tire, the spare was underneath ALL our stuff, and we were stuck in the empty parkinglot of a deserted mini golf course in Methville, NC.
The bolts on the tire were very, very stuck tight, so i went ahead and called AAA. I managed to limp the car over to a gas station to maybe try fix-a-flat, but it was actually the tire wall that had gotten a hole.
By then it had stopped raining, and the AAA guy was on the way, so i started unpacking all our stuff, and we looked like gypsies. Several lots of colorful locals came to offer help – a guy with neck tattoos that called me “babydoll”, a police officer who ran our tag, a shirtless guy with a tumor the size of a golf ball on his side, and a woman who twitched so much i could hardly understand her. We politely declined.
The AAA guy almost couldn’t get the bolts off the tire either, but he did manage, and we finally were on our way. It was getting dark, and began raining again. Our front left brake began making a horrible grating noise, and the windshield wipers clearly had needed replaced and almost made visibility worse! So we limped along, in the dark and pounding rain trying to see the lines in the twisting mountain roads. Clearly we survived, but it was the most difficult diving I’ve ever done.
We finally arrived, had sandwiches for dinner, and fell into bed after midnight.