Accommodations: The Blanket Thief and A Short Visit With Friends

In Gallivan's Travels on March 20, 2019 at 10:28 am

Today’s adventure begins with the tale of the blanket thief, an appropriately dark epic, but with the possibility of a warm and enlightening resolution. Which is to say it happens during the night and is taken care of the next day.
Just to be clear, the blanket thief is neither I nor Sue, but the bed itself. Perhaps you have once owned a pair of sock-eating boots. You simply wish to protect your feet from the elements, the wet and the cold. But every hundred feet or so, you find that you have to reach down in and pull up one or both socks or they will soon have formed an uncomfortable donut around your foot and begun to fill up the bit of space in the toe of the boot. This is sort of what happens in Gallivan’s bed.
As I have suggested before. Staying warm on these very chilly nights is a challenge. We have two decent blankets and a couple of throws to cover ourselves with at night, but we can’t seem to keep them with us. The problem is that the bed fits tightly between three and a half walls and has one odd corner. It is, therefore, difficult to tuck things reliably around the mattress. And although we are not inordinately large people and do not mind the warm intimacy of the confined quarters, we are, nonetheless, forced for comfort sake to turn over from time to time. As soon as either of us moves, however, the blanket thing that would help would be a heavier blanket, a quilt for example, that would help to hold everything under it in place and keep us even more cozy.
So, this morning we looked about for a thrift store (I know, but I promise not to have a thrift store playing a significant part in every tale I tell from the road). The solution was to buy a very nice used sleeping back that will serve as a comforter. For five dollars (plus the cost of the other miscellaneous items we couldn’t not buy) we hope to bring a satisfactory end to the tale of the Blanket Thief.
With our blanket secured, we headed on down the road toward Black Mountain, NC, to visit with friends. More in a bit about that, but first we had to stop for lunch.
Accommodations, after all, include food as well as lodging. Our habit is to eat once in a restaurant and otherwise use the food in our own refrigerator. Breakfast is usually light – toast and peanut butter, or perhaps some oatmeal, with a cup of coffee (or two). Lunch is the best time to eat other people’s food, because it only requires a short stop just off the road. It’s also a chance to meet some nice people, take a brief rest, and get back on the road satisfied and refreshed.
Today, we stopped in Pulaski, Virginia, just shy of our turn south into North Carolina. Pulaski is a charming little town and two nice young women at the gas station just off the highway directed us to Al’s on First, a fairly new restaurant in a newly renovated mill near downtown Pulaski. When we first walked in, I wondered if we were looking at more of an expense than we intended. Al’s is spacious, well laid out, well appointed, and has very professional staff to greet you. But it turns out that the food was both tasty and reasonably priced. We shared a southern roasted chicken sandwich and some pasta salad that was subtly flavored, not uber-salty, and not more food than anyone might expect to shove down midday.
Let me say here, that the gentle lilt of the Virginia accent is a joy to listen to and has made me aware that my Boston Irish accent must immediately flag me as an outsider, a fact which has thus far not one whit dampened the hospitality of the people we have met.
We than continued on down to North Carolina, taking I77 as far as Statesville, then I40 west, the Blue Ridge Parkway. The forsythia and the cherries and the daffodils and what I think were snowy viburnum were all in bloom. There were numerous hawks soaring overhead, and the mountains went from gold to green to rust as the day moved along. There is a kind of rock in these mountains with streaks of gold and red and silvery white; and there were places where waterfalls of ice still clung to the cliffs. And there were more incredible vistas than I (having to keep my eye on the road) could fully appreciate.
We made it to Black Mountain in the late afternoon and found our way to Molly and Dick.
Dick is a high school classmate of mine and Molly is his wife of thirteen years. I have known Molly for a few years as a FB friend, but had never met her in person. Dick and I have been infrequent correspondents over the years. So, we were looking forward both to reunion and to new acquaintance.
Another of the pleasures of travel is the opportunity to get off the road for a night and connect with friends. Molly and Dick were wonderful hosts. We took them out to a Mexican eatery they told us about, then they showed us around Black Mountain. We saw Montreat College, and the town center. We learned that Franklin Graham resides nearby. We saw the small theater where a fellow from New York had long ago begun to bring in professional acts. We say the library and the schools and the mercantile and the galleries and the two breweries.
And we talked. We learned new things about each other, shared stories or our courtship and marriage (Dick and I are contemporaries and Molly and Sue are also), and reminisced about our histories. We also found ourselves compatible in matters of faith and politics and education and people in general, so our conversations occasionally turned to philosophical wonderings and contemporary issues.
We finally went to bed, sleeping on a sofa bed especially prepared for us.
The accommodations, in other words, have been fine, from blankets to brunch to bedtime.
Tomorrow we will hit the road again, but with a week to get to Austin, we expect to relax a bit, take in some more sights, and discover places we have never been or need to see again.

  1. BTW, I’m not sure if you ever know this but I was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. It’s a beautiful state. It is an unwritten rule in Norfolk, which is a Navy town, that nice girls don’t date sailors. Needless to say, when I met Tom on a blind date and began to date him when I was 19, my mother was absolutely horrified. Not only was he a sailor (a navigator on an aircraft carrier) but he talked funny! He did, of course, win her over with his charm but mostly his ingenuity. He installed, plumbed and wired a dishwasher, installed and wired sconces in the dining room and went into the crawl space and unclogged a shower drain, therefore proving his worth as more than just a sailor from New Hampshire.

    I used to have an accent but years of living in New England tempered it. I do pick it up pretty quickly when visiting my remaining family who all still live in the tidewater area of Virginia (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Newport News.

    Travel on!


    • Good Morning, Elaine. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I do, indeed, have senior pass, and we used it to our advantage in Asheville. We stayed at a National Recreation Area and got half-price on the space. I discovered that I have a “Geezer Pass,” which means that I got it before the changes were made a few years ago. I’m not sure how good that is, but, it was good the other night.
      We’ll have to keep track of each other so we know when we’re close enough for a visit.


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