Tuesday, October 29, 2019

THE ROAD TO 300K - Daytrip to Max Patch Mountain

It might come across as kinda weird for our family have a relationship with a car but our Honda Element, which we bought new in 2004, adventured all over in it for a number of years as a young married couple, then brought both of children home from the hospital in when they were born and continue our countless road trips in, has a special spot in all of our hearts for sure.  This orange box with wheels has been everywhere and continues to impress.  We've stuck to a every 10,000 miles maintenance and oil change schedule, had barely a hiccup with anything under the hood and it's hard for me to believe that there is a more reliable car that exists. 

Saturday night as we were driving back from North Carolina, I noticed the odometer was pushing 291,000 miles.  That got me thinking that we should really try to make these last 10,000 miles special with some sort of road trip or adventure to commemorate each thousand miles as it ticks closer to 300,000 miles.  The way the Element is running, could 400,000 or 500,000 miles be out of reason?

Our first trip on 'The Road to 300K' was a planned weekend camping trip that turned into a day trip that we made the most of.  No complaints or regrets and we didn't come home with a wet tent which is always a good thing.

We were supposed to camp all weekend in Pisgah National Forest but a crazy work week schedule for me along with a forecast with chances of rain to heavy rain increasing through the weekend, changed our minds to instead to make the most of Saturday with a day trip in the mountains, rain or shine.

Saturday morning we were up early and on the road just after 7:30 a.m.  The focus of the day was to hike the Max Patch Mountain area but we ended up there by way of a apple orchard stop off Pinnacle Mountain Road from South Carolina into North Carolina, picked up a few things at REI and had a late breakfast at Taco Billy in Asheville and then drove up to the North Carolina and Tennessee border area to find the Max Patch trailhead.

As much as I appreciate a wide blue sky vista, in the fall it's tough to beat a wash of leaf color on a cool rainy day where fog is nestled into the mountain here and there.  It just completes what fall looks like in my head and our drive and hike on Saturday did not disappoint.  We ran into a bit of mist and then rain but it never stopped us from our plans.  We hiked a few different trails from the Max Patch trailhead and saw a lot of country that had hadn't seen before.

We took the long way home from Max Patch by jumping on the Blue Ridge Parkway, that was completely socked in with fog and rain, and conditions cleared as we descended down 276 towards Brevard.  Before leaving the Pisgah National Forest we pulled over and Hadley practiced her camp kitchen skills off the PakMule by preparing cups of hot ramen noodles for each of us.  Ramen is kind of a cheap and guilty pleasure and at less than a quarter a cup, with a soft yolk egg, green onions and Sriracha, it's tough to beat on a cool fall evening. 

We were home about 10:00 p.m., soon into bed and up a little later than usual.  Melissa made good use of the Pink Lady apples that we picked up the day before with an apple pancake recipe that cooked up perfectly in cast iron pan at 375 degrees for about thirty minutes in the Traeger.  For all the pellet grill naysayers, I admit that it's tough not to call this an oven but when it cooks up breakfast like this so effortlessly, I'll take the hassle.   

So, we're just under 291,000 and we'll see what our next adventure is on 'The Road to 300K'.  I know that we have a backcountry camping trip planned for later next month with our church teen group but I might fit something in sooner if time allows.  Maybe a quickie brook trout trip or some time in the Lowcountry if I can score some time off work. 

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