Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014-12 Asheville North Carolina (week 3)


A short report on my last week in the area.

the view down the country road leading to my campsite
I sit under my campers awning reading a book about a woman who has moved to Greece to find herself.  I’m being transported to another land even as I enjoy a different perspective in my temporary home in North Carolina.  A bright blue sky overhead with the thinnest of clouds drifting by, a gentle breeze touches my arms.  A butterfly flits on by on a crazy path with no apparent destination in mind.  Cars whiz by on the road some noisy with guttural sounding engines, others so quiet all I hear are the tires on the pavement.  An open window expels a brief conversation and music as the car passes on down the road.  On my outdoor speakers, Willy Nelson competes with the traffic sounds and birds chirping.

The Social Security Office with Dogwoods in bloom

The Memorial Day weekend is over, I was able to avoid all the usual large holiday crowds but on Tuesday, it was back to the real world.  I’ll be 65, ekk!, yes it’s true in July, and I had planned on applying for Medicare online.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, I got half way through the form and it said since I’d selected the option that I am retired, I couldn’t select the button that I have Insurance.  Hmmm.  But I do have insurance and darn good insurance and I want to apply for Medicare because it will provide a few added benefits to my plan.  Soooo, I ended up inline at the Social Security office on Tuesday morning to sort out the application form.

After getting a harsh briefing from the security cop before entering the building that no weapons were permitted inside, probably a really good idea as lots of people might get a bit testy waiting for service, we were all led inside and given numbers for being called to the cattle call windows in due time.

My number “465” was called after about 45 minutes and I was directed to isle A, cube 7.  The guy checked out my basic information and told me to go back into the waiting room and someone would call my name.  He wasn’t qualified to help in Medicare issues.  A short while later I was called back and a second worker went through my request for Medicare part A.  At first he said I didn’t have enough hours.  I told him I wasn’t applying for Social Security, only Medicare and that I had fully paid into it since 1985 having been a Government employee.  He hit a few more keys, finally approved it and gave me a print out of our conversation and information.  Obviously covering his behind as they say.  Thank you very much.  I was out of there in all of an hour, not bad for what could have been much worse.  Sure hope he processed it correctly.

I love this sculpture by Dale Rogers
Since I was in-town, I headed over to the Grovewood Gallery and auto museum.  They have over 500 artists works on display and it’s quite a good collection.  Wonderful staff working the place, which made me feel very welcomed.  I chatted with a very nice employee who also happens to be an artist.  I was given permission to take pictures which is always nice so that I can share them with you.  The second floor contained quite a bit of hand made furniture and was most beautiful.  The Grovewood Gallery complex also contains a small museum that tells the history of the tech school that Mrs. Vanderbilt started to train the children of the workers building the Biltmore a chance to gain skills in craftsmanship like weaving.  There is now a car museum in the old mill shop with a fine collection of Cadillac’s.

flower made of wood shavings

Artist: Pam Brewer

wonderful one of a kind pieces

loved these lamps

many are museum quality pieces

I decided to go onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to revisit the Folk Art Center where there is a large collection of folk art for sale.  All created by artists from the surrounding area.  They wouldn’t let me take pictures this time around but I can assure you, they have a wonderful collection of art pottery, glass and woven items.  They even featured a museum exhibit on the second floor of the top students from a fine arts college that teaches all these artisan skills locally.  But unlike a museum, these pieces are all for sale.

natures own art work

I had planned on spending the day driving along the parkway and visiting some interesting sites, but after taking the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to the Folk Art Center and realizing I was on one of the more particularly winding and twisting parts of the roadway, I decided to head back into Asheville and just enjoy a nice lunch and bit of browsing downtown.  This is when I wish I had a companion along with me to encourage me to go that extra mile on down the road... oh well, I'll save that for the next time I'm in the area.

Note on Asheville parking.  It's all metered parking downtown, but they have many parking garages one block off the main street and the first hour is always free and a minimal charge after that.  So take advantage of the parking garages when in town.

The rest of the week has been spent just enjoying the local area with afternoon rain showers, ideal for an afternoon siesta.  I met the owner of the small campground I’m staying at and he told me that he also has 4 private campsites next to his house across the street and down in a valley next to a stream.  After having met me he said I could stay on one of those sites anytime I came back into the area.  A special privilege as he usually reserves them only for friends and relatives.  What a kind gesture.

Cadillac in the car museum

I’ll be driving to Sevierville Tennessee on Sunday.

More pictures on Picasa.

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