well today we hitched up the oxen and took the wagons east and south, off to adventure and lookin’ for gold. Well not really, it was more like we shoved as much as would fit into the prius and drove and drove and drove and drove. Our destination; north carolina; blue ridge mountains; penland school of crafts. I went with lynne, whom I work with, and her husband mark. Both of which are delightful driving company. We read papers, looked at digital maps (and real ones) sang along to the entire paul simon album ‘graceland’, stopped to pee a lot, and played the license plate game. It was pretty much a straight shot. 75 south until knoxville, then a bunch of roads I don’t remember.
We left at 7:30am and pulled into penland around 9pm. We hit traffic the entire way, and torrential downpours, light rain, medium rain and heavy rain. Ohio was flat and uneventful and then we hit kentucky. I find kentucky to be a charming state. Green rolling hills, farm land, beautiful. It was lovely to watch it roll by. Mark kept threatening to make us go to the horse park with a stuffed man o war. I was quite confused at first as to why they would have a large stuffed sea creature that is most oft found along the coast of australia until mark pointed out that it was in fact a breed of horse, which made more sense. We did not stop due to the fact that according to his phone other people thought it was over-rated. Kentucky rolled by and we entered tenessee.
Now tennessee is spectacular. I must have said ‘wow, that is just so beautiful!’ about a dozen times. We were driving along the appalahian mountain range and the fog was drifting across making it look as though the mountains were draped in cotton candy. We decided to take the northern route and forgo asheville for johnson city. We stopped in johnson city for a bite of dinner. After having fast food italian for lunch lynne really wanted a real meal and a drink (as did I!!!). we found a german bar and figured they would have something vegetarian. None of us are vegetarian but I am a selective meat eater and lynne and mark keep kosher, so eating vegetarian works well for all of us. Surprisingly the menu was heavy on schnitzel and light of vegetables. But we managed with a slew of appetizers and side dishes. I ended up eating fried cauliflower, steamed broccoli and potato salad. All very good, and drinking an enormously tall beer from a local microbrewery. I think we all started getting a little cranky before dinner, and at this point we were all tired of being in the car. But we had about an hour left to go.
Penland is not 60 miles from johnson city, but it takes an hour to get there. It was nothing but switchbacks the entire way. Lynne took the turns like a professional race car driver, not batting an eyelash at the twistyness. I was impressed, and also a bit nauseous. It was at that point that I regretted the fried cauliflower. But I kept my dinner down. It was so twisty that there were two arrow signs right next to one another pointing at each other. Mark thought that the road twisted so much they were confused, I thought that maybe they were instructing you on where to puke. But we finally made it to penland at dusk, and oh boy is it beautiful here. I am looking forward to going for a walk before breakfast.
Everyone’s temporary housing assignments were listed on the board at the dining hall and I am in the same room tonight as I will be for the next two weeks. Nothing special, just a two person dorm type room, 2 beds, 2 nightstands, 2 dressers and a shared bathroom in the hall. But cozy enough. This evening I am sharing my room with a lovely woman named andrea from chile, who looks immensely tired and is working on packing a lot of things into two pieces of luggage for her flight tomorrow. I am sure I will look much like her at this time 2 weeks from now. I have every intention on writing regular blog posts about my time here, but we will see how my momentum keeps up.
Tomorrow I will meet all of the studio assistants for my session. I sort of feel like I am at summer camp. As we walked up to the dining hall today all of the cool kids were sitting out at picnic tables drinking wine. I am sure I will be fine, make friends, and start feeling reasonably comfortable after a few days, but I had sudden flashbacks to middle school and hoping people liked me. I think my long winded post will be done now as I should really get some sleep. Wish me luck on my first day!!!!