7/28/2007

We are currently setup at the Bear Creek Campground in Asheville, NC. We did not have reservations and we got one of the last few sites that our motor home would fit into. Last evening we camped at the hamfest and this morning we spent an hour checking out the items for sale. The hamfest was ok, but not overly exciting. I did not see anything that I wanted to purchase. John gave me the lecture about how I was not allowed to buy any junk. I told him that I would purchase any junque that I wanted. There is a difference between Junk and Junque. John purchased a large led flashlight and some tips for our soldering iron.

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Prince enjoying the scenery

We were done at the hamfest by 9:00 am, so we drove the motor home over to the Biltmore Estate. There was at least 5 miles of narrow, twisty roads with low hanging tree branches that we had to drive the motor home through to get to the parking area. John was not overly amused, but was able to put his driving ability to the test. John says that you “should not listen to Bernard when he tells you to take a RV anywhere – unless they like trees scratching the side of the coach and having the antennas on top knocked around” Here is a picture of Prince on the dashboard watching the scenery go by as we go down the narrow road:

We finally made it to the RV parking area where John explained to the parking attendant that we can not backup the motor home with the truck being towed from behind. We finally were pointed to a suitable parking spot, parked and then took a shuttle bus to the Biltmore mansion. Here is some pictures we took outside:

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Derek

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John

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Biltmore

We decided to have lunch at the Biltmore Cafe before going on the “Behind the Scenes” tour at noon. We both had yummy roast beef sandwiches served with potato spears and cole slaw. The cafe was nice and not very crowded yet. Our waiter was cute and attentive. Then we went on the “behind the scenes” tour and checked out areas in the basement where the electrical, heating and mechanical systems were housed. For a home built in the 1890’s, they had lots of modern amenities like built in refrigeration system, electric elevators, dumb waiters, washing machines and dryers. We also saw Mr. Vanderbilt’s telegraph desk.

After the behind the scenes tour, we went on the regular audio tour. The audio tour was well done and highlighted lots of obscure artifacts and details in the house that I would not have noticed myself. The tour lasted about 2 hours and I did not think it would ever end – it kept snaking through room after room on floor after floor. John finished his audio tour 30 minutes before I did because I listened to all of the optional audio tracks.

We enjoyed the time we spent at the Biltmore but found it to be very expensive. It cost us $49 each for the basic ticket, $15 for the behind the scenes tour and $8 for the audio tour, for a grand total of $72 each. Not cheap, but worth doing once. Our camp site cost us $45.00 for one night, but having a free place to park last night (just the cost of hamfest tickets) helps offset the $45.00….

Tomorrow we don’t have much planned. I’m sure John will want to head back to Columbia, SC by early afternoon.

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