Viv came into town two weeks ago from Montreal. I haven’t seen her since I got off the trail in Erwin, TN in 2008. We’ve kept in contact since then, despite my unsuccessful attempts at using Skype. The plan was for her to arrive in Columbus on Thursday, drive Friday to Athens, OH, continue driving Saturday to Bert’s wedding in Virginia, and then make the drive home Sunday back to Columbus. Viv had never been to Ohio, and Bobcat and I wanted to show her what real college partying was like back in the day. Also, I think she was looking forward to putting places/faces with names that I’d dropped so many times in conversation.
For the record, Viv is a craft person, and a talented one at that. In fact she has her very own blog at http://fleurdepixie.wordpress.com. You should probably open up a new page and check out her craft blog (but of course you’ll wait to read it until you’ve finished this post because you are so addicted to the quality writings that I put out to the blogosphere. Okay, fine, go check hers out, but don’t forget your roots and where you found out about the finest hand-made Canadian crafts – Viv, you owe me a cut). I’m sure she’ll have her own posts with her perspective on the trip.
Anyway, we made our way to Athens and had a rocking good time, partying harder than in quite some time. We stopped at The Maplewood for the traditional nachos and beer before heading uptown. I was amused and honored to find they had created T-shirts that bore the logo of their now most popular drink, “The Barfly,” which I had concocted while working their in 2007. The owner was kind enough to give me one, and it is now hanging on my wall in my office in homage to life not lived but not forgotten by me. Viv was also lucky enough to meet Kevin and Craig and witness their drunken antics, which is deserve an entire separate post that shouldn’t be shared for the public. Giving you just a glimpse, Craig and his newfound “friend” were given an ovation from the entire bar when they left to go back to her place. Well done, kid.
Saturday morning, we drove somewhat hungover to Virginia, nursing down bottled water and Milano cookies along the way. We arrived early and made a pit stop at the local outfitter. Being the hiking guru, I love stopping at other outfitters and seeing their selection, how the merchandise, the overall feel of the shop, and what products are working for them. We ended up having a long conversation with the owners about business, the AT, the wedding location, local places to camp, etc. It was entertaining and useful information, which I appreciated.
Finally, we arrived to the wedding. Bert had prepared us by saying it was going to be a casual, relaxed wedding – as in flip flops are acceptable choices for the occasion. The setup was excellent. The groomsmen wore khaki pants with white shirts, and handmade (by Bert’s mother) colored ties to match the dresses of the bridesmaid. Each groomsman had a tie clip unique to them (i.e. wrench for the handyman, farm animals for the farmer, etc.). Bert himself looked strapping, sporting the same uniform as the groomsman with the addition of a handmade (once again by his mom) vest. For a unique hiker touch, the bridal party went barefoot throughout the outdoor ceremony. Needless to say, I was all about it. The bluegrass band was excellent, and I particularly loved the Johnny Cash cover of All You Need Is Love by the Beatles as their first song as man and wife. The four of us hikers who attended all imprinted our thumbs on their “wedding tree” and we gorged ourselves on the southern-style pulled pork, bean, bacon, potato salad and a selection of pies. Everyone had an immaculate time and it was such a joy to see a happy couple truly define what marriage should be about. It was apparent to everyone there that these two are in love and bring about the absolute best in one another.
That evening, Viv and I decided we should get a jump on the drive and we started driving back to Ohio. After a few hours, we were both exhausted, but couldn’t find a camp ground to stop at. We hit up a rest stop at the Virginia/West Virginia border to see what we could find, and there wasn’t anything nearby. We gave a call to the local hotels, but all were booked and so we ended up sleeping in the car for a few hours. Not the most comfortable sleep for either of us, but it added to the adventure, and we are able to get back to Cbus before 1pm, giving us plenty of time to relax throughout the remainder of the day. Monday I was supposed to leave at 4am for a flight to Utah for work, but that was postponed (more to follow in future post), so Viv and I visited the local JoAnn Fabrics. Apparently the don’t have stores like these in Canada, and Viv decided this was her first true love, if you can fall in love with a fabric store. (By now though, you know all about that and my tiny ironing board because you read her blog earlier, right?) So after that pit-stop, I dropped her off at the airport and successfully ended part 1 of the 3 part adventure that has been the last 10 days of life.