Friday, July 26, 2013

The Best/Worst Day of the Summer (An Asheville Adventure)

Yesterday, my friend Anna and I went to Asheville to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate.  We had been planning this trip since before graduation and were immensely looking forward to it.

Prior to the trip, we decided that we would dress up all classy-like for the occasion. When we left that morning, we were looking cute in our flouncy vintage dresses and we were SO incredibly excited! Due to the fact that my car has the worst brakes known to man, we took my Dad's Kia Soul for the mountain-excursion. We prayed heavily for traveling mercies before we took off and for the next 30 minutes, traveling mercies is exactly what we had.


Out of nowhere on I-40, a baby deer showed up in the median. As soon as the words "aww look, Bambi!" came out of my mouth, Bambi ran straight into the car, me plowing right over its poor little limbs. Anna and I were shocked and concerned, so I got off at the next exit and stopped at a gas station to see what damage Bambi had done.

The front plate bent and full of Bambi fur.

We were thankful to see that Bambi had only dented Dad's lovely StarWars-referencing, decorative front-plate and there were no other signs of damage that we could see.... However, now that I am looking at this picture, I do see a certain puddle beneath that sign which will explain what happened after the next 40 or so miles.

We were officially in Asheville. It had been my first time driving in the mountains and I was grateful that we had had no issues other than Bambi dying. We were excitedly seeing the Biltmore signs and preparing ourselves for the awesome day we expected. However, within sight of the Biltmore Estate exit, the car began acting funny. There was no get-up-and-go and that Kia was having trouble getting past people on the interstate. Not only that, but she started making a weird rattling noise every time I had that pedal to the floor trying to get her to go! I immediately told Anna to call my Dad as we approached the exit... at that time, the car was a goner. The steering wheel was tight and the engine was obviously failing. The hazards were put on as I brought the car to a stop right at the very end of the exit ramp. 

It was then that I turned the car off, and tried it again, praying that it would fix itself at that moment. But that was not going to happen. The car began smoking and Anna well-knowingly advised us to get out of the car. 

Not long after, a cop came along to check up on us. We told him our story up to that point and he checked out the engine and saw that it was leaking something that wasn't gasoline, but obviously important to the engine. He supposed that Bambi had done more damage than we had thought. 
The friendly officer (who we will NEVER forget... not only was he an angel, he also had the face of an angel haha) stood with us for well over an hour as we contacted our family as well as AAA's roadside assistance. Praise the Lord for such a thing as AAA. They got a tow-truck over there about an hour after our break-down and then we were officially stranded in a strange city.

On the side of the road haha

Angel Officer kept our spirits high, though. We had nice conversations with him and once the tow-truck came, he offered us a ride to the Biltmore House in his good ole cop-car. 

How ghetto-fabulous were we? in our flouncy dresses and red lipstick getting chauffeured to the Biltmore Estate in a cop-car? Needless to say, that part made us pretty excited haha

When we arrived at the gates, the Officer worked out a deal with the Biltmore staff to get us free shuttle services, which normally costed $15 a person. (See what I mean about the angel thing?) Before he left, we got his card. Turns out his name was Evan haha. Next thing we knew, we were stranded again, but waiting on our own personal shuttle. 

It was then we met Gary, our friendly-neighborhood shuttle-bus driver. He took us straight to the Biltmore House, explaining if we needed any form of transportation anywhere, just tell someone to get a hold of him. 

Meanwhile, back in the land of broken Kia's, the car had been taken to a Kia Dealership nearby to be figured out. There were three explanations: A. The timing belt had broken, causing the engine to literally be dead. This would cost approximately $4000. or B. Somebody had hidden the fact that the car's engine was already crap and would still be dead and would still need replaced. Lawsuit would follow. or C. Bambi had done something, who knows what. It was looking like the radiator was the biggest problem, though. However, we were out of a ride for the day for sure, and although it was thought possible that the car would be fixed by 5 if it was minor, that was not the case.

Forgetting all of the car problems, we decided to head on into the Biltmore House to make the most of our day. And that is exactly what we did. We enjoyed the history of the location, the gorgeous rooms and detailing of the mansion, and had a nice lunch after our tour. We did some window shopping because we're not rolling in enough dough to buy some $70 dainty owl earrings... and enjoyed ourselves!

Having a fabulous (but hot) time in the gardens!
Dress from JCPennys- GREAT DEAL!
Steve Madden bag from TJMaxx.
Sunglasses from Charlotte Russe.

Gary found us afterwards (we were quite easy to find... no one else around was as fabulous-looking as we were) and got us another shuttle to take us to a different little village. The driver was named Lisa and she was an ADORABLE little woman who definitely spoiled us. On our way over to the next village, she acted as our tour-guide-- stopping in the middle of the road to tell us about each location she was describing and whatnot. When dropping us off, she assured us she would get us again at 5 to take us to wherever we needed outside the gates so we could be picked up by my family later. I'm telling you, the Biltmore Estate staff is ON POINT. 

We finished off our day taking it easy in the little museum in the village and then hanging out with farm animals for awhile. Lisa picked us up at 5 and took us to a street where we would walk across to this fancy McDonalds with a grand piano in it where my family would eventually pick us up. 
It took awhile to get across that street though, man.... We felt awkward standing there on the corner, trying to prevent a Marilyn from happening (aka the dress flying up incident) whilst multiple strange people driving by honked and whistled. You see, hookering-it-up is not our forte. ;)

We did get a ride back to Statesvegas, the Kia staying behind in Asheville.
And although some parts of our day were STRESSFUL, we were very grateful for the adventurous moments that we had. These three people we met were God-sent, for sure, and would it not have been for them, the day would have been terrifying. I am very grateful the world is blessed with their presence. And the car situation turned out okay. It was Bambi that messed up the engine; one of his limps punctured the radiator and lost its fluid and the engine got so hot it melted all kindsa stuff. According to the dealership, it really should have blown up. God was with us, even though it sort of felt like He wasn't. Insurance is also covering the cost of both getting the car down to Statesvegas and the replacement of the engine. So, all in all, it worked out pretty well haha.

As for us, it was a day of firsts.
First time Anna went to Biltmore.
First time I drove in the mountains.
First time killing Bambi.
First time Anna cracked her phone screen.
First time my car ever broke down.
First time we were ever stranded in a strange city.
First time I ever had to call AAA.
First time we ever rode in a cop-car... etc haha

You could also say it was the first time we were in a really scary situation, and left grateful and blessed. :)