My original plan was for us to drive to Erwin, TN and spend Saturday night at Uncle Johnny's Hostel. We would then get a shuttle ride the next morning to Devil Fork Gap and complete our Sunday hike before heading home that Sunday evening. While driving there on Saturday, I decided to give the Hostel a call just to double check that they were expecting us that evening. I had called a few weeks earlier and made a reservation for staying there as well as reserving a shuttle ride. As it turned out, they had "lost" my reservation and informed me that they were booked solid for the evening. At this point, I could have attempted to debate the definition of the word "reservation" with the guy on the other line, but I quickly remembered that they were also going to shuttle us the next day and it wouldn't be wise to make my shuttle driver hate me.
No worries...I quickly called my cousin, Grayson, to see if we could crash at his house in Black Mountain for the night. Our drive took us right past Black Mountain, NC and it would only be a short 1 hour dive the next morning to meet up with our shuttle driver. Grayson owns what I like to refer to as the best free hostel in Black Mountain. I've often spent the night on his couch and he once again opened his doors for a couple of traveling hikers. It was actually nice to spend a little down time in Black Mountain. My uncle, Larry Deal, was actually playing a little mountain music that afternoon with a couple of other guys at the Dark City Deli. Good food, cold beer and some mountain tunes...I was suddenly glad that Uncle Johnny's Hostel had lost my reservation.
Grayson and Larry actually have their own band, The Big Deal Band, and they play music all around the Black Mountain and Asheville scene. Fun music...fun folks. Below is a pic of them from a previous show at Pisgah Brewing. Unfortunately they weren't playing on this particular evening. That just gives me another excuse to bring Colin back sometime soon.