[for the purposes of personal safety, these entries were not released until after we returned]
It is amazing how difficult it is to start a trip. Even when you have deadlines and arrival times.
We are late. Not by much, but late enough to make me start to pull out of the driveway with the tailgate wide open. Shelley doesn‘t start out this way. She starts out with just Frankie in the car, driving to the Raleigh’s RDU airport to pick up the others. I calculate that they would have to start even earlier than we in order to make it to Raleigh, then get on the road to Asheville to arrive at the Biltmore estate in time. On the other hand, I don’t think they arrive as early as we do.
Our visit to Biltmore is as effective as it is informative and fun. There is much in the book that will have to change. I have so much wrong in the description. Conservators and visitors would have laughed — and put the book down. We can’t have that.
We tour the roofs – what was once called an architectural tour. Claud would want to go on that. And if – IF – I say, one of the sisters developed a case of vertigo and it interrupted the trip, she’d be angry. Good. More plot.
What I also learn is that one of my main questions is about to be answered in the positive. A scene I’ve written is very possible – and so that means of moving things forward is perfectly reasonable. (No, I’m not revealing details here – it would be too much information.) However, I will say that character flaws make for good drama and revelation.
The day finishes with our GPS leading us miles astray, when all we want to do is find our hotel. Along about when she tells us “Turn right on Ford road, and drive off-road” we conclude she’s lost, and we go about tricking her into giving us proper directions. Silly mechanics.
Seasoned travelers will probably laugh at me, but I’ve never done anything like this before.
As I am sorting things to pack and planning the errands I have to run, I’m getting overwhelmed.
- Get new tires
- Vaccinate dogs
- send off any mailings that have to go out
- Check out electronics and replace
- Buy new purse
- finish current assignments, jobs, and interviews
- Clean car
- Print maps
- Print manuscript – or put on thumb drive
- Make all necessary reservations
The difference between this and other trips I’ve taken is that
- this is longer
- it’s totally profession-related
- it will have a bigger effect on my wip than any other research/trip I’ve done
- and, yeah, all of the above, all over again
Truthfully, I feel like I’m packing for a sales trip. I’ve acquired a couple plastic boxes for files and electronics and realized there’s a bunch of contingency stuff I have to take, plus some printouts of maps of individual segments of the trip to make. Did you know, some places – notably Deal’s Gap in the Appalachians, are still not accurately handled by GPS? They tell you right on their web site that if you follow your GPS, you’ll wind up 16 miles south of where they are! So, paper map it is — and hopefully Google will have it better than GPS, otherwise we get a secondary adventure.
Finally, the only lament I have is that you can only do one thing of this nature at a time. I’ve found a conflict that will probably bug me forever. Another convention that I’d dreamed of going to is taking place at the same time as our trip. Once I was given the grant, I was committed, and poof! there went my dream of the other convention. Ah well, I will probably get more out of this trip because it’s for me personally, than I would at the other. And maybe, just maybe, it’s only a stop along the road for me on the way to these other conventions I’d like to attend.