Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Travels with Nikki

From the messy desk of Paul Levine

I'm writing this aboard American Airlines 977 which was supposed to have just landed in Miami but instead we're on the tarmac in Tampa.  Thunderstorms.  No complaints from me.  Not after Jacqueline's tale of the farting dog in the bulkhead seats last week.

I am not a great traveler.  An especially bad flier.  As I've mentioned before, my lady and I are about to embark on an 1,800 mile road trip....with our old, mentally challenged, partially deaf rescue dog Nikki.

Nikki has never been farther in a car than the local dog park.  So we're entering uncharted territory that goes something like this.

DAY ONE:  With Nikki in a backseat dog hammock, we drive from Miami to Savannah, with pee stops for Nikki et al.

DAY TWO:  Drive through Georgia, South Carolina and into North Carolina where we've rented a cabin/cottage/summer home on the outskirts of Asheville.

The place has what every Miamian craves: a wood-burning fireplace.

DAYS 3-43: Asheville and surroundings.  Hike, bike, picnic, explore the Blue Ridge Parkway....maybe write a little.  Any suggestions from people who know the North Carolina mountains (or traveling with dogs) are appreciated.

Restaurant recommendations are not discouraged.  I am already smacking my lips over the fried green tomatoes and "Appalachian Egg rolls" (pulled pork in braised greens and pickled onions) at the Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Adventure ahead.  I'm not sure how the trip will go, but I assure you there will be no stops on the tarmac in Tampa.

QUICK NOTE: "The Deep Blue Alibi" is on sale for $2.99 for two days exclusively on Amazon Kindle. 

Paul Levine


  1. This is such a sweet story, Paulie. I can just see you and your Beloved driving down the road with Nikki in her hammock.

    I read The Deep Blue Alibi when it first came out and loved it.

  2. from Jacqueline. Okey dokey so this is the third time trying to leave a comment for my dear fellow nakeds. Wishing you well on your road trip, dear Paulie. I have traveled extensively with my various dogs over the years and can say it's all OK so long as the aforesaid hound does not have gas. Maya,our dearly beloved rescue dog could be loaned out as a paint-stripper, and has been the cause of several impromptu stops just to air the car. That fireplace looks lovely. Wishing you a wonderful time in your cottage.

  3. Go see the Biltmore Estate. Humongous house to tour. Extensive lovely grounds you can walk through. Not sure how dog friendly it is, though.

  4. What a great adventure! Enjoy the fireplace. :)
    Look forward to seeing you guys when you roll into Boulder.

  5. Make a quick side trip to Black Mountain, just east of Asheville. The town is very small, but charming, and has a terrific ice cream store. But the trip is to see the former home of Black Mountain College, an experimental college in the 1930s-50s, home of teachers like Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and a large assortment of scientists, artists, writers, and thinkers. It has a wonderful history. See if you can arrange a screening of a recent documentary about the place. In a similar spirit, the same property (but not the same buildings) is now occupied by Black Mountain SOLE (self organized learning environment), a new venture headed by a cohort of some of the most intelligent, engaging, and committed young adults you'll ever have the privilege of meeting. Go get to know them. Look into the gap year, sabbatical, and MOOC programs they are offering. Find out how you can help. (Full disclosure: I'm on the advisory board.)