Comments? Email me: .

Day 7
Saturday, April 16


There are no pictures today, on account of I smashed my camera. Of course I had to do this late on a Saturday afternoon, in a not-very-big town where there are no discount camera stores that are open Saturday night or indeed possibly Sunday. There seems to be only one large camera store in the whole town, according to the yellow pages, and they were not there to answer my question about Sunday hours. Unthinkable however to continue this trip without a digital camera.

It was a day of frustrations and annoyances. When I packed up, I put a weeks' supply of my meds in a little container in my overnight bag, and threw the bottles themselves into the big bag that was going to stay out in the car and not come into every motel room. Yesterday I used up my supply and refilled the little container from the stash in the big bag. Except -- there was no bottle of lasix. I completely emptied the big bag, the overnight bag, and several shoppingbags with books etc in them -- no bottle of Lasix. After a couple of days without lasix, my blood pressure heads for the moon -- so I gotta get some. No problem, think I; I will call Kaiser in California and have them call my prescription to a pharmacy in Asheville where I can pick it up. No, alas, that is against Kaiser's policy. Their suggestion was that I have someone at home pick up the prescription at a Kaiser pharmacy and overnight fedex it to me. To Where?? I am in a different state every night. And it is the weekend. No way in hell of getting it that way before Monday evening when I will be in Waycross Georgia. And I typically get to my destinations rather late, so how does that leave time to get a fedex delivery? Eventually, after I kept saying "I need this prescription today. How do you suggest I get it?" the Kaiser phone person allowed as how I could phone the refilll in to the Kaiser pharmacy -- only one of which was open on Saturday -- and they could then phone the prescription to Asheville. So far so good. Except -- they tell me I have no refills left, so my doctor needs to approve it. And it's Saturday. This is ridiculous. Eventually a helpful advice nurse contacted an on-duty doctor and got the prescription refill OK'd and switched me to the pharmacy to handle getting the prescription routed to Asheville. The pharmacy person says "Your doctor should call the prescription to Asheville." I had to tell her, "Nope, can't do, not Kaiser's policy, You guys have to route the prescription here." They say, "Give us 20 minutes, then have the pharmacy in Asheville call us and we can authorize the prescription." I ask the B&B hostess where's a drugstore and she gives me map and directions. I drive there.

Their pharmacy department is closed on Saturday.

Arghhh, say I, is there any pharmacy in Asheville that is open on Saturday? They tell me there is one way out on the very outskirts of town but they can't give me directions how to get there from here. Armed with the address, I manage to find it myself with some difficulty. It is open. I get my pills. Ahhhh! Now, finally freed of this B S, I can head for the Biltmore house.

Biltmore House was fantastic. It is really hard to imagine people living like that, even the equivalent of today's billionaires. The gardens at this time of year are spectacular to the max -- masses of tulips in every color, in full bloom, their colors blazing in the sun. They were holding their annual spring Flower Festival and the house was decorated with swags of greenery and enormous bouquets of flowers. Photos are not allowed inside the house -- believe it or not, they don't even allow people to sketch the interior -- but I would have loved to have taken pictures of the outside of the house, the sensational gardens and the grounds. Alas, standing in line to get into Biltmore House, my camera strap slips through my fingers and my camera crashes onto the concrete. I pick it up hoping, but my hopes are for naught. It makes a terrible grinding noise and flashes "System Error" on the display.

I always like to look on the bright side of things and the bright side of this is that I have been coveting a newer digicam with interchangeable lenses -- but of course it would be foolish in the extreme to buy a new camera when I had an oldish but perfectly good Nikon Coolpix 950. Well, now I don't. So tonight I do some rapid research on the 'net to pick out a suitable camera, and tomorrow I run around trying to find somewhere I can buy it. Suggestions very happily entertained for the new camera! Please!

Looking over my last 2 days' journals, I realize I forgot to say something about Tennessee. The cemeteries! Every cemetery I passed was full of flowers. Most of the headstones were decorated with large multicolor bouquets -- no single red rose in a bud vase here. The cemetery strikes the eye like a French flower market. This is soooo different from Western cemeteries! Where firstoff you rarely see a headstone at all, there are nothing but measly little brass plates in the ground; and secondly you almost never see a flower unless somebody was just buried yesterday. I imagine it has something to say about people still living near the graves of their loved ones, instead of having moved to a different State as is the habit out here. But -- I passed one graveyard in North Carolina so far, and there were only one or two scattered bouquets. Figure.