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Best town stop yet!

2011 March 18

So we have a one day “layover” in Franklin, NC. Every now and then you need one to resupply, get around town to clean your clothes, and catch up on email, blogs, and skype calls.

We are staying at the Haven Budget Inn, which is owned by Ron Haven. He owns several hotels here in town and fills his days with town board meetings, chamber of commerce appointments (he’s an elected official) and driving thru-hikers around town in his van. Pretty swanky gig if you don’t mind the smell. He’s a very helpful and knowledgeable man, willing to pick you up at one of the gaps close to town for free if you’re planning to stay in one of his three hotels. With five hotels we know about in town, you have a pretty good chance of choosing one of his. Oh, and he used to be a pro wrestler in the Georgia circuit.

Anyway, there are plenty of great restaurants in town, some local and some chains depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. But better yet, there are two gear stores and we needed some new gear!

The first store we stopped at (Three Eagles Outfitters) had a nice selection, but of the wrong gear. It seemed to be more aimed at day hikers or weekenders. While there’s nothing wrong with that, they didn’t have what a thru-hiker needs. They had a few items we wanted so we quickly snatched them up and headed out. Later on however, we decided we wanted gear from the other outfitter and found out Three Eagles WILL NOT REFUND PURCHASES. Lame! Steaming mad You can get store credit but, uh… we leave for the trail again tomorrow. What am I supposed to do with this $90 of gear I have now? So I guess we’ll mail it home and use it some day… that was a frustrating experience.

On the other hand, the other outfitter (Outdoor 76) opened just last October and is right across the road from the Budget Inn where we were staying. It’s a smaller operation, but these guys have what you need and know their stuff. No joke, one of the owners sat Elizabeth down, took off her shoe and explained why he was fitting her for a certain type of shoe and insole. They had great names if not a great selection of brands, and there gear choices were very weight-conscious. The best part? The prices weren’t “water in the desert” prices! They were close to what you’d pay at other outfitters. While that’s more than say, Amazon or maybe REI, you can walk in, talk the the guys about the best choice for your needs, try on the shoes or lay down in the sleeping bag, and walk out ready for another 4 months of hiking. We bought insoles for Elizabeth and a lower temperature sleeping bag to try and keep her warm. They gave her their number and said, “If you have any trouble with these insoles, anywhere on the trail at all, I will send you a replacement or find someone near you to take care of it. Call me. I’m serious.” They get HUGE 5 stars from these two! They earned our respect AND our money. Smile

One thing of note in this town: you cannot seem to buy chicken in those aluminum bags (the kind tuna comes in). As that was the staple in our next ten days of food, we’re not sure what we’re going to do. There’s no good (reliable) resupply from here to north of Fontana Village so we’ll probably just double up on Ramen with no meat, or maybe tuna packets. But… neither of us likes tuna THAT much. But with protein requirements like we have three spoons full of peanut butter, no matter how tasty, is going to fit the bill for very long. We leave tomorrow. I’ll let you know in a future post how well we made it.

Also, we’ve met up with several of the hikers we started out with and walked with previously. It was kind of cool to have “the band back together” – old friends, and new friends all chowing down at a $5 Shoney’s breakfast buffet! We both noted they looked thinner and they mentioned it to us too – so our radical weight loss program seems to be working. It won’t be long before you see us on late night television promoting our plan.

Thanks for the boxes of supplies we received! We picked up our bounce box at the post office and had THREE waiting for us! Plenty of our luscious peanut butter and hand warmers – thanks to all who participated! If you sent something and I don’t mention it for a while, understand our “shipper” is under strict orders to just hold anything she receives too much of until later. We will appreciate your hospitality at some point, I promise!

Until next time,

John and Liz

One Response leave one →
  1. Mom and pop hass permalink
    March 19, 2011

    I’ll keep your comments in mind for the next time I’m in Franklin.
    PRESS ON !!

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