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Monday, October 15, 2018

Sierra-Nevada and Socks

Leaving Justus Orchards, we headed towards Mills River to see if we could get a tour at Sierra Nevada Brewing. On the way we passed this old hardware store in Fletcher, North Carolina. Signs show it is a Bluegrass Venue during the week and a Church on Sundays. We may have to come back.
Sierra Nevada Brewery has two locations, one of which is not in the Sierras or in Nevada but in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. It is a beautiful facility, family owned, and worth visiting even if you don't like beer.
If you don't have a tour reservation, there are self-guided tours available where you can see most of the brewery. We signed up on the waiting list for a guided tour, then explored a little on our own.
These copper kettles were impressive, even from the balcony above.
Here are the steps in the process for any aspiring brewers.

We checked on the noon tour and we didn't get a spot, but the 1:00 tour had two openings and we got to go for free because the folks that reserved it didn't show up.

While waiting for the tour we wandered around the outdoor music venue and enjoyed some tastings and lunch in the huge on-site restaurant. It is an impressive facility.
On the guided tour we were able to feel and smell different hops.
Learning that the copper is only for show, I peered down into the working stainless steel wort receiver.
The bottling and labeling line was fun to watch. It is very automated, except for variety packs which are picked by hand.
Watching labels being applied we noticed our van outside in the parking lot. They don't currently allow boondocking, but are thinking about adding a campground. It would be great to have dinner and see a concert here and without having to worry about driving home on mountain roads.
This tasting room is just for folks taking the tour.
Heading out we passed by the rain water reclamation tanks and big solar panel arrays.
Purchasing two favorites based on the sampling fun, Beth assured me we had room to store them. Those creative Canadians at Pleasure-Way left a carpeted cavity under one of the settees that is just the right size for two six packs. The missing beers were not consumed prior to driving, but were in the fridge cooling down.
Nearing the exit for Old Fort, we noticed a sign for the Mountain Gateway Museum. Hey, we'd never been there, so turned off on the exit.
Unfortunately, this and many other museums, was closed on Mondays. We did wander around and looked at two old homes from the 1880's on the museum grounds. This one is the "Morgan Cabin" moved from Mudcut Road in Marion.
A pretty stream and nice plantings attracted monarch butterflies.
Just down the street was the Old Fort railroad station, also converted to a museum and closed on Monday. We hoped a train would go by, but it didn't happen.
Peeking in the bay window, we could see the old telephone and the dispatcher's chair.
Walking back to the van, we noticed the Outlet sign over this door. It turned out to be a real outlet store for Parker Legware, one of the few places still making socks in the USA. We bought some very nice Eddie Bower branded hiking socks for $3. Have since learned that you can ask for a tour of the sock factory that is above the store.
Leaving the mountains we made it down the steep grades without needing to use any of the runaway truck ramps.

Another fun adventure ended when we arrive home without incident just before 8 pm. Socker, as usual, was very excited to see Beth and claimed her lap for the duration of the evening.

This trip was 2,638 miles with nineteen comfortable nights in the van.

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