Life in Asheville: Launch Trampoline Park

It was a rainy summer day in Asheville, North Carolina, and my girls kept after me to take them to Launch Trampoline Park. Because one of the girls won a complimentary pass at the local high school basketball camp (Hot Shot Champion!) they’d been before with my mom and wife. This would be my first time to Launch. It’s located at 24 Walden Drive in Arden, North Carolina, south of Asheville on Highway 25 / Hendersonville Road.

We Made a Video Review Below

I checked online about how much tickets cost.  They have some online coupons that you can sign up for. The good thing about checking the website was I realized they have specific jump times. We decided to jump for an hour from 6:15 – 7:15. I think you could get by with 30 minutes for $8, but I recommend an hour’s time for $14. Any more than that would have been too much for my girls, ages eight and ten.

Launch Trampoline Park, Asheville

the line for the obstacle course

I didn’t buy myself a ticket, but once I got there I could see that I would have a good time, especially dunking on the basketball hoop and doing the obstacle course. However, I would have had to overcome the fact that at 45 years of age, I would have been the oldest person jumping by at least a decade.

 

navigating the obstalce course

Navigating the Obstacle Course

There were only a few small negatives to consider:

  • Maybe the $14 is just a bit expensive? I felt this way more before going than once I got there.
  • The line was pretty long for the obstacle course. I think they might be able to send the next person onto the course a little sooner.

 

Launch Trampoline Park, Asheville, North Carolina, Things to do, family, Life in Asheville, tourism

Whew, all this jumping is tiring!

Reasons we recommend Launch:

  • Very fun!
  • My youngest especially loved the dodge ball. The referee did a good job.
  • Great exercise
  • Super clean facility
  • Friendly Staff

I do more “Life in Asheville” posts on this site.

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1,000 Miles for a Used Raft: Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway

The French Broad River runs right through where we live in Asheville, North Carolina and everywhere you go there are kayaks perched on top of automobiles. With daughters the ages seven and ten, my wife Megan and I thought we’d enjoy either tandem kayaks or maybe a raft. The typical tandem kayak in town went for around $800 and rafts like what I thought we’d need ranged from $2,500 to over $5,000.  Not knowing if we’d actually enjoy our time on the river (would it be too slow? too much of a hassle to get the boat in and out of the water and cars arranged at the appropriate geographical points) I thought I’d see if I could find anything used. There was almost nothing for sale. I took this to be a good sign. People were buying kayaks and rafts and liking them enough that they weren’t for sale. Check Craigslist for exercise equipment and a different story is told.

“I like the idea of us being together,” my wife Megan had said. And so we decided on a raft for the whole family and the best deal on a used one I could find was in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. This is about 470 miles from where we live. I’d vaguely heard of the town as one where the Appalachian Trail passed through.

Would I really drive seven hours each way for a used raft?

Turns out, I was willing to drive even farther than that. First I thought if we added The Skyline Drive in Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, we could make a family trip out of it. Megan said she and her parents used to go on such trips as vacation. Now we wouldn’t be so crazy, going so far for a used raft. We were going on vacation!

The plan evolved and we decided we would also buy a tent and do our first camping as a family. Why not take our dog Indy too?  The following pictures show a little of how our pilgrimage went:

 

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry

loaded up and ready for take off

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry, River Riders

destination #1: the nice folks at River Riders in Harper’s Ferry

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry, River Riders

phase one of mission completed, raft purchased

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry

ready for picnic dinner on the Skyline Drive

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Not long after dinner, we saw our first bear. Actually we saw three of them, a mother and two cubs who’d climbed up a tree. We saw this from The Skyline Drive. There were several cars pulled off to the side of the road, and probably ten or so people pointing up into the trees. At this point, my youngest started keeping track of the wildlife we spotted.

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry, wildlife, snakes, bears, deer, turkeys

My Youngest Kept Track of Our Wildlife Sightings

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Not long after the first bear sighting, I hit one with our van. I was driving around a corner, my sight impaired from the sunset, when I could just make out a bear when it was only a few feet from our bumper. I hit the brakes and gently turned away from the bear as it rammed the front left of our car. With no shoulder to pull onto and because we were on a curve, we didn’t stop right away. The bear was not visible in the rearview mirror or the side mirrors. Looking back, it seemed to be gone, having run off into the woods. We stopped at the next pull off and inspected the car. There was a small scratch and the bumper was covered with bear slobber.

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry

Our campsite at The Meadows on the Skyline Drive

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry, Bears

the first bears we saw

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Torgerson, Asheville, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Harper's Ferry

deer near our campsite

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Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, River Riders

Now which way are the falls?

 

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Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, River Riders

We made it!

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Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, River Riders, Peaks of Otter

another good dinner spot: at Peaks of Otter Lodge off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Coming Soon:

Reports from our raft on The French Broad River

Four Keys to MY Daily Happiness

You’d think I’d know better than to try and tackle a big-ass abstraction such as happiness, but what I’m trying to write about here is the stuff I need to do most days to continue to feel pretty good about the prospect of another day. I was careful to include MY in the title as a nod to you all that my way of finding a degree of happiness could be real different from yours.

Let me say this, first: there’s a lot of big-picture happiness that is derived from my family. That I’ve got my sister Anne, my mom and dad here in Asheville, my wife Megan, and our two girls, have helped me to build a strong foundation from which to live a life. If work isn’t going great, rejection slips for my writing seem to be piling up, or people are otherwise giving me a hard time, it’s pretty easy to shake all of that negative weight.

Georgia Review, rejection, writing

The Georgia Review says, “No Thanks.”

 

When little girls are calling you daddy, the world isn’t as likely to land a good punch.

Journey, Torg Stories, Charlotte, 80s, music

Family at Journey Concert

1. Write / Make Stuff

When I need a short answer for why I spend so much time writing, podcasting, making films, posting on the website, shooting video with my kids, and participating in projects such as the 48 Hour Film Project, I say, “It’s fun to make stuff.”

My answer is an oversimplification in that it ignores the mental health portion of why I need to write. I have A LOT of mental energy that can take the form of what can feel like tornadoes of too many thoughts slamming around inside of my head. Writing regularly–preferably first thing each morning–seems to dissipate the strength of the mental storms that seemed inclined to form in my thinking. I understand writing might not lead to improved mental health for all.

2. Exercise 

In addition to having a lot of excess mental energy that I need to burn off each day, the same is true for the physical part of me. I really stumbled onto this key ingredient for my well-being back in the late 90s when I was in the midst of becoming divorced. As that process began, I started to train for a marathon. There’s nothing like twenty miles on a Saturday to help calm the soul put you down on a bed fast asleep. These days–with a family I want to spend time with, teaching to do, writing I want to accomplish–I don’t want to allot the time needed to do long-distance running, but I do run at least six days a week. I like running way more than I like lifting weights, and my latest plan to get the lifts in has been to do half of them each day. So on a typical day, I run three miles and do half of my weight-lifting workout. This usually takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, and is a big part of what helps me feel good about myself and the rest of what each day has to bring.

indyhill

My Running Partner Indy

3. Moderation with Alcohol

I can have a beer–probably two–in the evening and be at my best the next day. Anything more than that or something along the lines of two margaritas, and I’ll find myself waking up after a few hours of sleep unable to get any more rest. It could very well be that I have talked myself into such a cycle being true, but it does seem to me that alcohol is the primary fuel for those tornadoes of thought I was describing earlier.

4. Good Sleep 

This post could have been shorter if I’d just have written I need a good night’s sleep to call myself a happy person. I have found that if I get in a bad rut of sleeping…

writing + exercise + abstinence from alcohol usually equals a good night’s sleep

The other part of getting a good night’s rest is that when my wife is teaching, she gets up no later than 5:30 am and that means I at least wake up, if not actually get out of the bed for another thirty minutes. I am the kind of person prone to staying up late to watch sports or play sports video games. When that happens, I wake up tired and am less likely to get in good writing and running sessions. And then I’m feeling bummed and ticked off. Most days, I know I hate not writing and not running enough that I can make myself go to bed early. When I fail to execute the above four-step process, I try to give myself a break and do better the next day.