Some of you who follow me on Twitter may have heard me making fun of Kmart for selling these basketballs with Obama's face on them with a huge sign that said "President Obama is coming to Asheville!" Some thought I was joking but sadly I was not. It was ridiculous! I really regret leaving my phone out in the car because I so wanted to take a picture of it.
The entire Asheville area is very worked up about the visit. For those that didn't believe me that him and his family are taking a weekend vacation here at the Grove Park Inn, here's a link to ABC news with the article about it.
I really don't think it's that big of deal. I don't think anyone will even see them. Last time he was here (when he was still a candidate running for president), he ate at 12 Bones, this awesome BBQ joint down on the river. They showed him on TV ordering 2 full racks of ribs.
Fast forward to today, I went out this morning to do some grocery shopping and to pick up the rest of Gavins party supplies. I was on my way home at 1:30. I was about a mile or 2 miles away from the 12 Bones Restaurant (which is about 10 min. from where I live). I see this long line of cars just stopped lined up the road. I thought It's gotta be Obama. He ate here last time and he's probably there again and everyone is stopped to try and get a glimpse. So I turn around to go the other way. Only when I realized that I was sooo close to home and going ALL the way back the way I came was going to take forever so I turn BACK around and then saw that the police had the entire road blocked from about another mile back from where I was the first time. They weren't letting anyone through. They were making everyone turn around.
By this time I'm pretty ticked off. I mean they would shut down the entire road just so the President can chow down on some ribs? Come on.
I had to drive another 30 minutes to get on the interstate. Traffic was terrible. I got on the interstate and noticed that the side I was on was bumper to bumper. Stop and Go. I was like 'What the heck is going on?' Then I saw that every exit was shut down by the police. All of downtown Asheville seemed inaccessible. There were people standing on the bridges.
Then I see on the other side of the interstate that there is not a car one. Then I realized that they shut it all down so the motorcade could go through. That's when I saw the first 2 police motorcycles. It just so happened though that about that time, I came to one of those concrete barriers that separates the road. So that's all I saw! The people standing on the side of the road started cheering and waving. I didn't get to see anything but I heard it! I heard the cars going by but that was all. On down toward Patton Ave. There were cars stopped on the side of the road and people standing everywhere with cameras. I happened to have my camera with me so I pull over and wait a minute. There were still police cars, ambulances, DOT trucks... pretty much anything with flashing lights were following them! I swear they had to have used every police car they had.
Anyway, I remember thinking 'This is good and all but I just want to get to Taco Bell and go home!' (I hadn't eaten all day and by this time it was about 2:30) I never did see the Presidents car, only a bunch of cops, 1 ambulance, 2 DOT trucks and 1 black SUV. The SUV was a bit curious. It was at the end though, probably Secret Service or something. So I was a bit less mad because it turns out that Obama wasn't holding up traffic to eat. But I was still perplexed at the reason for shutting down ALL the roads and exits. I mean they were driving from the airport on the interstate. That has nothing to do with the river (where the 12 Bones is) or any of downtown. I honestly don't see making hundreds or maybe even thousands of peoples lives any harder just because the President is coming through. They could have just sent some police ahead to clear the road before and put some a mile or 2 behind and leave it at that. They shut down all of Asheville just so President Obama can drive through. It took me an hour out of my way to get home today. And this is all I have to show for it (these are after it was all over. By the time I got pulled over, they were gone):
So I was just on the local news facebook page and it turns out they were at 12 Bones restaurant. Grrr. So that's why the entire road was shut down. They had a pic of him and said " They ate ribs, greens, baked beans, corn bread, and mac & cheese."
There was also a really cool pic from a woman who got a picture of Air Force One landing at the Asheville Airport. Surprising since the airport is so tiny but they made it!