September 29, 2021
We're up around 7:00 or so, can't remember even though it's just yesterday now. Travel Day again. This time we'll move east and south for just over a 100 miles.
Melanie gets out for a brief walk around the campground then readies the inside while I move out to unhook us. I won't empty the tanks this morning, they're still relatively empty as we were living outside Miranda for three days. Our fresh water is also reading 100%.
We move and on the way out encounter another couple from Iowa driving an Leisure Travel Van (LTV). They're headed to Virginia to visit a son who lives there. Nice to see fellow LTV owners. We're a precious lot. 😜😎
Melanie finds breakfast for us at a local Milton, West Virginia haunt. Shonet's comes with all the "patriotic" decor one can muster. Flags and remembrances of those who have served in various conflicts and wars.
Breakfast is fine and we're on our way.
Melanie suggests we travel a few miles past Little Beaver State Park to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve to check out our newest National Park.
We arrive at the Sandstone Falls Visitor Center and check out the displays there. We get directions to Sandstone Falls that, much to Melanie's chagrin, are 20 miles away when, looking at the map, they appear to be within rock throwing distance of our current location.
We drive the 20 scenic miles to the falls and enjoy a nice walk along a boardwalk the park service has constructed there. A nice diversion it is.
We drive back towards our campsite at Little Beaver State Park, check in and set up. Melanie goes for a walk and I follow her after a bit. We both enjoy a nice walk around Little Beaver Lake as the sun heads for another setting.
She's snacking when I return, breakfast apparently left her some time ago. I make a cocktail and snack a bit. Tate texts and suggests he'll be ready for our weekly FaceTime as soon as he showers.
FaceTime happens and I make dinner while Melanie enters a Zoom Call for one of her board members who is being ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church.
We have a nice, if simple, dinner of short rib ravioli we purchased in Summit and a salad.
Once the dishes are clean, we stream and sleep.
September 30, 2021
After a very nice sleep in Little Beaver State Park I'm up just before 7:00 to make coffee. It's 49 degrees outside so I close our windows and crank up the furnace to knock the chill off.
We enjoy a beautiful morning sipping coffee. We decide to get the bikes out and ride 7+ miles to the Main Overlook at Grandview in New River Gorge National Park.
Late morning I get our bikes out and ready them for the short run up the road to the overlook. The ride is scenic and the road not too busy. We arrive at the overlook and find there are not too many folks around.
Locking up the bikes we walk the 100 or so yards to the spectacular overlook which gives us a view of the New River and the new National Park. Grandview, indeed.
We're hungry and options in the van are slim so we decide to try the diner on the way back to the state park. Note to self. Have better options in the van. I sometimes get lazy when it comes to grocery shopping between camp spots and should have stopped along the way to Beaver. 😐
We return to the van and take an afternoon walk around Little Beaver Lake. We get back to the van and enjoy the evening a bit before walking 50 yards up the hill to the very nice and very clean bathhouse for showers.
Since lunch was later in the day, we snack a bit, stream and sleep.
October 1, 2021
The alarm is set for 6:30 a.m., but I'm awake before it goes off. I'm up making coffee, closing windows and again cranking up the furnace. It's 45 degrees this morning. We've another travel day ahead of us. We'll be traveling 229 miles to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to a Boondockers Welcome location in the city. Lucky us.
Our campsite in Little Beaver State Park is a water electric so, since we've been camped for a few days and we'll be off grid for a the next few days, I fill our fresh water before unhooking. We travel the short distance to the park dump station and I empty our black and grey water tanks.
We sip coffee and move along. Melanie will find breakfast for us off the interstate.
It's a beautiful drive along I-77 through the mountains. There's fog in the lower lying areas. Breakfast this morning is Bojangles. Melanie likes their chicken biscuits. I opt for a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. Meh.
Miranda hasn't had a bath since the middle of August when I hand washed her in Maine at our friends home in Georgetown. She's not too dirty, but could use a good wash nevertheless.
I find a Blue Beacon truck wash off I-77 in Fort Chriswell, Virginia. We arrive and are 13th in line. They have two bays going. Melanie has a work call and I read as we inch our way forward. Even with two bays it takes about two hours to get Miranda washed and back on the road.
We decide to eat in Winston Salem, North Carolina. One of our favorite restaurants, Mooney's is closed permanently, another casualty of COVID.
Melanie finds another spot nearby, Mojito Latin Soul Food. We secure a table outside on a really beautiful day. Lunch is outstanding. I have a Cuban Deluxe sandwich and Melanie has Steak Sandwich. I have Red Beans and Rice as a side, Melanie has Mashed Plantains. Recommended.
Moving along we briefly stop by the downtown postoffice.
Melanie has a poster she intends to use for the Women's March protesting the Texas Abortion Law in Durham, NC on Saturday afternoon to pick up in Chapel Hill. It's busy in downtown Chapel Hill when we arrive at the FedEx location for her poster, but I manage to luck out and find a temporary spot close by to park Miranda while Melanie goes in for the poster. She quickly returns with her prize.
We move along to our Boondockers Welcome spot about 2.5 miles away. We're greeted by our hosts and give a quick tour of Miranda to them and then we're parked near one of their horse pastures.
Late lunch means a snack for dinner. We stream and sleep.
October 2, 2021
I awake, look out Miranda's window and can't believe we've landed only a few miles from downtown Chapel Hill, N.C. We're staying on 8 acres inside the city limits where horses once roamed. There's a barn and the pastures are nicely fenced. We're only a few short miles from downtown Chapel Hill.
I make our coffee and we eat breakfast. Melanie gets into her work day.
Two deer run by and I catch the briefest of glimpse of them.
We get the van ready for travel. Melanie will march with one of the members of the Palestine Israel Network, Donna, and other women in Durham to protest the Texas abortion law. While she's at the protest, I'll ride a portion of the American Tobacco Trail (ATT).
We drive into downtown Durham and find a great spot with plenty of sunshine for our solar panels to use.
Melanie leaves me to grab a bite to eat and I get out my bike travel a short distance to the terminus of the ATT near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The ATT runs 22.2 miles south out of Durham. It's an asphalt surface until New Hope Church Road. I ride out for 15 miles, sit and eat a protein bar, drink some water and make my way back to the van.
I arrive to find Melanie giving Donna a Miranda tour. They move outside and chat for bit while I settle into the van to watch a bit of football and drink more water. It's a warm Fall afternoon in Durham.
I eventually turn the van around facing the opposite direction on the other side the street so we can sit in the shade outside and watch the first half of the Alabama game.
Game well in hand we decide to make reservations for dinner at Jujube in Chapel Hill near where we're camped. Jujube is located in a strip shopping center and we find a convenient spot in the back of the shopping center where we feel comfortable leaving our generator running and air conditioner on. It's still a bit warm out.
We enjoy a great dinner outside on their patio. We started with Pan-Fried Chicken and Shittake Mushroom Dumplings and Vietnamese Salad Rolls. Melanie's entrée was Crispy Chicken, I had Jujube Bolognese. Great service, friendly folks. Highly recommended.
We make our way back to our spot next to the pasture, stream a bit and sleep.
October 3, 2021
We're up around 8:00 this morning..., well, I'm up around 8:00. Melanie is awake before me and tells me she's seen a couple of foxes pass the van. She shows me the very grainy images of them taken through Miranda's window.
Coffee gets made and we skip breakfast and get the van ready to move. Travel day.
We'll move Southeast to just outside Washington, North Carolina. We'll stay in Goose Creek State Park tonight. We camped at Goose Creek last year in December on our way to the Outer Banks. So, less than a year has passed.
We make a stop in Chapel Hill at Whole Foods where I shop for food that'll get us to Salvo, N.C.
We decide to eat lunch around noon and Melanie finds Marty's BBQ in Wilson, North Carolina.
We drive off the main road for what seems like an inordinate amount of miles. I'm thinking (to myself) this better be good and trying to remind myself traveling is not always a linear experience so stop with the thinking we're too far off the beaten path business.
We arrive at Marty's and find there's a line of cars all the way around the building and for several blocks down the street. Damn. This must be the place. There's overflow parking around the back of the building and we park Miranda there and crank up the generator and the AC. It's getting warm.
We walk in and make a to-go order, wait maybe 10 minutes and go back to the van to eat. Several people in the line of cars queuing up for BBQ ask about our van. She is, after all, a beaut. I ask if the line of cars is always this way. I'm told on Saturday and Sundays, yep, it is.
The BBQ is worth driving a few miles out of the way. Recommended, if you find yourself in Wilson, North Carolina.
We decide to travel to Washington, North Carolina, close to our evening camp, and park on the street in downtown. Melanie has a work Zoom call at 4:00 and we're unsure of connectivity at our campsite.
Washington is located on the Pamlico River and Pamlico Sound.
Melanie gets on her Zoom Call and after a few minutes I exit the van and walk around downtown Washington eventually finding Two Rivers Alehouse. I drink a beer and watch a bit of Sunday football, then make my way back to the van as Melanie is finishing her call.
We travel the 12+ miles to our campsite at Goose Creek, set up and take a walk out into the marsh on a boardwalk nearby. I'd been looking forward to this all day, but much to my chagrin, the boardwalk has not been repaired from damage suffered last year during hurricane season. Drat! It's a nice walk regardless.
We walk back to the van and snack a bit before moving to the back of the van, stream and sleep.
We're up just before 7:00 a.m. There's a nice sunrise out Miranda's window this morning. It's not as cool, but nice regardless. We're in the low 60's with highs today reaching the low 80's on Hatteras where we'll be this evening.
We have breakfast and I go for a shower. Melanie prepares the inside of the van and I top off the fresh water tank, empty and clean the black tank, and empty the grey tank.
We're camped at Oregon Inlet on Cape Hatteras tonight. Dry camping (no water, electric or sewer).
We find a good price for diesel in Plymouth, NC on our way and make a quick stop at the post office there.
Melanie finds lunch for us in Kitty Hawk, NC, I've Got Your Crabs Shellfish Market and Oyster Bar. Food's good and it appears to be a favorite for locals.
We travel south after lunch and make a quick stop at Publix for a few items.
We reach Oregon Inlet Campground around 2:00 p.m. There's a momentary pause as we try to figure out why our connectivity is not what it should be when all indicators are we should have good Verizon service.
Melanie is able to get online to do some financial work for EPF and I sit and look at the NYT which tells me Facebook is having problems. That's what we checked for our connectivity when we arrived. All other sites are good.
We FaceTime with our friends, the Hicks, at 3:00 p.m. and have a nice chat catching up. We've only been away from Louisville a week since a memorial service for their daughter. It is still an emotional time for them and for us.
Melanie has a work call at 4:30 p.m. and I journal and process photographs.
We enjoy a couple of adult beverages and walk out to the beach to see what's up. There are a number of vehicles on the beach with fisher persons near them. The temps are now pleasant.
Back at the van, Melanie makes us a nice dinner salad complete with left-over shrimp she had from her lunch. We eat outside.
I clean up the dishes and take the trash to the camp dumpster.
We stream and sleep.
October 5, 2021
We're awake at 6:00 a.m. in hopes of catching a sunrise at our beach location. Alas, it's not to be as a line of rain showers and accompanying clouds has moved off the coast and blocked the sun.
After coffee and breakfast, we prepare the van for our next move.
We don't have far to go to our friends' spot in Salvo, NC, but Melanie wants to first take a tour of Duck, NC and eat lunch before we go to Salvo. We crank up the generator, turn on the AC in the van and travel to Duck.
We make a brief stop at a grocery store for toilet paper and milk.
Just north of Duck we turn back and arrive at The Village Table and Tavern as they are opening for lunch. We'd eaten here in December of last year before vaccines and in the off-season. Today we enjoy lunch outside on a pleasant Fall afternoon.
We then make our way south to Salvo and park in our friends' driveway. They have a great AirBnB, Sunrise Over Salvo. Highly recommended.
We're here between guests for a few days to catch up and enjoy their great space.
We enjoy a nice light snack "dinner" with them in their home upstairs and catch up over the evening hours.
Melanie and I go to our room and stream and sleep.
Steven and Melanie