October 6-7, 2021
We spend three days with our friends at their great spot Sunrise Over Salvo before heading off Hatteras and south again.
During our time on Hatteras I'm able to bike ride from Salvo to Avon one day and our friends took us on a ferry ride to Ocracoke Island for a day trip.
October 8-9, 2021
We're awake around 6:00 a.m. or so. I'm up, gather a few items to take with me to the van and then I'm out the backdoor of our friends' home and down the stairs to Miranda to make coffee.
Back in our room we sip a bit of coffee before more packing up ensues. It's a travel day for us and we have a 160 miles ahead of us.
After we're packed up, we find breakfast in Nag's Head at Grits Grill. It's a popular place with the locals and there's a wait for a table so we choose the no-wait-bar in front of the griddle. Breakfast is good and we're on the way in good time.
We arrive at our campsite at New Bern KOA, set up and go for a walk down to the Neuse River and enjoy some of the afternoon there.
Returning to the van, we prepare to move again. We're going into New Bern for dinner at Captain Ratty's. There's a Mum Festival going on in New Bern and we're glad to find parking relatively easily.
Dinner is as good as we remember when we ate at Ratty's years ago now. We were dropping off our son, Richard, for an Outer Banks kayaking adventure then.
We make it back to our campsite and set up the van, stream some and sleep.
Saturday morning finds us up around 7:00 a.m. We sip coffee, have breakfast and Melanie begins her work day.
Saturday is full of college football for me and intermittently, for Melanie after work.
I manage enough energy to clean and empty the grey and black tanks in anticipation of further travel tomorrow.
Melanie is asleep at about the half of the Alabama football game with Texas A&M. I'm finally asleep just after midnight.
October 10-11, 2021
Melanie is awake before me, but I'm up at around 7:00 a.m. Not enough sleep, but I'm feeling pretty good as I'm up to make coffee. We're traveling again today headed farther south to Wilmington, NC.
We drink our coffee, eat breakfast and read some. Melanie begins her work day.
I leave for a bit to get a shower using the campground facilities.
Shortly afterwards we've prepared the van and are on our way. We've got about 90 miles of travel today. I mistakenly put in wrong geo-coordinates and we travel about 20 miles out of our way before stopping to make a correction.
The trip is otherwise uneventful and arriving in Wilmington decide to go for lunch at Wrightsville Beach. We ate at Oceanic located there the last time through Wilmington and found it good. The last time the weather was very rainy, this time cloudy and windy, but pleasant.
Lunch is good again and we take a walk out on the pier to watch surfers catch a few waves afterwards.
We travel to our campsite at the Wilmington KOA and check in. We quickly set up and Melanie works a bit and we get a bit of exercise walking around the camp.
I've made a dinner reservation at PinPoint for 6:00 p.m. We take our first Uber ride in a while to downtown Wilmington. We realize that despite being in Wilmington a few times before, we've never been downtown.
We have a nice dinner. Melanie starts with Raw Oysters on the half shell, I have the Local Lettuces. Melanie's entree is a bone-in Pork Chop, mine Softshell Crab Carbonara.
We Uber back to the van, stream a bit and sleep.
It's Monday and Columbus Day for some, Indigenous Peoples' Day for some. It's a work day for Melanie.
We sip our coffees and have breakfast. Afterwards we both take a walk around the campground. Many folks are leaving this morning.
We make a grocery run to the local Publix late morning and then we make our way to lunch nearby at Cape Fear Seafood Company. Lunch is fine and we're back to our campsite around 2:30.
I spend most of the afternoon catching up on my journaling and photo processing. Melanie gets a walk in and works a bit more.
We both walk in the evening and snack a bit before more streaming and sleep.
October 12, 2021
The alarm sounds at 6:00 a.m. For whatever reason, I was awake for a time during the night and so the alarm is unwelcome. I snooze through a couple of intervals and then I'm up making coffee.
Travel Day. We'll move 250 miles to our south and east today to Dreher Island State Park in South Carolina. We'll be positioning ourselves to then move into the mountains of North Georgia and our friends' home in Tate City.
I have a bit of breakfast and Melanie goes for a shower in the campground. I finish and move outside to empty and clean the black tank and empty the grey tank.
We leave our KOA before 9:00 a.m. There's a bit of traffic moving into downtown Wilmington, but we're out of that soon enough and head west.
We stop after a while a get breakfast for Melanie (and me too). We eat fast food biscuits and hash browns in the van and are moving in about 30 minutes.
Highway 74 intersects with I-95 going south and we don't get very far until we reach roadwork and traffic that has us stopped. Traffic is merging into one lane down the way and we're delayed about an hour getting to the other side.
We decide to wait until Columbia, South Carolina for lunch.
Miranda also needs fuel and all the places along major roads are selling diesel in the $3.50+ range. I check my Gas Buddy App and see prices at $3.19 and lower, but all of the places are well off the interstate and not worth the extra time and expense involved getting to them.
I've been getting 17+ MPG the past few times we've moved and doing some calculations I figure I most likely will be able to wait until we are in Columbia for lunch.
Melanie finds us BBQ in Columbia at The Pot Smoker BBQ. By the time we arrive it's nearly the middle of the afternoon. We order at the counter and find a nice spot on their porch. We're the only ones eating.
Lunch is good and we're soon on our way again. We still need fuel and I'd spotted a place not too far away as we looked for our lunch spot. The price on the marquee was $3.11 a gallon. That, however, is the cash price. I forgo the cash price and pay $3.19 a gallon still $.30 less than along the interstate.
Miranda, like most vehicles, has an indicator when she's using "reserve" fuel. A light and "reserve fuel" readout comes on when there's about a quarter of a tank left. You can track how many miles of travel you can make, but when the fuel level gets down to about 2 gallons remaining, the indicator stops giving a reading for the number of miles you can travel and simply says you need to get yo' ass to the nearest place for fuel. Now would be the time.
The only other time that's happened was when we were traveling to a campsite on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We'd left our camp in Fort Collins very early (5:00 a.m.) so we didn't have to have a reservation to get into the national park. You could enter without a reservation before 6:00 a.m.
Very early meant no filling stations were open around Fort Collins and I made the decision to try and make it through the park. We were just about half way up on our climb to 12,000 feet in the park when the reserve light came on. We hadn't quite stopped climbing when the readout no longer allow me to gauge how many miles of travel remained.
It was beautiful that time of day, but it was stressful not knowing if we'd run out of fuel.
We made it to fuel in Grand Lake as we had a very long downhill run on the western side of the park. Two times of being close to empty in nearly three years.
We get to our campsite before 5:00 p.m. and I get us hooked up while Melanie has a work call. She sets up the inside afterwards and we sip an adult beverage and enjoy the cooling evening with a nice view of the Lake Murray.
We walk around the campground and retire to the back of the van for streaming and sleep.
Steven and Melanie