March 19-23, 2015 GOING TO CAROLINA

Published: March 25th 2015
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Took our new baby on the road for her virgin voyage. We invited our sister in law, Shirley, to go with us on a trip to North Carolina. Shirley’s son, Tom, lives in North Carolina and she hadn’t seen him in a while. Plus, we figured that the weather would be better than Cincinnati, and we could test out the motorhome before making our big journey in about 3 weeks.

Things were a bit dicey at the beginning…. the breaking system for the jeep wasn’t quite right, but after some stop and go Jack got it perfectly functional and we were able to hit the road. For the first hour of the journey we went 15 miles! After a couple more stops to double check on the jeep, he was satisfied things were good and we were off and running.

Drove to North Carolina where we stopped for the night. Ran into some rain and heavy fog in West Virginia/Virginia which was a little tense. Fortunately for me, I was lounged on the couch and let Jack and Shirley stress over the rain, darkness, and lack of visibility. Seriously, the last thing Jack needed or wanted was me spazzing out while he was driving (I have a tendency to do that….). Arrived at Water’s Edge RV park in Newport NC early Friday evening. Tom came and picked up Shirley. Jack and I set things up in our very muddy site…. We weren’t level all weekend! Had to run to Walmart as our sewer hose wasn’t long enough. We did have an opportunity to go out on the pier at the campground for a nice view of the water.

On Saturday, we set out to see some sights. I’ve never been to North Carolina, and really know nothing about it, however, I learned that we were in the Cape Lookout National Seashore Region, which comprises the southern section of the Outer Banks. The Waters Edge RV park is, I believe, along the Bogue Sound, and a little west of our first stop, Beaufort, NC, which boasts itself to be the third oldest town in NC, established in 1709. The drive into Beaufort was beautiful, with large, stately homes facing the water on streets lined with huge live oak trees to shelter them. My little phone camera pic doesn’t begin to capture it, plus I was tired and wanted to get back to the RV.

On a side note here, Jack and I decided to name her “Providence”. Now I am looking for the perfect Bible verse to reflect the name and our future! But I digress, so back to Beaufort…..

Beaufort is a lovely little place, with a boardwalk and lots of shops and restaurants. Many places were still closed, but some were starting to open. It was a very nice day, with lots of sun and temps around 60. We went to the Maritime Museum, which had some cool stuff, but wasn’t the highlight of the journey. I got totally excited to learn that there were wild horses on a couple of islands. I have always wanted to go to Chincoteaque, a part of my bucket list based on the book(s) I read as a kid, “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry (and the sequel, “Stormy, Misty’s Foal”).

Carrot Island, part of the Rachel Carson Reserve, is accessible by boat only, and is easily visible from the Beaufort waterfront. The horses on Carrot Island are not descended from the historic Spanish stock, but were placed on the island by a Beaufort resident in the 1940’s and have become feral.

I stared at that island all day trying to catch a glimpse of those horses! My sister in law, Shirley, said she saw them when she was there with her son. Taking a boat out the islands was about $20 a ticket, and Jack and I were trying to free stuff, so we didn’t go. We did enjoy the sight of several dolphins as we strolled along the waterfront.

We left Beaufort and went to Fort Macon, near Atlantic Beach, NC. Fort Macon was pretty cool. It was constructed between 1826 and 1834 to protect the coast line. It was garrisoned periodically until 1849, and when not, it was occupied by a single caretaker. It served as a confederate fort in 1861-1862 when it was re-occupied by Union forces. It then served as a military and civil prison until 1877. The fort was reactivated in 1898 for the Spanish-American war, and abandoned in 1903, sold to North Caroline for $1 and became a state park, then, from 1941 to 1944, it was occupied by Coast Artillery Units during WW2. Finally, in 1946, it became a state park again. The fort had many exhibits about life and times in the fort, battles, etc. I really am not a history buff, but Jack is. There was enough there for both of us to enjoy a few hours.

After we left there, we went to Atlantic Beach, thinking there was a nice boardwalk area and things to do there, but there really wasn’t. This area seems to be largely under development with a lot of construction. We drove as far as we could to see the Cape Lookout lighthouse, but it was way far away.

On Sunday, Jack went to a turkey shoot with Tom and Shirley. After talking about it more on Saturday night, we decided that while Jack did that, I would go back to Beaufort and take one of the ferries to see the wild horses. So, off I went on my solo adventure. I took a boat to Shackleford Banks, the southern most barrier island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore. It was about a 20 minute trip, and the day was cloudy and a little chilly especially when we left the no-wake area! Shackleford Banks is home to more than 100 wild horses descended from the Spanish stock introduced to North America by European explorers centuries ago. The herds are managed to a degree by removal and birth control to maintain genetic diversity, herd social structure, and health. Other than that, they are wild and there is no interference. One couple on the boat back to Beaufort said they had come across a horse carcass on the island. “Captain Dave” explained the hands off approach, telling of a mare that died, leaving a foal behind. I think many people would want to swoop in and save the cute baby, but it was left, and did survive. He also stated that there were a couple of horses that were looking very gaunt and sickly, now at the end of the winter. They are not fed, and live completely wild. “Captain Dave” said he expected that now with spring coming, things beginning to green up, that those horses would soon return to health.

My small boat of about 8 women and 2 dogs arrived and we disembarked on a beach. And were left. There are no nice nature trails, no maps, and no guides. Just sand, and wind, and marsh grass, and shrubs, and some low live oaks. Shackleford Banks is about 9 miles long and a mile wide.

We did see a small group of horses grazing on top of a hill when we disembarked. If you look hard, you may be able to see the tiny dots at the top of my picture! HaHa. Actually, I could see a little better than that, one of them was a beautiful chestnut with cream colored mane and tail. The others were darker bays. Wish I had binoculars with me and a better camera. Live and learn.

So, after observing that group of horses for a while, I set off with hopes to see a few more, preferably a little bit closer! I am directionally challenged, and didn’t want to get lost…. Though they say it is impossible to get lost there, I could probably still do it. So I hugged the shoreline, and moved inland a bit to climb up on tall dunes or follow horse paths through the grass. Spent a couple of hours enjoying the ocean view, the beach, searching for shells, hoof tracks, and fresh manure! It was a lot of fun, but saw no more horses. I was glad to see the ones that I did! On the boat back, some of the people on it didn’t see any horses, except for the aforementioned couple with the carcass discovery! I still want to go to Chincoteague, but am so glad I could do this!

Sunday evening we went to Tom and Carrie’s for a visit and dinner, then back to the rv. Monday morning we got cleaned up, packed up, and headed for home. We talked about stopping in Mt Airy (or better known as MAYBERRY) on the way home, but were kind of tired. We did stop to snap these pics of Pilot Mountain, namesake for Mt Pilot. Thinking about Andy and Barney taking Helen and Thelma Lou over to Mt Pilot for the dance!

At some point in time we made the decision to drive straight through instead of stopping for the night. Bad choice. I have yet to drive Providence, and I am a lousy companion because the road makes me sleepy. Long drive, about 13 hours, a little more, especially after a glance at the monitor screen to check on the jeep revealed that our passenger side tail light and panel was hanging off! We pulled over, taped it up, and moved on. Don’t know what happened. We figure that we may have bumped something as we pulled through a toll booth or something. Didn’t feel, hear, or see anything. Entering into Ohio, hearing the sound of a lot of rain, yet nothing on the windshield. Rolled my window down and suck out my hand….ouch….ice. Welcome home. Temps in the 30’s and ice. But we were still 3 hours from home, and the ice didn’t last long. It was after midnight when we go home, unhooked the jeep, and went inside. Message to self: next time Jack wants to power through and drive on, SAY NO!

Good weekend, successful trip. Everything worked pretty good and I think for the most part we are ready to roll! Have a few things on the to do list, but I feel pretty comfortable.

So, like I said earlier, we named the rv Providence. Providence means “the foreseeing care and guidance of God”. We can’t proceed in life without it! Still looking for that perfect verse about God’s providence (making something for the rv…. Feel free to make suggestions!). But now, I choose this:

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10

Do me a favor and read Psalm 139, it is so good! God knows us, our rising up and our lying down, His presence is with us always, from before our birth, despite our sin. It ends with this: “Search me, O God and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (verses 23, 24). That’s providence!

Thanks for your care and support! 18 days and counting until blast off to Yellowstone!

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