North Carolina Now


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Published: May 5th 2017
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Girls Hiding From the Thunder
Coastal Riverside Campground, Beaufort, North Carolina

It was a long drive yesterday - a little over 300 miles. We went 100 miles southeast back down to the coast, and caught US17 at Myrtle Beach. Although not as fast as using interstates, we enjoyed looking at the beach towns as we moved up the coast into North Carolina. Threading our way in between towns and around the bigger cities we made it to our campground here in Beaufort, North Carolina, on another sea island.

In between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, we passed signs for Ocean Isle Beach which brought back very pleasant memories. I went to graduate school in North Carolina in Chapel Hill some forty years ago. While there, I used to organize beach parties for myself and fellow grad students. I rented a house right on the beach for a week, bought a keg or two of beer, and planned meals. Fellow graduate students joined me and helped pay for everything. It was a week of relaxation, and a bit too much beer, for everyone. We used to go to the same beach every year (Ocean Isle) although the houses were always different. Needless to say, things have
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Our Dead Neighbor
changed - a lot more development than 40 years ago, but it is still a beach on the ocean. I wonder if grad students today can afford to rent one of those places.

We were going to stop for lunch in Wilmington - Joan had found a spot that got rave reviews. But as we got closer, we realized that we were in the downtown area with narrow streets and very little parking. We searched for a while to find a spot big enough for the rig, but with no luck and me getting more nervous over the driving conditions, we headed out of town. On the northern edge of Wilmington, we were simply getting desperate. I saw a regular old chain restaurant spot that seemed to have lots of parking so we turned off. Right off to one side was a pub serving beer and southern food, The Ogden Tap Room. They even allowed the girls on the patio, so we had a delightful meal - Joan ate the meatloaf and I had crab cakes. The collard greens weren't as good as some of the others we've had, but the meatloaf was very good and the crab cakes were all crab!

Back in the car we continued up the coast. After we reached Morehead City, we began crossing bridges and moving between islands until we finally arrived at the campground Joan had arranged. The whole day we were anticipating thunderstorms, as our weather apps said we should. But aside from clouds building off above the ocean, we didn't encounter any weather. We received a call from the tour operator for the event we had scheduled for today - they were cancelling all tours due to expected rough seas. So we have rescheduled it for tomorrow, when this storm is supposed to have passed.

It was only after we got everything set up that we started getting ominous warnings from the weather service - thunderstorm and tornado watches. We closed everything up, but nothing really happened except some heavy rain and a bit of wind. That is, until just an hour or so ago when all hell broke loose. Rain came down in torrents, wind rocked the trailer, and lightening bolts, seemingly right overhead, frightened the girls. I have a picture of them under the dinette table comforting each other. There are tornado watches, but as of right now things seem to be calming down. Still, we expect to be inside most of the day - a weather-forced down day.

Just have to talk about the campground. Joan does an excellent job of finding us places to stay. All of our sites so far have been gorgeous. But sometimes things don't go as expected. When we pulled into the place we noticed that nearly all the trailers are up on blocks and have permanent porches and storage sheds attached. This isn't an RV campground, it is an assisted living home for decrepit trailers! I was having some doubts, but after driving 300 miles, and having already paid for a night, I was in no mood to be picky.

It turned out they only have one spot that is currently not occupied and it is right next to a trailer that is tilted at an awkward angle. The owner of that trailer had defaulted on his monthly payment, and when they tried to haul the trailer out of the park, the axle broke. So right outside our trailer's front door is a piece of junk ready to be hauled to the salvage yard. They offered us a free night to compensate for the view, which we accepted. And, given that we are likely to be shut inside all day today because of weather, and will be gone most of tomorrow, it is really going to be OK. First time, though, that we've camped in an RV hospice! (17.1.58)

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