We drove down from Rochester, NY to visit Raleigh, NC the summer of 2009. We were partly thinking of it as a potential relocation area (note to self – it would have been better than Columbus, Georgia), and partly just needed to get out of dodge. This was the first long trip that we brought Samantha and she was awesome(no big surprise there!). We could tell her hips started to tire if we made too many stops so we started looking for curbs the rest of the week to park at to help make the jump into the back of the Jeep not so bad. When we RV, we plan on getting a ramp to see if she will use that. But anyway – onto the trip!
The area was really nice with a lot to do outside, which we appreciated having Samantha. We actually found that we liked Durham a little bit more – a little grittier and maybe coming from Rochester we gravitated towards that. Durham had places like the American Tobacco Historic District, where old tobacco plants were re-purposed into offices, restaurants and entertainment. The ball park for the Durham Bulls was also right in that area. I really love seeing places like this – it gives a opportunity to walk the grounds of a different era and I love when older buildings are used instead of abandoned and left to rot. I understand the huge expense and undertaking – but it’s appreciated!
We also spent some time wandering around the campus of Chapel Hill, which first opened its doors in 1795. It really is an amazingly beautiful campus – the kind you see in movies with towering trees and lush lawns. The surrounding streets were rather nice for a college town, with stores and restaurants abound. There were cool art sculptures around but one of the coolest ‘exhibits’ I saw was on a lightpole.
We also walked around the city of Raleigh, taking in the downtown area. It was clean and comfortable and Samantha liked the exercise, but there wasn’t much there to really catch our attention. Maybe we just missed some good stuff.
Since we were so close to the Atlantic, we had to fit in some beach time. We exercised our 4 wheel drive and drove on some seriously soft sand to a place where you could barely see any others. THIS is what a beach should be like. Warm, sandy & quiet – except the pesky (but seriously cool) bi-plane that kept flying by. 🙂 It was a great day and Samantha enjoyed her first beach time – still without swimming of course.
We also got to visit family, which is always nice. Now that there is another little one, I am sure we will make our way back to this area soon.
When we are not traveling, I am going to try to post a ‘Flashback Trip’ once a week. We have been so many places before buying an RV, that this might give people a chance to learn a little more about us – What we like to see, do and find interesting when traversing the globe. Today I am going to wax poetic about West Virginia. West Virginia is a beautiful, beautiful state filled with impressive mountains, lush views, and winding rivers. We lived in Charles Town for 2 years (when we thought a 1.5 hour commute one way into VA & MD was ok). In September of 2004, we decide to weave around the state of West Virginia, staying at a few B & B’s along the way. Even with the tropical storm that blew through, we were blown away by the beauty – but of all the towns my favorite was Parkersburg. I am an old house junkie, as is Keith. We like them for the architecture, the attention to detail and just the grandness they portray. Parkersburg, situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha River, suffered from a horrible flood when we were there, but we were still able to geocache, and do a lot of walking around while staying away from the areas that were flooding. We missed the antique stores because of this flood, but got to walk around neighborhoods featuring amazing houses like Julia Ann Square. We even got to tour a house that was under renovation – people were that friendly! This is just what I imagined a small river town to be – although Parkersburg does have an interesting divide between historical and, well, not. As always when you are traveling, you don’t get to see everything. We missed out on the Fenton glass tour in nearby Williamstown, but that just gives us incentive to head back this way someday.
It has already happened, well before we head out to the wilderness and brave the wild world of nature. Keith was bit by a tick. It isn’t the first time, as when we where living in WV it happened, but it is the first time a doctor visit was required. (ok, technically the first time should have required a doc appt to make sure but I didn’t win that argument!)
We are currently renting a place that has a 100 acres, which means plenty of walking in taller grasses and around the ponds where a ton of animals & deer hang out. This equates to tick paradise and even though we do a ‘tick check’ on everyone after taking a walk, it’s no guarantee we got them all. As a precaution, I have also started to spray my ankles, pants and shoes with insect repellent, which should help. But back to the tick bite.
Something was bothering Keith’s back & he asked me to take a look. There was a huge red splotch and what looked like a dead bug. I didn’t even think about it being a tick (because it was dead and not engorged), and yanked it out. Well, that left some of the bug (tick) inside. After a few days, the rash did not diminish and seemed to get larger. I suggested Keith go to a doctor (which of course he declined). I know the best way to deal with these situations is to arm myself with facts, so out pops the laptop to read up on Lyme Disease. I know some of the symptoms are flu like conditions, which Keith wasn’t suffering from, but the rash was really bothering me.
I turned to The American Lyme Disease Foundation and began reading. Turns out, an expanding rash is one of the first symptoms. Keith made the doctor appointment. 😉 According to the doctor, there is no definitive test for Lyme Disease (?), so Keith will start a course of antibiotics to hopefully squash any other symptoms that might crop up. We’ll keep a watchful eye just in case, but it looks like the best thing that can be done is catch it early.
This is no way deters us from walking around the property, nor will it deter us from hiking trails wherever we travel. But it’s something that everyone should be aware of and to not delay in seeking a doctors opinion. Oh, and don’t go yanking out dead stuff out of your significant others body without taking an extra second to identify it. Just saying…
…Ready for another owner. As we downsize and sell off or donate things, most items are pretty easy to part with. We have a lot of ‘extra’ stuff that doesn’t really tug at the heartstrings. But this little boat that kept us afloat in the mean waters of Lake Ontario does a little tug. We had high hopes of sailing her more than we did, and we didn’t even get a chance to put her in the water down south (thank you broken leg!) We purchased the boat as a test for a long term plan. Keith had always been excited about sailing around the world, and while I thought it was a cool idea, didn’t really think I could do it. I started searching for blog to read about experiences and stumbled upon Handley Sail. Here was an older couple that were sailing around the world and having the most amazing adventures! (I highly recommend starting with year 1, they are on year 5 now and a few months from finally getting home to spend time with the grandbabies) Keith found it funny when I would pop into his office and say things like ‘ OH MY GOD, THEY HIT A WHALE’, or ‘The Handleys got caught in fishing nets in the middle of the ocean’, or ‘How cool! They are visiting with gorillas today’ When I broke my leg last year, I had to search to read again how she managed ON A BOAT with a broken leg. As you can tell, these people I have never met are my heroes. Keith appreciates them too because sailing around the world wasn’t nearly as crazy of a concept anymore.
So we bought a little 22 foot O’Day and sailed her on Lake Ontario for a few years. We had some scary moments trying to learn on such unpredictable waters & winds – but it was exhilarating. The bad thing? We couldn’t take our animals on an extended trip so we were on a 10 year plan of being ‘normal’ until we could take off. One of the things I was determined to do was to see the USA before we left, since I remain skeptical that if we leave, we would come back often. While we have both done a great deal of traveling & have seen the majority of states, there is still so much to see in this country! Enter Keith’s crazy idea #2. Living in an RV.
Take the animals in the RV? check – we can do that! See the rest of the country – check – we can do that in an RV! Work contracts until we can figure out how to work totally remote – check! So here we are, on a countdown to RV fulltiming by the end of the year. Sadly, that means the evidence of Dream #1 has to go. The dream is still around though, and that is what matters. We hope someone will buy ‘Prelude’ and take very good care of her.
For our second shakedown trip, we decided to just head a few miles down the road to West Point Lake. There are a few campgrounds around the lake, but we stuck to the Georgia side and stayed at R Shaefer Heard, one of the largest. This park is affiliated with the Army Corp of Engineers and if we can find parks like this to stay at, we would be happy campers indeed!
We stayed at spot #39 and loved it. If you are looking to be social, or want a clear view of the lake – this might not be the spot for you. However, if you want to feel like you are the only one in the park (outside the people driving by and the motorboats that is) this is a fabulous spot. Drive through site with more than enough room for your tow (and then some) – we had thick trees separating us from any other spots, and a short walk to the lake. This spot does have a pretty severe dropoff when you get to the lake however as a warning!
This isn’t the only great spot however – we found the majority of them to be spacious with great views. Some have decks you can use, all seem kept up and level. Many require backing down a hill and have size limitations, but we found that recreation.gov listed the maximum length for each spot. We even saw some people bring their boats right up to the camping spot which was pretty cool.
We were here in early March, so it wasn’t super busy. I can see how this could become quite the party central in the summer with the lake, but it was rather serene when we visited. Sites do not have sewer so come prepared tank -wise. This was our first time at a dumping station and there seemed to be quite a bit of room for lines (even though it throats down rather early making it a little more difficult for people to navigate), and two dump stations available making our wait while leaving minimal.
All in all, we enjoyed our stay here. Lake views, plenty of loops & trails to walk Samantha, and privacy.
To see more pictures of our trip to West Point Lake, visit the Geeky Explorers page on Facebook. ‘Like’ us as we will be putting all of our pictures that don’t make it up to the site there.