I'm doing a little catch-up at this point. It's actually Day #10 of the current road trip. To date, I've only slept in a house and a really nice bed two days out of the ten. Saturday, January 4, 2014 was the sixth day of this current trek. I left my friends, Dudley and Muffet on Saturday afternoon and rolled down the mountain from their home at just over 3,100 feet near Sparta, North Carolina. On Friday evening we met (since they were returning from Winston-Salem from some pre-operation tests for a procedure Muffet underwent today) at the River Rock Grill in the bustling downtown of Sparta (population about 1,100, I think). Saturday I packed up My McVansion and headed east to Mebane, North Carolina, between Greensboro and Raleigh to visit my other grad school friend, Ed and his delightful wife, Jane.
I departed the mountain and began rolling toward Mebane at 4:30 PM and arrived sometime around 6:55.PM. Ed and Jane were anticipating my arrival with some hearty soup and a salad and some tasty dessert. We spent the rest of the evening chatting before retiring.
It is a Sunday and we took our time waking up and getting the day started. I did my usual Photo-of-the-Week post early and when we were all moving we had a delightful brunch. Later in the afternoon, I buzzed off to Raleigh where I met Gaston Matthews who had bought a couple pieces of my surplus recording gear and since I was coming his way anyway, I told him I'd deliver it. Gaston graced me with a CD of some of the music he's working on.
As a lifetime recording engineer/audio producer, I'm always interested in listening to new music and artists. Gaston's recording didn't disappoint me. His two genres are gospel and R&B and I've been totally enjoying his work while traveling.
From Gaston's residence I headed to the other end of Raleigh to meet up with Jimmy Crawford.
Jimmy has been following yours truly on this blog and also on some of the RVing and vandwelling groups I participate in on Yahoo. He noted that I was going to be in Sparta and then Raleigh and sent an email inviting me to meet up with him. Jimmy is a soon to be full-time RVer. He is still employed, but approaching retirement. He's been a single parent since his kids were young and they are now at the point of adulthood. Jimmy's basically been a weekend and vacation RVer with a pop-up 'A' frame trailer and a jeep, but he's doing his research and planning to get himself into a small Class A motorhome at retirement and join the other full-time "road warrior" RVers. I enjoyed meeting up with Jimmy and making another new friend (one of the very best parts of this lifestyle). We parted ways with an invite for a return visit and a place to park My McVansion with a power hook-up.
After leaving Jimmy's, I headed back to Mebane to join Ed and Jane for another delicious dinner, more pleasant conversation and then I followed Ed to the Toyota dealer to drop off his Prius for a recall fix. It saved Jane from making the 40 or 50 minute round trip on a cold, damp night. It was the least I could do to repay their kind hospitality.
Monday rolled around and, while we got moving a bit faster, we didn't break any land-speed records. It was my day to depart Mebane, North Carolina and my friends, Ed and Jane. My original plan was to travel around North Carolina, then South Carolina and Georgia visiting friends on my way to Florida. But, we were in the middle of what has been called an Arctic Vortex and it was COLD and going to be brutally cold by Monday night and Tuesday. So, I changed my plans and decided to head south for Florida and visit my friends in the states mentioned on the way back north.
I gathered my stuff and, with Ed and Jane, went to a local eating establishment known far and wide for their excellent breakfasts. So, my treat, the three of us enjoyed a delicious late breakfast/brunch. Then we went back to the house and I loaded My McVansion, said our good byes, and I wished my friend, Ed, well with his upcoming medical procedure and I drove off for parts warmer at 12:45 PM. My intention was to head east to intersect U.S. Rt. 301, the "Blue Highway" my parents used when we went to Florida from New Jersey when I was a kid. I used the same route with my friends when we went to Florida while I was in college. The interstate system was not fully developed and implemented during those years. I-95 has become the preferred north-south route leaving U.S. Routes 301 and 1 by the wayside to almost fall into oblivion, much like what has happened to the legendary Rt. 66 from Chicago to California and so many others.
I went cross-country to finally intersect with Rt. 301 and made it to Manning, South Carolina at 8:30 PM where I pulled into a Walmart Supercenter for the night.
I checked in with the Customer Service person on duty and got the go ahead to park for the night. I took care of some bodily necessities and got one of my prescriptions refilled before parking My McVansion and prepping it for the night. I used the engine heater to keep warm since the temperatures dipped to well into the teens that night. I shut off the engine just before I jumped into my sleeping bag that was covered with extra blankets and retired for the night. I was warm and snug as a bug in a rug, again.
Day #9 and 10 are coming up in the next post. It's reasonably warm here tonight outside Ormond Beach, Florida and tomorrow looks like shorts weather (hooray). It's also a day I'm going to find a place to just park and enjoy a day off the road and get caught up on a few things.