North Carolina

Matthew Didn’t Go Away!

What a roller coaster of a week. As we anxiously watched every news outlet regarding Hurricane Matthew we finally realized no one knew exactly what course the storm might take. We finally heard that it was downgraded to a Cat 1 and would be turning and just skirting the coast of North Carolina. With that in mind we took off Saturday morning in a light drizzle to see the North Carolina State vs Notre Dame game in Raleigh, about an hour and a half from home. It was the 50th anniversary of the first game played in Carter-Finley Stadium so it was a pretty big deal. As we traveled the highway we saw several cars in ditches along the side of the road and assumed they were just not driving as carefully as they should. Who knows? We ran into occasional heavy rain but then it would let up.

As usual we met my cousin Becky and her husband Billy at a local mall so we could ride together to the game. Although we always tailgate we decided this week to just go out for breakfast instead. If you are ever in the area of the NC State Fairgrounds or the Jim Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh be sure to stop by Pam’s Diner for breakfast. It is absolutely the best. There was a waiting line but it was so worth the wait and the cost for two delicious breakfasts was only $17.

By this time it was raining heavily so we put on our rain suits and headed to the stadium. I know – it was crazy but it wasn’t the craziest thing I did that day! As we sat in the pouring down rain and watched two teams slip, slide, fumble and fall I wondered if I had lost my mind but knew I was getting one of the “best wives of the day” award! Fortunately State won – how sad it would have been to sit there for four hours – oh yeah, the game was delayed at half time for lightning 10 miles away – and lose!

After the game we stripped off our soaking wet suits, got in the car and headed back to the mall to get our car. All I wanted was a cup of hot coffee. Billy knew right where a Starbucks was located very close to our car so that was the first destination. How disappointed and surprised we were when we saw the sign saying they were closed due to the storm. How bad was the storm? Then we realized the mall was closed and it was 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon! That should have told given us a clue as to what was ahead.

Jerry and I hopped in the car and slowly started home. I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of our trip home but suffice it to say it was a treacherous drive. We were rerouted only once due to high water but there were many places that had standing water and we had no choice but to go through. When we finally got to Kinston every street we turned on was flooded and we were beginning to wonder if we could get to our home. Of course nothing was opened so there was nowhere to stop so we had no choice but to keep going. Obviously there was no power anywhere because the town was dark! We know we are not supposed to go through standing water but we plowed anxiously on taking turn after turn trying to avoid the high, rising, rushing waters. Short of knocking on a stranger’s door and asking to spend the night we had little choice. Finally we saw the house in the distance and knew that although it would be most uncomfortable to say the least we could walk home in the driving rain if we had to. Pulling in my driveway was a wonderful feeling and an answer to our prayers.

I woke up Sunday morning, got my usual cup of coffee and stumbled to my chair in the den. Jerry looked at me after a few minutes and asked if I was awake. Well, no I wasn’t but I knew he was asking for a reason and that’s when he told me there was a tree on the house. I immediately got up and tried looking out of the window to see but it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. I’m still not sure how he knew! Fortunately it was a cedar tree from the neighbor’s and it didn’t do any damage. Other than debris in the yard, limbs, leaves, etc. we had no other damage.

Our next concern though was getting the motor home out of the warehouse where it is stored since the warehouse is located in the flood zone. We went out there but the road into the warehouse was knee deep in water and we knew we couldn’t drive the RV out. Eventually (hours later) we located a key for another door and we were able to drive through the warehouse instead of around it. Now the RV is home and if we lose power we can use it.

Next on the agenda was deciding about our trip. We quickly realized that we couldn’t leave Monday and with the threat of widespread flooding we recognized that we best cancel our trip. My first call was to Lehigh Gorge Campground and I explained that we had to cancel our reservation. As soon as I said we were from Eastern North Carolina he quickly said, “say no more” and he understood completely. Next I called Artillery Campground in Gettysburg and got the very same response. I don’t know when we will visit those campgrounds but we will for sure. I couldn’t have gotten a nicer response. My last call was to the Small Country Campground in Louisa, Va and while she was very understanding she could not refund our deposit but we do now have a credit there.

Monday morning we awoke to much cooler temperatures and I decided to get my daily bike ride in early. It was a very quiet morning, the calm after the storm I guess, and the only sounds I heard came from generators and sirens. A bit eerie to say the least.

Of course we are disappointed that our trip had to be canceled but we are so grateful that we are safe and warm. There are many who have lost their homes and all that they own plus at this point 14 lives have been lost in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew. We know that there is still more to come as the rivers fill and begin to overflow the banks. On day two we are already experiencing gas shortages and if the town gets landlocked like it did in Floyd the food supply will diminish. We have tried to prepare as best as we can. Although we lost power for about 12 hours yesterday it came back on just before dinner last night so our lives have barely been disrupted. A canceled trip is the least of our concerns and we both realize how very fortunate we are. Now it’s time to put the love of Christ in action. Both Jerry and I have called and put our names on the volunteer list so hopefully we’ll get called soon. In the meantime, stay safe folks and God Bless.

Home Away From Home

Headed to Gettysburg, PA

What a day or two in one!  Our plan was to leave the horse show grounds by 8:00 this morning and we pulled out of the site at 7:58 – wish I could say it was good planning but we were just lucky! We had put up all of the outside things last night and as much inside as was possible. I even got my clothes out.

I woke up about 6:00 although I couldn’t get to sleep last night. In fact it was after 12 before I finally went to sleep. Don’t know why but I do know that we’ve haven’t gone on another RV trip when I have had such mixed emotions about going. With the world situation like it is and Mom’s declining health I just can’t get too excited about going. Surely do hope everything turns out ok!

When we saw Rick this morning he asked what route we were planning to take and we said just following the GPS which would put us on 95 around Washington, DC. We have heard so much about the stop and go traffic there even on a Sunday morning so we asked Rick what he suggested. He suggested going to Wytheville, VA and taking 81N out of there so that’s what the plan is. We’ve been to Wytheville before but beyond that … it will be mountains instead of traffic. I don’t know what the mileage difference is but will find out. Our route home takes us right straight down 95 so if this is better we will surely use it coming home.

Rest Area – Welcome Center Virginia – 10:33 – 64 degrees and breezy – fills like fall
10:48 back on the road

The way that Good Sam routed us had us going 338 miles from Raleigh. Of course that was on I95. We have been in Virginia a little over 10 minutes and according to my Garmin GPS we have 338 miles to go. Before we stopped at the Welcome Center I started looking at MapQuest, Garmin, etc. Finally with trepidation I told Jerry how far we had to go to get to Gettysburg. Since we didn’t have to put down a deposit I could cancel that reservation and we could stop sooner. The GPS has us arriving at 4:24 but that’s with no stops. Jerry said he feels good right now so we’d just play it by ear. It’s a bit overcast and a little breezy and even though it’s four lanes the traffic is pretty heavy – all this say, he may get tired more quickly. I had offered to drive – thank goodness I didn’t. We’re already in mountains and traffic! Wow!

12:34 We stopped for gas and lunch at a Pilot in Troutville, VA near Roanoke. Gas was $1.93 and must be the cheapest around because it is very crowded. Although we planned to eat lunch when we stopped for gas we cannot eat here. It’s a small station with no parking lot. There are many diesels in and out plus lots of cars. Busiest small station I’ve ever seen! There were books on the cement pillar next to the gas pump apparently for an exchange. Women Who Taste, Make and Enjoy Wine and Old Dog Pictures were just two of them! That’s a wide range!

Brief stop at rest stop in Mt. Sidney, Va. About 2:40 – still 164 miles to go.

Mount Jackson, VA –saw a water tower with apples painted all around the top
We have seen leaves intermittently falling but everything is still pretty green. It has been a lovely drive, cloudy and overcast at times and then partly cloudy. Never a bright sun shine in our faces.

Jerry is following his Clarion GPS and I am following the Garmin. When I mentioned to him that he had to take exit 315 in two miles he said nope, he had about 15 more miles to go before the exit. As we discussed which GPS to follow we passed by Exit 315 so we continued with the Clarion. We briefly passed through West Virginia and then into Maryland and then … into a state park (never did find out the name of the park). It was a two lane curvy road and a U-turn with speed limits from 15 to 35. Jerry did such a terrific job even though it was at the end of a very long day. What started out to be a 338 mile drive turned into 496. Except for the state park fiasco in Maryland (which we laughed all the way through) the roads were all four lanes and traffic wasn’t too bad although there were many big trucks on the highway. We passed two! The rest passed us.

We finally got to Artillery Range Campground just before 6:00, 10 hours on the road. We have no cable, no TV reception and very limited Internet but that’s ok. I think it’ll be a quiet restful night. We had dinner and then walked around the campground for just a bit. It’s a beautiful fall night and several people have their campfires going.