North Carolina, Virginia

Flexibility

Flexibility – some say that’s what RVing is all about and it surely has worked for us this time. Our original plans were to leave October 10th for our Virginia/Pennsylvania trip but Hurricane Matthew changed that plan. In all honesty we probably could have gotten out of Kinston but we just didn’t feel that it was a wise decision. As many have heard Kinston, NC was devastated by flooding waters and though “the storm” was over by the 9th the rising waters were just beginning. With Mom in a retirement center in Greenville and the threat of evacuation for her plus not knowing what was going to happen in Kinston we elected to stay home. We did go out to the warehouse on the 9th and get the motor home. The warehouse is in the flood zone and we were afraid it might flood. We also knew that even if the warehouse itself didn’t flood that there would be water all around it and we would be unable to get to it. Unfortunately we’ve seen it before so we knew what to expect. So, the RV stayed in our driveway for a week. We did use it one day due to power outage. Fortunately we live on the north side of Kinston and were not in any danger from the flood.

We were planning to go to the State Fair horse the next week and after a lot of talking pros and cons we decided to add part of our planned trip on after the horse show rather than before. We left on Tuesday, October 18 for Raleigh for the show and stayed until Sunday. During that time we discussed where we would go knowing we had to be back in Raleigh by October 29 for the State-Boston College football game. Yes, it does seem our fall travels revolve around football games and horse shows! We finally decided to go to Louisa, Virginia where we would spend two nights at the Small Country Campground and visit Montpelier, James Madison’s home. The rest of the trip was up in the air at that point but included going to the Shenandoah Valley and the Skyline Parkway.

We finally got away from the horse show grounds on Sunday around 10:00, stopped at Alamance Crossing to meet David (we had grandson Eli for the week-end) and then headed on to Louisa. On the way it dawned on me that I should probably check the hours for Montpelier. That little tickle in my mind was right – they are closed on Mondays. Oh well. We decided that we would add a night to our Louisa stay and go visit Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home on Monday. It is about a 2 hour drive but Jerry was up for it so the plans changed.

As we neared the campground our two GPS’s of course gave two different routes. Jerry took his instead of mine and we ended up on Brickhouse Road, a narrow, two lane, winding road and we were hoping we wouldn’t meet anyone. We did but fortunately got by without incidence! We should have taken my route this time.

The campground despite its name is not small. In fact there are several sections. Unfortunately for some reason we were not put in with the transients so thus far haven’t gotten to meet anyone. After we got set up we took a walk around the park. We debated riding our bikes – wow, glad we didn’t as it’s a mite hilly!

I had put ribs in the crockpot when we stopped for lunch and they were smelling really good so I cooked some sides and we had a pretty good dinner for a change. It was an early night and by 8:00 we were both fighting sleep. The horse shows are always fun but tiring so a good night’s sleep was in order. By the way we didn’t succumb to our 8:00 drowsiness and I made it all the way to 10:00! I left my window open and the room was cool, perfect for sleeping.

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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.

North Carolina

Go Away Hurricane Matthew!

Although we had an October trip planned to Bradenton, Florida for the Gathering with John and Kathy Huggins we decided that since we had just returned from Florida plus with Jerry’s broken ribs we’d forego the Gathering this year.  Instead we decided to take a short trip north through Louisa, Virginia to visit some presidential homes and then on to Gettysburg and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Needless to say I have spent many hours planning this trip trying to find the best route, the best affordable campground – you know – the usual things.  We were also planning to go further north too but I just couldn’t find any place to stay.  That part of the country starts closing down on Columbus Day which this year is October 10, the day we are scheduled to leave.  Instead I decided to leave the Jim Thorpe area and go down through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia so began looking for routes that would take us close to some pretty scenery with good hiking trails.  Although we will have our bikes I doubt we’ll do much riding in the mountains – if Jerry is able to ride at all!

The Calm Before the Storm
The Calm Before the Storm
Whoa – have you heard about Hurricane Matthew?  Well, we live on the coast in Eastern North Carolina so we are carefully watching the news for updates and it looks like our trip may, if not be canceled, at least be cut short.  Pennsylvania may have to wait for another time.

Stay tuned – I’ll let you know – and please pray for safety for those in the path of this Category 4 hurricane.