So…the thing about van life and being fully self-supported is you can make decisions from behind the wheel as to Who, What, When, Where. This was more a “life on the road” trip than vacation travel.
This trip was planned as a pre-retirement research trip and a pandemic escape from the 4 walls of our house. Destination Oak Island. Why? Very dog friendly. Yes, you know we are THOSE people. We had driveway arrangements for Thursday and Friday with friends of a friend. Now our friends! We also had time with a realtor scheduled for Friday afternoon. The original plan was to leave after work on Thursday and return Sunday.
Okay…before I go further. We aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just data collecting at this time. And you know us…that could take 20 years!! There are mountains, lakes, cities and towns and Greensboro to explore!!
The weekend prior to our departure had us shivering when freezing rain downed trees and our power. When the forecast for Wednesday night called for a half inch of freezing rain, we started thinking an early escape was in order. After a full day of work, we threw a couple of things in van and headed out about 8pm thinking an hour south would let us miss the freezing rain. It was easy traveling and as we headed out of town and checked the forecast we realized we were exchanging the ice for flash flooding. What to do? Cranked up the radio and kept heading south. (One of Flay’s first installs on the van was a rockin’ sound system.)
At around 1130pm we pulled into the Southport Walmart. Never say never!!
Actually, it wasn’t bad at all. No checking into a motel during a pandemic, no hauling bags, free! Threw the shades into the windows, lowered the bed, brushed our teeth and 10 minutes later….ZZZZZZZ!
Up early with the truckers sharing the parking lot. Quick trip to the Walmart bathroom (us)…around the Walmart parking lot (Saka) and we are off.
Today’s objective is an office with a view…it’s a workday for both us. (Yes, both of us! Mostly Flay, though.)
The historic village of Southport is perched on the Cape Fear River and is charming. We got a prime spot and set up for the day. Worked, drank lots of coffee and walked when there were breaks in the rain. Not a bad way to spend a rainy day.
The one thing we learned about the van is the tinted back windows are the bomb. With the shades in the windshield and front windows it was like we were behind a one-way mirror. Very entertaining and lots of people are very curious about the van.
After work, we headed across to Oak Island to meet our most gracious driveway hosts, Nancy and Fred. Thank you for your warm welcome. Thank you, Sara and Carolyn, for connecting us. Friends of friends is a very good thing.
A short tour around the island. Quick dinner in the van and more work for Flay. Bedtime for me and Saka.
We continue to have coffee issues! Friday morning began with a kettle accident (thankfully after the first pot of coffee was brewed), me standing barefoot holding an 80 pound dog with a million shards of glass on the floor, a little scalding water and Flay giving me instructions from the bed. After the crisis abated Flay said it would make a funny story in the blog. I’m still not quite there. No photos!!
Friday morning was more work and a new office with a view. My view included a short nap.
Looked at real estate that afternoon and enjoyed a break from the rain at the end of the day. We caught the only 3 minutes of sun on Friday as the sun set over the ocean.
Saturday began with a big improvement with the weather and a walk on the beach for Saka and me. We just missed the sunrise. Love that you can catch the sunrise and sunset on the ocean at Oak Island this time of year.
We were saved by the big thermos of coffee Nancy delivered. Is coffee always going to be a thing?? We had decided to head to Carolina Beach State Park for the next night. Nancy suggested that we take the ferry from Southport. Great tip…thank you! It was wonderful to be on the water…cold, but sunny!!
I don’t believe that I’ve ever visited Fort Fisher, a civil war battlefield. It is a beautiful and peaceful place. It evoked a sense of timelessness and a recollection of events that happened so long ago but still carry relevance for today. Reverence. And awe. Appreciation for opportunities taken and lost. Sadness and grief for the suffering and carnage.
Driving on to Carolina Beach State Park, we selected a campsite and enjoyed hiking in the park that afternoon. We ended late in the afternoon and moved the van to watch the sun set over the Cape Fear River and enjoy a happy hour Zoom call with friends.
After a good night’s sleep…
We arose early in search of a cup of coffee. Parked the van overlooking the Atlantic and eased into the day…with our coffee.
We visited the NC Aquarium. All these interesting places in NC that we haven’t seen! We were first in the door and beat the crowds. Good thing in these covid times…actually a good thing anytime.
We were on the road heading home by 10am. Grateful for new friends and new experiences.
So I’m thinking the What and Where and When of “life on the road” aren’t nearly as important as the Who. Who you travel with and Who you meet. And the WHY…because I look out the window and it’s a beautiful world. Grateful.