Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Little RV's Eleven Hour Odyssey Through Post Matthew North Carolina

It's been more than a week since Hurricane Matthew left behind 18 + inches of rain in North Carolina and the horrible flooding continues. We had been stalled in Virginia and Northeast North Carolina waiting for I-95 to reopen. It didn't reopen so we just decided to power through and get south of the flooding so we could continue on our way south for our November 1st reservation in Marathon, Florida. 
Red arrows indicate flooding and detours.

 We were on the road at 9 am but hit our first detour within an hour. The detours were very poorly marked and at times I wasn't sure we were on the right path. I get a little nervous driving something so big on tiny back roads because there are often low underpasses and trees hanging over the roadway. 

Once safely on I-95 South we continued on to our next detour. This one was much worse in that we were moving at 3-5 miles per hour. The local police and National Guard were directing the flow of traffic at all intersections. There wasn't much to see along the way but we eventually made it back onto I-95. 

 At this point we were nearing the Fayetteville and Lumberton, NC areas where the flooding was the worst. We were detoured again but this time it was easy to follow the incredible line of traffic. We just tagged on and slowly made our way through Lumberton.  
Mattresses hauled out of a motel.

Nothing could have prepared us for the awful situation these people continue to endure. Rob snapped a few photos along the way.

 We saw many homes, churches and businesses deep in standing water. 

 In the end it took a total of eleven hours to make the 275 mile drive. It was a long day for us but for the people whose lives have been changed by the storm damage, it's not over yet. 
Entire neighborhoods are under water.

 We finally stopped for the night in just over the North Carolina, South Carolina border. 
Murphy has become a great traveler.

 We continued south the following day and right now we are in Central Florida spending a few days in our second Thousand Trails campground. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Little RV Visits the Outer Banks of North Carolina

After Hurricane Matthew's departure we waited for several days before leaving Virginia. There had been so much flooding in the days following the storm we were concerned about road closures. We finally took off for an area near the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. The Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina.

We found a great little campground in Shawboro, NC and spent three days there. The weather was perfect. Murphy and I spent an entire morning outside. He choose to sunbathe and I colored and enjoyed and iced mocha. 

 We were just about 35 miles from one of the bridges to the Outer Banks. I had just one objective. I wanted to get all of us onto the beach. The first town we came to after the bridge crossing was Kitty Hawk. We choose to turn north and see the sights. After driving for roughly an hour through heavy traffic and a lot of standing water we stopped at a tourism /  welcome center in the town of Duck to see where we might find a beach accessible to everyone. 
This boy loves the beach almost
as much as I do.

The ladies told me there are large sand dunes all along the beaches and you must climb over them or use the occasional stairs to get to the water. When it is difficult to walk on level terrain, trekking through deep sand then climbing a dune is impossible. 

After I went back to the car and one of the ladies followed me out to tell us to try Jeanette's Pier in Nag's Head. We drove back toward the south and ended up going through Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and into Nag's Head. (Who named these places?) We found Jeanette's Pier and sure enough, we all made it onto the beach. 

 It was absolutely beautiful. After we set Rob up in a chair with his sunglasses and camera Murphy and I set out for a stroll on the beach and a little shelling. 
 We did end up seeing a lot of the beautiful OBX but mostly from the car. If I were to go back I'd rent a guest house with beach access and avoid necessity of searching for an accessible beach. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Get Out of the Way!

We are supposed to be visiting the glorious Outer Banks of North Carolina but Mother Nature had other ideas. In our last post I wrote about our decision to wait the storm out here in Virginia. 

Murphy and I have had several long walks around this huge campground and we always find something interesting to look at and sniff. 

We have been in Williamsburg for a few days. We are enjoying our first stay in a Thousand Trails park. We joined back in July but hadn't been in a location to use one of their parks. After joining your first 30 days of camping each year are free. Free is the perfect place to wait out a storm. After you stay 30 days the charge is just $3 per night. There are restrictions so if you're interested read carefully. 

Today it's raining and we're planning to leave tomorrow. Until just about an hour ago we didn't know where we were headed but we now have a reservation in North Carolina near the beach. The storm is dying down and the campground we are moving to is up near the Virginia border so we are hoping things go as planned and we are able to head for the beach.

Of course, if we get up in the morning and find things have changed we will consider delaying our move for a day.

I'm particularly excited to be going to the beach after a storm as the shelling should be exceptional. All that churning washes up a lot of cool stuff on the beach. 

We have had a really fun time here in Virginia visiting with Karen and Charlie. 

Karen is one of Rob's old high school friends and Charlie is her husband. 

They are among the nicest people I've ever met. Their little dog Pippin was a great host to Murphy when we went to their home for a visit. 

It's always nice to meet new forever friends. 

When we were at the Jersey Shore last week I took a couple of photos of a piano that got washed away in Hurricane Sandy but was recovered after the storm. I found them fascinating but I forgot to post them.

I saw two pianos on the boardwalk but I'd bet there were more. I'm amazed this held together so well. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Little RV Hits Pause

After leaving Rhode Island we drove to Tom's River, New Jersey to visit another of Rob's old high school friends.  Karen lives on the Jersey Shore which was devastated by Super Storm Sandy a few years back. We were in Connecticut for that particular storm. You can read about that here and here

Our stop in NJ was fun. Our campground was less than inviting. It was mostly permanent residents which is normally not an issue for us. However, this park was just a mess. There was a lot of junk around most of the sites. I had to hunt for the electric hook-up and couldn't even find the water on our site. I eventually added another hose and hooked into the water on the next site which was empty. 

One good thing this park had to offer was "The Island". There is a creek that runs through the property in two separate streams. Between the streams is a large island used for tent camping. It was empty when we were there and it was a great place to take Murphy to run off-leash.

 It was chilly and rainy but Karen and I went to Seaside Heights. This is the boardwalk we saw so much of on the news after Hurricane Sandy. The amusement park was destroyed along with most of the boardwalk.

What the storm didn't ruin, the fires afterward finished off. This is an aerial view taken after the storm.

They have rebuilt most of the area we visited but they still have a lot of work to go. 

I loved this ice cream shop even though it was closed. Thanks Karen for being such a great tour guide. 
After leaving NJ we headed south on I-95 right through New York City. I had planned to drive around the city but it added a lot of miles so we just decided to power through. It was raining that day and I had no idea what to expect. 

Fortunately (or unfortunately) our travel was so slow I was able to take in the sights while driving. 

 We finally arrived at our campground in Maryland late in the day. We were about halfway between Baltimore and Washington DC.

The park in Maryland was very nice but very expensive. Campgrounds are scarce here so $75 a night is the going rate. 

We stayed in Maryland for two night then headed south to Virginia. The drive took us through Washington DC, and Richmond, VA. It was a nice day and an easy drive. 

We are in Williamsburg, Virginia. We came here specifically to meet up with another of Rob's high school friends. 

We had planned to leave for the Outer Banks of North Carolina today but until hurricane Matthew is safely out to sea we have hit pause on our travels.  There is a lot to see and do here and we have friends so that makes it a great place to stop for a while. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finally! The Little RV Visits Rhode Island

Rob grew up in Rhode Island and we come here when we are in the area but we have never actually camped here. Well here we are! 

We had an absolutely beautiful day for our drive from Connecticut to our new campground in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It was sunny with blue skies and temperatures in the high 60s. Perfect fall weather! We are at a beautiful State Park very near the water. 
  You can see The Little RV in the center of the
tree from the top of this bunker. 

This park has several underground bunkers. If you climb to the top the view is spectacular. 

Yesterday we drove to Providence where Rob's father is buried. We took some yellow mums along. 
Can I just say how unsettling it is to see your husband's name on a headstone while he is standing right next to you? 

After our visit to the cemetery we drove the Armenian market in Cranston. I think years ago it was specifically Armenian but now it carries a supply of Middle Eastern delights such as Lachmajoon (Armenian pizza), Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and Kofta (a meatball surrounded by a bulgur mixture).

After the market we drove back to Narragansett and went to the beach. I've been so eager to put my feet in the sand and I finally did. 

Yesterday was a dreary, gray day but it was comfortably warm and great for a quick walk on the beach. I only saw three other people there. All of the tourist crowds are gone for the season. 

Today we are expecting the same weather but look out beach here we come again. I'm taking Murphy with us today for his first off-leash run on the beach. It promises to be a very sandy day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Old Friends and Ladies Day in Boston

We are reconnecting with friends and family we haven't see for a long time. Rob and Tom have been the best of friends since third grade and when they get together it's like they were never apart. 
Tom and his wife Beth, came to the Little RV for a visit Friday evening. We had a great visit. I can't even imagine the trouble these two caused growing up.

Saturday Rob's oldest daughter Meghan, her mother-in-law Judy and I went to Boston for the day. 
I had never been to Boston except the airport. It's only about an hour and a half drive from Meg's house depending on traffic. 

This area of Boston was incredibly busy. There were multiple events that day including a bike race, Oktoberfest, and a Dance Mile which is a large group of dancing people following a pick-up truck loaded with speakers and three very loud women attempting to add to the dancing mob. The Mob dances a mile long route. Not my thing but my companions were nearly sucked in. 

There were also people in period dress who were involved in tours and other activities. Police were directing traffic at many of the intersections and parking was very hard to come by. 

Be prepared when visiting this area. We paid $36 to park the car or "pahk the cah" in Boston speak, for four hours. Other than lunch that was the only cost for the day's entertainment. 

Being the quirky kind of tourist I am, I wanted to see some unusual things. The first and most important was this six foot tall Lob-stah Mickey. 
 We did some walking and looking for him but sadly we discovered he is no longer in Boston at least in the public arena or I'd be in this photo with Mickey. Onward!

Next up, The Union Oyster House

The New England Clam Chowder (chow-dah in Boston speak) was some of the best I've ever had. This is the America's oldest restaurant and has been serving food since 1826. 

The area we visited was very old and full of history. 
They call it the Freedom Trail and there is a brick stripe in the old cobblestone sidewalks you can follow to keep you on the trail.

 As we followed the trail Faneuil Hall was next. 

Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and was an open market and meeting house for local government. 

The Old State House was next on the trail. This building is over 300 years old and is dwarfed by the tall buildings surrounding it. 

Check out the beautiful details on the building .

The Old South Meeting Hall was next on the trail. This is a Puritan church dating back to 1729. 
Moving right along we arrived at Granary Burial Ground. This cemetery was established in 1660 and is the final resting place for many notable figures including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Mary Goose, said to be the original Mother Goose. 
Some of the headstones were so eroded we couldn't read them. I suppose being out in the weather 24/7 for as long as 356 years would erode anything. 

Park Street Church, built in 1809, was our next stop. There had just been a wedding and the bride and groom were just exiting the church as we arrived. 

Our last stop on the trail was Boston Common where we were greeted by the overwhelming scent of marijuana in the air. 
Boston Common is a central park in downtown Boston. It dates back to 1634. We only visited a small corner of the parks huge 50 acre footprint. 
Had I know about these guys, we'd have been all over the place looking for them. I have to say I'd like to go back sometime and visit the park more thoroughly. 

Six days from today we move to Rhode Island for a quick visit to Rob's childhood hometown.