A tale of two cities? No we have both been to too many for that to be right.
A tale of two climates? Well, Danny was in shorts one day when he wasn't running but it has been a chilly run down the east coast as well.
A tale of two children? Again, too many of those.
A tale of two voyages. That fits.
I left Dragonfly to head home to support my eldest daughter Kelsi for a week. It was an interesting trip to plan as we were not sure where we would be to leave from, nor when we might get there. I looked at car rental, flying, bus, and train. You name it, nothing was easy and of course the Thanksgiving holiday travel time came right into the mix. Eventually it was decided that I would fly to Cleveland to pick up our friend's (Tim and Karen) truck that they wanted south and drive that home, switch to my van for the week, then continue south in the truck. I left from Charleston on November 13. But wait, the boat was in Belhaven at that point. Tim and Karen were heading to Charleston by car to a Looperpalooza event, (More about Loopers and looping later) so I jumped in the car with them and they took me to the airport. It worked for everyone.
We left Belhaven by car, and started following Google's instructions. We arrived at what appeared to be the end of the road at the water's edge, but it was a ferry stop. We continued across the Pamlico river by ferry then drove ourselves the rest of the way to Charleston. This was my first time inside a car on a ferry. Later, it felt strange to be sitting in a Denny's in SC watching CFL playoffs. Kinda fun though! I got to explain the differences between the CFL and the NFL.
Tim and Karen dropped me off at the airport and my voyage within a voyage continued. From Charleston to Philly, then on to Cleveland I flew, and was met at the airport by Joey (Tim and Karen's son) who handed over the truck. Three and a half uneventful hours later, I was back in Niagara and ready for bed. The next morning I drove to Toronto to be with my daughter.
After a few terrific days with my daughter Kelsi in Toronto, we headed back to Niagara to visit my Mom, go to church, and generally settle in. Kelsi's cat, Karma is delightful but as I am allergic to her, I was happy to leave a very small space shared with a cat. She got to stay home.
The time together was great and busy but all too soon, it was time for me to take Kelsi back towards Toronto and head back to the boat. I love my life on the boat so I had missed it but I also miss the family members who don't live with me on the boat. Such is one of the drawbacks to a life of adventure, and yet a reassurance that my love for them is constant and continues while I am away.
I wasn't really looking forward to driving solo for two days but I found great radio stations that encouraged me to continue to be bold and go for it, and I made pit stops along the way so as not to fall asleep. My first pit stop was in Westfield, NY, to see my brother Tim and his family. I stopped in to the new dental office (after a call to Mom for the address) and had a quick visit with Tim, then went up to the house and ultimately found Mandy and Ayla at the library. Imagine their surprise to see me there! Max was at school so I missed him but gave hugs to be passed along. Ayla was thrilled to have me read a few books to her before I left, then I shared my hugs with both Ayla and Mandy.
Thank goodness for Google when one is driving solo! Although the voice can be annoying, my google copilot is polite and doesn't make me change the radio station. After some bathroom break stops and a quick chat with Danny at a rest stop, I pulled into Wytheville VA to spend the night. I was tired and hungry and the Kingston motel was in my budget so I pulled in. (They do say that Walmarts will let you park for free in their parking lots overnight but I wanted a bed and was willing to pay for it. -the added safety is always a bonus too!) The attendant greeted me with a smile but was sad to say that there were no rooms available. Darn...until a young lady from behind the counter said..."what about...?" The last room would be a few minutes to prepare so I was given directions to Applebees . I needed a walk after all of the sitting while driving so I walked through the parking lots to get to Applebees. The road had no sidewalks and although a small town, that road was busy!
I was hungry and tired, and not really into thinking much about dinner other than knowing I wanted some vegetables. My waitress Tiffany was beyond helpful. There were very few people in the restaurant.. She told me about the $1 margaritas and then when I was having difficulty deciding, proceeded to tell me about her personal creation that she eats at work: Broccoli, rice, shrimp and a cream sauce with Parmesan cheese! The Tiffany special was delightful and my entire bill was $8.05 including the margarita! With few other customers we struck up a conversation and my meal was far more enjoyable. Dinner over, I walked back to the motel and was asleep not long after I hit the pillow. I anticipated getting up at 6 to leave early so I could be on time to pick up the new starter. (See Danny's previous post for details on that silliness.)
The smoky mountains at dawn are a sight to behold. As I left Wythesville I drove through valleys filled with fog against a backdrop of the mountains, then rose higher to see the most glorious sunrise against the same mountains and valleys. Each corner I turned was equally beautiful. Ultimately I tried to take a photo but my google copilot was not helpful in capturing the full beauty of the event. This shot will have to do, as photography while driving is challenging.
Again I had great music and radio programming and once through the mountains the stations lasted longer than a song and a half. I arrived in Conway an hour early to pick up the starter for the boat that had been shipped. Except that Dear Google had goofed, or I hadn't looked at it properly and I stood at what I thought was the address and it was a barber shop?? Somehow I didn't think I would be finding a starter there any time soon. I re-looked at google, called Wilbur at Auto Electric Exchange in Conway and then drove a block further to meet him.
Wilbur was delightful. He had ordered the part and told me that generally UPS arrives around 10 am, but when he needed something important in a hurry they were normally much later, despite what they may have written on their paperwork. UPS paperwork said 12 noon and I was early so I sat out in the sun in the truck and waited. And waited. And waited..... I smelled yummy things. People came and went. Some came back and left again. 12 o'clock came and went. So did 1 o'clock, then 2 o'clock. Wilbur and friends had had a potluck lunch and shared the leftovers with me when I came in to check on things. Wilbur called everywhere he could think of to get another part. He called UPS who said that it had been in Myrtle Beach at 10:30 that morning. (At this point I thought I could have walked there faster.) Finally after 3, when the sun was no longer on the bed of the truck in the parking lot and I was cold, Wilbur said he would bring the part to me at the marina. YAY! I could go to the marina, see my husband and puppies and wait there for the part. I left the parking lot and headed to Osprey Marina following Google's directions.
I got about 2 blocks, when I spotted the UPS truck. Wilbur had been gracious enough to offer to bring the starter but there was really no need for him to go out of his way for a half hour, so I turned the truck around and headed back the the Auto Electric Exchange. I was getting to know at least that few blocks in Conway quite well. I arrived at the building expecting to see the UPS truck and when it wasn't there, I just assumed they had been faster than me and went inside to see what was happening. Wilbur was confused to see me again so soon until I told him that I had seen the truck and figured it was easier for me to come back. I didn't think it would be long so decided to wait in the truck again. It had been a block away. It couldn't take that long to get there, could it? It could. I waited another half hour and watched the truck go right past the building before it finally pulled in. It was the day before Thanksgiving and things had been held up and the route was not their normal one so the gentlemen in the truck were a tad grumpy. I wished them a happy Thanksgiving and paid for my part, heading on to Osprey and my boat family. If you need anything around Conway SC and have wheels to get you there, go see Wilbur at Auto Electric Exchange. He was terrific!
Starter in hand, I delivered kisses, hugs and a truck, and was received by husband, friends and a barking crazy couple of huskies once I made it to the boat. Another chapter in the adventure book was closed.