After a restful three days in Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia, Rico, the pups and I headed down the coast to the Outer Banks (OBX for short). We were hoping for great weather and a much better beach camping experience than we had at Assateague. We didn’t get it.
We had an easy drive and enjoyed the scenery along the way, arriving in Kitty Hawk in the early afternoon. We toured the Wright Brothers National Memorial and found it interesting. The dogs were happy for time out of the car but didn’t seem to care much about man’s first flight.
After learning a little more than we had previously known about how the Wright Brothers changed the world, we headed down the road to our next camping spot. Though the sky above was cloudy, we were hopeful it wouldn’t rain.
We stayed at Oregon Inlet Campground in Nags Head, NC. It was on the beach, but safely nestled behind some rather large dunes, so we were confident we wouldn’t have a repeat of the Assateague incident.
We checked in, picked a spot, and began setting up our tent. Rico then cooked a great meal of grilled sandwiches, and we fed and walked the dogs. Just as we were finished cleaning up the dinner stuff, it began to sprinkle. Thankfully we had decided to wait until after we ate to finish setting up our camp, so almost everything was still in the Mini and the trailer.
We grabbed the pups and headed inside the (very tiny) tent for the remainder of the evening. It was cramped but cozy and we were glad to have a place to stay dry.
We decided to check the forecast for Asheville, which was to be our next stop, and we are so glad we did. That’s when we found out about the N’oreaster that was set to blow into the Midwest and the Northeast over the next several days. After much discussion, we decided we weren’t properly equipped nor experienced enough to handle the frigid, windy, and rainy conditions, so we opted to head south the next day.
We were very disappointed at this decision because we had both really been looking forward to visiting our friends in the Knoxville area, as well as other friends in Wichita, KS. With our new path southward, we realized those visits would have to wait for another time.
One of the good things about our current lifestyle is that we aren’t tied to either a clock or calendar so we can reschedule and reroute as the weather changes.
We opted to head to Savannah, GA and visit a friend whom I hadn’t seen in over thirty years. Satisfied with our new plans, Rico and I decided to call it a night.
About midnight, we were both jolted awake when it began to really rain. As the wind howled mercilessly and the thunder rumbled loudly, we were both relieved that the tent was still standing. At around three in the morning, I woke again to a very wet blanket and realized the tent (the new tent… the second tent) was leaking. There wasn’t a thing I could do about it, so I scooted over and went back to sleep.
In the morning, when the rain still hadn’t let up, Rico and I hurriedly packed up the trailer and the Mini, loaded up the dogs, and set off to look for breakfast, since we couldn’t cook in the middle of a thunderstorm. My MS was flaring a little, and I wasn’t feeling too great. Rico was grumpy and wet, the dogs were shivering, and my feet were frozen. We were truly a sad lot.
We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and headed south through the rain, hopeful we would outrun the clouds. Twelve hours later (we had to stop several times because of MS-related issues) we pulled into Skidaway State Park on Skidaway Island just outside of Savannah. The rain had let up, and we were able to get the tent set up, eat dinner, walk the dogs, and get inside before the rain began again in earnest.
But… as we were setting up the tent, one of the sides caught on one of the poles and tore a big hole in it. Rico was able to tape it up, but it still leaked from both the top, where it had leaked the night before and the newly torn hole. Suffice it to say, it was a miserable and wet night.
In the morning, we were again ready to call off the trip. Two tents and two sleeping bags had failed us in the span of less than a week, Mother Nature was tormenting us with cold, wind, and rain, and we were sick and tired of being wet, cold, and grumpy.
We broke camp, had a cold breakfast, did some laundry, watched some Netflix while the laundry was going, and took the time to talk things through. What we discovered is that we don’t want to quit… we want to keep going until we figure this out. We weren’t born with the skills required to pull this off, so we have to learn, and we have to learn as we go. We’re going to make mistakes, things are going to break, the weather is going to be awful, and we’re going to be uncomfortable sometimes. My chronic health problems will interfere with our plans, the dogs will do things to piss us off or complicate our lives, and our equipment will fail us. All of this is inevitable – it’s all bound to happen once or twice over the next year – but we have to be prepared and we have to learn to roll with whatever life throws at us.
We are now in Savannah staying with my friend and having a blast in her very cozy, warm, and dry apartment. We’ll stay through the weekend and then head west toward Houston and San Antonio to spend the holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day) with friends and family. After that, we will hit the road again and be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Scenes from Savannah coming soon!