The last time I blogged, we were in North Carolina, trying to figure out our next steps before we headed towards Asheville for a wedding that will take place this weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, finding a place to camp in Raleigh was proving nearly impossible and neither of us particularly were interested in staying in Asheville for 2 weeks while we waited for the wedding. Plus, I had to fly back to Chicago on Friday for a wedding, leaving Ian alone for several days.
Earlier in the week, after leaving Florida, we had made our way to one of our favorite cities, Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston was fabulous, though we were camped in a pretty sad RV park (trying doing a 3 mile run through an RV park loop--it's probably worse than 10 miles on a treadmill). Still, we had a great time in Charelston and are excited to return in January when we'll camp at Hunting Island State Park (about an hour away in Beaufort) for about 3 weeks. After Charleston, we headed up towards Wilmington, NC, a city that is known mainly for its place in television history--Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, pretty much every Nicholas Sparks movie, and Revenge are/were all filmed here. We ended up really liking Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, and really should have spent a few more days here--but this is where things went awry and we decided instead to go to Raleigh, NC.
Raleigh had a couple things we needed--first and foremost, it was one of the final spots of Pat Conroy's long book tour and we had $5 tickets to see him speak on Thursday night in Raleigh. Secondly, I was supposed to catch a flight out of Raleigh on Friday morning to Chicago so I could photograph an elopement in Chicago at the Cultural Center. The original plan was:
--Emily flies to Chicago (Friday)
--Ian stays in Raleigh Saturday, Sunday
-Emily returns to Raleigh (Sunday) and we head towards Asheville (Monday)
That would have been great except we quickly discovered that not only did Raleigh not boast any camping spots within a 100 mile radius of the city, but we also weren't that keen on just sitting in Raleigh for 5 days, spending money we didn't need to spend. It started to seem to us that it might actually be more cost effective to change the Raleigh ticket to an Asheville ticket, find a spot to park the Airstream, and head home a week early, then fly back to Asheville for the wedding on the 21st. We had a few tickets that were the result of frequent flyer miles, so it was easier to reorganize tickets than usual and, truth be told, we were both looking forward to a few days off the road.
Thus, after much discussion, crunching of numbers, list making and phone calls to United, various campgrounds and storage unit spots, we made the executive decision to head home for the holidays a week earlier than expected.
So, we parked the Airstream at a secure spot in Raleigh, packed up the truck, and drove 13 hours back to Chicago, where our good friends Sarah and Danny were waiting with open arms to host us for the weekend while we shot an elopement celebration in the city. On Sunday, after a full day of work on Saturday and a good night's rest, we packed up the truck yet again, drove back to Michigan and are here for a few days before we pack up, once again, and this time board a flight back to Asheville where we will be until Sunday to shoot a wedding.
Then we'll really be home for a few weeks--right now we're in this weird holding pattern of sort of being home, but knowing we are leaving again in a few days.
It was a bit sad to say goodbye to the Airstream, but we are both reveling in being stationary for a few days and having a chance to catch up on some work. Plus we know we'll be back in the trailer before we know it.
The first 6 weeks of our trip were fantastic and we learned a ton of important things we'll be able to apply to our next section, which will start in mid-January. First and foremost, the value and importance of a good state park campground and how amazing warm weather is--when we woke up this morning in Michigan it was 5 degrees--definitely had us missing that South Carolina air, for sure! We're currently working on establishing our route and camping spots for round 2 of the Rolling Elopement tour and will update you once we've got the details nailed down.
Also, it's time to introduce all of you to our new friend, Ruth Ann. We've been keeping her under wraps for a couple weeks because we wanted to make sure she stuck with us before we got you all attached to her. But so far, she's been fabulous. We met Ruth Ann at the Charleston Farmer's Market a couple weeks ago and it was love at first site. Not only is she a lovely (and quiet) coonhound beagle mix, about 4 years old, but she is also Tasha's new best friend.
She became part of our family and so far things are going swimmingly--she sleeps almost as much as Tasha does, maybe more, she snores only lightly when she sleeps and she is learning quickly to walk politely on a leash and to lie down when commanded. In the truck, she literally sleeps wrapped around Tasha, with her head pushed under Tasha's chest (not sure how she breathes this way, but she seems to), and while we're not sure if Tasha really likes this, Tasha deals with it and seems to be enjoying acting as an older sister/mentor. We had been looking for a 2nd dog for some time, and it seemed serendipitous that Ruth Ann came into our lives in Charleston, our favorite city. She also is very similar to another dog our family used to own--Dinah the Beagle--and their similarities are quite endearing. Ruth Ann is named after one of our favorite characters from one of our favorite television shoes, Northern Exposure. Not only does she look like Ruth Ann Miller, but she also has a similar attitude--she's a no nonsense kind of gal. Welcome to the family, Ruth Ann!