6/13/2014 Congaree National Park, South Carolina
I’ve made it to another National Park! At 8am! So the Visitor’s Center isn’t even open! Ha! I ended up dozing in a Walmart parking lot due to the rest stops having very wordy signs that might as well just state “no overnight parking” but it’s got all this “blah blah for the courtesy of motorists blah” preamble. It’s not courtesy if they can’t have a little nap without worry! But yeah, Walmart actually had less noise than a rest stop (which is by the road and all that) until the weed whacker dude showed up, but rest stops are away from populated areas, so I feel they are safer.
Anyway, Georgia! I departed Florida in the mid afternoon and headed North to Georgia. My goal was Crooked River State Park, which was just across the border on the east side. I didn’t want to roam too far for a campsite. The park was closed but this semi-ranger told me to just set up camp and pay in the morning. Which I did! Grabbed a spot by the woods. It was a nice campground, though barely full. Lots of spots and amenities. It seems that the Pacific Northwest is the odd one out when it comes to paying for showers, because it’s been free at every State Park I’ve been to thus far. So I set up tent and got a good rest in, despite my spot being near an apparent deer thoroughfare.
I paid up in the morning and got a patch. Then I spent a little while scrap booking and properly organizing my car. Decluttering and all that. I’ve absolutely overpacked and could have so much more space. The big tub of art supplies & books & papers is going… very unrifled through. Oh well. I’ve still got a ways to go on this journey, it could come in handy somehow. I should read more that’s for sure.
I took a little amble on a hike in the park. It rained a bit, but I brought an umbrella. There was a bird watching platform but I lack binoculars and Mom’s ability to identify birds.
Atlanta may be a major city, but I didn’t feel like driving 5 hours West just to check it out. Five hours on the interstate is both a lot of driving and gas. So I went to Savannah. I cashed in this Barnes and Noble gift card I’ve had for a few years and got the new Edward St. Aubyn book. Then I went to Jiffy Lube and got the second oil change of this trip. In the previous two weeks of this journey (hit the six week mark) I drove 3937 miles at 42.8 mpg. So better mileage than driving through Texas but more miles due to the five nights I spent across Florida.
So onwards and Northwards! I went to Tybee Island for the sunset and some official Atlantic Ocean toe dipping. There were people fishing off the pier and one guy caught a shark, which I think you have to throw back. I didn’t see if he did, but there were enough witnesses so he oughta. I’m to the Atlantic! Coast to coast! Gulf Coast doesn’t count like the Strait of Juan de Fuca doesn’t count.
Driving into the sunset is very overrated. And blinding. But I made it across the border, got to a rest stop, changed into jammies, noticed the sign, and just went to the nearest Walmart.
So now I’m at Congaree NP waiting for the park to open. I’ll spent the day at the park and then probably continue up to North Carolina. It’s not that far away. Dunno what else to do in this state beyond dousing myself with insect repellant.
6/14/2014 Stephen & Erin’s in Durham, North Carolina
I’m at Erin and Stephen’s in Durham! Stephen of Odd Owl (formerly) and Erin his 8 months pregnant wife who is a writer and is awesome. Basically cool people that I can stay with for a little bit. And it’s been awesome talking with Stephen about life and travel and all that. He’s a smart dude. Well versed in navigating life. I need to sit down and work on my game plan. What order do I visit the next states, what do I want to see in each state, who is in each state, who has the numbers for those people, etc. So I think that’ll be my Durham focus. I’ll slow down a bit and work on that. Plus I have a few friends in the area I wanna see, so yeah. It’s great to see familiar faces and to have full conversations. I’m looking forward to wandering around tomorrow with the two of them. I know some good people in this life of mine.
Congaree National Park was swell! It was a swamp, but not swampy. There was a board walk and well marked flat trails. I did the longer loop, and it was a slow meander. The air smelled really good and the light was just nice that time of morning. It was also a canoe friendly park, so something for Mom to take note of. At noonish I hit the road. I set my sights on Columbia, because it was close. I swung by Walmart to see if they had watch batteries and other cheap staples for the road. I also got some $6 running jersey running shorts because they would be more comfy to wear for longer drives than jean shorts. And I was right! I was so much more comfortable the instant they were on. Comfort is important.
Once I got some pep in my step again, I headed north east outta Columbia and BOOM I was in North Carolina. 20 states down, 28 to go! I arrived at 8ish and was well fed and well conversed by E & S. Such generous hosts! I think I’ll have fun in this state. Glad to be with friends.