Yes, arrived last Thursday evening in Salvo, North Carolina on the sand spit of the Outer Banks.
Has taken most of three days to unload the trailer and decide where to put what to make my new home livable. Linda Hooper, my landlady, has presented me a like-new 2 bedroom home...fully redone after being flooded - along with dozens of neighborhood homes - with up to 5.5 feet of water during Hurricane Irene of last September.
The first night, Linda offered one of her own home bedrooms (thank you, Linda). Linda added a couch, kitchen table & chairs and all appliances - including a heat pump to ward off the stifling humidity. Feel somewhat guilty all alone in my spacious home, as Pastor Steve and Betty are sharing their tiny newly renovated home with friends and family shoehorned into every nook and cranny.
Spent better part of two days visiting sister Carol in DeKalb, Illinois. Carol is doing OK, but is still in need of assistance. She seemed pleased that I dropped by to see her again so soon, as she assumed she would not see me for quite a long time...one just never knows.
I took time to install rear brakes on the MPV...and good thing too. To avoid the series of steep West Virginia Allegheny mountains along I-40 and Highway 64, I stayed North, driving Highway 68 East in West Virginia and Maryland (close to the Pennsylvania border) before turning Southeast to Washington D.C. and Norfolk, Virginia to reach OBX at Kitty Hawk.
BAD CHOICE !
The northern route had many more L O N G and S T E E P hills than the southern route ever did. Poor MPV was constantly jarred by rough roadways plus the strain of dragging our heavy trailer.
MPV, however, performed flawlessly. Drank up tons of gasoline. Normal gas mileage is + / - 20 MPG. This trip, she realized only 12 - 14 mpg over our course of 3,350 miles. We consumed 260 gallons of fuel @ $4.00 = $1,040.00.
We made the 3,350 miles in 7 days/nights, taking motel rooms at from $45.00 to $80.00 per night, wiping out an additional $450.00.
U-Haul wanted $1,000.00 to rent their large (but not large enough) trailer one way from Bellingham to OBX, so I purchased a new larger trailer for $3,000.00, which I will now sell for around $2,200.00.
All told - including $150.00 for food, $250.00 for new rear tires and $300.00 for new rear brakes, this trip cost:
$2,990.00 Total for the trip...
In the next day or so, I will look for employment.
Arriving in Salvo, I could not get close to my new home because of the extensive flooding left behind after three days of soaking rain. The land (all sand) here is only about 6 feet above sea level. There is simply no way to drain away the rain water left behind. Wearing boots, I was able to back the trailer up to the home. Between rain squalls, I was able to carry all my stuff into the home. Two of Linda's friends helped me move the heavy credenza and off-load the motorcycle (thank you guys).
Assisted in yesterday's - Sunday - Food Pantry. This morning - Monday -, spent a hour or so sorting through the veggies and breads, discarding out-of-date items into the dumpster. On Wednesday, new product will be picked up to restock the shelves. The Food Pantry is open Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings.
With all the flooding, mosquitoes are rampant. Backing the trailer up to the front steps, I was bitten no less than 6 times. One critter slipped into the house, giving me more stings during the night...part of the price paid to live in OBX.
Unpacking has been a traumatic trip. I managed to hold on to a few meaningful items from previous years...a photograph or two, a few dishes, a favorite dishtowel, a gifted "I Love My Teacher" coffee cup. Once again taking these treasures into my hands has returned a flood of memories...memories difficult to process.
I have not slept well. For the first time in many years, I mixed and drank a few Rum & Cokes.
Realization has fallen that I am indeed beginning a new chapter...a chapter I swore I would never venture near. I'm not sure what I feel. "Empty" might be appropriate.
I am, of the moment, not quite so certain of where I am...where I am heading. I do know, however, that I must - will - go on, looking to gain the next hill...to round the next corner.
Have shed more than a few tears maneuvering through recent days.
...Lisbon to Beijing is becoming ever-so-important.