For our monthly adventure, we had the week after Christmas. My main criteria was to include Billie the black mouth cur on this adventure. Therefore, this would have to be a road trip, and we decided a drive of a max of 10 hours would be sufficiently exhausting. After talking this out with C, we knew had to go south because we wanted to escape the cold as much as possible. I am really not a big fan of Northeast winters, snow, wind and cold, but its the grey days that kill my spirit the most.
I have wanted to visit Memphis as well as Asheville for ages now, so we looked into both of these options. Then we decided to keep it coastal and head down to Wilmington, NC. I visited a friend in Wilmington the year after I graduated high school, driving the 10 hours solo, fueled by caffeine, nicotine, and over-the-counter uppers. This was definitely a different experience.
C and I planned to spend the night in Richmond, VA to break up the ride. Billie's longest car ride previous to this was about four hours, so we weren't sure how she was going to do. We left the morning after Christmas in abominable traffic. We arrived in Richmond much later than we thought we would, around 8pm. Our airbnb host waited our arrival and welcomed us into the old home. The owner had two lively small dogs that greeted Billie anxiously. The three dogs got on just fine, (with the smallest, George, taking a bit longer to calm down and stop barking in Billie's face). Billie made herself perfectly at home as you can see in the pictures of her on the bed. Perched on the super high bed, she looks like the princess from the "Princess and the Pea." Later we found out that Clair Danes slept on that very bed just before our visit! I don't usually get googly-eyed over stars, but I still heart Clair from the days of "My So Called Life". (I have gotten a kick out of saying I used the same throne as Clair.)
Our host baked fresh muffins in the morning and made us a lovely little brekkie before seeing us off. Billie had a nice run in the park down the street where we saw a miniature Lady Liberty. Thankfully the second day's drive was traffic free and smooth. We even found a Trader Joe's on our way through Wilmington out to the beach house. The cute dog friendly condo suited our needs, with a kitchen, living room area, two toilets, balcony and bedroom. The downfall=it was the top floor of the four floor walk up, but that also meant amazing sunset views. Located on Carolina Beach on Pleasure Island, we were a stone's throw from the beach and about a mile from the boardwalk. The awful cold snap on the East Coast had reached the south as well, but it wasn't nearly as cold down there as it was in NY and NJ. We were able to take walks on the beach and go for a bike ride too.
Saturday we ventured out on bicycle, as easy eight miles to Fort Fisher. The wind-blown live oaks line the road and cars actually yield to bicycles. We rode our bikes onto the NC ferry with the cars. After exiting the ferry, we rode two miles into the cute port town of Seaport, NC. After a little spin around town we decided on a place to lunch. The sun shone brightly overhead and the temperate had warmed to the mid-fifties. We dined on killer crab cakes and a pesto salmon sandwich at a place called Fishy Fishy. (Not really an inviting name, but the place was packed).
We cycled about town a bit more, grabbed some flat whites from the local coffee shop and headed back to catch the next ferry. It had been about 10 weeks since I've been on my bike, and I felt it those last two miles back to the beach house. We logged 20 plus (fairly flat) miles that day, that left me with an achy rump.
My dear college besty, Natalie lives an hour over the border into South Carolina, so a visit had been planned as soon as we planned the trip. However, due to circumstances we were only able to get together for breakfast one day. Even though we mostly stayed in touch over the years, 2002 was the last time we had been together. I am such a romantic, that seeing Nat brought on such bittersweet nostalgia; the memories came flooding back, the good old days, and all that goes with when we were young and invincible. Because we were invincible.
Other highlights of my stay:
Hi, I'm Reverend J, a queer+ sober wanderer, activist, writer and ordained minister.