Thursday, October 18th we left Mickey's in Indianapolis at about 9:00AM. We drove through Cincinnati and then took a state highway past Maysville, which was a nice break from the interstate traffic. Later on we drove I-64 south of Charleston (toll road!) and sat on the highway for 30 plus minutes due to some construction. We got a little anxious about running out of gas (even turned the car off a few times during the gridlock) but made it to the next gas station. There was some nice mountain driving--Anna's car holds the speed down really well in manual shifting mode so that was not too stressful.
Around sunset we pulled into Little Beaver State Park, WV and got the camper set up before dark. It was a nice quiet campground with a glorious bathhouse. This was the first night setting up the camper and most things travelled well. Our corn starch and baking soda containers had been stored on their side and their tops popped off but surprisingly didn't make too big of a mess. We had cup of noodle soup and a beer to celebrate our first night in the camper while we watched a movie.
We took our time packing up Friday morning (rearranging both the car and camper substantially) and left the campground a bit before noon. There was more mountain driving at first and then we started to get into the really curvy rural roads with views of nice houses featuring huge porches. Then we stopped for supper at a Wendy's in Dunn, NC. We were not too fond of the clientele there and were glad to leave that area.
We found White Oak River Campground near Maysville, NC as a place to stay for the next few nights that seemed reasonably close to New Bern. There was some ongoing road construction nearby so our navigation software failed to bring us to our destination. We called the campground office to get directions and ended up having to turn around in someone's rural driveway which was a stressful experience. We finally arrived at 8:30PM, got set up, showered, and went to bed.
Saturday morning we went to look at a 1991 Hunter 375 as scheduled on Friday. The broker had sounded pretty gruff and like we were really hassling him to see the boat, which had some hurricane damage and the owner didn't want it to be shown. We got to his office and he talked to us for 20 minutes about what our plans were and whether we had thought through various things. We then followed him in our car to a marina and looked at the boat. The hurricane damage turned out to be just 6 inches of a rubber trim piece on the edge of the boat that had been torn off. One of the sails was piled into the salon (standard hurricane preparation) and took up a lot of space, but otherwise we got a very good look at it and learned a lot from the broker. He is a captain and has been cruising for many years; I think he said 70,000 miles of sailing. He gave us lots of advice and talked to us about many aspects of cruising. It turned out to be a much better experience than we though it would be based off of the phone call the day prior.
Then we drove back to New Bern and had lunch at Morgan's Grill and Tavern. Very good food (delicious croissants drizzled with honey as soon as we sat down) and excellent service. On the way home we stopped at a dog park for 20 minutes so Louise could run. Then we picked up a few items at Target and Lowes (water hose, blanket, pillow, rugs). Back at the camper we took a nap, rearranged stuff, took Louise on a walk, read a little bit, and did some writing.
Within 30 or so miles of the coast we have been seeing hurricane debris that people have piled on the curbs for pickup. Most of the houses look like they have been cleaned on the outside but a few still have visible flood waterlines. Some have huge piles of plaster, sheetrock, insulation, furniture, etc. in front of them, so even though they look OK on the outside there must still be a real mess inside. There are many crews going around picking up this debris using trucks with crane arms, very similar to logging trucks but with solid trailer walls.
During the hurricane the campground was heavily flooded because it is situated near a river bottom. Where our camper sits today was covered with about 11 feet of water. There are a few rough edges but it is remarkable how quickly things are being restored. We are planning to stay here until Tuesday morning when we will move south onto the next town. We are not sure exactly where we will go next but at least we have a few days to figure it out.