Monday, August 1, 2016

Second half of July: Swansboro, NC and Blue Ridge Mountains of NC

Saturday, July 16

Caleb and Nathan returned our Redbox movie. When they got back to the boat, we pulled anchor and headed for Swansboro.  We left about 9:15 and anchored down near the bridge at 12:20pm.

That evening after dinner, we went in search of the Geo Cashe treasure Caleb pulled up on his phone.

Sunday, July 17

We visited a local church in town called One Harbor Church. It was good to be back in church again. On the boat, we usually pull up a sermon to listen to online.  But there is just something about being in church in person, joining the singing, meeting new people, listening to a live message.  We really enjoyed it.

That afternoon, Steve met Brian at the docks and came back to the boat. He rode with us as we moved the boat to anchor closer to their house.

Our boat is in the top left corner of the picture. We cross the ICW and come up the creek to their dock.

  We got the boat anchored and all piled in the dinghy.  It was dead low tide, so the last few yards getting to their dock was spent paddling through the mud in just a few inches of water.

We judge the tide by the level of water on the oyster beds.

We made it. Hopped onto the dock and gave Regina a big hug.

Brian and Regina had worked together at Spirit. She and Steve have become great friends.  We came to spend some time helping them with projects while waiting on parts to come in for our boat.

One of the main projects was for Brian to help get a van up and running.  Steve had bought it from a friend to help her pay her husbands funeral expenses.

That evening, Steve took Brian and the boys clamming nearby.
They came back with several clams and a conch.

Steve taught us how to eat some raw with a shot of lemon juice and hot sauce. They were very tasty!

Monday, July 18

While Steve and Regina were at work, we stayed at the house and did little jobs.

The van got delivered and Brian set to work on it.

We thought he would just need to replace the fuel injectors, but it turned out the replacements were a different style than the originals.

So Brian had to do some research and make some phone calls and finally order adapters.

In the meantime, Steve asked Caleb and I to take the truck to Jacksonville and pick up a hutch he had bought over the weekend to put in the salon at the house.

Caleb and Nathan also organized the tool shed.

Tuesday, July 19

While waiting on the van parts, we continued to work around the house.  Brian did some mowing and weed eating and I worked in the house. 

In the afternoon, we all worked on starting to clear brush from around the edge of the water.

Wednesday, July 20

Steve was off work, so he was at the house to work with Brian and the boys.

They changed the blades and oil in the mower and made a repair to the deck.

On Steve's outboard engine, they replaced the spark plugs and installed a new fuel tank.

The van got a new battery, oil change, and wash.

That afternoon I did a small grocery shop for both of our families at the Piggly Wiggly.

Thursday, July 21

Brian replaced the fuel pump on Grace.

Brian and the boys worked very hard on removing the old lettering off of the van. They did this using a heat gun and scraper.

It was beastly hot, so they made a makeshift covering.

That evening, Brian, Steve, Nathan and Caleb set nets out . Apparently the law is that you can set fishing nets out at sunset, but they have to be retrieved by sun up on the following morning.

We had pizza for dinner and stayed over at the house rather than going back to the boat, since the guys would have to get up so early the next morning.

Friday, July 22

At 6am Caleb and Steve went to retrieve the nets. They had caught 3 flounder.

Steve was working from home that day and only had 1 appointment.  Before the client arrived, he taught Caleb how to throw a cast net.

 Later they went out to give it a try, but did not catch anything.

The rest of the day was spent dismantling a shelving unit from the van and cleaning out the inside.

Steve, Brian and the boys made a bon fire to burn the shelves as well as the remaining brush from around the water that they cut down.

Brian painted the wheels of the van.

That evening, Steve, Regina, and Brian went to go look at a bed set from craigslist.  They did not get it.

When they got home, we had a great dinner of fried flounder, fries, coleslaw and squash.

While eating dinner, we watched one of Regina's favorite movies, The Goonies.

Saturday, July 23

Brian and Steve pressure washed half of their deck.

That afternoon we all piled into the truck and went to some thrift shops.

When we got back, Brian and Steve installed the adapters and got the van running!!

For dinner, we had grilled hamburgers, fries, and Regina's famous homemade pound cake covered in strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, July 24

We all attended church together, again at One Harbor Church.  Great service.

Then we drove to Beaufort to look at another bed set from craigslist.  It wasn't the right fit for what they were wanting.

We then went to the Mexican restaurant. When there wasn't that many people inside, we figured we had gotten there after the church lunch rush. After sitting at our table a few minutes, we realized why there were not many customers.   The A/C was on the fritz and it was downright hot in there.

But we were so hungry, we stayed and enjoyed sharing fajita's.

Back at the house, Regina got a call on another bed set in Elizabeth City.

We left the boys at the house to hang out with Erica, Steve and Regina's daughter.  It was going to be a three hour trip each way.

We made it to the house and at first glance the furniture looked like it might work, but upon closer inspection, it was beat up and the owners were not up front about it.

But while we were there we saw this neat building.

In WWII, blimps from this station would patrol the over the waters of the coast searching for German Uboats.

Back on the road coming home,  we began looking for a place to eat a late dinner.  We were near the town of Windsor, NC. Most places were closed, but we found this restaurant that was still open.

They were closing in 20 minutes, but seated us anyway and gave some of the best customer service.

We started with fried pickles.

Then each couple shared a stromboli. 

This was just half of one, and it covered the entire plate.  It was delicious and filling.

We got back to the house  a little after 10pm.  Erica, Dane, and the boys had ordered a pizza and had a fun evening together.

Monday, July 25

This day was spent doing laundry and packing for our camping trip to the mountains.

 Steve and Regina generously loaned us a car and the use of their lot in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Tuesday, July 26

We had the car packed and left the house at 5:40am.  We drove to New Bern to get camping supplies out of our trailer at the club, then put Charlotte, NC into the GPS and headed out.

Ever since we moved to NC over 4 years ago, I have wanted to visit the Billy Graham Library.  We finally had an opportunity and we took advantage of it.  We were not disappointed.

We arrived about 2pm.

We visited the Graham family house first.  It had been moved a few miles from it's original location.

Next we toured the library.

 The tour began with Bessie, the talking cow, telling us how Billy Frank came in to milk the cows every morning and evening at 5:30.

We then went from station to station following Billy Graham's call to be an evangelist, his marriage to Ruth, and life of ministry all over the world for over 60 years.

Ruth died in 2007 and is buried on the grounds.

We left around 4pm and headed the rest of the way up to the mountains.

We arrived at the lot a little after 6pm.  We set up camp in the little shed, Caleb built a fire and  we roasted hot dogs for dinner.

Wednesday, July 27

The view looking out from the shed.

Brian shaving
 More shed pictures

 We drove to West Jefferson and toured the cheese factory.

 Then we drove to Mt.Jefferson.

After driving almost to the top, we parked and followed the trail the rest of the way.

 Back at camp, we went down to the New River and cooled off.

 It is a popular river for tubing gently down with the current.

Just across the road is a small waterfall that feeds into the river.

Back at camp, we all rested before dinner. It rained throughout the night.

Thursday, July 28

We drove to Boone and checked out the town.

We were supposed to visit Jacob at camp on the following day, but since we were already halfway there, we made arrangements to come that day.

Our GPS did not know where Plumtree,NC was, so I was texting Geri and she said to call the camp.  Greg saved the day by giving us directions over the phone.

We finally made it, and it was so great to see Jacob and the Hardee's! 
They fed us lunch and gave us the grand tour of Teen Valley Ranch.

Jacob had planned to get baptized at some point during the week. Since we were coming a day early for a visit, Sheila, one of the directors, got it pulled together so we were able to be there and watch this amazing experience in Jacob's life.

We left TVR with happy hearts and drove back to camp.

Friday, July 29

We needed more ice for the cooler.  The boys decided to hang around camp, so Brian and I got to go on an errand date.

We got the ice. Called our friends in Raleigh to set up a visit with them on our way back, stopped at the Ash County Park and walked the trail, then had lunch at Bojangles.

Back at our camp site, we went hiking and took naps. The boys and I made a final camp fire and just enjoyed being outdoors in the 74 degree weather.

Saturday, July 30

We packed up our camping gear and got the car loaded for the trip home.

 On the way out of the mountains, we drove a few miles on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.

We made it to Raleigh and the Floyd's house about noon.

We are so thankful for their friendship and wonderful hospitality!  We made sandwiches for lunch, then headed for an afternoon at the pool playing Marco Polo and Sharks and Minnows, then just sitting poolside and chatting.

Back at the house, they ordered pizza while I threw in a load of laundry.  After dinner, we loaded into their Jeep and went to the Neuse Dam and walked a bit on the trail.

 Back at the house, Joni and the boys watched a Start Trek movie.

Sunday, July 31

That morning, we had blueberry waffles, bacon, and juice for breakfast.

Joni and the boys started a second movie and watched a bit before we left to go to the Raleigh Flea Market.  We enjoyed walking all around and even found a few things to buy.

Back at the house, we had leftovers for lunch and the boys finished their movie.

We left a little before 2pm and headed for Grifton for a chance to see Luke and Jacob again, as well as The Hardee's!

We got there about 3:30 and at 4, went to the church ice cream social.

We enjoyed sampling homemade butter pecan, orange pineapple, peach, chocolate, blueberry, and cookie dough vanilla ice cream.

 It was great to catch up with Luke and hear about how life is going for him.

God has really blessed the boys with the opportunities they have been given and the wonderful friends they are staying with.

After the social, we had to say goodbye and continue down the road.

We stopped at the club to unload a few things, then came back to Swansboro and the Parnell's.

That is it for July.  We will be in Swansboro for a while longer, helping the Parnell's with projects.

After that, we will just continue taking things one day at a time waiting to see where the next adventure leads.