The day we were supposed to leave, the weather forecast scared us off. It was a week ago Monday when we planned to pull away in our packed-to-the-gills vehicle and head to our new part-time digs in coastal North Carolina. But January hit the southeast with a vengeance, producing unheard of levels of snow and ice in places where it's tough to find a snow shovel or a bag of salt, much less the fleet of snowplows and other equipment needed to address a real winter storm.
So we waited.
We knew full well that, by waiting, we were going to let yet another winter storm catch up with us; one that was predicted to sweep through the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys along the first half of our route to the south.
So we gambled.
We gambled that we would be able to beat the worst of the midwestern storm, while giving the mess in the southeast a chance to melt or at least swing up the coast and away from our path.
It was slow going at times, but it all worked out, as we made it to southernmost Indiana on the first day before a sudden blinding snowy burst just after dark drove us off the road and into a Super 8 motel. It was an odd little spot, perched on a hill overlooking the main route, but with a winding, backroad entrance that required equal amounts of navigational skill and luck to make it into their parking lot.
Day two got us to and through the mountains via the "southern crossing" from Knoxville to Asheville, North Carolina, skirting a continuing storm that had mountain regions like Johnson City, Tennessee, virtually shutting down, with schools and businesses calling it quits for the rest of the week, though it was only Wednesday. We made it across the state to Raleigh, where we decided we'd rather get our first glimpse of the new place in the daytime and settled in for a second night along the road.
It's kind of a scary-odd feeling to make a year-long commitment to a spot where we plan to spend at least half of our time based on a few emailed photos and a last minute look-over by son Paddy and daughter-in-law Susan, who declared it to be our kind of place.
We trusted their judgement, and couldn't argue with the location, which puts us within view of the ocean and the intercoastal waterway, and minutes away from kids and grandkids. But I, at least, was still haunted by a bunch of concerns that could only be assuaged by both a first glimpse and a thorough inspection.
Will we like it?
Does it leak, creak or smell funny?
Did we even really rent the place, or were we somehow hookwinked out of our deposit by some Carolina crook making his living taking advantage of unwary yankees looking for a place in the sun?
Well, yes, no and, yes, we seemed to have actually taken possession, with the key left for us fitting perfectly and the mailman already leaving bills from the water and power companies..
It is an unfancy place in a wonderful location.
It is, like us, more dedicated to great views and an uncomplicated lifestyle than to luxury and upscale living.
We felt comfortable and at home immediately.
We'll spend some time getting used to things and developing a day-to-day rhythm of sorts.
Eventually, we'll head back to Galva for awhile, which is a good thing, as we already miss many of the people and things that will always make it home. Because if there is a downside to this whole back-and-forth adventure of ours, it is that we can't have all the people and things we love, all in one place, all at one time.
Meanwhile, though, we saw dolphins jumping no more than fifty yards offshore this morning.
From our kitchen window.
I think we're gonna like it.