The Road North, USA Road Trip, 10th - 23rd July 2013

Keen to escape the humid heat of Florida, it only took us one day to get Harvey ready to hit the road. Needless to say several essential items were left in Florida!

Our first priority was to catch up with Chris and Vivian in Beaufort, South Carolina, and help them unload their old boat, “Second Chance” onto their new boat, “All In”, a beautiful power catamaran. As normal we found plenty of jobs to keep us busy, helping out our friends but the girls did escape for a couple of brief shopping trips! Naturally it was only polite to let the host beat us at Texas Holdem' Poker during our stay!

Once “Second Chance” was all spic and span and ready to go on the market, we got back onto I-95 North to continue our road adventure. It didn't start well when a stone flew up from a passing vehicle and cracked Harvey's windscreen, adding to the chips already in it. We also managed to keep driving through the same storm over and over again. Each time we made an unavoidable stop, the weather would catch back up with us. We crawled a lot of the way to North Carolina in torrential rain with poor visibility at about 30 mph but at least we made it!

We headed for the relative cool of the mountains of North Carolina and camped for a couple of nights on the Davidson River, allowing Phil to brush up his fly fishing skills. That first evening, the bad weather managed to catch us up again, cutting the fishing short.

Next day, after a morning of fishing, we hiked the “Cat Gap Trail”, which turned out to be quite a tough trek up onto John Rock, high above the fish hatchery. Most people took the short route up to admire the fantastic views. We managed to go the long way around but when we finally got to see the view, it was definitely worth the hike!

Davidson River, NC

Waterfall on Cat Gap Trail

On top of John Rock

Back at the campsite, we were ready for a warm shower. Phil almost got boiled alive in his! We'd picked a new road from the Davidson River towards Tennessee and it turned out to be a very long, slow and winding road! Finally we arrived in Tennessee and camped for the night about half way across the state at the Davy Crockett State Park. To stop Harvey from getting hot and flustered, we'd driven all day without using the vehicle air conditioning. This meant that by the time we arrived, we were very hot and flustered instead and glad of the electricity to run the cabin's a/c unit. Once we'd showered and Harvey's interior was nice and cool, the idea of heading outside back into the heat to explore the park was abandoned.

We pushed on next day through Tennessee, Missouri and into Arkansas. The route we'd taken seemed devoid of petrol stations and Harvey obligingly ran on fumes for around 20 miles, while we drove with our fingers crossed. By late afternoon we arrived with our friends Davy and T-Bird, in Flippin Arkansas and set up camp in their garden, again very glad of the electricity they supplied to keep us cool. Poor T-Bird was busy on the phone all evening trying to get her new Blackberry to work properly but Davy seemed to appreciate the curry we cooked for him!

Davy kindly arranged for his shooting friend, Steve, to replace our broken windscreen at his auto repair shop. 48 hours later, Harvey was all fixed! Steve gave us a tour of his workshop, proudly showing us his racing car which he worked on there and would be racing that weekend. Whilst Harvey was under the surgeon's knife, Phil fished the White River and hooked 7 trout. T-Bird took a break from the mountains of fly orders she had to tie, for a quick girls trip to Mountain Home. We all got home to enjoy a dinner of pheasant, shot and cooked by Davy, which the boys washed down with a little too much red wine. It was no surprise that fishing the next day was a little less enthusiastic!

Phil valiantly fishes through his hangover!

During the course of the morning's fishing, Phil landed three fish and an expensive Sage fishing rod, one of the fancy makes we never even look at in the fly fishing stores. A while later a depressed looking man from Oklahoma happened by, asking if Phil had spotted a fishing rod and was reunited with his pricey Sage. Apparently he'd been caught by surprise the previous day when water flow from the Bull Shoals dam suddenly increased and had been forced to flee the river, losing the rod in the process.

Whilst Phil worked on dinner that evening, tragedy struck! One of Davy and T-Bird's baby turkeys, hatched right there on their mini-farm, seemed to be having a seizure. T-Bird desperately tried mouth-to-beak resuscitation, quite a feat, but the poor bird couldn't be saved.

Next morning found Phil below the dam again, hooking 8 good rainbow trout, all on midges tied by T-Bird! Lucky he fished in the morning as the afternoon brought a massive thunderstorm. This was welcome as we were glad of the cooler air it brought. However as we all sheltered inside, watching TV (at least until the satellite signal was lost to the clouds!) a terrifying fork of lightning, very close to the window had us all leaping from the sofa in fright! It turned out that a tree right next to the pheasant enclosure had been struck and it's bark blown right off! It was a miracle there weren't more casualties among the feathered friends!


Man, that was close!

Finally the storm ended and we took advantage of the cooler air to take a bike ride with T-Bird at nearby Bull Shoals State Park. We made a stop at a lovely lodge on the White River which had its own landing strip for guests. The restaurant was beautifully decorated in a selection of antiques, ranging from bicycles to shoes!

T-Bird and Phil admiring the décor at the lodge.

Next morning we were woken by another very close lightning strike. Luckily this one didn't seem to do any damage apart from getting us out of bed very quickly.

Bad weather haunted us again the next morning as we left Davy and T-Bird's to continue on through Missouri and Kansas to Colorado. First we had to shelter at Walmart in Flippin, so we hadn't made it too far but did get the supplies we needed. We made a lunchtime stop at the first ever Bass Pro Shop in Springfield Missouri. Later in the day there was an emergency stop at another Walmart for ice lollies! Without a/c it was roasting the the cab again. We were glad it cooled off by the time we camped at our third Walmart of the day in El Dorado, Kansas. Another half day of hot driving and we made it through the rest of Kansas and into Colorado.

Return to homepage