North Carolina Mountain Road Trip 

3rd  - 11th November 2005

After a night anchored in the river in Beaufort (pronounced Byoofort), South Carolina, we moved Anju to a space created on the dock for her at Marsh Harbour Boatworks.    This involved a spot of precision parking as the space only exceeded Anju's length by a few inches each end, however the docking manoeuvre was successfully completed without mishap and we were immediately invited to a lunchtime barbecue by our welcoming committee of Marsh Harbour Boatworks' staff!    In a shady spot of the nearby yard, we tucked into a delicious lunch of barbecued chicken and potato salad.     
We didn't even have time to nap off our lunchtime snack before our friends Chris and Vivian arrived to whisk us off to a local restaurant to sample a spot more southern cooking.   On the way we called for drinks with their friend Barbara, our saviour in the Bahamas earlier in the year, when she'd kindly brought over our new head gasket in her carry-on baggage.    

On arrival at the restaurant, we thought we'd better check the purpose of the large bucket located in the centre of each table. When our order arrived it was obviously not a reflection of the quality of the food being served, merely a receptacle for discarded seafood shells.   That being said, the southern portions were so huge, the meals wouldn't have been lost if they were served in the buckets!

Phil, Vivian and the Chrises debate the purpose of the bucket

Next morning we managed to fit in yet another small snack, cooked breakfast aboard Anju, before heading off for our six hour road trip to Chris and Vivian's house in Little Switzerland in the mountains of North Carolina.   On the way we took a break to explore a large flea-market in a mountain back wood town and later to collect important supplies, fuel which was considerably cheaper on the South Carolina side of the border and booze, which was totally unavailable near their home in a dry county of North Carolina!

Our holiday home in Little Switzerland - not a bad view from our room

The last section of our journey was definitely up hill all the way and took us around many hairpin bends as we climbed high up the mountainside to their home.    After six hours of driving it was a relief to arrive and the views were spectacular, we'd timed our visit perfectly to enjoy the autumn colours as the leaves turned.   

We enjoyed a peaceful evening together in the absence of Vivian's crazy Portuguese Water Dogs, Shelly and Zapper who had been left in the kennels for an extra night!    When they arrived back the next day they certainly made up for it.  The breed are particularly known for their lack of spatial awareness and enjoy stampeding through the house leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.    Zapper was especially fond of taking a shoe with him on his travels so it was always wise to ensure your footwear was well hidden.


Despite having succumbed to some sort of bug, Chris bravely endured the trip along the Skydrive to show us the magnificent views on the way to Mount Mitchell.   However, he wisely sent us alone up the tower on the mountain's summit to the viewing platform for a buffeting from the strong and icy cold winds!    

The mountain was named to honour Reverend Elisha Mitchell, who was professor at the North Carolina University for thirty nine years, who unfortunately had died from a fall during his exploration of the mountain aged 64 in 1857.   An excellent recommendation for early retirement if ever we heard one!   

Our next adventure was a trip to set foot in the state of Tennessee, another step on the way to our ambition of visiting every United State.    What came as a surprise to us, was that the trip was to be made in Chris' new toy, a birthday present to himself, his Porsche Carrera.    The boys had great fun riding up front, the girls got somewhat nauseous cramped in the back but the trip to Tennessee on the winding roads didn't take long at all and we had photographic evidence of our visit.   We weren't sure, however, who owned the five hundred yard stretch of land between the two signs, perhaps we should have claimed it for Wales!

Of course we've visited Tennessee!

Think they spent more on the sign in North Carolina!

Sadly Chris still wasn't feeling well and wasn't feeling like driving any more, which gave Phil the chance to have a drive of the new toy himself.   Luckily we didn't have room for a Porsche aboard Anju as he was quite smitten!

When Vivian left for a visit to her native Canada, we were left as Chris' nurses during his recovery.   As he began to feel better we wondered if he'd like to join us on a short walk, to get some fresh air.   He guided us through the woods near his house to a scenic waterfall and then suggested we take a different route back to the house from there.   This proved to be a mistake when we struggled to find our way through the woodland and spent quite some time scrabbling amongst the trees wondering if we were heading in the right direction at all.   Finally we ended up arriving in somebody's back garden in a house close to Chris' and wearily made our way home from there.

It was time to head back to Anju in South Carolina and Phil and Christine shared the driving for the six hour trip, while Chris recovered from the adventure of the previous day, resting in the back of the car.   We'd had a wonderful time with Chris and Vivian but it was time to head south again.   After saying our farewells and promising to meet up again in the Bahamas the following spring, all that remained was to wiggle Anju out of her tight spot on the dock at Marsh Harbour Boatworks.    Under the guidance of Chris, who'd made the same manoeuvre often before in his own boat, we awaited the turn of the tide and then holding her nose against the dock with a bow spring line, sprung her stern out into the channel.   In a single miraculous move with the help of the current she was off the dock and turned right around to head back out into the Intracoastal Waterway!  

The view from our own bedroom wasn't bad either

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