Road Trip to Chris and Vivian's Wedding

Little Switzerland & Beaufort, North Carolina

27th June - 9th July 2006

First a little background.......Despite their families' and friends' best efforts to set them up with "someone they knew who would be just perfect for them", two intrepid single explorers, Chris and Vivian, set off on their respective boats, single-handing, to the Bahamas.   

However, fate and a spot of engine trouble intervened.   Vivian found herself in the Intracoastal Waterway with trouble of a mechanical nature.   As luck would have it, not far behind, the other single hander on his powerboat, Second Chance, who claimed to be "a bit of a diesel mechanic", offered to assist the damsel in distress.    As they had never met, before accepting and allowing Chris aboard, Vivian needed reassurance, so enquired, "You're not an axe murderer are you?"   From this unlikely beginning romance blossomed and the two boats weathered several adventures in the Bahamas together.   Romance was not, however, apparent between Hamish, Chris' veteran ship's cat and Zappa, Vivian's Portuguese Water Dog, who seemed to enjoy every opportunity to use Chris' boat as a bathroom!

It was later established that they had independently managed to meet that "someone....who would be just perfect for them" with whom their family and friends were trying desperately to fix them up!

During the following year's adventure to the Bahamas, when they decided it was easier just to take one boat, Second Chance and Anju became acquainted and their crews quickly became the best of friends and fierce fishing rivals.  By early 2006 wedding plans were afoot and Christine and Phil were honoured to be invited to join the family for a week-long celebration in Beaufort, North Carolina.

The date was set, 2nd July and a beautiful beach house rented for the entire week.    From their temporary summer home in Herald Harbor, Christine and Phil were in regular contact with the bride-and-groom-to-be.   Stress levels seemed to be rising by a week before the big day and we decided it was time to make our way to Chris and Vivian's home in Little Switzerland to offer assistance and moral support.   We were lucky to have Shirley and Greg's car available to us and set off on a particularly tempestuous day for the 600 mile trip from Annapolis to the mountains of North Carolina.    

Our trip was far from dull.   First we encountered an almost stationary line of traffic on the ring road around Washington DC and by late morning were still struggling to make progress south.    Finally we were on the move again but the journey was regularly interspersed with severe downpours and thunderstorms, where visibility became so bad that the only option was either to pull off the road or crawl along at a speed where you could see the car in front and the white line at the edge of the highway.   On one such occasion, as we trundled along, we were overtaken by a truck and trailer moving much faster.  We wondered how the driver was able to see so much better than us but as his vehicle ploughed off the road into the central reservation, stopping just short of a bridge, we realised that he probably couldn't.   

It was time to refuel and we pulled off the highway at a service station somewhere in the wilds of Virginia.   After filling up the tank we discovered that our credit card wouldn't work, so we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere with a tank full of petrol we hadn't paid for, frantically scrabbling together all the cash we had between us and thankfully had enough to pay for the fuel.   The trip was getting better and better.    We later discovered that our bank had put a hold on the card due to our suspicious activity in the USA!

We were relieved to finally arrive in Little Switzerland just in time for dinner and to assist Vivian, who was hard at work in the mass production of meatballs for the wedding night dinner.    Along with friends Clayton and Carolyn, who arrived the following day to help out, we sprung into action doing what we could.    Activities included bulk manufacture of lasagne, setting up the wi-fi internet system in the house, numerous trips to Walmart for supplies and learning how to fire a shotgun, with Clayton as our instructor.    Was this going to turn into a shotgun wedding?

Finally it was time to make the 600 mile move to the beach house in Beaufort.    Packing the cars was quite a challenge, particularly as one was a Porsche, not designed as a bulk carrier.    There was the added challenge, of course, of packing the two large Portuguese Water Dogs and Zappa set off in style in the front seat of the Porsche!

Just how much stuff can you get in a Porsche?

Zappa off to the wedding.

Our task, the following day, was to load Greg and Shirley's car with the coolers full of all the frozen food for the week.   We had our doubts but somehow managed to make everything fit and make our way through the July 4th holiday weekend traffic to the coast before the food thawed out.   We arrived just in time for Happy Hour and Chris was hard at work preparing pina coladas for all.

View from the balcony

When we said "pina coladas for all" this wasn't quite what we meant!

Next day was the "big day".   A wedding chapel was created on the balcony with a beautiful archway and an altar complete with conch shells.   Phil and Christine were delegated to ensure the food was prepared after the service.   A rehearsal was held, the cake was decorated with two miniature chocolate boats, symbolic of how the bride and groom met and before we knew it, it was time for everybody to get dressed up for the ceremony.   

The ceremony was held in the early evening and although a stiff breeze off the sea made life tricky for the girls, who were in peril of losing their hats, the weather was beautiful.

The ceremony itself was wonderful with contributions from musically talented grandchildren and after the serious business was over, Chris and Vivian danced down the aisle to the reggae beat.   The evening passed quickly with champagne toasts, fine dining and dancing on the balcony.    It was a fantastic day. 


Pre-wedding nerves during cake decoration

The girls battle with their hats.

Serious and not so serious wedding business



A wonderful opportunity for a family photo


Once the serious wedding business was completed, we spent a wonderful week, relaxing and enjoying the company of the family, the facilities of the beach house and walks on the beautiful beach.     The responsibility of cooking dinner was spread between the different members of the family. Christine and Phil contributed with a fish fry of mahi-mahi caught by Chris and Vivian on their way back from the Bahamas.   The fish fry seemed popular and became a daily lunchtime event.

It's a tough old life!


The Independence Day holiday, July 4th, was celebrated in traditional style with a barbecue and a fireworks display on the beach.    Having experience with the Round Table of firework displays, Phil was appointed to the fireworks committee.   The spectators on the balcony wondered at the long intervals between the fireworks and finally a runner was sent from the beach to fetch a lighted cigar.   Apparently the strong on-shore breeze down on the beach kept blowing out the lighter flame, making igniting the fireworks extremely tricky.   However during the delays we were kept entertained with other fireworks displays on the beach and in the neighbouring towns.  

All too soon it was time to start the big clean up and repacking of the cars, we all had to say our fond farewells and leave the luxury of the beach house where we'd spent a wonderful week with our friends.   We were pleased to have been included in the family celebrations.

For our return journey to Herald Harbor, we had decided to take the scenic route, giving us a chance to see the areas of North Carolina's Outer Banks which we hadn't been able to visit aboard Anju.   A highlight of the trip came as we headed along a deserted road, eastwards towards the Atlantic coast.   A large, dark, shape appeared ahead and after much debate in the car about whether it was a cow or an enormous dog, we were delighted to see it was a bear, taking a stroll across the road.    

Our trip also gave us the opportunity to call on our friends Jim and Joanne in Virginia Beach, who kindly put us up for the night after we'd enjoyed dinner together.

The final leg of our road trip took us along the scenic byways of Virginia, passing through Yorktown and Williamsburg before heading back to Woody and Janine's home in Herald Harbor.

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