October 17, 2013

Carolina Road Trip

By Stephon Boatwright In On the Road

This was a big traveling year for me.  First, Colorado (Yes, I finally finished that post!) and truth be told, I had never been to the ocean in the Souther half of the US until last week. I’ve chased Sea Gulls on Long Island and splashed in the sea in Jamaica many years ago, but that’s about it.  If you know anything about me then this probably isn’t too surprising since I can’t swim…well, I can doggy paddle if that counts.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but Eva would always talk with such nostalgia about her family trips to N. Carolina that I was excited for the trip.  We decided to drive to save money: big mistake.  We left at 7pm with Eva’s brother and his girlfriend so we could arrive at about 7am the next day.  I took the first half of the trip since I had just got back from NYC earlier that day and proceeded to spend the rest of the day sleeping.  Little did I know that I volunteered to drive through the remnants of a friggin tropical storm.  Torrential downpours slammed us from Pennsylvania to Virginia, with yours truly behind the wheel.
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When we finally arrived it was wonderful to see the ocean, but after a 12 hour car ride I was ready to hit the bar, yes, at 7am (I was on vacation so stop judging me!).  We were the first ones there (go figure) and had our first tropical drink, a Sangrimosa that tasted as good as it sounded.  Eva’s family slowly trickled in and out of the gorgeous beach house we were staying in and we had some of the best laughs I’ve had in a while.  Eva’s grandparents, both flirting with 90, are some of the most lively and adorable people you will ever meet.
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Throughout the trip I would periodically have to disappear to prepare for presentations and papers, but that gave me time to wander the beach when I needed breaks.  I got my first peek at ocean birds; I want a Pelican so bad!!!  The town was quiet given the time of year, but I’ve always found something romantic about wandering through picturesque scenes alone with my thoughts.  The boardwalk was lined with palm trees and the air was slightly salty; it was definitely a change from the mountains a few weeks earlier.

Eva and I were the first ones in the Ocean, other than when I threw her mom in fully clothed.  I experienced rip tides for the first time and decided I best go no deeper than waist deep.  I also experienced how deceptive distance is when I wanted to walk to the pier.  It looked like a 10-15 minute walk at most.  A half hour later we finally reached it, but not after seeing a dozen roses scattered on the beach and contemplated the grand romantic gesture that may have ended in tragedy.  Hopefully it was just an art project.

As wonderful as the ocean was, I found my beach reading material to stand out quite a bit when I whipped out the latest issue of Backpacker magazine.  Nothing could have beat the serenity of the Ocean in that instant though.  Unfortunately serenity was smashed to bits during the drive back, another mind-numbing 12 hour, 742 mile car ride.  I got a whole 5 hours of sleep before it was time for a 5 hour bus ride to NYC for class, just for another 5 hours back shortly after midnight.  Thats 1,300 miles and 22 hours of driving in 48 hours.  My mind has never throbbed so much.  I think I need a vacation…

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