It is always awkward to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner and someone (usually Patty) suggests that everyone should say what they are thankful for. Inevitably, most of us have little or nothing to say even though we know that we should. We decided that we will be prepared this year so here are the top ten things we are thankful for this Thanksgiving:
10. No ESPN (Patty only). We have limited broadcast stations in our Airstream so Patty has enjoyed the last 22 weeks without ESPN.
9. Public Libraries. Every small town has a public library and they are often one of the nicest buildings in the town. Almost all provide free internet access and, therefore, have become our centers for blog posting.
8. Limited Florida football TV coverage. We are thankful that we missed most of the University of Florida football season, especially last week’s loss to Georgia Southern—a day that will live in Gator infamy.
7. Small towns. We have a greater appreciation for small towns after passing through and visiting many during our trip. Some are doing very well economically and some are slowly dying, but they all typically have something that makes them unique and interesting.
6. No holiday in a campground. At our last campground we noticed that several people had reservations to spend the Thanksgiving holiday camping. We are thankful that we will be spending Thanksgiving Day at our daughter Adrienne’s home in Richmond, instead of in a trailer in the woods.
5. Nature preserved. We appreciate and enjoy man-made arts such as music and literature, but nothing man-made compares with the beauty of unspoiled nature. We are thankful for the many national and state parks, forests and preserves we have visited this year.
4. Good health. Except for a few minor problems, our health has been good this year. Ed did have a tooth fail and needed to have a new crown installed but, fortunately, his heart survived the shock of learning the cost of the procedure (we no longer have dental insurance).
3. Decent showers. The one thing we have learned to appreciate during our travels is a good shower. In addition to those showers in the homes of our friends and relatives, we are thankful for those few campground bathhouses that have showers that are non-pushbutton with hot water and limited bugs and mold.
2. Friends and relatives. We are grateful for all our friends and relatives, especially those who hosted us during the last 22 weeks. Once we have moved into our new house in Asheville, we look forward to returning their great hospitality.
1. House construction has begun! Last week our builder started clearing the lot for our house in Asheville, finally giving us a proverbial light at the end of our camping tunnel.
We camped this week at Flanners Beach campground in Croatan National Forest near New Bern, NC. Located on the Neuse River, New Bern is a quaint historic town, the second oldest in North Carolina. Patty was excited to learn that New Bern is the home of the author, Nicholas Sparks, and the setting for several of his novels.
The weather was not great this week but we did go kayaking on the one day it warmed up and didn’t rain.
Kayaking on Brice Creek in Croatan National Forest. The creek is almost black from tannins that leach into the water from fallen leaves. When the water is still the surface becomes a mirror that reflects the surrounding scenery.
Patty on Brice Creek
Flanners Beach on the Neuse River. By the end of the week it was cold and windy—kayaking was out of the question and even getting Patty out of the Airstream was a challenge. There are a lot of great places for kayaking in the area so we hope to return during warmer weather.
From the it’s-a-small-world department, we discovered that Patty’s friend from Puerto Rico, Shelby, was photographing Tundra Swans (that’s what “birders” do) just north of where we were staying. She was able to stop by our campground for a visit.
Patty and Shelby—they had not seen each other in 12 years.
We also updated two of the top ten reasons we are moving to Asheville from last week’s blog:
9. Closer to family. One reason we want to be closer to family is to avoid flying. With last week’s announcement that the use of cell phones may be allowed during flights, avoiding flying is now a higher priority. There is nothing worse than a moron with Bluetooth jabbering loudly as you are boarding a plane, and this now could last the entire flight.
5. Brewtopia! While browsing the local grocery store in New Bern for new beer, we came across the following:
How can you not like ale that has an Airstream-like trailer on the carton? And it’s brewed by New Belgium Brewing that will be opening a new brewery in Asheville.
We hope that everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving Day (stay home—don’t go shopping)!