Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blissfully cool

We are at the Walmart in Hickory, North Carolina (map). We've had the windows open and the air conditioners off since we arrived around 4pm yesterday, and the temperatures dropped into the 60s overnight. A very welcome relief after twelve straight days of 100-plus temperatures.

With over four hours of driving, yesterday was an uncharacteristically long day for us. However, a great deal of the drive was beautiful. Even mid-week, the Valley River was chock-full of whitewater rafters and their guides, and even a handful of kayakers. Across the river from us we passed the scenic excursion train of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which also appeared to be fairly full.

After crossing the Little Tennessee the road becomes a major expressway, more or less all the way to the I-40 junction at Clyde. Impressive views of the Smokies were to our left. By the time we reached I-40, though, we were in a torrential rainstorm. The rest of our trip on the freeway was less scenic, and mostly uneventful. We did run into a rubber-necking traffic jam near Morganton; apparently a crew was cutting trees on the westbound side and one fell onto a passing pickup truck, crushing it. The westbound lanes were closed, and we saw what remained of the truck and some of the ~4' diameter tree. We heard the driver made it out OK.

I'm glad we made it all the way to Hickory, which leaves us just under three hours of driving today to Durham. My guide said this Walmart allowed parking, but we identified a backup location as well, a truck stop another few miles east. We were a bit nervous when we pulled in to see red warning signs throughout the lot, but they forbade "Loitering" rather than overnight parking. From the cop-on-a-stick arrangement in the parking lot, we'd judge the loitering problem to be severe, and, sure enough, a carload of teens parked right next to us at 11pm to eat their Taco Bell and stand around, chatting loudly.

In a few minutes we will get rolling to Durham so we can be squared away in time to get together with our niece this afternoon. We are still on track to be in New Bern on Monday to look at boats; unfortunately I learned yesterday that the principle boat we were heading there to see has just gone under contract. I was shocked to learn that it went for less than 80% of asking price, which was already quite low -- something to keep in mind when we are ready to make an offer ourselves.


  1. I'm sitting at a seminar in Winston-Salem but imagine me waving as you pass through the Triad area :)

  2. Send a wave towards my office in the Old Chemistry building on Duke's West Campus.

  3. Sean & Louise, something to remember regarding both buying your boat and selling the Odyssey (if you do)... it is a Buyer's market on big ticket items.


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