After leaving BRP, we headed for South Carolina. We made a lunch stop in Lenoir, NC.We found the community center, and the boys were able to play indoor basketball for free. When they were done, the kind employees even gave them a lunch. It turned out there’s usually around twenty kids there each day. But for some reason, none of them had shown up, so there were lunches left over. The boys got to be the recipients of a few of them.
We’ve found a lot of these swinging benches in the South and LOVE them!
Since we were dry camping again, we found a WalMart in Tega Cay. It happened to be right next to Mr. Putty’s. We hopped on Groupon and found a deal for five and proceeded to putt-putt. It was a really fun memory.
Brodee is a Panthers fan, and he was excited to see their stadium.
Special effects courtesy of Albert’s hallucinating phone…
These are no kitty cats!
It’s so ferocious looking, even though a statue, Dayne was hesitant to touch its teeth 🙂
While in the gift shop, it was almost as if Brodee was wearing camouflage. Where’s Brodee?
Albert? Not so much 🙂
We next set our wheels for Freedom Park. This is a fun place in Charlotte with many places to play. As we parked Big Boy, a police officer pulled up in front of us. Oh, no. Did we do something?
Albert got out to talk to him. They stood in front of the windshield talking. And talking. And talking. The boys and I sat there, trying not to be obvious, but also trying to lip read. And not very successfully. What was wrong?
The officer got back in his car and drove away. Albert got back in without a ticket. Whew! What was that about?
It turns out the officer and his wife have been wanting to buy an RV. He saw us pull in and came over to chat about that. You’ll never guess where they’d like to take their trip to….The Blue Ridge Parkway!! Well, hey, we’d just been there. He and Albert had a lot of fun discussing this topic. We hope he and his wife are able to enjoy that beautiful place soon!
The boys enjoyed Freedom Park and the Carolina Panthers sponsored skills course. There was even a 40yd dash run with a timing clock.
While driving to Trader Joe’s,
(running low on Chocolate Cats again), we pulled up at a stop light. I looked to the right and saw a store we’d driven by earlier. It’s called The Map Shop.
There was a map of Wine Country in the window. We used to live in that area.
Isn’t it beeeeeeautiful?!
I even got this t-shirt.
I LOVE maps. Always have. Looking at maps is a cheap way to travel. The boys’ shower curtain is a map (my sister inspired us with her kids’), we have books and books on maps. Wall maps. And this store is all about maps. It thrilled my soul! Albert, being the easy-going type, made a detour for the boys and I and dropped us off. It was so fun being in that place.
We made it to the RV park and got settled in. Look what was across the street…
A view of Charlotte Speedway (NASCAR) right outside Big Boy’s door
On Sabbath, we visited the University City SDA Church.
Harp music was part of the church service. What a treat! We got to hear her practice, too, so that was like a bonus!
We enjoyed our time there, and afterwards were invited to share lunch at the home of one of the families. They and another family hosted us, including Melbee. The food was delicious – haystacks again – you just can’t go wrong with that! It was so relaxing and nice to get to know them. They even shuttled us in two cars from the church to their home so we wouldn’t have to drive Big Boy.
Later in the afternoon, we took off for Durham. About a year ago, on a travel show, we saw there’s a bike/hiking trail that spans fifteen states from Maine to Georgia. Part of it goes through Durham. We thought it’d be fun to ride a short portion of it.
As evening came on,
we went to a park to enjoy some more outside time. Albert took Mel for a walk while the boys and I took to the tennis courts. They were excited to hit. But God had other plans.
While warming up,
several kids came running up. They’d been having a cookout and saw us. They wanted to know if they could play, too. (“What rack will I use?”, was a question we heard. So cute. They meant racket.) Now, our boys had been really excited to play, and saying yes to these kids would mean that dream of really
playing would have to wait for another day. But that’s what we did. Getting to share tennis with kids who’ve only ever played once before, and not really, according to them, was a privilege.
When the boys were little,
we would take them to the courts. They’ve been swinging rackets for years. While on the courts back in Windsor, when the boys were 2, 4, and 6, a really kind lady stopped as we were playing. She’d been down at the other end with some friends. She gave us a ball that was perfect for beginners. We couldn’t believe it. She just gave it to us. And then she said she was a tennis coach, and taught kids. Would we be interested? She wasn’t in it for money. She wanted kids to have a chance to see how fun tennis is. That was the beginning of a friendship that continues today.
I looked quickly
through our bag as this new group of kids was coming onto the courts. No beginner balls left. We’ve given all ours away, in keeping with the Anna tradition. But we had an hour of fun with Gabby, Chase, Hunter, Audra, and even three year old Caleb. And hopefully they’ll want to try tennis again.
Before leaving the Chapel Hill/Durham area, we had a few more stops to make. UNC and Duke.
In honor of the great Coach K
While walking to the stadium, the church bells were playing America, the Beautiful. It was beautiful.
This is inside the Duke stadium. The boys are standing ON the floor. There was a basketball camp going on, so we were able to slip in unnoticed and get this experience!
You see these beautiful yellow flowers along the freeway in NC. It’s so cheery. This was a rest stop just before leaving NC to go into Virginia. That’s Pilot Mountain in the background.