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Back on the road – Florida to Cape Hatteras

| Updated Apr 24, 2014

Up early, make coffee and then stow the dishes, secure all the junk inside that accumulates when you sit in one place, hug my mom goodbye, and out into traffic in Jacksonville. These poor sods are going to work, whereas I'm going… someplace else 😉  Fiona is sulking under the bed. After all these months, she's probably forgotten what it's like to drive all day.   After a few hours in the saddle, though, the memories come back – to me.  I'm shifting in my seat and trying to get comfortable as we head up I-95 and the miles roll by.

We pull into an empty motel and make breakfast in Georgia, then on past Savannah and up into the Carolinas. A quick fillup with the cheapest gas on the eastern seaboard and we're past South of the Border and into North Carolina.  It's 80 degrees, and Fiona emerges from her sulk to sit in the passenger footwell and glance meaningfully at me. Time to turn on the air conditioning and set it so cool air comes out the floor vents, onto the world's most important kitty.

Bright green foliage on the roadside trees.
Bright green foliage on the roadside trees.

After months in the same location, I'm craving novelty, and indeed, the trees start looking different as we head north. Not just the pine trees, which are darker and denser than the scraggly Florida trees, but the deciduous trees too. Here they're bright green, with the leaves just coming out. Even the grass looks younger and more energetic, with that hysterical bright green color you see in early growth.

Dogwood near Tarboro
A drive-by shot of a dogwood near Tarboro.

Soon I start seeing flashes of white in the roadside growth – dogwoods. Last dogwoods I saw in bloom were almost two months ago, down in Florida. Wisteria covers the trees in places, putting out big splashes of purple. These are early, early flowers I had almost forgotten, they had bloomed so long ago down south where I spent the winter. We are driving back up into spring.

Albemarle Highway sign
Albemarle Highway sign.

The temperature starts dropping even though it's just mid-afternoon. By the time we turn off I-95 at Rocky Mount and head east on old Federal highway 64, it's back down to 70 degrees.  64 is the old Albemarle Highway, on the south side of the Albemarle Sound, going through swamps where bears and wolves still live. Settlers have been here since before 1700, but they didn't make much of a dent in the swamps in this area.

Highway 64 is a beautiful four-lane highway, but there's plenty of lumbering farm equipment and the occasional moped to distinguish it from the interstates. The tobacco and cotton farming have played out here long ago, and long-haul trucking is what's putting groceries on the table these days.

It's getting dark as we approach the coast. Having checked my website, I know there's a great overnighting spot at a boat ramp on the mainland end of the bridge that goes out to Roanoake Island and the Cape, so we pull in and set up the dish as the light fades. Fiona's ready to get out and explore – she's back into her road routine, too. I tell her about the bears and wolves, but, having never lost a fight in her life thanks to all the backup she gets, she's not impressed. We cook dinner and turn in.

Dawn at the boat ramp. We've got the place to ourselves- too windy for the fishermen o go out today.
Dawn at the boat ramp. We've got the place to ourselves- too windy for the fishermen to go out today.

The next morning there's a cool breeze and a beautiful view of the sky lightening out over the ocean, with the moon and Venus in the eastern sky.  Out come the long sleeve shirts we haven't used in weeks – it was 83 the day before we left, and daytime highs will be in the 60s here.  It's spring again.  We're ready to go out and get a great campsite at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It's great to be back on the road.



RV Lifestyle

Published on 2014-04-24

5 Responses to “Back on the road – Florida to Cape Hatteras”

April 28, 2014at11:40 am, Kindra said:

Hello! This is the first column I’ve read of yours. Great job! I really enjoyed reading it and feeling your happiness. 🙂 Question: What’s it like to have Fiona with you? I’ve thought about it. I’m not a dog person. What do you do with her when you have to go in somewhere? Do you take her in a carrier?

April 28, 2014at6:53 pm, Campskunk said:

kindra: i wrote an article about how we’ve managed to get fiona habituated to traveling with us, and how we three get along on the road, link here:

we can leave her while we’re in shopping or whatever, but we never leave her for more than an hour or so. remember, we’re always in temperate climates because we fulltime. you can’t leave a cat or dog in a car if it’s much above 75 degrees.

April 24, 2014at1:50 pm, Nancy Richardson said:

It’ s about time. You write with the happiness of a kid in a toy store. 🙂 Enjoy those gas prices as you leave the south, they only get worse the farther north you go.

April 24, 2014at10:04 am, Cheryl said:

All is right with the world… Campskunk is traveling again!!

April 24, 2014at9:23 am, Dave Miller said:

Congrats on your escape Dr Campskunk! Your article just stoked the fires a bit more. Our snow bank is down to 4′ now and the frost is coming out of the road to the camper shed. I can’t wait! Have a great trip, Bigfoot Dave

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