Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Year 2014!

Well, I swore that I would be more diligent in keeping up with this blog, but that resolution has yet to  be fulfilled. Perhaps the blush of a new year filled with hope and new opportunities will hold me to some of my literary promises.

As for this story, let's pick up where we left off several months ago.
Polk County Courthouse

I am married... I am in Des Moines in September with my new wife, which sounds lovely, and is for the most part, except for the weather. My God, it's hot! And muggy- let's certainly not forget the muggy. And I am in jeans and a button-down and suede (good choice, Jenn) shoes.
We are trudging back to Justin Beaver after filing our papers and we are now coming down from our adrenal overload of the past two hours and are starting to feel the effects of a 'three hours of sleep in the jungle' kind of night.  The sky is threatening and there is nowhere to sleep or have a (much needed) shower in Des Moines, so we are heading out in hopes of a breeze or a truck stop, anything but the oppressive monotonous stillness of the weather in the city.
Wedding Ring
We drive towards Missouri, trying to eat up some miles en route to our first destination of Asheville, NC. Initially, we had hoped to honeymoon in Memphis or Nashville, or someplace romantic- and not boondocking in front of my mom's house- but with all that has happened on this trip, we feel that a 'bat out of hell' approach is best in this instance.  We travel a few hours, through torrential rains that are not cooling or refreshing, at all, and I am tired and hot and sticky and grumpy and hungry... We stop in a small town in Missouri that we later find out is named Holt (kismet!!!), and we stop at the first place that we find open that isn't fast food. The New China Buffet with over 100 items turns out to be the nastiest Chinese restaurant in the free world. We eat and laugh because, of course our wedding meal would be awful! It's just the universe's way... But we're happy despite the food and fatigue and we decide to see if Holt, MO has a place for the Holt's for tonight. Twenty years notwithstanding, a hot shower and air conditioning would make an excellent wedding night gift. We find a motel that is only slightly questionable and back the Beaver into the spot right in front of our room. We feed kitties, grab what we need and tun the AC on high and the shower on hot... and then bathed and cleaned and fed, we sleep.  Blissful dreamless sleep until the crack of thunder (apparently under the bed) makes us both jump to our feet. It is pouring  down rain outside and the RV windows are open for the cats. I put on my shorts and run barefoot to the RV to close all of the windows while thunder and lightening and the heavens erupt. I am soaked through when I return to the room and collapse back into bed after a quick wardrobe change. Our hotel is built into the side of a hill and our room is right at the juncture, so once the thunder stops it's pealing, we sleep through the rest of the night. We find out the next morning that we have slept through an F2 tornado. All is fine with Justin Beaver but the cats are pissed! We pack up under sunny skies but watch the ominous blackness to the East (of course,  the direction that we are heading). We hit plenty of rain  but no significant weather or issues until we reach Cape Girardeau, MO, where I discover while fueling, a gasket seal is blown on my rear tandem wheel hub. Not taking chances, I locate a diesel repair shop and $135 later, I have a silicone repair that took about thirty minutes and will hopefully hold for awhile.
We make it to just East of St. Louis before nightfall and spend a noisy night in a Hampton Inn parking lot right next to the freeway. Up and early the next morning, we finish the rest of the trip without incident. Two days later, we pull into my mom's drive, where we will spend the next ten days working until it's time to leave for (finally) Myrtle Beach.
Finally legal!
While in Asheville, I have dinner with my aunts and cousins, who share with us wonderful wedding presents and we also drive to Spartanburg, SC to see my cousin, Jimmy and his wife, Patricia, and to see Croft State Park, which is our next assignment after MBSP. Patricia also made us an unexpected surprise of a wedding cake, which was so kind and thoughtful (and not to mention delicious!). What a wonderful gift to celebrate with our family on so many occasions.

We weren't originally thrilled about our scheduled time at Croft State Park because it isn't a well represented park. I chose it mainly because of it's proximity to my mother, it's lack of snow, and a YouTube video on trail biking that I found. Once we arrived, however, my attitude completely changed. Ranger Dave took us all on a hike down to the river and the mountain bike bridge, and he also took us to the lake and up a closed pass in the park. We had a great time and were really looking forward to our next assignment after MB. as a fotnote, I am actually writing this update from Croft, having been here for a little over a months now. 
After ten days spent with family and friends, we were ready to hit the beach!!!

Stay tuned for our further adventures in Myrtle Beach!

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