Home stretch ahoy! As you can tell, we’ve been more or less victory lapping it through the past handful of states, hanging with friends and fam, moseying on down the East coast towards Jacksonville to cap off an amazing ten-month journey. This post constitutes the very last chunk of mileage, and it begins in Delaware — home of, among hopefully many other things, the world’s largest medical bag.
It’s hard to think of a state that is more readily forgotten than Delaware. But if you like beaches with tolerable ocean temperatures, this is the first coastline since our time in the Florida panhandle that can make such a claim.
That said, the seagulls were busying making their own claim: “don’t get out of the car if you value your life.”
Lewes, DE is where the above video is from — it’s the northernmost Atlantic beach in this skinny state. We’ll hold out for less violent encounters, thank you very much.
Also in Lewes: our first lightship, the Overfalls. Why have a stationary lighthouse like a schmuck when you can take your beacon with you? Great for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and the occasional wayward freighter.
Further inland, there’s… not much. But if you like racing, you take in an event at Dover International Raceway. Or, if you like monsters, you can just stand outside Dover International Raceway and have a peep at Miles the Monster:
It was somewhere in Delaware that Mitch revealed his deepest, darkest secret. Please don’t hold it against him, but… he likes Good’N’Plenties.
Yes, that candy no one buys unless they’ve lost three or more of their senses? Mitch is the one keeping them in business. The gas station didn’t have his go-to (Twizzlers “Nibs”, an already-questionable choice), so he came out holding these with the face of someone who thinks they’ve solved your problem even though they’ve made things worse.
There’s no way to explain these to children. That might be the biggest offense.
Thankfully, we soon got a taste of the beach to wash out that nasty licorice flavor. Towers Beach Delaware State Park, in Rehoboth Beach:
Horseshoe crabs remain one of the most disgusting animals on the planet.
You know what comes after Delaware, right? Maryland. Good, as long as you know.
One of our more neglected states (second to Maryland, clearly), Virginia’s coast deserved more than a mere pass-through… and the natural choice was Virginia Beach. The only place on earth where you can be comfortable letting your kids frolic on a playground within 50 feet of a large nude man groping a turtle and brandishing a weapon. Neptune, everyone!
After a bit of bike riding around town, we started the surprisingly lengthy and internet-devoid drive towards North Carolina’s Outer Banks. On the way, Odie hit a bit of a milestone…
150,000 miles, or 44k since we took ownership of him. Some of that mileage was pre-Rogue Trip, which has now surpassed 30,000 miles. Any way you slice it, them’s a lotta miles. And yet, it sounds pretty doable, right? Think about it!
As a popular destination for southerners and northerners alike, it was a bit perplexing that neither of us had been to the Outer Banks before. Late October is most certainly off-season in OBX, but the lack of people made up for the lack of amenities. The only real issue to deal with was wind, which Hailey solved rather inventively:
Hat Hair. Patent Pending.
Did you think you had escaped the East coast’s lighthouse tour with our last post? Not a chance! Everybody likes lighthouses, and the Outer Banks have a treacherous history requiring the presence of several such night lights. The first: Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla.
Corolla is also where you’ve got your best shot to see OBX’s mythical wild horses roaming on the beach, free as can be. Rest assured, if we had seen such creatures, or anything of the sort rather than dudes in 4x4s hauling ass along the shoreline, you’d be the first to know. Alas, we push on. Raise your hand if you want another lighthouse!
Bodie Island Lighthouse, at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, certainly contends for the title of America’s best lighthouse. Maybe it’s just the venomous snakes in the grass talking, but we couldn’t help spending a good hour perched in front of and around this thing as the sun went down.
A nice perk: the waters surrounding Bodie Island Light have all manner of life floating around in them. We watched a single blue crab struggle to walk fifty feet while gangs of fish swam circles around him.
We bid farewell to OBX and pointed inland to Where The WiFis Are. Mitch’s cousin Kristen was fresh into her first semester at UNC Chapel Hill, so us old folks simply had to go embarrass her with a visit. Come give your smelly older cousin a hug, buddy!
For those who like their history plaque-sized, you’re in luck. The building behind us is Old East:
Speaking of our smells, we were certainly overdue for a Pit Stop after all the beach-going, and just happened to be a stone’s throw from one of Rogue Trip’s all-star hosts in Raleigh: the unsung Matt Strayer, who let Mitch shack up several times throughout trips between NYC and Jacksonville while we were orchestrating our move. He certainly deserves his fair share of credit, but puppy Landon wasn’t having any of that. It’s a dog show for Pit Stop #46!
And once again, we’re Southbound. Plenty of time for Hailey to count (and polish) her numerous Junior Ranger badges earned thus far.
One of Hailey’s long-time haunts, Charleston isn’t exactly new to us. But, with her roster of friends still popping in and out of there, someone was bound to be doing something interesting. For example… Torri & Drew of Pit Stop #22 showing up for a third time during our trip, this time to tie the knot! Congrats!!
Thankfully we didn’t have to iron our formalwear in the back of our van, as Hailey’s close friends Chris & Jason (who you’ve also seen in a previous Rogue Trip post) happen to be Charleston locals with a blow-up mattress to spare! Pit Stop #47 in the books, thanks to these wackos.
Well, we certainly got to make our rounds with the Charleston crew. Oh, but what’s this? New Yorker Nicole (whose mom was Pit Stop #18 in Seal Beach, CA) happens to be in town? Well why the heck not!
Okay okay, that’s all the interaction we can handle. We don’t even know how to talk to other people after this much time in isolation, so it gets embarrassing after a few sentences.
Well, too bad! Mitch’s brother and freshly baked kid are ALSO IN CHARLESTON FOR SOME REASON.
Ok, we’ve gotta get out of here before our entire families show up. A sunset drink with Chris in Shem Creek plus a few dolphin sightings for good measure is a great way to go out.
We could’ve gone any number of directions, but chose Greenville, South Carolina having heard that it’s “really coming along” from multiple sources. That also meant we could follow another Roadside America tip along the drive: The UFO Welcome Center in Bowman. Behold!
Nice of the guy to use a proper address for the aliens’ reference: “Bowman, Planet Earth.”
Greenville’s signature move is Falls Park On The Reedy, with a custom suspension bridge passing over these gorgeous falls in early November. The rest of the area is walkable and friendly; certainly full of modern convenience for today’s people who want it all. Not that we’re looking for jobs as brochure writers.
Also, Jamaican food existed there, and it wasn’t bad at all. Nice place you got, Greenville.
Sick of seeing the same folks pop up in Rogue Trip’s itinerary again and again? Grab a barf bag, because we’re not done.
After a brief stop in Athens — the place we previously visited all the way back on Day 2 of Rogue Trip — we returned to Atlanta to see li’l Chloe almost a year older. We learned she had recently become quite adamant about preferring hot sauce to ketchup.
Parents Kaley and Peter took Chloe with us to the Atlanta Botanical Garden — certainly one of the more sprawling such gardens in the nation. The choo-choo, of course, had to be ridden.
While we were hanging around ATL, Mitch got the bug to check out Porsche’s Driving Experience — one of only two in the USA. For a rather decent price, you get 90 minutes of seat time on their off-road course and test track. That might not sound like a lot of time, but trust us… within a few minutes of driving expensive cars very quickly, your hands begin shaking.
Another way to get the heebie-jeebies lickety split is to spin out on their custom “kick-plate” exercise, where the back of your car gets pushed sideways by a hydraulic plate on a wet surface and you have to use skill to overcome it. Here’s Mitch’s most glorious failed attempt:
It all ended well and no one wrecked their six-figure Porsche loaners. Back home with our friends, Peter coddled Mitch with some high-quality brisket and a beer.
Just another couple of days with more of the best people, marked by Pit Stop #48.
If you’re wondering why we didn’t stay a night with our Athens Pit Stop friends from way back, well… first off, your memory is incredible. And second, it’s because they moved to Auburn, Alabama! And so shall we.
To say the University Of Auburn has a good football team is a bit of an understatement. We happened upon the campus the morning after a big win, and apparently victory brings with it the timeless tradition of t.p.’ing your own campus’ trees? Somewhere along the way, they lost their grasp on what this prank is supposed to be for. But warning signs be damned, there it was. Wet toilet paper on the ground and smiles on the students’ faces.
At any rate, we did indeed meet up with Kristen and Stephen yet again, only to find out Kristen was yet another friend with a bun in the oven! The good news keeps flyin’ down the Eastern seaboard, and these guys score a second card as they host us for Pit Stop #49.
Well, that just leaves us with a few hundred miles left on our big 2017 trip. Can you believe it’s over already? And by “already”, we mean like six months before we finally finished the blog posts? Here we are, back in Jacksonville for the big one, Pit Stop #50! The Alpha and the Omega in a nice, even 50 stops among friends, family, and strangers alike.
Here’s the last of ’em — thanks again for all your help, Barbara and Rich (and Pilot)!
After an understandable moment of surprise that Hailey and Mitch had, indeed, managed to travel around the country within 18 inches of each other at all times and not end up driving off a cliff in a fit of rage, the obvious question was… now what?
Well, 73% or so of you already know the answer. But humor us, as we explain in an upcoming blog post. One thing is certain: Odie shall ride again!