On the Move on the ICW, but as always, there is Time for Friends (October 22nd to November 7th, 2017)

The ICW is like an old friend now. We know the stops we love, we remember landmarks, we wait for favorite sights, and, especially, we look forward to our stop in Southport, NC, where we know we will find our dear friends, Vera, Rolf, and Jan. This trip along the ICW is also affording us time to stop and leisurely visit new places, a luxury we have never had before. The familiar places never fail to please us, and the new ones are found treasures. Still, nothing is better than having time to be with those people we have known for many, many years; those with whom we have shared so much of our life and who mean so much to us.

IMG_0845Sunrise at Bear Creek

We left Washington, NC on Sunday, October 22nd and traveled to a nice anchorage on Bear Creek. From there we moved on to Deaton Yacht Service in Oriental, NC where we had an electrical issue taken care of. The marina had a courtesy car so I could do a quick trip to the grocery store. It wasn’t our usual trip to Oriental, a town we really usually enjoy, but it all worked out well and AfterMath was ready to take on the next leg of the journey.

IMG_0852Every town seems to have its mascot these days.  New Bern’s mascot is a bear.  You can find bears all over town.IMG_0854IMG_0936IMG_0870IMG_0896The archway over the entrance to New Bern’s Confederate CemeteryIMG_0904IMG_0902These tables were placed in the cemetery near graves so that families could go and have a picnic near their loved ones.IMG_0901Check out the age this person was when he died.  His gravestone says he was 156 years old.IMG_0861The original counter at the drug store where Pepsi was invented.  You can still buy a cold drink there.IMG_0877Mitchell’s Hardware is an amazing place.  They claim that if they don’t have it, you don’t need it!IMG_0871It’s hard to know where to look first in the hardware store.IMG_0873IMG_0875That’s John at the end of the aisle full of screws, nuts, bolts, and who knows what else.IMG_0909Tryon Palace, New Bern, NCIMG_0938City hall in New BernIMG_0934IMG_0925The Episcopal church in New Bern has the most amazing hand painted windows.  Apparently they could not afford stained glass when the church was built so they had these windows painted.  IMG_0926IMG_0933

Our next stop was New Bern, NC. New Bern is a city of about 26,000 and was settled by Swiss and German immigrants in 1710. Named after Bern, Switzerland, it was the first capital of North Carolina. During the Civil War, Union forces captured and occupied the town and more than 10,000 slaves escaped and joined the Union Army. Today there are separate cemeteries for Union and Confederate soldiers in New Bern. Because New Bern was occupied by the Union, most of the historic buildings were saved, and the old churches and historic sites remain as they did many years ago. In 1898 a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham brought fame to New Bern when he created “Brad’s Drink”, a concoction now known as Pepsi Cola. The original site of the pharmacy is now a museum and gift shop for all things Pepsi. We were told, on a tour of the city, that Pepsi still holds corporate meetings there every year. More recently, New Bern has shown up in many novels written by Nicolas Sparks. I have been enjoying reading or re-reading some of his novels, now knowing exactly the place he was describing.

IMG_0939A collection of old outboard engines at the Ruddy Duck Grille, Morehead City, NC

On October 27th, we moved on to Morehead City. We stayed a few days there as the ICW was closed in the military base of Camp Lejeune due to training activities. This worked out well for us, as we also needed to wait out the unsettled seas that Tropical Storm Philippe was causing. Morehead City’s marina was comfortable and the people who worked there were very nice. There was a great captain’s lounge where I was able to watch the Gators loose in a terrible game against Georgia. Oh well.

IMG_9996Target practice has done quite the job on these military vehicles.  I have taken pictures of these every trip on the ICW, but I’m always just fascinated by them and can’t stop!IMG_9993IMG_0005IMG_0010This one looks a little less destroyed.  Maybe it’s newer?IMG_0014The sparkling waters as the sun begins to set at Camp LejeuneIMG_0018

Finally on Halloween, the ICW was open again, the storm had passed, and we were able to travel to one of our favorite anchorages in Camp Lejeune. It’s fun to pass the tanks and vehicles that are now used for target practice; they look more like grey lace than metal. Usually there are lots of aircraft flying around the anchorage day and, sometimes, night, but this time it was very quiet, except for one friendly boater who put her dinghy in the water and came around making deliveries of candy and yelling, “Trick or Treat”, although she gave the treats!

IMG_0945Sometimes it’s hard to get up early and get traveling, but the lighting shortly after sunrise is so worth it.IMG_0946IMG_0950IMG_0954IMG_0967IMG_0969Another picture I take every time we pass it.  This plastic palm tree, parking meter, and flag on this sandbar are just too funny to pass up.IMG_0041Welcome aboard, Coasties!

November 1st brought us to a lovely anchorage in Carolina Beach, and finally on Thursday, the 2nd, we arrived in Southport, NC. Before arriving, though, we were boarded by the Coast Guard for a safety check. The young men who came aboard were professional and courteous and were really a joy to have aboard. We always enjoy meeting the Coasties, and they are always interested in hearing about our sons, Jason, who was in the Coast Guard, and Jeff, who is currently serving in their headquarters in Washington, DC.

IMG_0974Rolf and VeraIMG_0976Jan

Once in Southport, we were so happy to see our friends, Vera, Rolf, and Jan, who came to pick us up and transport us to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. It is always like old times when we see these wonderful people. Part of our “Gourmet Group”, we have known each other since our oldest children were just babies, and we, and our kids, have really shared every experience imaginable. We laugh at some of our antics from our younger days, and we treasure all of our times together throughout the years. We miss Don, Jan’s husband, who passed away a little over a year ago, but we laugh when we think of his puns, jokes, and stories. Good friends are always there for each other, and once again, Vera and Rolf left us a car to use the following day. I provisioned AfterMath for at least a month using that car, and I also bought ingredients to have a Mini-Gourmet (there have always been six couples in our group, so we were half) on the boat on Friday night. As typical for Gourmet, everyone brought something. Jan brought shrimp and wine, Vera and Rolf brought apple crisp, ice cream and Amaretto. It was a wonderful night and we are all in agreement that it is important to stay in touch with and focused on those friends who mean so much.

IMG_0044Whoever owns this home sure seems to have the right idea.  Notice all the hammocks.IMG_0990Leaving Myrtle Beach Yacht Club and traveling down the ICW you see this assortment of buoys.IMG_0991Fall along the ICWIMG_0995IMG_1007Symmetry in natureIMG_1015IMG_0051IMG_0052IMG_0057

IMG_1028That is a floating swing bridge.

Saturday morning we left Southport and enjoyed our trip to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, our first stop in South Carolina. Although it would have been nice to tour the resort area, we really just stayed at the marina. Transportation to the beach was not easily found and we only planned on a one-night stay. Our next two stops were anchorages near Georgetown and McClellanville, SC. The scenery along this stretch is absolutely beautiful, and only made better by the fall colors, the calm, mirror-like waters, the clear blue skies, and the angle of the golden sun.   I will never understand why some people find the ICW boring.

IMG_1035I have no idea how this person gets to his house, and it probably gets lonely out there, but it sure is pretty.IMG_1040A Coast Guard buoy tender on the ICWIMG_1041AfterMath docked at Isle of Palms MarinaIMG_1049The beach today at Isle of PalmsIMG_1057Kirby really loves the water!IMG_1061IMG_1064

Today, November 7th, we arrived in Isle of Palms. The marina here has a good restaurant, a market/deli that carries everything you can imagine, and it is only about a quarter mile walk to the beach. After a nice lunch, we walked to the beach and enjoyed being on the Atlantic Coast again. Tomorrow we will leave for Charleston, where we will spend about four days.

Now we are happy to be moving toward Florida where we will spend the winter this year. We love the warm weather and we are so happy to now be back in the land of palm trees. At our snail’s pace, we see what so many miss. Currents, tides, and weather dictate where we go and when. We know when it will be a full moon or a new moon as this affects our travels. Our lives depend on nature and we are aware of what is around us. Every day continues to be a new adventure, but the best part is that our adventures include seeing family and old friends and meeting new people along the way. It is the life we always dreamed of living.

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