We weren’t planning to enter North Carolina for a couple more days, but we ran into a number of closed campgrounds due to visiting southwestern Virginia too early in the season (and, in a couple of instances, due to the sequestration). We did stay at a small, beautiful campground in Grayson Highlands State Park, but it wasn’t until we set up our site that we learned that the water spigots were not yet on for the season and the inviting restrooms with showers were locked. Lack of naps, cold nights, and too much car time led to some truly terrifying screams throughout the night. After our first (and at this point, only) hellish night on the road, we opted to turn south and find a motel for the following night. The upside to the night was that during one of his screaming fits I slipped out of the van to use the restroom. The stars were absolutely incredible. The campground was on the top of a ridge, the sky was clear, and the smattering of tall trees seemed to form a cathedral through which glowing stars were visible in all directions.
Our night in the motel was much less eventful (thankfully) but our dinner left many things to be desired. We had some eggs that we needed to use and instead of setting up our camp stove on the lawn of the Super 8, we decided to try microwaving them. I now know that you can microwave eggs, as long as you don’t mind your eggs tasting like cardboard. After being treated to a “free” breakfast full of things with much too much sugar in them, we spent the day wandering around Boone and Appalachian State College. It was an awesome day to be in a most excellent town.
While Alan ran to the laundromat, Van and I spent a leisurely couple of hours in town and on campus. Van enjoyed rearranging sticks and pine cones while I caught up on my journaling and watched the students relaxing in hammocks and the happy-go-lucky guy dancing around campus with a large white boombox on his shoulder. We met Alan for a late (and great) lunch in town and then headed off to our campsite for the next two nights. It was our first night with a campfire, and we didn’t even need a match to light it! The ash was still so hot from the last campers that once we set up our sticks and logs, they started smoking and eventually caught fire. Van got right into the spirit of camping and spent the entire evening collecting sticks for the fire. He now thinks that he is perpetually on fire duty and continues to collect sticks for us, even when we’re far away from a campsite or a campfire.