Getting there, 17 December 2001
Fondest memory: The day I had anticipated since 13 August had finally come. Gary came by the house to pick me up at 2.00, earlier than the originally agreed upon 3.00. It didn't make any difference. Because the weather is opposite south of the equator, I packed my warm weather clothes and was effectively read to go for a week. Gary and I hung out a bit before latching onto my black carry-on (which has gone with me around the world since Australia in 1991) and my book bag and stowing it in the car. The adventure officially got out of the starting gate at 2.19 when we boarded Gary's 1996 GMC Jimmy and left Mechanicsville for the rest of 2001. We took Mechanicsville Turnpike to I-64 west where we joined I-95 south in downtown Richmond. We stayed on that through to Petersburg, where we took I-85 south through to Henderson, North Carolina. We took route 1 south the rest of the way starting round about Henderson. Gary played some classic rock tunes along the monotonous stretch of I-85 from Petersburg through to South Hill, Virginia. If I were of a superstitious mind, I would be more than a little bothered by the radio station coincidentally playing "Free Fallin'" and "Stairway to Heaven" in close succession on a day before I was to take the airplane. However, I'm not of that mind, I only noted it because it was a very curious coincidence.
Fondest memory: We crossed the Virginia-North Carolina border at 3.58 at Warren County. We arrived to Gary's flat exactly 3 hours after leaving my driveway in Mechanicsville. we had supper at Fuddrucker's (see "restaurant tip"). I felt better on eating something and better still on taking a shower. A trip by car over 140 miles (225 km.) should not be that big of a deal, but I was mentally drained. I caught up on this journal until WEAKEST LINK. On that programme, contestants dressed up like Father Christmas, a Christmas tree, Father time, an angel, a reindeer, etc. I don't know which was more humiliating, having to appear on national television in those costumes or being among the first voted off the programme. After watching 7 on 8 contestants making a complete fool of themselves, I rung the 800 number for American Airlines. Given all that has happened up to the trip, a last-minute change in flight number and time on their part was not fully unexpected. I caught a break as the flight number was still 1799 and the appointed takeoff was still 1.55 for the following day and a good weather report for both Raleigh and Miami. Gary watched the wrestling matches while I read a book and looked at photos of Gary and Marc's trip to Arizona just after flights resumed after the foolishness of 11 September. Wrestling just isn't my thing. After Gary went to bed, I caught the weather report on WRAL 5. I checked it again because I learned since I bought my tickets not to trust good luck. They said it would rain throughout much of the night, but clear off early and be sunny and windy the following day. I also watched the latter half of the Monday night football game. St. Louis New Orleans 34-21.
Take in the fact that Raleigh...
Favorite thing: Take in the fact that Raleigh is one of the most spread out cities I've ever been in. The city itself isn't very large or crowded but traveling to one end to another seems to take forever. Check out the museums downtown and the beautiful houses of North Raleigh.
Fondest memory: I was born here... how's that?
Go during October when the NC...
Favorite thing: Go during October when the NC State Fair is going on. There's the usual food, games, arts and crafts, and game booths, but most of all the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
Fondest memory: Long summer afternoons at Pullen Park. Pack your own lunch and snooze in the soft grass. Clean, quiet, great for a Sunday afternoon picnic.
See the modest old state...
Favorite thing: See the modest old state capitol. Visit the state history museum, where you can see quilts and baskets, hear gospel songs from churches around the state, and buy goodies and books from the museum shop. Visit the City Market area, a restored 19th-century warehouse district with fine craft shops, pottery shops, Native American artifact shops, and a variety of restaurants.
I don't think there is any...
Favorite thing: I don't think there is any must see or must do place or activity in the Triangle, and visitors have said as much to me. My advice would be to visit the college campuses at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. Take a walk through Duke Gardens in Durham on a weekend afternoon, go to a Durham Bulls baseball game, see the Civil War exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of history and take your kids to the new North Carolina Museum of Science in Raleigh. Perhaps see the capital grounds and eat lunch at the NC farmer's market.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory is my days as a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Going to a football game in Kenan Stadium, surrounded by towering pines, on a sunny autumn day; walking down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill on a Saturday night; studying among the grass and trees of one of the most beautiful campuses on Earth; and watching the ever-powerful Tar Heel basketball team drub another opponent at the Dean Dome.
Take the two hour drive to...
Favorite thing: Take the two hour drive to Pinehurst, NC to experience truly wonderful golf. Pinehurst is home to the famous #2 course which is consistently ranked in Golf Digest's top 100. The resort is beautiful and while golf is expensive, these courses are worth the dinero. Bring alot of golf balls if you go, because pinehursts seven other challenges are sure to be fun.
North Carolina State Fair
Fondest memory: The 1978 North Carolina state fair was a fun time for this 9-year old boy. It was the first and, to my knowledge, only time I've ridden a camel and an elephant.
VISIT J&H STABLES GREAT HORSE...
Favorite thing: VISIT J&H STABLES GREAT HORSE BACK RIDING.
ALSO TAKE IN A HOCKY GAME WITH THE CAROLINA HURACANES.
TAKE A WALK IN UMPSTEAD STATE PARK.