Goin’ East

North Carolina
North Carolina Foliage

Well, we moved, finally, from Los Angeles to Charlotte, North Carolina. And I have to tell you that it was quite grueling, to say the least, driving a 26 foot Penske truck pulling an auto trailer with our Toyota Camry loaded on it. The trip was over 2400 miles long.

What we encountered on our trip was amusing at points and a real test of patience, endurance, and stick-to-it-ivity as we traveled from one side of the continent to the other. It was great timing that we did not get stuck in two snowstorms as we passed over the Rockies. However, when I did stop in order to get some rest in New Mexico, I chose a rest stop that was still a bit high up in terms of altitude, just under 7300 feet high — where my wife decided it was time to switch her typical L.A. attire (shorts) for long, thick pants! While she slept in the truck cabin, I crawled into our Toyota and buried myself under some blankets and a sleeping bag. I nevertheless froze my arse off! But, I got enough rest to continue on down the mountain and out into the panhandle of Texas, which was, by the way, much warmer.

I kept the truck pedal-to-the-metal as its highest speed was governed to seventy mph. In Arkansas, we encountered a tropical storm. The sun was setting behind us as we caught up to the turmoil. I kept commenting to my wife that the clouds were emitting a strange light, which was bouncing around inside my eyeballs. We realized, as the rain was coming down and nighttime was approaching that the storm we were entering at about seventy miles per hour was also a spectacular lightning storm. We watched in astonishment as warm rain pelted our windshield and streaks of lighting struck the ground ahead of us as we made our various comments about the light show.

Traveling into the night through the downpour, we found it fascinating that the rain was still quite warm at around two in the morning — just as we were forced to drive twenty-five miles an hour due to the rivers of water coming down from the clouds. Following other trucks — professional truckers — we followed suit and turned on our emergency blinking lights to help indicate to those behind us where the road was. I kid you not! The steamy rain was coming down that hard.

We finally made it out ahead of the front as we rolled into Tennessee. It was a long and beautiful drive. But when we reached its border with North Carolina, we found that the freeway was closed due to a rockslide that closed both directions. Seeing satellite photos of the landslide afterwards confirmed the blockage. Anyway, we had a choice: take a small country road that would take us to who-knows-where or take a diversionary route that my wife (who was manning the map) came up with … upward into Virginia before diving straight back down into North Carolina.

And we once again encountered Mother Nature and her barriers. As we left Virginia and traveled southward down through the Blue Ridge Mountains, we were assaulted with the thickest fog I’d ever driven through — and I have much experience with driving in the fog, having grown up in Washington State. However it was only an adequate-size rainstorm. Again we were forced to turn on our emergency lights and plow along at a slow pace with the other vehicles crazy enough to be out on the road so early in the morning.

And you might ask why the heck would we be so willing to uproot our lives and travel across the continent? And under such circumstances?

Well, there are many reasons: North Carolina is GREEN and ALIVE. It is a warmer Washington State. We want an affordable home with some land so that we can grow a garden and have fruit trees and anything else we can think of to plant, such as beautiful flowers! We want to control what we eat just a little bit more closely. For some time now, I’ve been collecting NON-genetically modified seeds for the spring when it’s time to plant.

We’ve got the seeds. All we need is the property! Okay! I realize the sequence is a bit faulty. But the time to buy a home is NOT.

We are looking for the best place for us to live, in the North Carolina Piedmont Region. So far, we like Charlotte, NC a whole lot. The diversity of people here reminds us of the diversity of people in Los Angeles. Charlotte has the same stores as Los Angeles. A big difference is the cost of land. We want a nice home and land that we can grow things on, ORGANICALLY.

We also want an honest Real Estate Agent who can help us with what we want.

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5 Comments for "Goin’ East"

  1. Diane Vigil

    Well, while we got to see a great deal of countryside (parts of America are quite beautiful) and enjoy some great music, I don’t recall it being all that comfy.

    I do find that I really like Charlotte. Being used to very large, world-class cities (is "megalopoli" a word?), I’m still not really missing anything here, since so many of the stores and things we’d need can be found here in Charlotte. With the exception of Whole Foods Market … however, that’s easily replaced by Earth Fare, which seems to carry pretty much the same brands.

    I like, too, that the air (Air You Can’t See™) contains more moisture, which seems to do my complexion good. :) And the tapwater is not nearly as bad — you don’t need to take acidophilus after drinking it!

    I look forward to taking drives around the surrounding area to decide where we might want to settle.

    ADDED: A tip of the hat goes to Dexter Davis, the gentleman who — while I was guiding George’s efforts to back up the 26-foot moving truck so as to narrow the gap between the trailer hitch and the tow-trailer knob (so "we" could lift the uber-heavy trailer onto the trailer hitch) — gently interrupted with a “Can I help you ma’am?”. Explaining that he did this kind of thing every day, Mr. Davis worked with George to guide the hitch directly under the trailer knob … no lifting needed! Mr. Davis can be found at Buddy’s Grounds Maintenance, landscaping and maintenance company in Bloomington, Illinois. Thank you again, Mr. Davis!

  2. Anna

    Enjoy NC! I don’t know Charlotte well, but I love the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially the Boone area. I moved to from the NE after graduating from college in the mid 80s and stayed 10 years. I really grew to love most of the things about NC (like anywhere, there were some things I never got used to). The only reason I moved is my new husband was starting a job in So Cal.

  3. Diane Vigil

    Ah, so you’ve gone in the exact opposite direction! Enjoy SoCal … it, too, has much to offer.

    I look forward to taking a drive through the mountains. The land here is truly gorgeous.

  4. Lynn Cameron

    Well, I’m glad you guys are closer to me, anyway. Now, once you get those gorgeous southern rills and waterfalls mastered, you can meander on up here to the high peaks of Northern NY. The drive will be shorter and much easier compared to your last trek, at any rate.
    Lynnie

  5. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Lynnie. I was looking at photos of New England at istockphoto.com — it’s absolutely gorgeous, too. I can see why people love it so much.

    Once we get settled and ready to get out and about, it’s in our plans to visit you. Thanks for the invite. :)

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