and Cathy McArthur on
the Road 2009: 13
Saturday, October 24, found us on the 9:30 AM Cape May/Lewes Ferry with both the RV and the XTerra. See here for what led up to our departure for the winter and holiday seasons. Bill was driving the RV and Cathy was driving the XTerra with the single kayak atop. We met with Don and Bern Ernakovich in the ferry parking lot in Lewes. They picked us up and showed us the house that their son Donny is fixing up. Also they showed us the house that Meghan might buy. Then we went to lunch at Kindle's Restaurant in Lewes. We had a good, light lunch. Then we went to Don and Bern's home for a short while. Our visit was all too short, but we had to get back on the road by around 2:30 PM. We had set up Cathy's Razor phone with a bluetooth ear piece and we made of it as we worked our way down to Cape Charles at the bottom of the DelMarVa peninsula. We had reservations at a very lousy motel, the Sunset Beach Resort, a mile from the Bay Bridge/Tunnel. It was pretty run down and the bathroom door wouldn't close. We had a great local seafood dinner at Sting Ray's, 5 miles north on Route 13. We had 3 soft-shelled crabs and a dozen friend oysters with some sides. Then we topped it off with a brownie, chocolate ice cream, and hot fudge sauce for dessert.
Sunday, we got up fairly early and drove to Sting Ray's for bowls of oatmeal and biscuits for breakfast. We got our show on the road, heading for the bridge/tunnel, at about 8:00 AM. We made good use of our communications technology, especially in the confusion of the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area where we stayed on the phone constantly during the entire traversal of the region. We stopped for a break when we were close to getting on I85. After a Starbucks energy drink, we were back on the road for the last leg to Durham, NC and the Hilton Homewood Suites. We arrived around noon and checked with the desk. They said we could park the RV around back. Then, we drove the XTerra to Carrabbas for a good lunch, splitting a pizza and a salad. We went to Starbucks for a cappuccino and a newspaper after lunch. Then we went back to the suites and sat in the living room by a gas fireplace and did a crossword puzzle. We checked-in to the suite a bit after 3:00 PM. We carried in our bags and emptied the refrigerator and freezer from the RV to carry the items into the suite. Katie and Tom and family arrived in two cars at about 5:45 PM. Our friend Matt Merkle also arrived about that time. We all went to a Thai Restaurant in Chapel Hill, the Twisted Noodle, where we had great meals. Everyone was excited to be in North Carolina.
Monday morning, Bill and Tom went down to the fitness center shortly after 6:00 AM. Bill did a weight workout while Tom ran on the treadmill. Bill walked on the treadmill enough to warmup his legs and then did some stretching. Afterward, we all went down to breakfast in the hotel. It was a fairly typical hotel breakfast buffet. Bill missed his oatmeal, but ate cereal with yogurt and a bagel. Later in the morning, both kids went to their new daycares. Tom went to work, Cathy and Katie went shopping, and Bill went to the Community Center Park in Chapel Hill for a run. He ran mostly on trails, but also on some hilly roads, for 8.2 miles. His pace was very uneven:
After his run, Bill returned to the hotel for a shower. Cathy called and invited Bill to meet with her and Katie and Tom and Rachel at the Brightleaf Square shopping center. They ate a good lunch at an Italian restaurant. After lunch, Bill, Cathy, and Rachel went to Babies R Us to buy our niece Erin a baby shower gift. Rachel helped with the gift wrapping. Meanwhile, Katie and Tom were appliance shopping. Bill, Cathy, and Rachel went across the highway to the Southpoint Mall to buy Rachel a sports team shirt for school on Tuesday, a cappuccino for Bill and a hot chocolate for Rachel at Panera Bread, and to allow Rachel to play in the mall playground. We all finally reconvened at the hotel. We picked up takeout at Carrabbas for dinner.
Tuesday was another rainy day in Chapel Hill. Bill kept wondering where the Carolina Blue sky went. We all went to breakfast and then Katie and Tom dropped the kids in daycare and went to work. Bill and Cathy dropped the RV at Hendrick's Chevy in Durham for service. They agreed to keep the RV until next Tuesday. Bill and Cathy drove to Duke University and did a tour in the XTerra. They tried to find a parking spot, but all visitor spots were taken. They headed for Starbucks for coffee and a NY Times. Then, they drove into Chapel Hill and parked on the main drag near Franklin and Church streets. They found a great vegetarian restaurant called Butternut Squash and enjoyed a good lunch there. Then, they walked around the UNC campus for a while and stopped at the campus bookstore to buy a couple of items. On the walk back from campus, it rained. Bill felt as if he'd been transported to Seattle and stopped in Caribou Coffee for another cappuccino. Then they drove back to the Homewood Suites. Katie and Tom went out to finalize appliances while Bill, Cathy, and Rachel played Fish and Uno, both won by Rachel with no handicaps. Bill and Rachel went to Kroger's to buy water and cookies. A bit later, all of us went to Papa Mojo's Roadhouse to enjoy some hearty Cajun fare. The rain continued, but didn't dampen our enthusiasm.
Wednesday was the big day for Katie and Tom's walk-through and settlement for the house. After breakfast, Cathy and Bill drove to Duke Forest and did a walk/run on the gravel 5K trail that encircles the golf course. We remembered walking on the trail back in 1977. Bill did an 8 mile run on the hilly trail, while Cathy walked for 5 miles. We picked up Rachel before lunch and went to I Love NY Pizza for slices for lunch. Later, Cathy did wash while Bill and Rachel went to the playground at the Community Center Park in Chapel Hill. Bill talked with our friend Jim Sosna while Rachel was playing. The afternoon was lovely with high temperature of 78 degrees and a Carolina Blue sky. We picked up Eric at daycare and drove both kids to their new house. We all enjoyed a tour of the home. We drove to Carrboro for dinner in Panzanilla's restaurant. The food and service were fantastic. Katie and Bill went back to the house to unload the Trailblazer, while Tom and Cathy went back to the hotel. We all went to bed fairly early to prepare for the big moving day on Thursday.
Thursday was an exciting, but very tiring day. After a quick breakfast, Tom headed over to the house for the mover's 7:30 AM arrival on site. Cathy and Bill dropped Rachel and Eric at daycare. They stopped at Starbucks on the way back to the hotel. Cathy, Bill, and Katie all hurriedly packed and loaded the XTerra and Trailblazer. We drove to the house and got to work. Bill started by emptying the two cars and carrying the contents to various rooms in the house. Then, Bill called in a lunch takeout order for us and the movers. He drove to IP3, a local pizzeria to pick up the big order and dropped it off at the house. Then, he was back on the road to pick up Rachel at daycare. He got back in early afternoon and ate a late lunch. Then Bill joined in with the fun of unpacking and arranging. Bill and Katie went back to IP3 to pick up a dinner order and we enjoyed our first dinner in the house. Tom got a radio hooked up so we could listen to the Caroline/VT football game, which went the wrong way for us. Bill discovered that he had left his iPhone charger in our hotel suite and he called the front desk to report it. The clerk said someone would call in the morning. We all did a lot of work and went to bed very tired.
Friday, we ate breakfast in the house. The kids went to daycare for the whole day. Bill went to the hotel to try to recover his iPhone charger. He was told that the charger had been found and was put in the office, but subsequently disappeared (stolen by staff, no doubt). Bill felt that this put a big black mark against Hilton and let them know later with a message from their website. Bill went to an AT&T retail store that had never heard of the type of charger Bill wanted to replace and then went to Best Buy and picked one up for $29.00. Bill also stopped at Starbucks. We ate lunch at the house. The unpacking and other settling in activities continued. Cathy cooked dinner at the house.
Saturday morning was rainy and raw. Bill left before 8 AM for the UNC campus to run in the Heels4Hope 5K race. He was able to get one of the two parking spaces available at the finish area for the race at Granville Towers, behind University Square. He had a cappuccino at Caribou Coffee to reinforce the feeling that he was in Seattle (due to the weather). Then he headed to the Bell Tower to get his race number (71) and started to search for a bathroom. He asked a couple of Campus Police and they directed him to the Student Union which had very underused bathrooms due to the building appearing closed. A mostly female student group of 700 runners participated in the wet, hilly, and rather short race. Bill had a respectable run under the circumstances:
Cathy, Katie, and Rachel went to Durham for a baby shower for our niece Erin. Rachel was thrilled to get the job of opening all of the presents. Bill, Tom, and Eric ate in the house. Our friend Matt Merkle arrived in late afternoon and helped get the kids ready for Trick or Treating. Rachel dressed as Belle and Eric dressed as Pooh. Tom, Katie, and both kids went out for a short time while Bill, Cathy, and Matt handled the candy at the door. When Eric got tired of it, Katie, Bill, and Rachel went back out for a more serious canvassing of the neighborhood. We met lots of the Leitch's new neighbors during the balmy, moonlit outing .Cathy made tortellini for dinner after trick or treating was over.
Sunday morning was rainy again. Rachel awoke extra early due to the end of Daylight Savings Time. Bill got her breakfast since he was naturally awake at that early hour. Unpacking and organizing continued. Bill went out to Lowes for a cable splitter and drawer pulls. He also picked up a cappuccino and a Sunday Times at Starbucks. Later, we all went into downtown Carrboro and had an excellent lunch at the Southern Railways restaurant. After lunch, Bill worked on placement of the cable modem and router. Matt left when our niece Erin, her husband Matt, our nephew Ryan, and his girlfriend Becca stopped in to say hello and tour the house. Afterward, Tom made a pasta dinner.