My original plan on Tuesday had been to spend the night in the Outer Banks of NC after a small detour to Chincoteague, VA. I hit the road around 6 am and the drive went smoothly. I reached Chincoteague before 9 and realized the weather was making for some ugly light, making photography a poor choice. It wasnt far to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and already the cloud cover had cleared and I was under blue blue skies and over water much cleaner looking than the Chesapeake Bay further up towards home.
A couple of hours later I reached the Outer Banks and spent an other couple of hours exploring the small beach towns of Duck and Corolla before stopping at the visitor center to ask about campgrounds. They directed me to the other end of Outer Banks. I took my time, taking in the sites and the hoards of early tourists and thought how amazing it would be to camp on the beach a ways away from all the beach houses and shops. Unfortunately, the campgrounds were not yet open for the season- a ridiculous planning oversight on my part. I decided I would just have to vacation in OBX with my sisters at some point and broke out my trip notes and road atlas to find another campground.
My beginning-of-a-trip desire to be ever-moving had me wandering through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and quite a ways further to Croatan National Forest near New Bern, NC. There I found a campsite that was quiet, wooded and near a clear lake.
I had finished building, only days before departing, a sleeping platform with storage underneath for my Element. I’d not tested it out yet for sleeping and I’m happy to say that Wednesday morning I woke from 8 hours of sleep so comfortable that, for a moment, I thought I was still at home.
Being well rested allowed me to easily hit the road at 5:30 in search of a location to shoot the sunrise. The sunrise was slightly unspectacular but I was able to photograph some lovely light hitting a bank of fluffy clouds over the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
Rather than hop on a highway and book my way south, I chose to stick to smaller roads and wander my way down the coast via beach towns and (mostly) quieter roads. I stopped from time to time to photograph or explore and in the early afternoon decided my destination for the night would be Frances Marion National Forest at one of the campgrounds there.
While still out wandering about though, I received a call from my Couch Surfing hosts in Savannah who wanted to let me know what hours were best to arrive the next day. On a whim, knowing I was only a few hours away, I asked how this evening would work for them. And thats how I found myself in Savannah on night two of my trip.
Thank goodness for that. Usually, during the first few days of a trip I have a bit of an adjustment period. It can take me several days to relax into the trip and to just enjoy wherever I am (rather than ever forging onward). Savannah is slower paced than back home and after a few hours of chatting with my hosts and hearing more about Savannah, I was ready to enjoy where I was.
I slept in a bit this morning, getting up at 7:30 instead of 5:30, and spent the morning driving and walking around Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. I walked an old brick path, left over from a long decayed plantation, overgrown with foliage and shaded by towering trees, listening to the buzzing of hundreds of dragonflies in blues and greens and browns as they darted to-and-fro about me. I spent a long while watching alligators move slowly through the waters, their ridged tails waving lazily back and forth to propel them on. I stood in the wind and thought ‘this is all brand new’.
Which leaves me sitting here, on the screened-in porch of my hosts’ house, shaded by trees hung with Spanish moss, kept company by small green lizards sunning themselves or skittering about and a bloodhound drowsing in a patch of sunlight, not knowing where I’m going next or when. And I’m ok with that…for a little while at least.