Sunday, April 26, 2020

Another month in South Carolina

Springtime in Greenville

We signed on for another month in Greenville, SC. The storms keep rolling across the country and just skirting both north and south of us.

Other than our walks and bike rides from the campground, this was our first real outing in a while. I put on my earrings and lipstick in preparation for our drive towards North Carolina and the farm stands. Woo Hoo!

April is the start of strawberry season in SC. Strawberry Hill is located on the North Carolina border. People were buying the produce as quickly as it was being brought in from the fields.

I was glad to see that strawberry shortcake is an essential business. We donned our masks and kept our 6 feet distance while buying our carry out shortcake and sat on a stump across the road for our snack.

Along the Carolinas' border are Revolutionary battlefields and fruit farms. A short drive down the Chesnee Highway from the fruit farm was the Cowpens Battlefield.

The walking trails were open, giving us the chance to imagine the battles being waged. 
On Jan. 17, 1781, the Americans won a decisive battle against the better-trained British Army here. The battle was over in less than an hour giving the Patriots the moral support needed to continue fighting and win the Revolution just nine months later.
All of this social distancing is clouding some of our decisions. People are avoiding the ER with stroke and heart attack symptoms due to fear of the virus and in turn suffering permanent injuries. 

One morning at 3 am, I woke with the worst vertigo and a headache that wouldn't stop. I thought about visiting the ER but felt anxious. My blood pressure was high as I thought about entering the Covid 19 cave of the ED. I called the hospital to see which hospital was designated for non Covid patients and she encouraged me to go in. I took some medication and things finally started to resolve. It was stupid to not go in when I could have had something bad. Fortunately, I did get medical attention and am fine. But looking back, I might rethink my choice and let the medical people know my concerns.
 A 30 mile ride with hills and wind thrown it. Laying down was not the best plan with sweat and sunscreen running into my eyes. And then I had to get up.

Check out those calories!
South Carolina's govenor is starting to open some of the state parks and beaches. He seems like a reasonable and intelligent man in his daily briefings. We will see how the next few weeks unfold before we decide how we are going to make our exit from here.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Dogwoods and Azaleas

Lots of pollen in the air

Springtime is tornado and severe weather time in the southeast US. Our most recent storm included a tornado warning. I woke to some strange sounds outside and a glow in the sky to the east. I wasn't crazy about sharing the laundry room in the middle of the night with a bunch of people in masks and
PJs so I put in my earplugs to avoid hearing "the end". Two nearby towns were hit by tornados and lots of downed trees. We were spared this time.
Looking for a hair salon speakeasy.

Ten years ago, I worked in Ashville, NC at Mission Hospital's trauma and neuro ICU for three months giving us the opportunity to hike to many waterfalls and trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We enjoyed day hiking the Appalachian Trail and sharing trail magic, food and treats, with thru-hikers as they shared their tales. Later, we would follow their online journals as they trek further northeast. 

The town of Franklin, NC at mile marker 110 of the Appalachian Trail, is the first community that welcomes A.T. thru-hikers before they press on towards their goal of completing the 2,200 mile journey.

Each year from the first day of Spring until Earth Day, Franklin devotes itself to celebrating northbound thru-hikers. Franklin is a welcome respite from the cold and usually wet early spring weather. Hikers find plenty of good food and drink, great conversation and lots to do during this month-long celebration. 

Except this year, people from all over the world, hiking the tail found themselves unable to get a hotel room or a way to get home once the trail closed due to Covid 19.

The governor is opening the lakes and boat ramps this weekend. Once the state parks start opening up, I doubt if we will try to hike. The people will probably head out in full force making distancing impossible. Cycling has turned out to be the best exercise away from people for us.
Everything is blooming and the pollen finally settling down. Let's hope the storm heading our way will be kind. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Cycling and Shopping

Enjoying South Carolina's Back Roads

We started our nomadic lifestyle with the knowledge that it could change and we would have to stay put. Who knew this would be how it would play out even if it was only for a while. We are fortunate to live in a time when traveling all over the world could be done by regular people like us. I hope it has made us more open minded and accepting of other people.
 This stop along the way hasn't damped our desire to explore, but created an urgency and desire to see many more places.  I find myself looking for our next trip but who knows when that will be? 
Our daily activities now include online shopping. Got stocked up on the salsa that we loved in Louisiana along with a few other things. Well, maybe more than a few...

 Our online shopping and home delivery experience with instacart wasn't so great. Everyone seems to like the idea, leaving little to no times to sign up. We only got part of what we ordered and some cheese Tamatha (whoever she is?) had ordered found its way into our bags. $11 of Fontana cheese. We don't even like Fontana cheese.  Anthony, the new driver and shopper, was feeling anxious. I won't go into the details. But he didn't use social distancing. Aghhh! We let it slide. The charges were a little steep even without the extra item.

Mike found  the grocery stores pretty empty and fairly well stocked when they open at 9am. I guess they are all shopping for home delivery.
 Yoga in the mornings before it heats up.
 Cards and dominos in the afternoons when we turn on the air conditioner. Don't they know it is only April?
 More baking.
 We usually ride our bikes a couple of times a week. Now we are riding 22-25 miles with hills every other day since all of the hiking trails are closed and temps in the 70s F. I have broken out the Ibuprofen and my pants are a little looser. Hurray! I guess all of the baking isn't taking too bad of a toll on the waistline.

Cycling is our mental health treatment. Arriving home after going up and down the hills, I am ready to self isolate in my recliner.
 We stopped to watch these two Toms showing off for the ladies. They were a hoot as they scooted sideways towards each other. One trying to keep the other away from the girls.
We were considering moving to Virginia for our next month. Virginia is not allowing short term stays of less than two weeks. But if we agree to 2 weeks or more, we are in. I am not sure how that stops the virus from entering the state. Maybe less people passing through? So far, we are planning to stay put a while longer, at least until all of our packages arrive and we plan our escape to the west.
 These two horses always run to see us as we ride by but ignored me when I stopped for a picture. The countryside really is this beautiful on our two hour rides.
I am not sure how Mike got grease on his left leg.

The cycle club's parking lot is a couple of blocks from where our Springwood Campground. I have never seen a cycle club owned parking lot before complete with restroom and picnic table. The routes are well marked but we occasionally miss an arrow after a storm as the downed leaves and branches cover the painted arrows. 

 This horse came out to check us out. I wasn't sure if he wanted to go for a ride.

We hope everyone is stay well physically and mentally. What are you doing to keep yourself in a good place?

Friday, April 3, 2020

Finding our way around Greenville

Doing some social media distancing

We are happy to be settled in here in South Carolina for a while. Like many people, I wanted to run away but there is no where escape this virus thing. It is easy for my mind get carried away, thinking I can fix this. We even spent an afternoon considering buying a house somewhere. I opened the blog to look back at our travels and the house idea went away.  Getting away from the internet and news with a bike ride or movie does wonders for us.

RVers are getting caught out in the cold trying to find a place to park their homes. Short stays in many state, federal and private campgrounds are not allowed. We thought something like this could happen and booked this campground in Greenville, SC to see how things would shake out. Some states parks are allowing volunteer camphosts to stay and work in the closed parks. Other states and COE campgrounds sent the hosts on their way to figure it out for themselves. Boondocking (dry camping) on federal land often used by rvers is not being allowed . This leaves many people paying expensive nightly rates if they can even find an open place.
While doing physical social distancing, I have also chosen to do some distancing on social media.  We have enough negative energy right now. I don't need to have politics preached to me. Do people really think I am going to change my thinking by being told that I am bad or stupid?
During our walk in the rain, I noticed these arrows on the road that looked like bike routes. Score! Further down the road we found the cycle club's parking lot. The green arrow is 35 miles and yellow is 23.

With three different colored arrows to choose from, we set out on a Sunday morning which took us down some beautiful rolling country roads with more cyclists than cars. 
It is good to slow down and just enjoy each day cooking, reading or taking a walk. No need to plan what to see or do next. Everything is closed.

Caesar Head State Park

Getting to the park is quite a drive up a steep and winding road. But the climb also gives some amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Caesar Head State Park's name comes from the thought that some have claimed the rock bears a resemblance to the famous Roman general.

When the trail reaches Devils Kitchen, a set of stairs descends deep down into the rocky gap, which is just wide enough for a person to pass through. The formation was created thousands of years ago, as water on the mountain froze and expanded, causing the rock to crack open from the pressure. 
It was either a blurred picture or none. Dang.
A myth dating back to the days when the area was settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants who enjoyed brewing their own alcohol. According to the story, the Devil himself made a particularly hot brew here, and spilled a drop of it on the rock, splitting the rock open on the spot.
 One of the most popular trails at Caesars Head is the four-mile, round trip Raven Cliff Falls Trail. This hiking trail leads to the scenic overlook, where you can view the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls.

I am lazy when it comes to anything to do with tech. Plus, we are officially "old" people according to government standards. Buying a new phone is torture because of the learning curve. Once I am through the curve it is great. We've now ordered food for pickup, scheduled and paid for our new tires online but paying to wash clothes from my smart phone was a pain. 

I had my laundry basket and quarters in my old Kodak 35 mm film container ready but had to run home to get the laundry room code. After cleaning the door handle and washer and dryer, I found there was no place to put the quarters. I marched home to get my phone and glasses to read the instructions on the wall. I then made another trip home to get a credit card and Mike to read the sign which was placed high enough for a 8 foot tall person to read. We are not tall people which messes up my bifocals.

We downloaded the app but needed an authentication code from my email. Mike got his phone so I didn't have to close the app. I know it was probably ok to go to the email but I didn't want to take a chance and have to start over. He read code and the credit card number as I entered them.  In the process of starting the machine, he asked if I had put the detergent in. We got it open and soap in just in time before the machine locked. 

Shew... I thought I should lie down until the 30 minute alarm went off,
telling me to get my sh*t out of the washer. 
We don't have anything to complain about with all of this craziness. Our families are healthy and so are we. Our incomes haven't been interrupted. Instacart and grubhub deliver our food once we figured that out.  And most of all we weren't trapped on a cruise ship.
No wonder we are sneezing so much.
If we hadn't been force to stop for a while, I am afraid we would have missed cycling on these fabulous country roads with my best friend.
The perfect way to spend birthday #62!

Decisions, decisions. Which way to go?
It seems like people are a little nicer to each other lately.
 Maybe, it is the social media distancing. I am  not sure, but I like it.

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