A couple of months ago we made the plans to come to OBX, and opened it up to anyone who had extra time before the RV-Dreams reunion rally. Everyone’s schedule was very different and although 8 of us were available for the whole month, others were going to try to come for just part of the time. I’ve been really excited about seeing Guy and Sue, because I haven’t seen them since we all met a year ago and they had the longest delayed “launch” of any couple. They have been waiting for their house to sell this entire time and Guy continued working and Sue continued hoping through the long winter. Finally Guy’s doctor said the time had come to retire, and they decided they had waited long enough. So the last couple of months they have been traveling, visiting family, and getting used to the lifestyle, and they decided to reroute their plans and spend a couple of weeks here in OBX with us. All I can say about Sue is that in a room full of interesting people, she stood out. She has this great energy she carries with her and I can’t wait to compare notes on how things have been going over the last year. Here’s my favorite pic of Sue from the Rally (it was Kentucky Derby night) and seriously anyone who has access to a hat like this let alone can pull it off is someone I want to hang out with.
Sue and Guy are also taking advantage of this time to add a solar system onto their rig, and who better to do it than our friend Greg, owner of RV Solar Solutions. Lee’s going to be taking some video of the entire process so Greg will have some videos to use for his website. It was a great week, but I am getting ahead of myself a little and should start back at the beginning.
Sunday was a rainy day. Actually we had several rainy days in a row. We all love being here during the “shoulder season” because the crowds are minimal and the weather is beautiful on many days, but we did have a string of rainy/cloudy days this week. So I decided to go looking for a mother’s dress for my daughter’s upcoming wedding, threw it out to the group, and Kelly came with me. One of the many great things about Kelly is that she’s up for almost anything. We had a nice afternoon in Duck, NC going into small boutique shops and talking. Kelly is a really nice person. She didn’t mind the cold or the hour drive each way, she was just happy to help out a friend. Although we didn’t find anything, I did get some ideas and it was nice to see the Duck area which is where many of the wealthier people live in OBX. Worth the drive just to see some of the houses. Crazy money though…we saw a small inland lot (no house on it) for example for $299K. We also stopped at First Flight Adventure Course on the way back and Kelly and I both decided we wanted to do it so we scheduled some time the following Saturday…but more of that later.
Work was pretty busy this week so long days in the rig, but every night we joined together for appetizers, drinks, and sometimes dinner. Cori took on coordinating the food schedule (God love her) and it’s turned into more of a challenge than any of us thought. We have a calendar schedule, but then the girls have to talk about it every night to make sure we have the basics covered. Otherwise you end up with all vegetables and no meat or vice versa. Plus since the grocery store is so far away, we need to pre-plan a bit to have the ingredients we need. It’s a bit of a pain, but the dinners themselves are so fun we don’t want to stop doing it. I actually think it would be much easier with more or less people. With 4 you split it in half and with a larger group there are plenty of dishes so less coordination needed. Even on Bring your Own Grill night we are coordinating the sides somewhat so like I said it takes more coordination than I think anyone counted on. Still I love it personally. Cori did divide the schedule up with some “On Your Own” nights which is great. Each couple can go out to dinner, or eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they want to and that has given us an opportunity to break up into smaller groups, which is nice for some deeper conversations.
So Sunday night we hung out with Cori and Greg and then Monday night with Bill and Kelly. Tuesday we all celebrated meeting each other at the Sevierville rally with appetizers and a potluck followed by an excellent fire on the beach and Jo’s famous Cinnamon rolls for a late dessert. Jo even sent Howard and Linda from RV-Dreams a picture of all of us waving on our one year anniversary which was pretty neat since they are right now back in Sevierville with a whole new group.
The week was going great and then Sue said they had rearranged some things and would be in OBX on Thursday!!! Very cool. We scrambled a bit to have a travel day dinner for them. One of my favorite RV etiquette rules is that you cook for whomever is visiting you on their travel day since travel days are so crazy. Nothing fancy, just hot and filling food since travel days also require some physical activity. Cori volunteered to make her shredded pork since she had pork loin in her freezer (I am seriously jealous of her residential refrigerator) and the rest of us pitched in.
I went to Urgent Care for the first time ever, for a sustained earache, and it turned out it was from a flight I took with a bad head cold a few weeks ago and should resolve itself over time. It was OK. The wait was about an hour but the doctor and nurse were nice and there was no issue taking my insurance. Lee went to get the oil changed on my car, and to the dentist for a routine cleaning, and did not have such a good experience. Even though they said they could get him in right away he waited 1-1/2 hours for a 10 minute oil change. Not great, but we are limited in the places we can go because of my fleet coverage, and there are no chain oil change places to be found in the Outer Banks. The dentist was worse. There was only one Aetna choice, Michael Morgan, DDS in Kitty Hawk. I was placed on hold when making the appointment for 8-1/2 minutes but was thrilled that they had an appointment at 10am on Thursday for the cleaning. Lee said the office had older equipment, but the cleaning and exam seemed competent. The problem is when he went to leave they demanded he pay for the cleaning even though he had the insurance card and it’s covered by insurance. Then they stated it would be $130 but when he pulled out our HSA medical Visa they immediately changed the amount to $75. NOT cool. I ended up calling Aetna and registering a complaint. Not so much because of the $75 but more because of the principle of the thing. I have had wonderful experiences with Aetna over the years and frankly expect more from their in-house providers.
So Lee and I were both pretty cranky when Sue and Guy rolled in, but just seeing them was so exciting I had to give her a huge hug. They had a tough morning having gotten stuck in the mud at a campsite earlier, and were super relieved to be here. We tried to give them some time to settle but everyone was so excited to see them it was tough not to converge on them. So we met around 5pm for dinner and drinks and the meal was hot and filling. Cori makes awesome pulled pork! Then we sat outside (eventually moving into Cori and Greg’s party bus) and we talked and laughed and laughed until 9pm. At one point Cori and I tried to have a little meeting to talk about what was happening the next few days but that got out of hand quickly. Lee is a complete rabble rouser and made the whole crowd VERY unruly. Eventually though we got through it and to share the schedule I will put it below. It’s important to note that any person or couple has the right to opt out of anything at any time…and it may seem like over-scheduling but with work schedules and so many people I don’t know a better way to do it. So here’s the email I sent out. As a side note I was trying to find some time to talk to my daughter about her wedding plans and when I was going through the schedule she said ,”Are you at camp?” My reply, “Yes honey, adult camp with lots of booze thrown in!!”
- Friday night – Lee is making chicken, I am making green beans, Kelly is making REAL mashed potatoes, and Cori is making desert. Sue is organizing a game.
- Saturday morning around 9 am – Kelly is making breakfast with Cori’s assist
- Saturday afternoon leaving for the Adventure Park at noon
- Saturday Night – Derby Night. Cori has sliders, Sue has Black Bean dip (so my husband will hush about it), I have deviled eggs and stuffed cherry tomatoes, Kelly and Jo are still deciding. Cori is organizing a game
- Sunday leave for Ocracoke Ferry at 8am. Lunch is on the island and then everyone on their own for dinner
- Monday is grill your own meat night…sometimes we like to coordinate sides for this but it’s hard …maybe everyone brings their own sides this time???
- Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo with Jo and Greg providing the food and Lee and Guy providing the music (just kidding on the last part, although I would like to see Lee actually hold the guitar at least. Bill is making margaritas!!
- Weds is on your own.
Friday night was fun. Lee’s chicken was a resounding success and even though it was cold and rainy, Cori and Greg opened their rig for us all to eat inside. We brought over several folding tables and the 10 of us fit quite comfortably for the dinner and the game we played after. I am pretty sure Sue’s job will be Master of Games because we played Left, Right, Center which is a very simple dice game that had a “gambling” element that made it very fun. You start with three quarters and roll the number of dice for the number of quarters you have left. Your quarters get passed to the left or right, or stay with you or go in the center pot depending upon what you roll. So there’s lots of trading back and forth of quarters and basically whoever has the last quarter wins what is in the pot. I think there was $7 on the table but some competitive spirits came out and it was easy and a lot of fun. The coolest thing about the game is because it’s simple it doesn’t take a ton of mental attention so you can keep the conversation flowing and still play.
I think we were all pretty sick of the rain by this point, but the forecast calls for beautiful weather the rest of the week and Kelly, Lee, and I were all excited about the First Flight Adventure Course on Saturday. To start the day, Kelly made a breakfast of biscuits and gravy which is Lee’s absolute favorite. I don’t care for it so rarely make it, but my Mom used to make it for him every Christmas we were together. It was awesome, she and Cori put on quite a spread. Then we left to go to the adventure park. It was an absolutely phenomenal experience and worth every penny of the $49 it cost. I’m going to walk you through it step by step though because I truly hope if you have a chance to do this or something similar you do. What you don’t see in the pictures is Bill (Kelly’s husband) who had done something similar about 10 years ago and agreed to take our pictures. He did an outstanding job, especially considering he had to stay outside the action zone a hundred yards away, and shoot through lots of rope and cable and other obstacles. Lee and I are really grateful that he was there to capture the moment.
First we got in and signed releases, were weighed (250# limit and they weigh you on site) and then got suited up. A huge group of kids came along with girls from a bachelorette party, but it’s such a large course it really didn’t feel crowded. The course is divided into three height sections with two courses per height. The higher you go the harder it is and you can stop at any time or use your two-hour block to repeat courses you liked. The staff was fantastic… adult, competent, and extremely encouraging.
It is a requirement that each person complete one of the lowest level courses and then you can go to any level you like. We let the young kids go first and watched a bit and then tackled the first course. Kelly was tentative at first, but we had her go after me and before Lee and she soon got the hang of it. We were all really encouraging of each other and helped each other along. Every course has both a physical and mental component. There is a “trick” to making them easier and we definitely learned from each others successes and “oopses”. This would be a great place to conduct a team building exercise as the three of us totally bonded on that course. It was very cool.
After the initial run we all started to get more confidence and the smiles started to come out. Don’t get me wrong there were some tough ones in there, but we all started to really enjoy ourselves and after 1 and 2 we moved up to the second level and challenges 3 and 4.
So we finished 1-4 and Lee and Kelly (who are smart) decided they were done. I thought I would like to go up and try #5. I would say if I did this again I would either stop at 4 or try 5 earlier in session as I was getting tired and the highest level was MUCH harder.
The first two obstacles were hard but the third was brutal. It required a commando crawl across a rope. I am familiar with how to do it…every military movie shows it and I thought of my daughter in the Air Force and decided to give it a go. Unfortunately for the first time height came into play as you are staring straight down, plus I ran out of arm strength 2/3 of the way through and had to use my legs to scootch the rest of the way. I am proud of myself for doing it, but I was really scared and had to take a minute to compose myself. I was facing away from Kelly and Lee but forgot Bill was on the ground taking pics. Still these really do capture how I was feeling in that moment.
So I am halfway across and Lee told me later Kelly asked him if he thought I would quit. Lee said, “Not a chance in hell.” Which is incredibly sweet but I probably would have if there was an easy way to get down. But it was back or forward, and given those choices I will always pick forward so I took a breath and kept going. Kelly and Lee talked me through the next one, because the center platform tilts sideways so you have to keep perfectly center or you’re going to get dropped some. I understand it’s mainly mental…you are on a guide wire after all, but it’s still scary when you drop.
The 2nd to last one was designed by a sadist because the things you put your feet on roll under you. Finnally I said screw it and sat on one and then moved my butt from one to another which was still not easy but at least possible. The last one had rings to use to pull yourself across which I flat out couldn’t do so I glided down to the next platform instead. Overall I am glad I tried but I think I’ll take credit for completing 4-1/2 courses. Still keep in mind you can stop at any level you want and go back and redo your favorites. We still had 20 minutes left on our time, but we were all pooped out so decided to stop. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I got to do it.
And if that wasn’t enough Cori organized a Derby party for Saturday night. We all made appetizers and had a nice time watching the race on Cori and Greg’s outside TV. Tomorrow is Ocracoke with the group…but we will have to save that for next week’s post.
Day 3 of the Black and White Photography Challenge
The Black and White Challenge asks bloggers to post 5 consecutive blogs with a black and white photo. I recommend my long time friend Ted Julian to take up the challenge since he is a new blogger who is writing about his camping experiences with his wife and young kids. This week, Lee taught me about shadows and encouraged me to take the same pictures at different times of the day to get different shadow effects. This was taken in the evening and I really like how it turned out.
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