"A journey of a thousand miles much begin with a single step." ~Lao Tzu
"A journey is best measured in friends rather than in miles." ~Tim Cahill
Well, it's the final countdown...again. As we transition from employed to UNemployed, again. Tomorrow, Friday, is harvest day where we power through a long morning of picking and washing vegetables such as kale, bok choy, beets, arugula, turnips, scallions, and herbs. Saturday is an early morning of working at the farmer's market to sell all that delicious produce to the wonderful and always interesting people of Winston-Salem.
John and I arrived here in Winston-Salem on a chilly March afternoon. And now we are working with Natalie on the farm on 90+ degree days wondering where the time went. Being here in NC for the past two and a half months has allowed us the time to work out some of the kinks in our van dwelling experience. Even though we were both working a lot, we feel very lucky to have a home base here at Natalie's house. She is such a generous host and her hospitality has been nothing that we have ever experienced. We have almost taken over her living room with our clothing, art supplies, tools, and van gear, turned her front yard into our workshop, and made giant messes in her kitchen. We will truly miss hanging out with her and I know she will miss John's interpretations of all the market-goers.
We also have to say good-bye to all the nice people we have met here so far: chicken farmers, a cat brain scientist, tuba player, Guatemalan couple, southern truck driver, soap maker, choir director, compost collectors, beer brewer, bread maker, homesteaders, and a plumbing entrepreneur. It's difficult to incorporate yourself into a small community and it's even harder to peel yourself off of one after only 2.5 months. But we will never forget this place and especially not these people. As Maya Angelou (a resident of Winston Salem) once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I hope that stands true for us in all our adventures.
And the road was good. John and I left Kutztown, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Sunny and warm. We drove with the windows down. We got to Lancaster, PA by early afternoon to see a few good friends (Mike, Katie, and Justin) and stay with John's mom, Clare, for a couple of nights before we headed south. She treated us to a fabulous dinner at John J. Jeffries which was a such a fun and delicious send-off from PA complete with pork belly, liver and onions, beef tartar, mushroom soup, duck wings, cinnamon ice cream, and yummy cocktails.
Thursday, March 13, 2014 we left East Petersburg at 7am in the blistery cold and windy morning. We headed west on 30 through York and then 81 South which took us through Maryland. West Virginia, and Virginia where we stopped at Natural Bridge. (Picture to the left) I will now pass the computer to John who can tell you the rest of this story.....
Thank you Meghan. So it turns out Virginia really IS for lovers, because Natural Bridge turned out to be the perfect spot to ask Meghan to be my wife! At one o'clock on a thursday at the end of winter the place is completely empty, and we had the bridge and the falls completely to ourselves. We walked along the river trail to the falls, where I surprised Meghan (literally) from behind with a ring! She said yes, and we both avoided a very awkward van ride back to PA. We got some souvenirs and hit the road again, and took turns driving so the other could make the requisite phone calls. We arrived in Winston-Salem around 6 pm Thursday, and were greeted by friends of our host with a stray dog they had found. I named him Adrian Brody and we played with him for an hour until Natalie arrived, and minutes later Oliver appeared! Yes, our amigo and confrere from the first trip was trippin' around the area and came to meet us for a bit to send us off! We all hoofed it over to Natalie's parents' house for dinner, ate a delicious meal (and extra helpings of dessert) and came back to hang out, chat, and fall the f*&k asleep after a very busy day.