Day 15 – Whittier, North Carolina to Beckley, West Virginia

Hitting the open road in beautiful North Carolina!

Hitting the open road in beautiful North Carolina!

Well, today was a great day!  After a wonderful night sleep, I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Mike and Jan and a drive around town.  The Francis Family treated us like we were family and we had just met last night.  We felt so honored to be able to be part of the family for the time we where there.  Seeing Jan again was absolutely awesome and she is an inspiration to me. I am going to start working out so the next time we see Jan, we can go for a hike.  She will still be able to out-hike me, but I want to keep up a little bit. 🙂

We visited a little longer, then headed north (finally!) toward home.  We knew that we would not make it all the way to Ohio, but we knew we would get close.

Heading North!!

Heading North!!

As I was driving today, I realized that I finally fell into pattern where I am starting to feel better about driving and the whole traveling thing.  So even though we are going home, we are going there to figure out where and when to start Phase #2.  Before I left I kept hearing how once you start traveling, you will want to keep doing it.  I see that now.  Very interesting.  But Devi needs a break and some maintenance, so a break it will be.

Drove uneventfully through a small part of Virginia, then into West Virginia.  As we were driving, the clouds started to look ominous and sure enough while I was driving in the mountains it started to downpour…really downpour.  Trying to go up fairly steep grades (not Yellowstone steep, luckily) was tricky in the rain.  I was definitely white-knuckling it for quite a few minutes.  Then it would stop, I would relax and then it would start again.  But the triumph was I did it without crying or even sobbing.  That is a huge step for me.  Maybe I am growing.

Driving through a mountain tunnel...I guess it is better than a windy mountain road!

Driving through a mountain tunnel…I guess it is better than a windy mountain road!

Since it was such a great day of laughter and triumphs we treated ourselves to a very nice dinner at the Texas Steakhouse in Beckley.  Our server, Jamie, was awesome and he made dinner even more enjoyable.  Again, it comes down to the people we meet.  I have loved hearing everyone’s stories, it such a great way to connect.

I have learned a lot about America’s mountains. The Rocky Mountains are definitely amazing due to their sheer scope and vastness.  The Appalachian Mountain Range are more to my liking, not only when it comes to driving, but I love the green lush trees and the green vegetation.  Having lived in the East all my life, I am used to green trees. I am so blessed to be able to have seen both in my life.  Each range has great properties and its own beauty.  This country is stunning from mountains, to oceans, to lakes, to deserts and everything in between.

Rain clouds cometh!

Rain clouds cometh!

Welcome to West Virginia!

Welcome to West Virginia!

This trip has opened my eyes to so many things and I am now looking forward to what is left to learn.  I did not get to volunteer this trip, so that definitely has to be a part of Phase #2 as well as a few other things.  Still lots to discover and I hope I am going to be better prepared the next time!

Thank you for listening!!

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