North Carolina new.

For the last 9 years, March 12th has been a particularly rough day for me. Not necessarily a sad day, but a day that annually brings me feelings of frustration and a sense of loneliness. However, March 12, 2017, North Carolina broke the streak and did what I never thought would be possible again – North Carolina made March 12th a new day with new memories: North Carolina made it a snowy Sunday.

If ‘new’ was a tangible item you could hold in your hand, I could fill this travel trailer with it. Adding inventory of ‘new’ is good though, because i’m pretty sure to change your life, you’re going to have to do something new, so we must be doing something right because this trip, has been nothing but new.

We haven’t had to set an alarm on this trip yet, but last Sunday (3/12/17), I was woken up by the shivering of my own body and the chattering of my own teeth. I looked out the window and the ground was covered in fresh snow. While I waited for Doug to wake up (my morning routine), I sat at my kitchen table and looked outside at the falling snow, it felt literally like a cheesy ABC Christmas movie, which even now makes me roll my eyes and want to go bark at Doug to ‘hurry the heck up’.

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Seeing snow fall was a first for both of us. Also new were the camper friendly recipes we attempted and succeeded at making, the North Carolina backroads, the people that live on the North Carolina backroads, visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Breesy learned a new trick by some of the kids camping near us (Lilly and Zack). Unfortunately, the two things that North Carolina could not fix, could not make new, is Doug habitually leaving the toilet seat up, and the brisk North Carolina air did not blow any new athleticism toward me, for I lost in putt putt, basketball, horseshoes, and just to make sure some things never change, although there was nothing to trip over, I fell flat on my face…twice.

Charlotte, NC –> Aberdeen, NC –>  Rocky Mount, NC

Pretty Place.

As a child, I saw my late dad every other weekend. Any memories spent with him are in third person, like I can see little Jenna, like the whole experience was out-of-body. Beanie Babies were a big thing, and whenever I really wanted one, little Jenna had to learn something new. In example, the Koala Beanie Baby, Mel, was a marsupial. My dad would quiz me on how to spell ‘marsupial’, then we’d go get the plush toy. Another word he would constantly make me spell is p-r-o-u-d. I can picture little Jenna sitting at the table scribbling in my notebook, and my dad would come over and have me spell p-r-o-u-d over and over again and that no matter what, I should always remember that he was p-r-o-u-d of me.

In middle school, little Jenna went to Greenville, South Carolina while on a school trip. That’s when I was first introduced to the Fred Symmes Chapel, aka “Pretty Place”. I knew then that I would have to come back one day, and that I must bring someone special to share the experience with. From my awkward tween years to my mid twenties, Pretty Place has always remained a special place so when Doug and I began looking for our first destination, I knew the perfect spot.

Fast forwarding over that memory reel again with little clips that include finding the perfect travel trailer, downsizing our stuff to fit in her and Doug buying us a suitable truck – fast forward all the way to the 12 miles before arriving to Pretty Place.

On the way up the mountain, we saw a beautiful waterfall that backs up to a stone stove from lifetimes ago. We saw a gigantic rock that was tattooed with graffiti (instantly I’m reminded of Pensacola and the graffiti bridge). The first piece of ‘artwork’ we walked up upon was the word DUCK, subtract the D, and add an F. Doug instantly pulled on his mask and tied on his cape. He went back to the truck to look for our spray paint with the intention to beautify the words, but unfortunately our spray paint didn’t make the trip. One day we will return, and the Graffiti Rock Vigilante will clean up and finish what the tasteless visitors started.

Once we pulled up to Pretty Place, and equalized our ears, we got out and Doug instantly understood my fascination with the chapel. We spent a little over an hour there, discussing how the view couldn’t be real, high fiving each other for not getting car sick on the ride up, trying our hardest to take pictures that gave the view justice, and at times we just sat in silence. It was Doug that broke the silence first, and all he said was “I’m really proud of us”.

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Traveler’s Rest, SC –> Gaffney, SC

Have a nice trip.

Early September 2016, two gigantic events happened that would shape mine and Doug’s budding relationship. They happened in Biloxi, Mississippi at our favorite casino, either before or after a Temptations and Four Tops concert. Unfortunately, the amount of vodka consumed that night clouds my judgment of time, but they both definitely happened that night and fortunately, things would never be the same. September 2nd, I taught Doug to play Roulette, and we decided to make “the trip” happen.

You know how when you fast forward through a movie you can see little clips of what’s going on. Even without pressing play, you pretty much get what’s happening – well let’s fast forward the next few months, but picture little blips such as the RV show Doug and I went to: BIG, impressive RV’s outside of our price range X 100, surrounded by older people, my face when we were being told neither of our vehicles were going to be able to do the job.. Telling our family’s the plans we had made, putting in resignation notices at our jobs, the never ending STRUGGLE that was the packing of my condo….. Fast forward through all of that, to March 7, 2017.

We dropped my car off at my sister’s house in South Georgia, loaded up in the most unorganized fashion – the thought was the sooner we packed up, the sooner we’d be on the road. Turns out, its a lot more fun when you get to a destination and your stuff isn’t scattered e v e r y w h e r e . Lesson learned. Finding a place to stay that night before worse weather hit was as frustrating as when you bet all over the roulette board and the stupid ball lands on double zero’s. Everywhere we called, they didn’t allow boon docking (over night camping). To make matters worse, we needed to take an exit to get gas and ended up driving through downtown Atlanta at 5:00 in the rain with a 27 foot trailer and people constantly honking. We decided the honking must have meant “HAVE-A-NICE-TRIIIIIIP”. Funny how perspective can change a situation. It was once we finally found a resting spot, and Doug and I had it out in the pouring rain of that BEALLS Outlet parking lot, not with one another, but with all of the frustrations the day had thrown at us, that I realized I would bet it all on this trip with that man.

16711746_10207314178326701_6831449938006057654_n.jpgPensacola, Fl–>Bainbridge, Ga –> Winder, Ga–>Traveler’s Rest, SC