The drive from Justin’s to Wilmington was Fall-gorgeous with blue sky and Mother Nature in all her glory – reds, flaming oranges, yellows, even purples! Arriving in Wilmington I saw a sign for the city beach and followed its arrows. The beach was long with white sand, with houses right up to the dunes. I took a leisurely stroll in my bare feet – the fine sand actually squeaked with each step! Some of the colorful shells tempted me and couldn’t resist collecting a few.
From there I drove north to Surf City, and visited their Visitor Center briefly before again walking on the beach. The warm afternoon sun beckoned me to sunbathe, but it was too late in the day – a couple hours earlier would have been perfect. That evening I chose a little restaurant next to the Visitor’s Center that looked out over the ocean.
Night fell early with the Daylight Savings Time, and stars popped out. After dinner I drove south along the island road observing the layout of the communities and island, and realized that nobody was home in most of the vacation houses. No lights were on, no cars to be seen – I pulled into the open air parking area under one house that had a “Welcome” flag posted at their front walk, and parked for the night. All the houses around were dark and empty. I was parked right next to the inland water – not the ocean – so all was peaceful, quiet – I could hear the lapping of the little waves against the boat launch pilings. It was perfect! Though it took me an hour or more to finally figure out how to sleep in the rental car comfortably, I finally manage it, and slept quite well.
The reason I chose to sleep in the car is that right now, with travel money going out and no money coming in, it saves a lot of money. And I’m used to the bare essentials – after all – I just finished a month’s worth of hiking/camping on the PCT through Oregon. Every hundred dollars I save in hotel accommodations is several more days of traveling I’ve earned.
The dawn rose, and I started organizing my bags in the car when I saw through the bushes a police car on patrol. Had I not pulled so far under their carport he very well may have questioned me. It inspired me to get moving a little faster, even though I had done nothing to alarm anyone.
Heading back up to Surf City I stopped in a little bakery, but they didn’t have wi-fi. They recommended a coffee shop called “Hunga Bunga Java” just up the road a couple miles. I went directly there, intending to spend a little time catching up on the blog. Little did I know…when I walked through the door it was like old home week!
The place is warm and friendly, with overstuffed chairs, chess board, arts and crafts for sale, and best of all – the owner – Kari K! She welcomed me as she does everyone, as though you are her best friend entering the cozy coffee nook. And she had another friend there, Elle, who also was welcoming and personable. The instant camaraderie was most enjoyable.
It was too early for me to have a coffee – I generally don’t do coffee til the afternoon slump hours between 1 and 3 p.m. So I purchased a bottle of Bragg’s Apple Cider and sipped on it while I checked email. While on the internet we all kept talking, and it became clear to me that blog catch-up was not in the cards. Another customer of Kari’s came in, Don, and he and I started playing the chess board together.
Eventually he left and a little later I did, also, after many big hugs and good-byes to friends all around. It was already 1:30 p.m. and I was late getting on the road to start sight-seeing the Outer Banks. But about 5 minutes down the road I realized I had forgotten to bring the Bragg’s Apple Cider with me. Turning the car around and arriving back, Kari was holding it out to me in her hand as I again entered Hunga Bunga Java! We were all laughing and chatting, and I decided I must have left too soon before.
I ordered a Latte, which she treated me to, and then on top of that she bagged up 3 coconut juices for me, and gave me a little woven zippered pouch! In turn I gave her a bag of dehydrated Granny Smith apples that are extraordinarily tart, sweet and delicious. We joined each other as friends on Facebook, and I showed her some of my Ecuador photos from this last February. By about 2:45 I departed for the second time, sorry to leave such great new friends. If you ever get to Surf City, North Carolina, don’t miss Hunga Bunga Java. You will love it!
Daylight was dwindling, the weather was starting to turn, but I pushed north into the wind to begin exploring the Outer Banks.