NORTH CAROLINA - Sylva - 2014 - House Sitting - Chapter 1 - Florida boy heads north

Another house/pet sitting journey has started.  I just finished an assignment in Venice Florida on 2 November and this assignment started on 9 November, a mere seven days.   But before driving to the mountains of western North Carolina (NC), I'm going to stop in Savannah Georgia (GA) to visit my "brother of a different mother" and his family.   

Let's start this posting with the drive, including a two-day stop in GA.

It all started Thursday morning with a new-found friend as we enjoyed conversation and breakfast in the Tampa Bay area of FL.  Stomachs full, it was time to say our good-byes for now, fill the Jeep with gas and mentally prepare for a five-hour ride.

Once outside the late rush-hour traffic in Tampa, it was smooth sailing.  I arrived at Jimmy and Cat's house 15 minutes before Jimmy got home from work and Cat with their two children soon followed.  
Caught this in a pond by Jimmy's house while waiting for him to get home

Catching up on the recently past months we made our way to dinner and drinks.  In the end, we probably did more talking and drinking than eating.  We headed home early as the kids had school and Cat had to work the next day.

Friday morning came and I went with Cats salon, the Milan Day Spa on Broughton.  After a back waxing, yes guys some real men get their backs waxed, Jimmy picked me up and off for a day of fishing we went.  We meet Bob (a work college of Jimmy) at the marina where we boarded his boat and made our way to the waterways around Wilmington Island.  Notice I said fishing, not catching as we didn't catch anything worth keeping.  We did boat a lot of small fish and six small stingrays but none were big enough to keep.

Saturday was supposed to be a day of golf, but due to a tournament, we were not able to get a tee time.  No problem, we had a pond in Jimmy's backyard, rum in the cabinet, music throughout the house, and two kids to keep us active.  Cat worked until mid-afternoon and as friends showed up shortly after that, the party began.

Thank goodness, the party didn't last like they did in the olden days.  Food ate, stories told, and of course liquor consumed, we made it to bed before midnight.  Since the festivities started about 1600 hours, our old asses were done.

Another five-hour drive awaits.

I've driven many miles and one of my favorite times to drive is early in the morning and especially on Sunday mornings, before church traffic that is.  This was one of those rides. 

Driving north before the sun rose, and making a westerly turn as it broke the horizon is easy on the eyes.  As I rode through the rolling hills of South Carolina (SC), the traffic was light and small herds of whitetail deer could be seen along the tree line. 

Making another jog to the north, I was about to leave the "upstate" region of SC and enter the mountains of western NC.

Living along the gulf coast of FL, about the only hills we have are called sand dunes, and now returning to the mountains, what a sight.  At lower elevations, the changing of the leaves is in full swing.  Soon, they will fall to the ground, providing a natural mulch to retain heat and moisture promoting growth for next spring.


 South and west of Ashville, NC I turned off US 74 and began my drive towards the house I would be sitting for the next two weeks.  Twisting and turning along a paved road for a while, I soon found myself on a leaf covered, narrow dirt/gravel road, driving under a canopy of trees.  By now, the navigation system was only slightly better than a dash ornament.  When it said "turn here", I was past the road, and had to find someplace wide enough to turn around.  On one occasion, I simply reversed for a couple hundred yards until I found a driveway.

After stopping at two homes (which are considered neighbors) to get directions, I made the final quarter mile ride to the top; and at the top I was.

 I know this is not the top of the world because I can still see higher hills.  But for a guy from FL sitting at about 4000 ft, its damn close.

Until, next time...

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