The Road Less Traveled, The Day Less Planned

I’m slowly trying to make it through my North Carolina bucket list and I’m not doing very well. I expected to run out of time. I expected that we would sell our house quickly and I would write posts lamenting all the things I didn’t do in North Carolina. I may still write that post but it won’t have much to do with time.

We did take a ride on the New Hope Valley Railway back in the Spring. It was beautiful, picturesque, and my son was pretty miserable the whole day. At least mom and dad enjoyed it.

We also spent a lovely day in Wilmington visiting the local (supposedly haunted) U.S.S. North Carolina. Yes, it was actually a lovely day. We had lunch on the water and toured the battleship.

Then my travel planning seemed to go a bit awry.

Next stop was Kernersville, a relatively short 2 hour drive from Raleigh. I thought we’d have this incredible NC touristy-type day. We would go to lunch at a well-known barbecue place off of I-40 (Stamey’s, in case you’re interested) and continue on to Kernersville to see the old wacky house known at Körner’s Folly.

Lunch went off without a hitch (I decided I’m still not a fan of NC barbecue). And we got to Körner’s Folly at 4pm. Plenty of time to tour before they close at 5pm.

Except they closed at 4pm. And they require you to arrive an hour before closing.

So we drove 2 hours for some not-so-hot barbecue. We took a few pictures of the outside and made the best of the trip by shopping at the outlet mall on the way home. (See? There’s a silver lining to every cloud).

And then there’s today.

Today, I decided that we needed to get out of the house. Last minute planning as usual. We rushed to drive all the way to Chapel Hill (about a 45 minute drive) to try and make the 1:30pm show at Morehead Planetarium. It was a show specifically for kids and I had been wanting to take my son for quite some time.

As we’re about 10 minutes away from making it just in time, he announces he’s STARVING and needs lunch. Much to my chagrin, I decide that giving him sustenance is probably more important than the show. So we agree to lunch and then hitting the 2:30pm show. But thinking ahead, for once in my life, I suggest we buy the tickets in advance.

My husband gets out of the car and is informed before he even makes it out of the parking lot that the planetarium, for unknown reasons, is closed.

Oh yes. Another wasted trip.

I’m mad. Evan’s hungry. And I have no clue where to go in Chapel Hill. We end up at the restaurant that my husband took me to on our first date. We reminisce and all is well.

We head home and make a plan to go for a family bike ride. Even in this heat. They opened a new greenway through the woods behind our house along the Neuse River.

By the time we get outside, dust off our bikes, pump up the tires, and get our water, it’s after 7 pm. I look up at the sky and see clouds of doom.

No. This is going to go my way.

I check the weather for any indication of life-threatening storms and see we’re at a 20% chance of precipitation until 11pm. I’ll take those odds. Maybe it’s some upper level disturbance that won’t come our way.

We head out on our bikes and the path to the new paved greenway is blocked. Why? I don’t know. We turf it and bike around the blockade and start to explore the path to the right. We quickly end up in the gravel parking lot of the nearby soccer fields. Not the scenic bike ride we had envisioned. We see lightning in the distance.

We decide to go for it. We head back for the trail towards the bridge. It’s a beautiful ride. I see at least six deer, a woodpecker, some cardinals, and a fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar crawling right before my bike tire (I swerved and missed him). The greenway that I had misgivings about, that I just about cried when I saw the trees they cut down, this greenway is beautiful. And for a moment, I love North Carolina. I will miss North Carolina.

The lightning flashes and the thunder booms a little too close for comfort. Being in the beautiful woods of North Carolina during a summer thunderstorm is not the wisest choice. We hightail it back to home right before the rain hits. The storm passes over our house and our little piece of the woods.

I worry about the deer, as usual, and then think: It was a good day today.


  • Anonymous

    Some days are mean to go the totally opposite of what you plan and end up just right!

    I am intrigued by this greenway…only because there is no place near us right now to ride or walk without either being in the street or it being way to hilly!

  • alisha

    sometimes those are the best types of days, and i say that even though my entire family knows those are the very kind of days that usually make me cuss a streak. 

    i know people who have lived an hour outside of, but have never been to atlanta. so good for you for getting out there and loving where you live. 

    i had wondered how that greenway turned out. glad to know it’s beautiful!

    • Anonymous

      I struggle with being a control freak and never being able to get my shizz together enough to get out of the house. I’m getting better at going with the flow.

  • Brittany at Mommy Words

    Ah so many of our travel days go like that.  You know you should totally come to Charlotte because my house, well it is always open…and we have the Nascar museum.  Everyone has to see that once, right?

    North Carolina will miss you babe!

    • Anonymous

      Well, the NASCAR part doesn’t appeal to me but I would like to have a tour in Charlotte. Should definitely plan it!

  • The Woven Moments

    I seriously love Chapel Hill.  I think I’d move there tomorrow if I had, you know, a job there.  And a house.  I’d probably need a house.

    • Anonymous

      Oh. You want a house in Chapel Hill? Okay, let me know when you have $800k saved up. 

  • Kate, aka Guavalicious

    Our day trips often end this way. Then I wonder why I don’t stay closer to home and ride more bikes!

    • Anonymous

      I need to ride my bike more. As a kid, I rode my bike everywhere. And this trail is awesome (translation: flat)