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Saturday, 4/7/01 - Williamsburg and Newport News, VA

I couldn't remember how far Williamsburg was from Ashland, couldn't access the Web to find out and neither city were on my handy dial-a-distance map, so I left early and got there little more than an hour later. Called Gilinda, my host for the weekend, and headed to her house for breakfast. house

Her house turned out to be a beautiful, old home that she is hoping to turn into a Bed and Breakfast soon. After a quick tour of the place, we settled down for french toast. The Berts were happy to be in a house, as usual.

We went to the Barnes and Noble in Newport News for my book signing, and they sat me at a table in front of the store to greet people as they walked in. As the weather gets nicer, the stores are emptier, but one woman did show up specifically to see me because of a nice write-up in the Newport News Daily Press and because she wanted to know how to publish a book.

Gilinda has two daughters and another two young women staying with her family. There was a lot of activity in the house, and I finally retreated to my RV for a nap. As I settle into life on the road, I also get used to solitude and quiet. I think I was a little overwhelmed. berts

In the late afternoon, Gilinda's two daughters took me on a bike ride through Colonial Williamsburg. At first, I was worried I wouldn't be able to drive the distance (1 mile and hills each way) because of my lame biking attempt in Pennsylvania, but it was easier than I thought.

We caught the end of a re-enactment of a mock hanging of a British official, watched a pipes and drums march, flew a kit in a field, and bought ginger cookies for dessert. By the time we got home, I was wiped out and hungry.

Gilinda loaded us all into her mini-van and we headed to her brother's house for a party (I wasn't sure who was celebrating what) and barbeque. The Berts and I shared a burger and sat outside in the cool, evening air. Again, a lot activity, kids running around wanting to touch the Berts, parents calling after kids, grandparents. I couldn't remember the last family reunion I'd been to for my own family. 20 years ago? More?

Suburban life is exhausting. A never-ending list of things to do, people to see. And I thought city-life was tough! I went to sleep on a very big bed in one of the girl's rooms with hamsters gnawing on a cage nearby. I had dreams of Colonial Virginia that seemed real. Ghosts in the house.

Sunday, 4/8/01 - Ocean in the Air, Chesapeake, VA and the Outer Banks

The next morning, after I had my oatmeal on the RV, Gilinda's husband whipped up a mean breakfast. "If ever your cholestral is low," he said, "You can always come over to our house." Pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits with gravy. Not for the weak of heart.

The drive to Chesapeake for another Barnes and Noble book signing was the first hint of driving in hot weather as the sun's intensity increased over the course of an hour on the road. The bookstore was nearly empty as the sun enticed the masses outdoors and to the beach.

And while I was supposed to head to Charlotte, I felt the calling of the ocean and pointed the Apache eastward toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina or the OBX for short. Without checking on campgrounds in advance, I decided to drive until the sun began to set and then follow the next blue campground sign along the coastal highway.

The road brought me to Joe and Kay's campground in Colington, off of 158 South around Devil Kill Hills, NC. Usually, when I arrive at a campground, the manager or desk clerk is extremely inquisitive. "Where are you from?" "Been here before?" "Looking for something to do?"

It was the end of the day and Kay let me know that they didn't have any RV sites with hookups (water, electric, sewer) but that I was welcome to park the RV at their tent sites by the water. Fine, I said. I was okay with "bookdocking" - roughing it without hookups and running off house battery power and a self-contained water tank. campground

I tend to have several bottles of water filled just for boondocking because my water tank had been leaking - a gallon jug in the bathroom for the toilet, a small bottle by the sink to brush my teeth and wash my hands and a Brita filter in the kitchen with a liter bottle to collect water from any nearby spigot.

Sitting in the RV, sound of water gently lapping the shore, sun setting slowly. This is what I love about RVing, about being on the road, about being alone. In that moment, there is no pressure, there are no clocks, there isn't a deadline, there aren't voices pulling at you. You are remembering life, you are breathing, you are alive.

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