Our timing this year has been damn near perfect, at least once we modified our original schedule to accommodate a wedding event in Maine that has accelerated our run up the east coast. As a result of that change we managed to run through Gainesville just in time for my daughters birthday and stumbled into a free flight from Allegiant Airlines on tax day when we worked in a trip to Indiana to see my dad and stepmom. The latest fortuitous timing: we managed to arrive at my Mom and Stepdad’s in Wilmington for Mother’s Day weekend and Tim’s birthday as well.
Having done all we could in Charleston, we left the Joint Base, crossing into NC almost immediately and cruised 180 miles up the coast to Wilmington. The four hour drive is about the maximum run I prefer in the big rig, but we are finding it easier to manage such trips in Serenity than in The Big Kahuna, even with Loki under tow. With the old bus, whatever estimate we got from google maps we had to add at least 25%. With Serenity, we actually manage to be pretty close to the time of arrivals.
The one big concern for our Wilmington visit was where we would be stashing the RV while we stayed with Mom and Tim. Their house lacks a front driveway, and the back entrance would involve mangling an iron gate and possibly knocking over at least part of a brick wall to manage the turn. Thankfully Wilmington RV Sales & Rentals, the place from which we bought The Big Kahuna, allowed us to drop off Serenity into their back lot for the duration.
Our past Wilmington trips have involved more than a few great meals out in local restaurants, especially along the river front, but this trip was all about dining in. Tim and I combined resources to create a few good dinners on his beloved Big Green Egg. We had beef and chicken tacos for Cinco de Mayo, grilled burgers for the sixth of May, then salmon steaks, and finally a delicious meal of lamb for our final night. And of course, breakfast in the garden the next morning with leftovers from the previous night made into omelettes, especially for our great Mother’s Day brunch.
We dropped by the riverfront farmers market, picking up fresh mint just in time for me to make mint juleps before the afternoon running of the Kentucky Derby. We all picked horses to cheer for (other than the odds on favorite) and I am only a touch disappointed to report that my selection, Exaggerator (selected to match my story telling style) finished second, a bit behind Nyquist after a huge push down the final turn and stretch. I still think he has a strong chance to spoil another triple crown hopeful in the Preakness.
Lastly, I spent an hour or two crawling around a couple of wrecked Geo Trackers in a pick and pull salvage yard trying to get replacements for the half dozen broken plastic brackets that secure the convertible rag top to the rear of the vehicle. It is apparently very common for seven of these cheap plastic pieces to break and shatter to the point of uselessness. Five of ours are indeed in bad shape. I didn’t find any perfect replacements, but for $5 I found one rear bracket less damaged than our current one, and a totally broken piece that I think I can repair to install where we are completely missing a piece. Victory!