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Month 3: Camping, Hiking & Getting Stranded

Month 3: Camping, Hiking & Getting Stranded

I just realized that month 1 and 2 were such whirlwinds that I left out the most important part. Cindy! The cat. I still haven’t updated the “About Us” section of our blog. Specifically the part about traveling with 2 senior aged cats. I still like to believe they are traveling with us, but sadly, they are not. I said goodbye to Bear back in December, so I will not write about that here. Cindy however, was suppose to go the distance with us. Our 21 year old, truly amazing cat. Our perfect travel companion, napping on the ride to Florida and exploring on her leash every stop we made. Maybe it was the stress of it all, maybe it was the Florida heat, maybe seeing our travels start was enough for her. In any case, her health deteriorated quickly upon arriving at my mom’s place. In a heartbreaking decision, I knew I had to say goodbye.

Pretty girlIn hindsight, not having Cindy made the next part of our trip SO much easier. I still miss her though.

Month 3 has started off with an interesting twist that put us back in Florida 6 day after we left.

We started our journey north, driving to Jekyll Island, Georgia. We camped and rode bicycles during our visit. Such a cute little place for a summer vacation. After 2 days there we continued up to Cherokee, North Carolina to do some hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked 10 miles (16 kms) along the Appalachian Trail to a place called Charlies Bunion. We also hiked up to Clingman’s dome, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. We loved both and have decided that there definitely needs to be some long distance hiking in our future.

Charlies Bunion, Appalachian Trail

Charlies Bunion, Appalachian Trail

From here the story gets a bit more interesting. We had noticed the entire time we started driving north that our car was burning a lot of oil. By the time we reached the mountains it was starting to sound really bad. We drove down from the mountains to Cherokee, NC, parked at our hotel and debated what could be wrong with our car. After some bickering, we decided to try and fix it ourselves in the morning.

Long story short, we spent all morning attempting to fix the car before calling a tow truck. A few hours later we had a diagnosis on the car. We either blew a head gasket or cracked a cylinder head. The cost to fix it was more than the value of the car. I signed over the title and walked away from the car. The silver lining to this story is that while we were attempting to fix the car all morning, an older couple had been watching our shenanigans from across the street. As the tow truck driver loaded up the car, the older man walked over to us and talked with the driver. As we started to drive away in the tow truck, the drivers said “the pastor just paid your tow bill”. We couldn’t believe that someone just paid our $65 USD bill. Wow. It felt like magic.

changing spark plugs

changing spark plugs

Last picture of the car

Last picture of the car

So now what? We were an hour from anything. There are no taxi’s or public transportation in Cherokee. All the rental cars in the surrounding areas were sold out for the next 4 days. Since it was a weekend, hotel prices sky-rocketed. To top it off, we had packed way too much junk in our car to take with us. Not willing to pay for a $90 hotel bill, we found a campground that was a 10 minute walk from the car. We spent $20 on a camp spot and the owner/manager offered to take us back to our car to grab our tent since we had left everything in the car while trying to figure out what to do.

All our stuff!

All our stuff!

Displeased with the situation and feeling completely stuck, almost made me cry while setting up our tent. Which made Curtis feel like he made the wrong decision in camping, which lead to more “debates” about our situation. I don’t like to use the word argument because we don’t argue in the way I had been taught what an argument was while growing up. We don’t yell at each other. In walking away from my car, I had felt like all my decisions for the day were done, I wasn’t making anymore decisions. So the decision to camp and spend another night stuck in Cherokee was left up to Curtis. When asked what I would have decided, I said I would have paid the $125 taxi fee to get us back into Asheville to get a  rental car….or bus…or plane ticket out of there. Since that seemed like a logical idea, we decided to make that the plan for the morning.

The Cherokee Campground had excellent wi-fi so we booked a taxi and a rental car for the morning. We walked back and forth from my soon to be abandoned car multiple times carrying more shit back to the campground with us, organized it all, trashed some of it and got it all to fit in our packs as well as a few reusable grocery bags. From there the plan was seamless. We got into our rental car and drove 9 hours back to Melbourne, Fl. Once we were back at my mom’s place, we booked our plane tickets to Halifax, Nova Scotia and made arrangements to buy my uncles old SUV for $800.

An extra 10 days in Florida allowed us to watch a bunch of movies, Mad Max was way better than the first 3, but Avengers was still better. We’ve had the chance to catch up on blogging, go to the beach, eat some ice cream and do some kayaking. I spent a couple of days driving over to the gulf coast with my mom. I found the best part of Florida over there. Naples! Seriously, how did I not know that this should be the only reason people visit Florida. Such a nice place. The beach is gorgeous and the houses! Oh my, the houses! I have never seen so many 10,000 sq.ft (and bigger) houses in my life. At one point this was the conversation with my mom:

Mom: Oh, look at the beautiful park!
Jill: Yeah, it’s nice.
Mom: It has a lake!
Jill: I think that’s actually someone’s front lawn!!

Yep….it was someone’s front lawn! I have traveled all over Florida, and without question, Naples is my favorite. I liked it so much that I forgot to take many pictures!

Mom on Naples Beach, Florida

Mom on Naples Beach, Florida

Beautiful time kayaking in Crane Creek.

Beautiful time kayaking in Crane Creek.

We’re now in Nova Scotia visiting family and friends. The weather here seriously sucks compared to the warm weather we left behind in Florida. We did manage to do a hike in Blomidon Provincial Park on the one day it hasn’t rained!

Evangaline Beach, Nova Scotia

Evangaline Beach, Nova Scotia

Jill Patterson
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Jill Patterson

Adventure seeker | Travel Agent at Chasing Adventure Travel
Adventure is for everyone!

Jill is the founder, writer, photographer and travel agent at Chasing Adventure Travel. An adventure travel blog that has morphed into a travel agency, specializing in Active and Adventurous Travels.

Jill has traveled worldwide and spent almost 2 years traveling continuously with her husband. She has traveled to resorts, crossed an ocean on a cruise ship, motorcycled multiple times around Europe and experienced self-guided long term travel.

~ Dreamer, doer and energetic go-getter. Curiosity has inspired adventurous world travel. Imagination is everything ~

*Chasing Adventure Travel is in affiliation with Nexion Canada.
Jill Patterson
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