Last Leg in Charlotte

After the work conference in Greenville, SC and experiencing snow for the first time since visiting Idaho in January, I popped over to Charlotte, NC. I had planned to move from there over to Raleigh then the coast where a couple of customers are, but various things came up to change those plans.

First, on the way to the campground at McDowell Nature Park, I got a bit too cozy with a metal post while getting diesel and knocked out Big Sexy’s front tooth! So there’s that. I had to fight a bit of that feeling really stupid feeling since this is my 2nd insurance claim on this beautiful truck. But anyway, at the end of the day, no harm done, it all gets fixed, it all works out. I did have to navigate insurance repairs in one non-home city while also traveling to a couple of other cities, but it wasn’t too bad.

McDowell Nature Preserve was a beautiful County park, mostly empty this time of year, nicely priced at $33 per night. The park is nicely wooded, with great trails, and the sites are nicely equipped with a fire ring, individual garbage can, water and electric (no sewer, though there is a dump station on site). All the roads are paved and the site drives are too. The bath house is well equipped as well, with individual shower rooms with sink, toilet, bench, hooks – everything you need. The only downside is the water wasn’t very warm, definitely not hot, and the shower button kept needing to be pressed to keep flowing, and the low flow shower head sprayed weirdly and coldly in some rooms. Given that there was no sewer connection and I was here for about 10 days, I used the facilities every day. Mostly it was kind of brr. But otherwise very good.

I loved looking out the window while working here. It was a great place.

The first weekend here, Victoria drove up from Jacksonville, which is a ways. We spent the weekend together in Charlotte. It was a quick and fraught weekend. We kept trying to talk about things we knew we needed to talk about, but kept running aground on the same subjects… we did end up enjoying the weekend anyway and left some things parked for another time.

The next weekend we decided to meet in Savannah, so we both drive down there Friday afternoon and had a great couple of days – until the notorious dinner roll incident of 2020. Savannah is beautiful! We enjoyed walking around the squares, River St, and just enjoying the outdoor beauty. Things seemed good.

Sunday evening we went to The Pink House for dinner, ended up in a pointless argument on the way back to the hotel over dinner rolls, and within moments we stepped on all the land mines we’d been avoiding and Victoria went home to Jacksonville one night early.

The next week was a blur. Our relationship was on the rocks, my trailer was in Charlotte, my wife was in Jacksonville, and I had a work conference to go to in Cape May, NJ, after which I was supposed to go to a work training in CA then a national conference in Portland. Three weeks apart was sounding like a good idea but my heart was hurting, well numb actually.

I stored my trailer at a storage facility, flew into Philadelphia, drove to Cape May, had a good conference, then spent a night in Philadelphia before flying back to Charlotte. I loved the day and night in Philly, it was sweet! I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Philadelphia in the morning, had some awesome tonkatsu ramen for lunch, walked around old downtown, then went to a Squirrel Nut Zippers 25th Anniversary Concert at The Club Cafe, which was FUN!!! Just what I needed at the time.

Then coronavirus hit. On Friday night in NJ, I got an email that the work training event in CA that was to start on Monday had cancelled. So I changed travel plans, flew back to Charlotte and worked from a hotel for a few days waiting for my truck repairs to be complete, and for word about the next conference that was set to start the next week in Portland – which also cancelled.

Victoria and I were communicating a lot, and effectively. Some real breakthroughs seemed to come. We both had spent probably hours each day writing, reflecting, and eventually starting to share, and it all felt different from the usual pattern of just smoothing things over after a disagreement. We had almost ended everything, so a frank acknowledgement of problems became a little easier.

My truck repairs finally completed, and I drove to Jacksonville and stored the trailer. Victoria and I are working on ourselves, and on us. And currently, hunkering down for coronavirus.

More travel will come – but, it will all be different. Currently, coronavirus lock down is preventing most if not all of the work travel for now. This will be a good time to reflect on all I’ve learned from this first phase of this new stage of the grand adventure that is life!

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