I was so fortunate to have been invited to a friends wedding in South Carolina. It was at Table Rock State Park. It was in October, perfect leaf peeping season. The weather was perfect. The couple is beyond adorable. This is a place I never would have ended up on my own. Here are some of my favorite pictures I took.
Just like every good TV show, this road trip has come to an end with a wedding. A lovely union of 2 very fun people.
I woke up in my van at Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina’s highest point. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and rainy and there was no sunrise to be seen. This is probably only the second or third time I have seen rain in three months. I actually enjoyed it. I opened up all the windows, let the fresh rain air in, let it get freezing cold, and climbed under a blanket. I just did nothing for a little while and enjoyed the mountain rain song. Now it was time to go see friends for the first time in 3 months! I drove down the mountain to Table Rock. A whole bunch of us are renting the cabins for a wedding. I spent today with 2 of my bestest friends from home. It was the first time in 3 months that I have been a passenger in anyway. I have driven 20k miles in a row, over 3 months, since the last time I was a passenger. We visited a couple waterfalls and a dead end tunnel. We had a great time, caught up, and enjoyed being in nature. That evening there was a rehearsal dinner. I was invited and uninvited to that dinner twice, that has to be a societal record. I was on my own for the evening, where I did nothing. After the rehearsal dinner a bunch of us got together, around the campfire, to make fun of the rest of us that did not show up at that campfire. Then it was off to a very uncomfortable bed. I thought about sleeping in the van, but I did pay for this uncomfortable bed.
I woke up in cabin 9 in Table Rock State Park. I really might sleep in the van tonight. Billy and Jen called first thing to go back out exploring again. The wedding was at 2, so we had the morning. We caught breakfast, and then over to the mill and petroglyphs. Here I ran into a very interesting couple, and family. Visually they stood out, and they knew it. I knew I had seen this man before. He was too unique and colorful to mix up with some other bum. So I asked him, where I might have seen him. Just then it clicked, sunset at Sassafras Mountain the other night. We get to chatting about travel and picture things, and then parted to both explore the mill with our respective families. About 30 minutes later I look and see there is an actual geocache at this mill. I tell my friends I am with, and it was only 100 feet away. I look, and wouldn’t you know it, that same family was rummaging through an ammo box, and signing their fake internet name on litter. How fun is that?! That sparked up another 10 minute conversation that would bore any non-geocacher to tears. Billy is a good sport, he hung in there and feigned interest. What an unexpected fun addition right at the end of my roadtrip.
Today is the wedding, it is at the Pretty Place, which I hear is spectacular. I also hear that the internet ruined it for the locals. Thanks internet.
The wedding ceremony at the Pretty Place and reception back at Table Rock were a highlight of my trip. The weather was perfect, the wedding was a ton of fun, and seeing loved ones for the first time in 3 months was great. Tomorrow I will start a slow drive back home, arriving and ending my roadtrip later this weekend.
And you can drive right to it.
19,500 miles and counting.
I woke up at the Holiday Inn Express in Logan, WV. Shortly after waking up I was called to perform an emergency surgery. Thanks, HIE!
I rented a UTV from Bobby yesterday. After that I spent the day at the hotel catching up on real life stuff. I also spent most of this morning chipping away with that kind of nonsense. Today I will leave and head back south to South Carolina, for a wedding in Table Rock park.
I left the Holiday Inn express with a couple of quick detours. I had about a 5 hour drive to get back to table rock State Park in South Carolina. I should have plenty of daylight, even factoring in all the needless and random stops I will probably make.
There’s a possibility that I may see some of my closest friends tonight, for the first time in over 3 months. I’m going back to South Carolina for a wedding on Thursday, and a bunch of my friends from home in Maryland are traveling to it as well. I am excited for this time, to see some friends and people I love for the first time in months. And to see them in such an amazing place like the mountains of South Carolina! That’s just a bonus.
I spent the day getting to South Carolina’s highest point, Sassafras Mountain, as fast as I could, hopefully before sunset. I had hoped to meet some friends there, but they did not make it here until very late. I made it in plenty of time and watched an amazing sunset with a bunch of fun strangers, now new friends. I got to talking to a local retired couple. Turns out they lived in the town I grew up in for a long time. What a small world this actually is. Either that or nothing is actually real. After the sun was gone, and the conversation dwindled, it was time to retire to my van. I made that my home for the night in hopes of catching the sunrise in the morning. Sadly it rained all night, overnight, and into the morning. There was no sunrise to speak of.
I love when I run into pro photographers in the wild. I take pride capturing as many groups in a single photo as possible. This is 3 groups in 1 shot, my record is 4 wedding parties in 1 photo in Glacier.
Today I met Bobby from BAC Rentals in WV, hands down the coolest geocaching ally I have met this trip. I have met a lot of our allies during this trip. There are people all over willing to help me out with my stupid hobby, and obsession to complete nonsensical tasks.
I woke up this morning already at the place I wanted to be. That place was meeting Bobby with BAC UTV rentals in WV. I was renting a UTV for the day, and part of the plan was to find WV’s oldest geocache. That was a very small part of an amazing day driving like an idiot. 80 miles, 5 hours, 3 geocaches, and only 1 close call/near death. The time flew by! Another thing I did during this road trip that I had the entire place to myself. I only saw about 10 other people all day using the Hatfield & McCoy trails. I was on a UTV just a few weeks ago near Phoenix. That is how fast I forgot how much fun they are. I had a blast today. The terrain was very mild compared to Arizona, but still so exciting! All day I was driving these trails, I felt like the fat guy from Lost, 21-10-33-31-45-42-26-14-18. When I was in my 20’s a bunch of my gearhead, knucklehead friends bought ATVs and came down here all the time. Somehow, I did not fall in line with them that time. I grew up with dirt bikes and guns, so they were not a novelty to me. Bobby said it might take me about 2 hours to get to my first stop. I was there in just over an hour. I drove like a maniac, because that is the fun way to drive off road. I spoke to Bobby later, and told him what I did. He said the next fastest anyone has done what I did, is 10 hours. That is twice as long. I told Bobby I am fast, I always have been fast, I used to race big wheels. I think Bobby and I are going to be pals for a long time. I hope to come visit him again soon.
After an amazing day playing, on the edge of death, I had a hotel nearby to catch up on some real life, and I had to do a zooming meeting this evening. A shower, internets, and proper lighting are required. Tomorrow I will head back south a few hours for a wedding in SC in a couple days.
19,185 miles and counting.
I woke up in the parking lot of a Lowes. I bought a shirt and MOD pizza for dinner very nearby. I assumed that entitled me to sleep in their parking lot.
Today was all about a Renaissance Festival. I have never been to one. I was talking to a good friend who is taking his family this weekend. I did a quick search on the internet the other day, and a really big festival was happening right where I was going to be, near Charlotte. I decided to make that my day. I am so glad I did. Yet another thing I almost deprived myself of, because I feel like I always need to be moving and completing a task. I thought it would be a quick half day, and I’d be back on the road. I had to drag myself out after 6 hours. I had 4 hours of driving, and did not want to drive too much in the dark. I could spend another entire day there. So fascinating, and entertaining in every way. There were people dressed up in all kinds of costumes. From the Renaissance era, and everything else from mermaids to modern day superheros. My 2 favorites were The Beer Bellied Assassin, and William Shakespeare dictates a text message into his Apple watch.
I ran around seeing all the shows I could. I had a fun lunch, and I had a ton of conservations with people far stranger than me, which are hard people to find. I can’t wait to find out if all of these festivals are this fun, or I got lucky and just went to the best one ever.
In hindsight my most disappointing decision was made at this Renaissance Festival. I knew enough to know that a lot of people dress up. People were dressed up in all kinds of fun costumes. For a minute I wished I had a costume to dress up in. I was hundreds of miles from home, there was 0% chance I was going to run into anyone I knew and be embarrassed. Also, why would I be embarrassed, this is the exact place that adults dress up like idiots. BUT, darn it. I did not have a costume. Maybe next time. Just as I get to the entrance gates there is a shop. This shop is renting costumes to bums like me that arrived in regular street clothes. This was the perfect opportunity, and I squandered it. I spent the day in my shorts and tee shirt, being mocked by people wearing 60 pounds of costume. Next time.
After leaving the festival, I needed to end in WV, about 4 hours north. I am renting a UTV tomorrow at 7am from Bobby. I got to Bobby’s location just after losing all my daylight. I got the OK from Bobby to sleep there, that way I can’t be late for our 7am meetup. After tomorrow I will turn around and head back to Table Rock in South Carolina for a wedding in a couple days. Today was definitely a great day to have been alive.