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Day 9 – I only stay in brand new homes

June 7, 2010 6 comments

Location: Raleigh, NC 

Miles Driven: 172 

Total Miles: 2,319 

I had such a relaxing morning after waking up at Dennis’ place.  Although he had to go to work, he gave me a set of keys and said I could be there as long as I wished.  So I spent the greater half of the morning being lazy, but did take care of some paperwork and other random things I need to set up – a car appointment back home (just regular maintenance), some stuff with the 401K from work, in addition to catching up on a few emails.  Also, I’ve been trying to carefully track the money I spend on this trip, so I’ve been saving receipts; however, it doesn’t do me any good if I don’t tabulate all that information, so I spent a good amount of time writing all of that into Excel and doing some quick sums.  So far, so good – I’m underbudget at this point. 

Good to have the morning to get caught up on things.  I also proved to be somewhat useful, accepting deliveries at the door on Dennis’ behalf.  Got to exercise early afternoon, had a shave after a few days of getting beardy, and eventually was loading up the car around four-ish (I told you it was a lazy day).  Actually when I went upstairs to grab the last bag, Dennis was there.  Not sure how I missed him in the car loading process, but glad I got to see him one last time before hitting the road. 

My destination for the evening was Raleigh, which is just a short three-hour drive Northeast.  In Raleigh live Saba and Aaron.  Saba is the older sister of my best friend Sam, and I’ve known her practically my whole life.  Despite the fact Sam and I probably terrorized her when we were kids, she’s still so very sweet and generous.  Aaron is her husband, one of the nicest guys you’ll meet.  A few years back I attended their wedding in this area, and it remains to this day one of the nicest events I’ve ever been a part of.  I’ve been to weddings on three different continents, and it was still one of the best.  My plan was to meet them around dinnertime, and they also kindly offered a place for me to crash.  

On the way to Raleigh...the Carolinas are just so green

I'm not a huge Tar Heels fan...but I'll cheer for anyone playing the Dukies from Durham

Arrived at their house around 7:30PM, and what a nice house it is.  Saba and Aaron just moved in over the weekend, so here I was again being one of the first sets of eyes checking out a new place…first Dennis’ condo in Charlotte, now this house in Raleigh.  I guess I’ve gotten pretty lucky with the timing. 

Enjoyed a great meal – pizza, garlic knots, wings, etc. while enjoying the conversation with the couple.  Haven’t seen them since their wedding, so it was real good to catch up once again.  Saba commented about my trip at one point, having known me my whole life, “Who would’ve thought little Joey Curtin would be doing this?”  Hahah…it’s true, back in the day you probably could have pegged me for a person who never leaves their home.  It’s been a big change from those days – here I am just passing through on this big road trip, and here’s Saba expecting a baby this August.  I’m so happy for them, and look forward to that big day. 

Great conversation, great food, great friends.  Hope I can make it back down this way…between Charlotte and Raleigh, it would be hard to find a nicer area to live in. 

Me, Aaron, Saba

Tomorrow will be another relatively light driving day.  The plan is to make my way to historic Kitty Hawk in the AM, and from there I’ll head north to the Virginia Beach region to visit some more friends.  Soon I’ll be saying adios to North Carolina.  What a beautiful state. 

joe

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Day 8

June 7, 2010 9 comments

Location: Charlotte, NC 

Miles Driven: 142 

Total Miles: 2,147 

Took my time getting moving in the morning as I did not have a far drive to Charlotte.  After about two hours of driving, I crossed the South Carolina/North Carolina border, and from there I only had about 15 minutes to get to Dennis’ house.  Soon I was parking at this big complex with an inviting pool and went upstairs to meet Dennis.  He showed me his new condo – a beautiful two bedroom/two bath place with a patio and nice view.  Dennis only recently moved down here from Long Island and already owns some nice property.  Got to meet Dennis’ girlfriend, Emma, as well – a very warm and friendly southern girl. 

After a shower they took me out to check out Charlotte.  I had heard good things about the city before but this was my first time here, and right away I could see what my friends had raved about in the past.  Charlotte is a fairly large city but definitely does not have a big-city feel.  It’s a very walkable, clean area with so many modern buildings. 

Duke Energy building

We grabbed lunch at a RiRa’s (so far I’ve seen a RiRa’s in Bethesda, Atlanta, and now Charlotte – always very good), and did a little more walking around.  Some of you may know the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) have a new owner – Michael Jordan – so there is a lot of excitement in this city regarding the team’s future potential.  Here’s a view of where they play, Time Warner Cable Arena: 

Let's hope Jordan doesn't make draft picks for the Bobcats like he did for the Wizards...

I also learned that Charlotte is the home to the brand new NASCAR Hall of Fame and Museum which just opened in May: 

Rumor has it there is a cool simulator ride inside

Just such a beautiful city: 

Modern looking buildings everywhere

We all went back to the suburbs, spent some time out by Emma’s pool, and then enjoyed a great chicken cordon bleu meal she prepared.  Very tasty, and one of the first home-cooked meals I’ve had since I’ve been on the road.  What a cook.   

Ended the night watching the movie Sherlock Holmes (not bad, but not great) and listening to the end of the Celtics/Lakers game.  I’m not a real big Celtics fan, but I am happy whenever the Lakers lose. 

Dennis kindly offered his place to me as long as I want it, so in the morning I’ll take my time as I need to get some work on the computer done, in addition to doing a little clean up in the car which has gotten a bit messy over the course of a week and 2,000+ miles.  Next stop: Raleigh, only a few hours east of here. 

Great visit.  Thanks Dennis and Emma!   

Emma, Me, Dennis. (Can you see any familial resemblance?)

joe

Categories: Uncategorized