01 September 2005

North Carolina 1

Well, well, well…here we are in North Carolina. It’s been interesting so far. We arrived just before Hurricane Katrina and whereas we didn’t get hit hard the fallout from it is coming our way, but we’ll get to that later.

Monday and yesterday (August 29th and 31st) Bill and I went Gem Hunting! It was really a lot of fun. Monday we went to Gem Mountain. They get their buckets from 10 different mines around the world. We walked out of there with a healthy amount of nice stones. The lady who looked through the largest stuff we had said we had a good day and found a lot of really nice emerald. Unfortunately it’s kind of expensive to have cut, so currently we have a lot of nice souvenirs. Wednesday we went to Sheffield Mine. They get their dirt from their own hillside; it’s the only mine in NC to get native Ruby and Sapphire from. This was more labor intensive than the other mine, but a lot of fun. We came away with a lot of ruby chips and a couple of ‘squeakers’. I found a 16-carat ruby and Bill found a couple of 11+ carat rubies. All in all it was a really good time.

Ok…on to what’s happening with us. Things are good, although a little frustrating. Because of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina is employing all over the Gulf Coast and north, we were really lucky to avoid just about all the bad weather. We had some heavy rain and some wind, but really not much at all. It’s been horrible watching the news and seeing what the entire Gulf Coast is suffering through. We are likely going to have to cut our loses and head back west. With gas prices currently going for over $4.00/gallon here in NC and looking to run out of gas in this area until they can get the refineries back up to par, our trip is rapidly becoming too expensive for us to handle. We originally budgeted for $2.50/gallon, knowing that some places would be right about that, and some lower. Who could have guessed that they would rise to over $3.00 within a couple of months, and now up to $4.00+ because of the hurricane? We only get about 150 miles per tank when we are towing and between 250-300 when we aren’t. We are going to have to drag the RV back across America from NC (about 3000+ miles from here to OR) at 150 miles per tank and gas being the price that it is…you do the math.

I’ve been stuck between ‘everything happens for a reason’ and knowing that this too is happening for a reason, and being mad that none of this is working out the way we had planned. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been having a blast and we consider ourselves both blessed and lucky to have experienced the things we have and to have ducked mother nature so far, but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow the fact that we have to cut our loses and head back west. It’s really hard to not be frustrated, until I watch the news and see what all those people on the Gulf Coast are going through. They are saying now that once the water levels start to drop, that it will still take over a month to drain the existing water from New Orleans. They can’t even start until the water levels in the surrounding levies and whatnot drop. And to add insult to injury, now it’s raining on them. After they get all the water out, then and only then, can people return to their homes (if there is home left) and start thinking about rebuilding. They are guestimating that it will take months to get the water out and years for New Orleans to be livable again, that is so crazy!

Well, that all I have right now, think happy thoughts for all those suffering in the Gulf Coast.