Finally Boone - a walk, and a nice dinner with friends
My final whole day based in Ferguson had arrived. The next day I was moving to Winston-Salem, where I would meet Tim a few days later. But first I had to take a final look at the local attractions, and since it was now Monday, and I expected there would be fewer people, I would make another go for Boone. Breakfast was no problem, since the day before I had bought bread, cold cuts and - not least - coffee, so I made a kind of bun or roll, which I heated on the toaster while I made the coffee. With coffee in one hand and the roll (on a plate) in the other, I once again moved up to the porch outside Matt's Store. This time to enjoy the morning view which was excellent as there was sunshine and exceptionally not too much heat, only about 75 degrees at that time of day (8 am). After breakfast, I headed for Wilkesboro and an ATM, to get some cash. I found an ATM at a gas station, got some money, and at the same time I supplied my ice cooler with fresh ice after emptying out the water from the melted ice I bought two days earlier - and when I continued, I forgot the cooler outside the car, but I only discovered this much later.
Bigfoot in Boone
From the gas station I continued to downtown Wilkesboro and visited the Wilkes Heritage Museum, not to actually visit the museum, because I have already done that several times and it is not that big, but to see if there were any interesting books in the museum's gift shop. I didn't find anything interesting that I don't already own, but I had a good chat with the lady who looked after the shop, about the town, my visits there and mutual acquaintances. I also bought a few small gifts to take home to my granddaughter. After the visit, I headed for Boone again. This time it didn't rain and I was correct about the city not being as overcrowded as the previous day, so I easily found a place to park the car, and then I took a walk on the main street for about an hour or so. Along the way, I visited a general store, the Mast General Store, which sells clothes and sweets (at least that's what dominates). I didn't buy anything but just looked at the store, which is obviously an institution in town. Then I crossed the street and walked into a small arcade with shops, and at the end of this one was a gift shop. What a shock! Here I noticed a figure of Bigfoot and some T-shirts with the inscription "Bigfoot saw me, but nobody believes him"! I had to own one of those, so I happily paid the price of $20 and then I walked back to the car while thinking about going somewhere for lunch. However, I gave up that thought, and decided to wait until later - and in the end I had no lunch at all that day.
From Boone, I headed south on US 321 towards Blowing Rock. Here you find one of western North Carolina's few outlet centers with last year's clothes from famous brand. I did not stop here though, as my goal was not to shop but to visit Mystery Hill, a kind of amusement park where the laws of nature seem to be out of order, so you apparently change size as you walk along a path, gravity is abolished and much else good - all of course just optical illusions, but most are natural and are due to the shape of the slope on the hillside where the park is located. But just as I arrived, the rain that I had hitherto been spared for arrived - and in even greater quantities than the day before. I entered the parking lot anyway and found a place to park, and there I stayed for about half an hour, waiting for the rain to stop, but when the weather actually changed, it was for the worse, I gave up and instead headed further south toward Lenoir. As I left the mountains and approached Lenoir, it stopped raining, even though it was still overcast. After all, I figured Margaret would contact me when she finished her teaching so we could dine together somewhere in town, so I decided to pass the time while waiting to hear from her.
So I headed to a place called J. T. Broyhill Walking Park, which I had also visited in April. Back then I was just looking at the park, but now I wanted to take the name seriously and go for a walk, not just a quitet stroll. In the center of the park is a small lake and around it is a path. The walk around the lake is less than half a mile (0.45), and at the beginning of the path there is a sign that tells you how far you get on one lap, two laps and so on. I decided to try to walk the twenty laps, which are the highest number on the sign (you may walk more, but then you have to calculate the distance yourself J). 20 laps would amount to a total of 9 miles or 14.5 km, roughly the same as I did on a long walk back home. The difference was just the temperature, which was well over 85 and the humidity, which was approaching 100. But nevertheless, I went out there, and there were also a few others, who were on their way around the lake, most of them running, but I met and overtook a couple of pedestrians - a couple of them twice as I was walking pretty fast, while they weren't. One I actually managed to overtake three times. She was still on her first lap when I was finishing the third, and when I came around for the fourth time, she was gone, so she was apparently content with just the one lap she did. However, it wouldn't come to twenty for me anyway, because when I went out on the sixth lap it started thundering in the distance, and along the way it got closer and closer. However, I continued on to the seventh lap, as there were still others also on the way around the lake, but when I was halfway on my eighth lap, I found myself quite alone, and now the thunder was just above my head, and the neighborhood of a lake encircled by tall trees is probably not the best place to be in a thunderstorm. Before I got all the way around the lake, it also started raining heavily, so I went back to the car and waited for it to pass so I could continue my walk, but it didn't pass, and in the end I gave up this venture. Apparently I'm something of a sissy, but for some reason I do mind getting wet and being struck by lightning. So in the end I only walked a little less than 4 miles or approx. 6 km.
Geese in a row in J. T. Broyhill Walking Park
After leaving the park I headed for Google's server farm i Lenoir, which I wanted to see, if only from outside the fence. The place is not open to the public, but now I have been there and seen the buildings. Then I headed back towards Ferguson, but made a stop at a gas station on the outskirts of Lenoir to get a cup of coffee. While drinking it, I checked my mail on my cell as I now had connection. I discovered that Margaret had sent me an email asking if I would come out to their place and have dinner at 7 pm together with her daughter and grandchildren? I had just received the mail, since I had been in the wilderness, where the phone coverage is non existent. So I called her and explained why I had not answered before, saying that I would very much like to come to dinner. As I was quite sweaty and damp with rain after the stroll, I headed for Ferguson and the house, where I could take a bath and put on some clean clothes before heading back to where they live. As far out in the rural Caldwell County as I was in Wilkes County, but on the opposite side of the Yadkin River and closer to Lenoir. It was really nice as always when I'm with Margaret and Dick. I had met Margarets's daughter once in the spring, but I had not met the two grandchildren before, but they proved be were very sweet, although the youngest, a girl of about four or five years old, did not say much. We got an excellent meal and for dessert a kind of ice cream, made entirely from fruit with no milk products or anything. It was made on a so-called Yonana machine, and it was made from banana and strawberries (the ice cream, not the machine). Later I bought such a machine myself, but I'll tell you about this in a later article.
We enjoyed ourselves for a few hours. At one point, Margaret's daughter and grandchildren had to go home to get the children to bed, while I chatted with Margaret and Dick until well past 10 pm. Before I said goodbye, I settled my bill and we talked about me getting back with Tim a few days later, as Margaret and Dick said that they would also like to say hello to him, so I suggested that if he was ok with it, we would just come by before heading back to Denmark. Then I slowly drove down the small dirt road that leads from their home on Tom Dula Road (yes, it's actually the name) to NC 268 in Ferguson. It was dark and as I knew that there were many animals in the area, I drove very slow and had turned on the full-beam headlights. I saw, among other things, a few deer and a single coyote also crossed the road in front of me. I also saw opossums, rabbits and squirrels, but I managed to avoid hitting any of them. When I got back to the house, I packed all my stuff, except for toiletries and the clothes I was going to wear the next day. Then I went bacl to the car to get a cold water from the ice cooler, only to discover it was not in the trunk, where it was supposed to be. Thinking about where I maight have lost it, I came to the conclusion that I might have forgotten it at the gas station where I had bought ice, so I decided to drive by the next day to see if it should still be there.