Heading North Through the South

Trip Start Aug 11, 2007
Trip End Nov 08, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time to say goodbye to Cary and Ian, Debbie and the kids and head back north. We went to Ian's work (the Vet School at University of North Carolina) for a coffee and last catch-up. It's a very interesting place to wander through - heaps of different animal skeletons all over the public areas (a whale, elephant, giraffe, lion - obviously get all the dead ones from the local zoos!), plus large displays of a wide variety of plasticised (think of how they display Japanese food) animal organs.

Then set the map for Virginia Beach, made a couple of adjustments so we weren't on boring freeways the whole time, and headed north. And that was an interesting trip - largely through what looked like some fairly economically depressed areas of the Deep South - run down trailer homes, abandoned farm buildings, tired little towns with boarded up shops..... and huge numbers of brand new, well maintained churches, all funded by their clearly very poor congregations! We decided we better try some of the local cuisine for lunch, so we stopped at a fast food outlet for BoJangles - a "Carolina's Fried Chick'n 'n Fix'ns" place that appears very popular around there. The fried chicken was pretty much KFC, but what we were really interested in was finding out what fix'ns were. Turned out that is the potato& gravy or coleslaw you get in addition to the fried chick'n pieces - except this being the South, you also got dirty rice, biscuits (kind of fried scones), beans 'n corn. Deep frying is a way of life down here - and that is clear in the size of the people......

It was also interesting for us to see what was being grown on the farmland around this part of the US. It used to be a huge tobacco growing area - heavily dependant on first slaves, then tenant farmers. But tobacco no longer earns the money it once did and while still grown in large quantities here, corn and especially peanuts seem to have taken over.

Our route took us though some interesting sounding towns - Zebulon, Nashville (but not Nashville, TN), Plymouth (where we stopped and saw a cool old lighthouse), and Skinnersville. Unfortunately we didn't notice until too late that we could have done a slightly longer trip and got out to the coast to a place called Kitty Hawk and then headed up the coast to Virginia Beach - we thought that a big inlet called Abemarle Sound would block our route to the north. However Kitty Hawke is only a place where some one became the second person in the world to achieve powered flight, so might not have been that cool. They did however have better publicists than the first person.........

We arrived at our friends' Paul and Chris's place in the late afternoon - in time for a couple of cool beers before heading to dinner at a great restaurant on one of the many inlets off the Chesapeake Bay.
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