Apparently, if you want to camp (legally) on Memorial Day weekend you need reservations. I found that out on Tuesday as I realize in had a long weekend coming up. My plan was to hike with the Greenville GOPC crew and then camp for the weekend. That didn’t work out. Neither did my plan B.
The hike was grand. We did about 10 miles of the NC Mountain to Sea trail in Falls Lake State Park. But then… What to do? I tried several last minute ideas to see if there had been any camping cancellations at my favorite spots. But no luck. So I decided to trust adventure karma or Atalanta (Greek goddess of Adventure) and just wake up the next morning and head out. I went south figuring that at worse case I would have a nice blue highway drive and lunch in Topsail, NC and meet up with my buddy in Pine Knoll Shores for dinner. But, as usual, Atalanta did not let this adventurer wander for naught.
First off I found a yard sale in La Grange. As it turns out I didn’t buy anything, but I took it as a good sign that I found a yard sale on a Sunday morning.
Then, on a little road somewhere in Duplin County I ran across the Cabin Lake County Park. Yes, county park. That was new to me and I had to investigate. I don’t think I have been to a county park before. As it turns out it was well worth the $4.00 (non-resident rate). If I recall, the park is several hundred acres surrounding a 75 acre lake. There is a boat ramp, fishing, swim beach, rentals and camping. Yes camping. Had I known this, then plan B might have worked after all. But now I know. The park also has a 2.2 mile hiking trail round the lake. And they have two geocaches. I had a nice walk around the park, scoped out the camping, found one of the geocaches, saving the other for a hike around the lake at another time and was back on the road.
One note here: at the park I was mostly out of cell range, or out of it enough to not be able to get maps. That is why I always carry back up paper maps and you should too. It was fun navigating my paper for a while.
Every once in a while when driving out of my normal territory I search Google maps for breweries. Mostly because you just never know what your will find. And in this case I didn’t find a brewery, but I did find the River Dancer Irish pub in Wallace. It was a little close to Hwy 40 and therefore a little more touristy than I was looking for. But when Atalanta shows you the way to a pub, you go. And so I had a nice late lunch.
From there I headed down to Topsail. Time and traffic kept me from Topsail Beach proper, but I did hang a left at Surf City and drive up the island a bit. I thought I had found a short cut, but Camp LeJuene was in the way and I had to drive around that. And it is big.
By then it was later in the afternoon and I needed to head straight to Pine Knoll Shores. Missed a chance at a huge army surplus store due to the time. But that is just another reason to go back. And so I ended up at the beach after a grand random adventure and still had one more day to my long weekend. I hope you had a grand adventure as well!