It was our priority number one to meet some of those people again who made this trip in the United States as unforgettable as it was!
That’s why we decided to go north again. Our destination was the Grayson Highland State Park in Virginia in order to visit Marcie, the coolest Ranger in the whole country! Our plan was to meet her in the evening after walking through the park and looking for the cute wild ponies. But plans changed…
After entering the park we got warned of solid ice covering the road for almost one kilometer and that we should better stop in front of the ice to walk up the road. It turned out to be a pretty good advice because half way up the hill was another car stuck on the ice. It was hard to help because the tires of the car were completely worn out and the woman in the car seemed not to understand that you cannot drive on ice with such bad tires. Another couple called the local Ranger station for help. After a while we could manage it to drive the car down the hill again. Coming downwards, we saw a Ranger’s truck arriving: It was Marcie! While talking to her we watched many cars who could climb the icy road up to the top and got to the conclusion: Our Betsy can do this, too!!!
Although Marcie offered to give us a ride to the top, we decided to go with our old car…Well, let’s call it a lot of optimism. Almost at the top, we hit the ice and stopped about one meter away from the end of the ice. Marcie had to tow our car and we realized that it would have been better to accept her offer. Anyway, we arrived in the highland area and had a new mission: Find the wild ponies! We found them after walking through the beautiful snowy park for two hours.
Later that day Marcie helped us to drive our car down again and had the fancy idea of going sledding on the ice in that very night. That seemed to be crazy, risky, stupid and irresponsible to us! Of course we agreed.
We went back to Marcie’s house to meet Aaron, have dinner and wait until it was dark. We went back to the icy roads with two sleds in order to find out if you could still control them on ice. The result: You cannot, but it is super fun! The only challenge was not to crash all the trees on the right of the road or fall down the hill on the left. We all got some bruises, but it was worth it! We spent two days in Grayson Highland State Park before we left to go south again, hoping for better weather in Rocktown, GA.
And the weather turned out to be perfect! Kai started to work on Iron Claw Sit (V10) and almost got it within the few days of climbing we had left. Julia was also able to climb some really cool and fun lines, including Beehive (V2) with a hard top out. Quite scary….We enjoyed all the easy classics and some highballs. Kiah and Eric told us about this great Mexican restaurant with reasonable prices and we shared our knowledge about the free shower place. They also told us about this great burger bar with local meet and quality foods. Definitely one of the best burgers ever!
We were forced to leave Rocktown and head towards Greenville some days earlier than planned, because of the arctic storm that was supposed to come through. It didn’t hit South Carolina that bad, but bad enough for Hannah and Bryan to get off work and so we could spent some more time with them. We went rope climbing at a local sport climbing spot in North Carolina on Saturday. It was the first time for Julia to climb on a rope and she was really afraid of distance you get between you and the ground. Kai led a 5.10 slab climb, which appeared really scary to him. Monday afternoon was spend at the Mountain Goat and some indoor bouldering. Kai admitted that it was one of the worst experiences he ever had in a climbing gym. Most of the set routes were just terrible. Julia felt the same way. That was quite surprising even so Hannah and Bryan warned us in advance. We still had fun playing the add-on game. Julia and Hannah went to Hot Yoga the day after and enjoyed doing sports in a room temperatured to be a sauna.
After those cold days it was a pleasure to go down South again and we hoped for warm weather in Florida. But because of the winter storm going through even Florida had to suffer from the cold. Although it was windy and only 8 degrees warm we enjoyed the day at the beach and Julia had some good time playing the guitar. In the evening we went to Jacksonville to see Jason Mraz live in concert. It was amazing, the atmosphere in the concert hall was amazing except for some noises caused by humans which sounded like monkey voices. Even Jason Mraz seemed to be annoyed, especially when a man shouted “I want to have a child from you!” during a calm and emotional part of one of his songs.
The next day started perfectly with a cloudless sky, no wind and with a thrill of anticipation for Julia’s upcoming beach ride. It was a dream of her since she started horseback riding at the age of six. Thanks to the weather she was the only costumer for that day and even the guide Cathy was happy not to go on a trail ride with beginners and canter along the beach.
The drive from Jacksonville up to Charleston was not bad at all, but it felt strange to go up north for the last time. We spent the time in Charleston with Drew and his girlfriend Taylor. Drew invited us over to his parents to have an oyster roasting on Saturday. It was the first time that we both tried oysters and they were delicious. We enjoyed Drew’s company very much and it was hard to leave Charleston for the last time in the next future.
Back in Greenville it was time to start clearing the car and returning our gear to all the different shops. It all worked out well enough! And today we sold our beloved companion Betsy, a van in we could trust. Tomorrow is the departure date and we finally return to Germany!
So see y’all soon!