October 14th-17th (Wilmington Blues)

We made it to the mainland just as we planned, although we never did find a spot in the Croatan National Forest. Instead we were forced into another night at Walmart, which turns out is not such a bad thing since their parking lots seem to be more inviting to campers as we head south. It also provided us with a good foundation for some Rover repairs! Drew was able to add a leaf to the rear springs and rotate all the tires in a mere two hours without dropping the truck on himself! Performing this kind of a surgery in a parking lot attracted many locals, some with safety concerns, some wishing to lend a hand, and others who had some helpful input on places we should aim for. We also had the privilege of meeting Joe Willis, a member of Dennis Anderson’s pit crew for Grave Digger (Drew was a big childhood fan). Maybe Land Rover should get into the monster truck business?
From Walmart we ventured down the coast to the wonderful little town of Wilmington. There we explored the brick roads on the river front, through which our caravan bounced down merrily. There are some interesting antique shops and pubs, as well as a few abandoned buildings which we dreamed of reopening. After a walk through town we returned to the truck, which didn’t start, and Danielle made good use of some skills she learned from Tyler back in New Brunswick. This was the last straw for the old mechanical fuel pump, which we figured out had faulty check valves, which allowed the fuel to drain back down the line from the carburetor. Next stop was an auto-parts store to purchase a 12V pump. Drew installed it in a parking lot (Walmart, of course) that night, and we celebrated the end of our fuel problems! He put his tools away before supper only minutes before it started to downpour.
The next day we were itching to catch some good music, so we looked up where to go in town. We found a blues jam at a local pub called, Rusty Nail, put on by the Cape Fear Blues Society, so we decided to check it out later that night. Getting a little bit tired of 24-hour parking lots, we treated ourselves to a night in Carolina Beach State Park, and took some showers and relaxed for the day. The blues show turned out to be absolutely amazing. As we entered the bar, we were greeted by the bartender who gave us the lowdown on everything, gave the band our names and where we were from, and introduced us to the one dollar beer prices. Danielle is now a huge fan of a female blues singer that performed that night, named Dusty. She sang like Big Mama Thornton and played the sax like Miles Davis. We also got to hang out with an awesome young local who played a mean bass in one of the jams. Turned out it was his first night there too!
After Wilmington, we decided to head for Myrtle Beach the next morning. The weather was so hot, and we couldn’t help but be thankful to have skipped a little bit of the harsh weathers back home for a while. Our time so far in the Carolinas had inspired Drew to write a new song, called “Sunny Carolina”. Danielle’s cowboy boots had started to fall apart at the beginning of the road trip, and now they were completely wrapped up in duct tape, which was no longer working. Drew was kind enough to come along on a cowboy boot hunt, unfortunately with no luck.
We were both feeling pretty sick that night, so we had a movie night (using the battery from the truck to run the laptop), and settled down for what we thought would be a peaceful night. However, at 4:30 in the morning, we were rudely awakened by a nasty hornet that stung Drew on the ear. This caused for a little bit of a scare. Drew was alert enough to get the hornet, but then fell into anaphylactic shock from the sting and went unconscious for about 30 seconds while Danielle tried to wake him. After regaining consciousness, taking Benadryl and washing out the sting, the next step was to find an emergency room (which are not too easy to find in Myrtle Beach). The GPS sent us on a wild goose chase, trying to take us back to Wilmington. After a half hour of searching for a hospital, and realizing it was two miles from where we had started, Drew had recovered. We stayed up for another hour to make sure that he was okay, and then made plans to find a walk-in clinic to get an EpiPen to prevent future reactions. Hopefully no more rascally hornets make their way back into the Boler.
The next day we explored the town and went to the tourist trap also known as Broadway on the Beach. We walked the boardwalk for a little bit, and watched hundreds of fish stumble over each other as tourists fed them since we couldn’t afford anything else there. After our scare from the night before, we decided to seize the day and sign up for an open mic that evening!
The open mic was held at Fresh Brewed coffee house, and was our first one on the road trip so far! We played three songs: an original called “Rolling Rover”, Danielle’s favourite song, “Angel from Montgomery”, and a song that was performed by Drew’s favourite, Levon Helm, called “Wide River to Cross”. We met some extremely talented locals there and enjoyed the evening.

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