Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 14, 2012

Beach Hopping: ME to OR Roadtrip, Part 1

To be honest, I was a little bit nervous about the first section of my trip – the ME to GA section, which would take me three days and would involve driving through NYC and camping by myself 2 nights and finding my friend’s house in Atlanta. My first big revelation of 2012 was how much I ended up enjoying the challenges of this adventure. Because there were some – I got lost in Virginia Beach, it was cold every night I camped, and it rained twice. There was something totally thrilling about facing the challenges and overcoming them – I did fine driving through NYC, I figured out how to set up my tent speedily in the rain, I didn’t die when I tried to drive the wrong way up a road in Virginia Beach, I stayed warm in my sleeping bags in spite of the below freezing temps, and I found my friend’s house in ATL without incident. Balancing the challenges were the rewards – and they were ridiculously good.

There was glorious sunshine in Delaware when I woke after my first night camping in the cold and the rain at Killens Pond State Park. Rehoboth Beach was pretty and the “jin” at Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats was remarkable. The flock of migrating snow geese I came across as I was driving down the Delaware coast was hilariously loud and wonderfully flighty. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was every bit as fun as I had imagined, and that day (my second on the road) was so enjoyable that I decided to stay on the road an extra day and detour a bit to Myrtle Beach State Park. Although rain greeted me there, when it cleared up there was a rainbow and my favorite sort of clouds hanging over the beach. The sunrise the next morning was beautiful and I got to see a pelican right before I headed off, Atlanta bound.









I had moments where it occurred to me to panic, or get frustrated – like when I realized if my tent got too wet while I was setting up in the rain it wouldn’t do me much good and I would be cold and wet all night; or when I arrived at Myrtle Beach State Park and it started to pour with no sign and no hope in the forecast of letting up. But for some reason I didn’t panic, or get frustrated. I felt that it wouldn’t do me any good, and it would certainly detract from the fun I was having along my journey. So I stopped trying to set up my tent in the rain and got in my car and had a snack, and the next time I tried it the tent popped up quickly and a swish of a towel dried it out just fine. And at Myrtle Beach I waited under a picnic shelter for the rain to stop and that fun bird standing on the back of the bench in the picture above kept me company. And the rain DID stop and the beach was beautiful and I loved the warm air and the shells and the clouds, and as I was walking along I had this weird moment of complete contentment, total rightness, where I actually sighed deeply (without thinking about it) and beamed at the world in general – at peace with myself and all the rest of it. I think my eyes were sparkling. If there had been snow around I would have flung myself down and made a snow angel.

I believe moments like that are relatively rare, and if that is the only such moment during this trip I’ll consider myself blessed. If I receive more than one (and I fully expect to be in more situations that have the potential at least) I will see it as all the confirmation I need that I am on the right path. Heck, just that one moment is enough for me.

The title of this post refers to the fact that I accidentally plotted a course that took me from the beaches of Kennebunk, ME, to Rehoboth Beach, DE, to Virginia Beach, VA, to Myrtle Beach, SC, to…well, Atlanta. It took me awhile to get away from the coast and what I’ve decided is that I was subconsciously aware that I have in fact been won over by the sea. When I moved from NM to ME as a kid I resented the ocean for years and was convinced that I was a desert person forever and always. I think I can now safely say that I love both. I am eager to return to the Southwest for a few days during this trip and I hope to live there again someday – but for the time being, I am awfully glad that I am merely switching coasts, and am eagerly anticipating discovering new beaches in OR!

I’m landlocked for the moment though. I’ll stay in Atlanta until Friday, then move on (to New Orleans, yum!). Meanwhile there are friends to enjoy, kids to play with, walks to take, southern comfort food to eat (I learned how to make grits yesterday!), and of course, inevitably, more pictures to take.


  1. “fun bird”…you remember the scene in The Big Year when Steve Martin says “The Shrike lures his prey in close, then impales it on barbed wire until it is ripe enough to eat?” Well that fun bird, my daughter, is a Loggerheaded Shrik, and it was waiting for you to get close enough 🙂 (actually it was waiting for grasshoppers) Now if only we could find a way to have those moments while gainfully employed…… Oh…despite all the frustrations of corporate life, maybe I have. I look forward to more, and so should you.

    • Ah, yes of course – a Loggerheaded Shrik! I meant to look it up but my bird book is buried… I am hoping that I am pointing my life in a direction where I will definitely have those moments while gainfully employed. That’s the idea anyway, behind this whole venture!

  2. You should be proud. Facing your fears like that is really quite impressive. It’s hard to remain optimistic when you don’t have the basics like a warm shelter or others to keep you company.

    As usual, the photos are lovely too.

    • Thanks Ti!

      I have camped many times before, and fairly often in more adverse circumstances – but never by myself, so that was the real challenge here. I’m glad I was granted the grace to keep it together!

  3. the challenges: your meeting them and finding joy, they sound exhilarating and absolutely wondermous. I am so happy for you. I love the photos of course, and your checking in and hearing about your adventures. I hope the adventure will continue to exhilarate and strengthen–and you know–be fun!

    • Thanks L! I have some really fun stuff lined up, with a bit more company along the way, but it was wonderful to find out that I could wing it alone – and find the joy, as you say, in even the most stressful bits (like the night camping in Virginia Beach where it literally felt and sounded like airplanes were going to land on my head!) I hope to check in a few more times before my trip is over. This interlude in Atlanta has been very nice!

  4. […] and total independence. However, aside from that first brilliant moment on Myrtle Beach which I mentioned before, I have found myself sharing my snow-angel moments with other people. Beaming at the world in […]

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