He is the reason why we’ve been silent for the past weeks, and he’s been an important motivator for me to start this trip and stop by his place. We’ve been colleagues in AT&T and we’ve gotten along pretty well. Same hobbies, similar taste in music, and quite a small difference in age. But after all age is just a number, as we already found out.

On a short list, what we’ve been doing so far at his very cozy place in the woods of NC:

  • we got a refreshing welcome with a huge beer
  • stupid and simple as it sounds, he took us out for a big fat breakfast at the nearby Waffle House, where he even used the Jukebox to play some good old rock’n’roll. He further took us to a lot of other american diners (the good stuff, locals, not KFC and McDonalds)
  • we’ve been helping around the house (which I find to be very relaxing after the office work): I fixed one of his truck’s doors after a short visit at the junkyard to salvage some parts (felt so much like scrapheap challenge, walking among car wrecks and other remains), trimmed some trees, started painting his fence and cleaned up some of his old junk.
  • spent one night playing pool in a neighbor’s garage. Thanks Phil for that. When you have a pool table in your man-cave to practice every day… it really shows – they’ve been playing like ‘pros’.
  • had a lovely family dinner (ribs, beans, corn and coleslaw) with John’s parents (together for over 60 years) and his brother’s family, Jeff and Carrie, followed by a nice chat among motorcycle enthusiasts. It was a real pleasure to hear stories from 4-5 decades ago about the highway to Alaska
  • had a whole day shopping places, including beer from a small brewery (where we met the owner and got the tour) and stopped by a huge farmers’ market close to Raleigh, had a big burger in the park from a local burger place
  • after John gave us the keys to his second truck, we took a trip to a nearby park: Forest Ridge Park, went for a short hike, and ended up wading for an hour in the water coming out of the dam
  • spent another day at the community swimming pool, where we met some Poles, and later went to a restaurant with John and Ellen, where I had the best pasta so far ever. We ended the evening on Raleigh’s airport observation deck to watch the planes land
  • we also took a 2 day trip to Wrightsville beach and Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon (different post, as it was awesome)
  • met Gary Marachek, another good friend from AT&T and good friend of John’s.
  • and finally motorcycle riding with John… a short ride but very much welcome. I put on one of John’s half-helmets, got a fancy looking bike jacket and leather gloves and the road was mine! John’s Yamaha rides awesome for a bike my age.

We’re planning to go on a 2 or 3 day trip to Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend.

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