South Mills, NC

4/1 Monday, South Mills Lock, 1300.3, 51/34, sunny, NE10-15 - I slept until 6am; Dobbs until dawn, snug in our bed. It was a cold morning. I lit the oil lamps and candles and put water on to boil for coffee. I fed the pets and made breakfast - eggs, toast, kale, and vegetarian bacon, relishing the heat required to cook. On mornings like this, I get dressed right away - two layers of long underwear on top, one on bottom; pants, wool socks, wool sweater, wool hat. If I could prepare food in gloves, I’d have had those on too! The slideshow below is from Murphy’s morning walk around the Northside Historic District. When we were here three years ago, almost every home in this section was in disrepair. Now, there’s an energy apparent - fresh coats of paint and charming decorations. All around town, Elizabeth City seems to be stepping forward toward a successful future.

Since we had only about 18 miles to travel today, we visited the Museum of the Albemarle from 9-10:15am.

Walking home, we stopped to take showers at the municipal restroom downtown. For $5 each, they are worth it - well-heated, clean, spacious, and with hot water in plentiful supply.

At 11am, we shoved off from the college’s docks. We made easy progress and arrived at South Mills Lock more than an hour early, so we anchored and relaxed while waiting. We locked through at 3:30pm and tied up to the bulkhead before the drawbridge for the night. We could have gone on to the Visitor’s Center, another 5 miles, but we heard on the radio that Gone Away and Valimir were already there, which meant that about 80’ of dock was spoken for, and we didn’t feel like rafting up. Here, the canal is more open and exposed to the sun, too, which adds some late afternoon heat to Grace’s cabin - we’ll take all the passive thermal gain we can get.

We took Murphy for a walk around the neighborhood. Afterward, I walked down to the gas station to drop off a small bag of trash and buy 10lbs. of ice. For dinner, I made an Asian stir-fry of tofu marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, with carrots, onions, green peppers, and cabbage, over basmati rice.

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I ate that and was still hungry, so I had half a peanut butter sandwich on 12-grain bread and a glass of milk. I’ve been conscious that our propane is probably getting low. It lasts about a month and we filled it on February 25th. Looking online, Dobbs found a nearby store - in fact the same one where I went for ice - and, after dinner, took our tank up to be filled. Everyone we’ve met here in South Mills has been very friendly and helpful. It’s now 8:30pm - time to wash the dishes and head for bed.