Welcome to North Carolina!

11/10, NC Visitor’s Center, 983.7, N10-20, 57/32 - The first locking at Deep Creek happened at 8:30am and since we were already above the lock, we just needed to be underway to catch the bridge opening a half-mile farther on. The starter gave us trouble again this morning. Dobbs moved it by hand like before and it started. It’s time for a consult with our “Diesel Guru” Brad B. We made the bridge opening with plenty of time to spare - after the lock tender opens the lock, he hops in his truck and drives down to open the bridge. Just on the other side of the bridge is a small concrete bulkhead where a boat can tie up, and across the street is a shopping center. We stopped for a few supplies and groceries.

While I shopped, Dobbs texted with Brad to confirm that we should replace the starter (yes). Dobbs located a Kubota dealer in Edenton and set me up with the parts catalog. I called and spoke with Henry, a friendly voice on the other end of the line, who thinks he can have a new starter for us on Tuesday. This is just the push we needed to explore the Albemarle Loop - Edenton is one of the towns to visit and a place we’ve wanted to see since we read about it in a magazine. With the temperatures dropping into the 30’s at night, pressing on by was on our minds, but then we would pass up an opportunity that happens only every couple years. Now we must go, and I’m certain we’ll enjoy it.

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Motoring along the canal today was peaceful.

 A turtle basking in the warmth of the mid-day sun.

A turtle basking in the warmth of the mid-day sun.

We docked at the visitor’s center around 2pm.

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After giving Murph a brief shore leave, we walked up to the visitor’s center and took advantage of the free offerings - a Dismal Swamp Canal sticker for the rigging trailer and free bicycles to borrow for riding the canal trail the 9 miles round-trip to South Mills lock. It’s so nice of them to offer this to the public - delightful recreation coupled with physical exertion.

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When we returned, Murphy joined us for a walk across the canal bridge and along a boardwalk through a small section of the swamp. I highly recommend stopping at the Dismal Swamp State Park if you find yourself in the area.

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The temperature was quickly dropping as the sun sank lower in the sky. By 5pm, we were tucked down below on Grace. I set out a snack for us and then roasted root vegetables to go with our breakfasts. I roast a pile ahead of time and then reheat them bit-by-bit because they take too long to peel and cook each morning. Then, for dinner, I made that dish of roasted butternut squash and onions with sausage, greens, and garlic over egg noodles. We’ve been reading and writing at the table for the last hour or so. It’s chilly inside, but not too bad. I’m sure we’ll be warm in our sleeping bags tonight.