I’ve been to many places in North Carolina. After all, this is a great state. You’ve got pristine beaches on one end and gorgeous mountains on the other.
I never thought I would experience most of that within a 10-day period but that was just how the schedule worked out recently.
My adventures began Feb. 27 with a drive to Chapel Hill and ended this past Saturday when I arrived home from Greensboro after a conference.
The Chapel Hill trip was a one-day affair for the N.C. Press Association Winter Institute. During a break between meetings, a quick walk around the University of North Carolina brought back some good memories. I spent quite a bit of time on that campus, especially when I was dating my wife, then a UNC student.
What struck me most while on campus on this trip was the number of students looking down at cell phones or other electronic devices as they walked. UNC has one of the prettiest campuses around, and I couldn’t help but think all these students were missing it.
Perhaps they’ll appreciate it more 25 years down the road, the way I appreciated it on my walk.
After arriving back to Havelock around 1:30 in the morning, the next day I was on the road again, first to Washington, N.C., to pick up my daughter from a baseball game and then driving to Boone, which is home to Appalachian State University, among her top choices for college. The university was having what it called a “Preview Day,” so we spent several hours on campus, learning about the college as well as its College of Education where tomorrow’s teachers are trained.
The university personnel really did a good job selling the school, and the campus and surrounding downtown area in Boone are great attractions. We enjoyed a great lunch downtown at Macado’s restaurant and were then back in the car for a 5 1/2-hour drive home.
Just a few short days later, I was back in the car heading to Fayetteville to cover Havelock High’s regional semifinal basketball game against Wilson Hunt. There was no time for sight-seeing on this trip, and the Rams lost 68-60, an end to a great season.
I worked until about 1:30 in the morning but then simply could not fall asleep in the hotel. I tossed and turned, and my last memory of the clock was at 4:16 a.m., which wasn’t good because I had to be up early the next morning for a drive to Greensboro and a Rotary Club training conference.
OK, I’m going to come clean here. I didn’t make it quite in time and missed the first session of the conference. I needed to get at least some sleep or else I would have slept right through the training.
On the second day of the conference on Friday, I awoke to 3 1/2 inches of snow and ice. Power flicked off in our hotel, but fortunately, came back on a few minutes later. The same could not be said for the four hotels just right across the street. When I left the conference on Saturday afternoon, they still had no power.
A benefit of the trip to Greensboro was that it took place on the same weekend as the ACC women’s basketball tournament. I met players, cheerleaders and administrators from Notre Dame, Syracuse, Miami, Florida State and North Carolina. I asked a couple from Florida State what they thought of their stay in North Carolina. They said they hadn’t had any time to go exploring, and since the Seminoles lost in the tournament, they were heading out the next day.
I felt their pain. The conference kept me busy and I didn’t get the chance to go exploring either. I didn’t even get to see any of the tournament games.
It was a whirl-wind trip through some major metropolitan hubs of the state in a span of 10 days. I missed the Charlotte and Asheville areas but saw just about everything else. In all, I drove about 1,600 miles and spent about 27 1/2 hours in the car — and I didn’t even get the T-shirt.
North Carolina is a great state. Trust me. I just drove through half of it. But, it sure was nice to get back to Havelock and home.
Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 447-1999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.