We have been staying at Cabin Creek Campground in Jacksonville, NC for the past two weeks. We had been asked by owners Gary and Arlene to become general managers of the park for the next year. At first, I though this a generous offer as we were only two hours from our daughter in Raleigh, fifteen minutes from the beach, and not to mention some extra jingle in our pockets. However, when pulling in I had an unsettling feeling. There was no “it” factor for me here. Although I’ve always wanted to manage a campground, that was prior to retirement. Committing anywhere for an entire year was an idea that isn’t in my line of future thinking. It doesn’t complement the gypsy lifestyle. I loved the thought of being close to Erin, but in this day and age of cheap flights, we can visit any month. I also have to keep in mind that my children probably don’t want to see us as much as we’d like to think. Despite all these thoughts, the one thing that continued to bother me during our stay was the environment, a lack of ambiance in the campground. There was no swimming pool. Not that it’s a priority but if not, I seek at least have a jacuzzi as a replacement for boomers to hide their expanding bodies beneath the waters. My internet connection worked slower here than in the badlands of North Dakota. The sites were not paved nor graveled. Yes, the grass was lovely but when it rained it gave rise to exploration of literally millions of sugar ants. Apparently this is a problem native to southern North Carolina. There was no community center or clubhouse in which to play board games or cards, or just get together to chat with neighbors.
I thought this unusual as a large majority of the inhabitants were long term campers, working at Camp Lejeune or having some connection with the Marine facility. There were two mobile homes and although well maintained and manicured, it wasn’t reminiscent of an RV park. But the straw that was breaking this back was the fact that camp fires were not permitted. Perhaps the biggest draw to me, after having the mobility of vanishing on a moment’s notice is to have a fire at least several nights a week. In rating this campground without bias or the fact that I may manage it, I would post it with a 7. And I think the wonderful personalities of the owners have influenced this number positively. Robin was endeared to the fact that Erin was a short jaunt away. I had vacillated for days about how I was going to handle the situation of working here with the owners, who had been so gracious to us.
“Isn’t life strange, a turn of the page.” Yesterday, we received a call from Arlene telling us she and Gary would like to meet with us at 4 p.m. and to go and enjoy the day in the meantime. I thought the final compensation offer would come and I would have to decline with regrets. At four, we walked into the meeting. Gary and Arlene had informed us they had been meeting for the past two days with speculators desirous of the corner property that the campground was situated. They were given a wonderful offer and they couldn’t decline. The campground was going to be sold to developers. I was shocked but couldn’t have been more relieved. Things have a way of working out for us that way. Perhaps I am still the luckiest man I know. So were off again, packing up and heading north to The Crossroads Resort at Roanoke Rapids. This is only an hour and a half from Erin and it sits near Lake Gaston, which borders Virginia. I’ll explore the area, play some golf and contemplate our next move, while taking in the season’s change.