Overland Expo to TBEX: Last stop… North Carolina

After nearly six weeks on the road in the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition, we decided to cut the trip short by a week to accommodate our weary teen traveler. George and I could have gone on indefinitely but poor Fred was beyond his travel limit.

Even with that decision, though, we still had two stops to make before we reached home.

Wet N’ Wild…

Water parks aren’t really my scene so we go them them very rarely. But George had his heart set on visiting one on this trip. As you can see, I was almost out of time to make that happen.

A long journey, complete.

We exited Patapsco and spent the day driving to Greensboro, North Carolina to accomplish that mission. Unfortunately, I was still without proper water park attire so, you guessed it… we had make yet another stop at REI along the way so I could find something that would work. After yet another night in a hotel, we were fairly rested to take on a busy day at Wet ‘N Wild.

Given that it’s a water park, I obviously don’t have any pictures to show you but George’s wish was fulfilled and we had a good day frolicking. It was also a testament to Fred’s state-of-mind that he didn’t want to be there. Yep, a kid who didn’t want to be at a water park. He was that done with this trip. He was a very good sport and did have some things he enjoyed there but he would happily have skipped it if that were an option.

We now faced one more hotel-night bunny hop before the trip was done. A pit-stop in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the Carolina Raptor Center and my friend, Karan.

Carolina Raptor Center…

This was our last official stop of the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition. You may remember Karan from the Leave No Trace training adventure. Well, she worked at the Carolina Raptor Center for ages and agreed to give us a tour of the facility.

It always nice when your kids admit something was interesting that they didn’t expect. Initially they were just humoring me about visiting the Raptor Center but after Karan’s lively and informative tour, they had to fess up that they really liked it. High five, Karan! 🙂

Fair warning at Carolina Raptor Center.
A flight cage for the CRC residents.
A thrill for the students, Carolina Raptor Center is home to Hawkwarts.
Karan took us behind the scenes to see rehab in action. Of course, we were fascinated by the extensive owl pellet collection.
A variety of residents are permanent due to their injuries. They get to educate little explorers.
No longer knee-high to a grasshopper, Fred has an impressive wingspan.

Behind the scenes…

It’s also always nice to throw your kids for a loop. Karan and I are two peas in a pod and by the time we finished lunch after the tour, the boys were wide-eyed with terror to realize there was another one… just. like. their. nutty. mother! As much as they tried to cut up during lunch, we made sure we topped them.

And if this were a movie instead of a blog, you’d see the behind-the-scenes footage of Karan encouraging the boys to sing a song they’d made up. I’d listened to it for the last five weeks in the car and she made sure they sang it loudly and repeatedly while I shot her eye-rays-of-death from the passenger seat and she giggled with delight. I tell you what, only your soul-sister can get away with that crap!

Fred and George were highly entertained by my soul-sis, Karan.

Home…

Our Charlotte pit-stop was a great final stop in a pretty tough trip and we used the energy from that to drift the last few hours home. We managed a couple more geocaches along the way but by and large we enjoyed letting the trip wind down.

The most important order of business for the boys was getting home to The Disapproving Beagle. After five weeks of separation, they were beside themselves knowing they’d be able to see him soon. We had a lot of powerful and sweet moments on the journey, but seeing boys reunited with their beloved pup… that’s a memorable moment.

Reunion of a Disapproving Beagle nature…

And now for your moment of green…

Refuge and rehab for injured birds as well as educating kids… Carolina Raptor Center has a challenging and admirable mission.

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