Travelogue: Leaving the Rose Marie

After a visit that was supposed to last a few days but turned into four weeks, it was time to move on. I had to be in Charlotte on March 31st to shoot the Charlotte Brain Tumor Race the next day.

Susie was wearing her feelings on her sleeve.

 

 

I think Sadie was beckoning us all to get our butts back on the porch where we belonged.

 

 

One last shot of Meghan, Renée, and Becky, last remaining members of the group that had been at the Rose Marie since my arrival.

 

 

There were lots of hugs, and perhaps a few tears. It’s hard sometimes to say goodbye to friends with whom you’ve bonded over time and work and play. But none of us ever actually said “goodbye”. We said things like, “Until we see each other again”. We’ll keep in touch, I’m sure, because we’ve forged such strong friendships over the weeks I was there.

 

 

I’ve known since nearly the beginning of The Making Lemonade Road Tour that my car’s name is Gypsy. In retrospect, it’s kind of obvious. But my bike has been another story. I’ve been thinking about a name since she was gifted to me by my very dear friend Thomas, but nothing really seemed to fit. I wasn’t thinking about it at all as I packed the last of my gear into Gypsy that morning, but as I rounded the car to say my farewells to Renée and Becky, I happened to touch the back wheel of the bike. It was a casual touch, not unlike the touch of a lover who passes in the kitchen while making breakfast (or lemonade), but it stopped me in my tracks in the way a casual touch sometimes does. I looked at her, smiled, and said out loud, “Journey. Her name is Journey.”

Meghan and Blue and I headed out, and spent our first night on the road in Bienville National Forest in Mississippi and the second night in Congaree National Forest in South Carolina. We discovered that Blue is a big fan of the sunroof, and Gypsy now has the scratches in her paint to prove it. I can’t be upset about them, though. Every time I see them, they’ll remind me of that epic part of The Making Lemonade Road Tour when we were all packed into a small space with good music and beautiful scenery and warm conversation.

 

We finally arrived at Nick’s, our destination in Tabor City, NC, where Meghan and Blue were going to hang out while Jez and I went to shoot the Charlotte Brain Tumor Race over the weekend. It was a pretty little farm a bit out in the country.

 

 

The farm has this great barn, and sometime when I have more time, I might see if I can arrange to borrow it for a shoot or two.

 

 

I had to use the back door to the house, of course.

 

 

Oh, and Nick has the most awesome sense of decorating style.

 

 

It’s a working farm, so of course there are chickens.

 

 

…said Attack Chicken was on patrol.

 

 

…while the aforementioned Nick was doing the meet-and-greets.

 

 

We only stayed a night there, and after many changes of plans, spent the following night in Uwharrie National Forest, where the dogwoods were in full bloom.

 

 

I went for a short walk for a little me-time, a necessity in even the closest of friendships. There were lots of little flowers in bloom here and there, and it’s a gorgeous forest. I look forward to going back sometime when I can just loaf around for a week or two.

 

 

When I got back from my walk, it was obvious that Meghan and Blue were ecstatic to see me, and had missed me terribly.

 

 

Jez and I went off the next day to spend the night in Charlotte, shoot the race yesterday morning, and I said my farewells to Meghan and Blue, who are now on the last bit of their journey home to New York. I’ve gone on to Wilmington where I’ll be for a week or so, then I’ll be up and down the southeast coast a bit until I need to be in Charleston to shoot the Brain Tumor Walk there in early May. From there, I’ll be heading west. I’m sure I’ll stop in New Orleans for a day or two, and of course I’ll visit the Rose Marie after that. But this time the visit there will be short, and I’ll be on to new places ever more westward.

But I’ll never forget the first time I spent a few days at the Rose Marie for a couple of weeks, the moment I finally realized the name of my bike, or the time I spent packed in a car with a bike, a girl, and a rescued dog.

 


LouFCD

Louis Shackleton is a boudoir, portrait, art, event, and wildlife photographer formerly based in Wilmington, NC and now traveling the continent in his 2001 VW Passat named Gypsy.

Head on over to the About page to read more about him and his work.

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