Wednesday morning, we rose early and repacked the car. We were heading north again with one more stop between Florida and home: Pinehurst, North Carolina. A place I had never heard of until I met Doug. A golf lovers mecca of sorts.
When we drove south, five days earlier, there was a blizzard in North Carolina and it was -5 in Pinehurst. By the time it was over, they ended up being buried under an inch of ice and a foot of snow.
Five days later we were back. It was 23 degrees and they had just reopened the golf courses two days earlier. There had been so much snow that it had not yet melted completely and we laughed as we walked past piles of snow while wearing sandals and shorts.
We had two days in Pinehurst. The goal was to fill it with golf games and strolls through golf history. And fill it we did.
We played the Pine Needles course - designed by a women, with women golfers in mind. It was lovely and felt very much like camping in northern Ontario with all the pine trees and pine needles underfoot.
After that game we headed into the club for lunch where we caught the end of the Women's Olympic gold medal hockey game. Canada versus the US. Tied 2:2 and in sudden death overtime. Several nail-biting minutes of stress followed by a very muffled but still audible whoop of victory as Canada scored the winning goal. No one else in the club seemed to echo our excitement so we kept our Canadian citizenship quietly tucked away and tried not to grin too broadly.
I learned all about Payne Stewart, his victory at Pinehurst and his tragic death.
I learned about the famous Putter Boy of Pinehurst.
And I was introduced to the biggest pro shop I have ever seen. They had everything, in every colour.
Hard to believe a snowstorm had blown through only a few days earlier.
Pinehurst, as Doug had promised, was a beautiful, quaint little town. Quiet sidewalks, tiny shops, history oozing out of every corner. It was a wonderful final stop on our two-week journey.
The final drive home was twelve hours long and took us the better part of Saturday. We drove through a mountain range and five states. We watched the temperature slowly drop from the low 20s when we left and finally settle at 3 degrees when we crossed the border. The speed signs changed from miles/hour back to kilometres/hour and the five-dollar bills went from green back to blue. And funnily enough, as soon as we left the customs officer and began the final stretch of the journey on Canadian soil, Blue Rodeo came on the radio.
We were home again.