Looking in the Dean Dome and hanging at the Old Well
Our first stop and overnight stay was Chapel Hill, NC. I wanted to do this for two reasons:
- Some of my best childhood memories were of UNC Tar Heel basketball, which is probably not saying a lot about the blessedness of my childhood.
- It split up our trip by keeping the distances between destinations short.
I wanted to play for Dean Smith (coach of the Tar Heels back in the day). I knew it would never happen and was okay with that, though it was escape-like to dream. Even going back to the campus a few years after his death and many years after caring about Tar Heel basketball, was still somewhat emotional.
It’s interesting at how things that happen to you as a child can linger to such an extent that as an older person memories of those things can bring back emotions. For example, I drove by Carmichael Auditorium where the Tar Heels played before building the Dean Dome. It was amazing at the flood of memories that place stirred up.
My family was clueless since they had no memory of the place. I don’t even think I mentioned why I was stopping at the facility. I got out and walked up to the building while my family occupied themselves in the van. The importance of the venue could not resonate with them. It was where my hopes and dreams were perpetuated or dashed, depending on the outcome of the game.
Interesting, Duke University still plays in their little gymnasium. Carolina basketball has never been the same since they moved to the Dean Dome.
We headed over to the Dean Dome, took a few pictures, and walked around the building. We peeked inside at a couple of spots. There was nobody there. Being that it was summer, everyone was somewhere else.
I drove around and around the campus. It was good to be there. I noticed on campus how the traffic lights stayed green (or red) for an inordinate length of time. I asked a lady at Panera, on Franklin Street, about this. She agreed that it was unusual though she did not know why they took so long to change. It just was.
We hung at Panera a bit, went up and down Franklin Street a few times, picked up our free coffee, and later made our way to the Outer Banks. We stayed at a hotel just a few miles from Chapel Hill.
(During the month of May Panera was giving away one free coffee (if you had the app) every day. We each picked up one per day, though the last day, which was the 31st of May, we were on the Outer Banks where they did not have a Panera Bread. We got 60 quarts of free coffee during the month of May. Thanks, Panera.)
While on campus, one of the must see “attractions” is the old well. It took a bit of navigating to find it but eventually we did. I parked in the Chancellor’s parking space since it was across the street from the Old Well. We took quite a few pictures.
While there, two older ladies came by looking to snap some shots of the well. We were hogging the area, though I did not realize we were taking too much time. Really. Then one of the ladies asked something about the fountain, which I thought she was talking about another place since where we were was the Old Well.
I told her that I did not know where the fountain was, to which she angrily replied that I was standing on it. Well, there is a fountain on the Old Well but I never connected the fountain and the “Well” as being the same thing. We had been on our vacation for two days and I’m already ticking someone off.
They went away mumbling, deciding to take a picture while I was standing at the Old Well. Lucia clued me into what was going on, and after I left the spot, the old ladies got their pictures.
Off to the Outer Banks (OBX)