Monday was an early start, which was good because I've been having trouble getting on an early morning schedule, which is better for the photography. I was on the road by 8 am, which is decent. When I get to the national parks, I hope to be ready to shoot by sunrise.

First order of business was breakfast. Until Sunday night, I'd been failing miserable at my goal of eating at small independent restaurants. I think I'll see more character of the place I happen to be at (not to mention characters) at non-chain restaurants. I did however plan all along to violate that goal in order to go to a Waffle House. I'd never been to one before, and I expected to see plenty of character there! I stopped at the Waffle House just south of Richmond, and was pleasantly surprised that the food did not suck; in fact it wasn't bad at all. And the place was indeed filled with characters.

Then I had the challenge of finding Callaville, which isn't on any map I've seen (now that I've been there, I've found it on Google Maps, but it didn't find it in a search). The house we lived in didn't have an address, and I believe was the only house in Callaville. Dad told me it was at the intersection of state roads 608 and 633. I was able to find 608 on the map, so I headed west on it. Along the way I saw lots of cotton fields, which was cool, since I'd never seen cotton fields before (that I can remember).

Fortunately I remembered enough to recognize when I was getting close. I spotted the gravel road that led to the house. I was a bit nervous about going onto the property, as there were pretty scary "no trespassing" signs at the entrance, and I was in territory where "shoot first, ask questions later" is a common philosophy. I took my chance, and as luck would have it I got there right as the current owner of the property was unloading his truck (where I imagine he probably had a shotgun). He eyed me from afar with much suspicion, but I gave a friendly wave as I neared. He warmed up a bit after I explained that I lived there as a little boy, and just wanted to take some pictures.

The house looked much different, which was partly because it has been 27 years since I'd seen it, and partly because it has in fact undergone some changes. In fact, I'd have suspected I had the wrong location if it weren't for the pump house being exactly where I remembered it being. The house itself is actually abandoned now. The current owner lives in a brand new double wide trailer which is sitting on the location that the guest house used to sit. The giant oak tree (which had a tire swing that provided endless entertainment for Reed and I) was gone, and the magnolia tree that Reed spent an entire afternoon in was also gone (because I took the ladder needed to climb down away while he was in the tree). The house is now blue instead of white, and is missing the large two story front porch. Of course the house looked much smaller than I remembered; and in fact the entire property looked smaller.

After taking pictures of the house, and the church down the road where I was baptized, I headed west to I-85, then continued south. I was determined to find a small town with a tiny diner for lunch. I stopped in Franklinton, NC, whose "downtown" was two blocks of mostly vacated buildings. I ate at City Lunch, which is only open during lunch hours. I couldn't resist a place that had a sign that said "Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior...", and it had all the character that I was looking for. The people were very friendly, and I had a very tasty grilled cheese with bacon and tomato.

From there I headed to Raleigh to visit with Betsy, and as luck would have it, we ended up going to Trisha's house for dinner, which is located in Franklinton just a few miles from City Lunch. It was good to see both the Neibert women, their significant others, and 11 month old Hanna. They made me feel guilty that I left my camera in the car back in Raleigh, and so they didn't make the photo blog.

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Corrections per Mom's memory
You speak as if you only removed the ladder one time leaving Reed trapped in the tree. I seem to remember this happening many times!!!!. Mom, October 11, 2006 15:52

Corrections on torturing of little brother
I was tortured several times...being left up in the tree. To this day, I still have minor issues with dendrophobia (fear of trees). Scarred for life. Reed, October 19, 2006 10:17