We drove to Baltimore a couple of weeks ago to attend a wedding. Although we had known when we were going for a long time, it wasn’t until a few weeks beforehand that we realized that, with a tiny bit of planning, we could pull into Annapolis at a perfect time to take Patti’s mom to lunch on Mother’s Day. Knowing this, I planned to drive from Central Florida to Roanoke Rapids, N.C., in one shot. It put us just a few easy hours from our destination and there are a lot of hotels and restaurants in the area. Hoping to find a way to burn some energy after a long day in the cab of the truck, I did a bit of googling and found what seemed like a nice walk to stretch our legs.

If you find yourself traveling I-95 in southern Va. or northern N.C., the Roanoke Canal Trail is perfect. We found the River Road access without a hitch (maybe 10 minutes from the I-95 interchange) and headed up the trail, happy to be out of the truck. The weather was hot and humid, and the skies to the west were threatening. There were a few sign pedestals along the way telling us about the flora and fauna and whatever, but then we came across the one pictured below.

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

In 1949, an F-80 on a training run had crashed close to where we were standing. The widow of the pilot had placed “the marble marker here,” but we didn’t see anything like that in the immediate area. A bit of exploring revealed a new-ish trail of pavers heading into the bushes, leading to the marker.

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Memorial Marker, Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Apparently they had recently cleaned it up and added the pavers (full story here). We’re glad they did, as it’s an interesting little tidbit that would never have hit our radar. We kept on down the trail for a short ways, but there was thunder in the distance by this time and we had to cut it short. Next time we come this way we’ll know this nice little walk is waiting at the end of the day and plan on more exploring.

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

Roanoke Rapids Canal Trail, 5/10/14

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