Our North Carolina Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 937 miles, and drove for 20 hours and 52 minutes during our week in North Carolina while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Roadside Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in North Carolina the past week.

Famous Person: Billy Graham

Famous Food: Sweet Potato Pie

Roadside Attraction: World's Biggest World

State Capitol/Museum: Raleigh

National Park: Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Historic Location: Wright Brother's National Monument

Can't Miss Attraction: None

Made in the USA Tour: Carrington Court Direct

Please view our previous blog posts for further explanations of our experiences in North Carolina over the past week.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $185.00

$ 2.55 gal. in Boone,NC was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.69 gal. in Winston Salem,NC was highest price paid.


We did a lot of driving in North Carolina!

Groceries: $123.00

Walmart $85.00

Costco $32.00

Ingalls $6.00


We bought a lot of food!

Dining out $53.00

Starbucks $6.00 (Tea x1 for free WiFi)

CiCi's $14.00 (Pizza on the Go)

Moe's $13.00 (Burrito on the Go) Sweet potatoes $14.00 (Delicious Sweet Potato pie)

Costco $6.00 (Pizza on the go)


We did great in this category!

Entertainment: $6.00

Redbox $6.00 (Movies x3)


We did great in this category!

Lodging: $61.00

Walmart $0.00 (Slept in parking lot x 7 nights)

Hotel $61.00 (Budgeted hotel night)


We did great in this category!

Miscellaneous: $0.00

Parking $0.00


We did great in this category!

North Carolina Expenses Grand Total: $ 428.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc.)

Is North Carolina Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 8

“The North Carolina economy centers around aerospace, automotive, biotech, energy, IT, textiles and agriculture specifically sweet potato, tobacco, and Christmas trees. The North Carolina government had a $190 million surplus in 2018, and a $1.8 billion dollar rainy day fund. I love a state with their financial house in order!”

Lori: 4

“North Carolina’s median household income of $47,830 ranks 41st in the nation.

The states unemployment rate is 15% higher than the national average, and has the fourteenth highest poverty rate in the nation at 17.6%. One must venture outside of the state's major cities to see the true economic picture. While North Carolina’s urban areas are booming, the rural areas are greatly suffering”

Economy score: 6

Cost of Living:

Nate: 6

“North Carolina has a sales tax as high as 7.5% after local surcharges, and has the 22nd lowest property tax in the country. In 2014, North Carolina instituted a flat income tax rate of 5.75%, in 2018 reduced the rate to 5.49%, and will reduce the rate again in 2019 to 5.25%! The state is middle of the road when it comes to taxes, but at least they are heading in the right direction!”

Lori: 7

“Compared to the national average, in North Carolina housing is 17% cheaper, gas is 7% cheaper, and surprisingly food costs 3% more! I am not overly impressed!”

Cost of living score: 6.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 7

“North Carolina features a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. The natural disasters the state is most at risk for is tornadoes and hurricanes!”

Lori: 9

“North Carolina was clean and well cared for throughout. The violent crime rate is on par with the national average, and I felt safe wherever I went.”

Quality of life score: 8


Nate: 8

“North Carolinian's love: Bluegrass music, NASCAR, breweries, BBQ, basketball, hockey, football, minor league baseball, and the breathtaking outer banks. In addition, outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and scenic drives bring millions of visitors to the state each year! Similar to chivalry, Southern hospitality appears to be dead in North Carolina! Just my humble observations!”

Lori: 9

“North Carolina had ample vegan and vegetarian options for even to most discerning herbivore. Furthermore, the state ranks 29th in the nation for renewable energy, and has the largest wind farm in the Southeast. In 2015, North Carolina generated 7% of it's energy from renewable sources, and plans to double that number by 2020! I love a green state!”

Culture Score: 8.5


Nate: 8

“North Carolina boasts 11 National Parks, and 30 state parks! The Blue Ridge Highway, Great Smokey Mountains and the Appalachian Trail alone draws over 25 million visitors to the state annually! From the Mountains in the West to the Outer Banks in the East, North Carolina was a beautiful state with easy to drive well maintained traffic free roadways”.

Lori: 8

“The states major cities of Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem and Asheville, are fairly evenly spread out so you are never too far from goods and services. With that said, if you do happen to find yourself in the state's rural areas, your options for a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas are limited and expensive”

Environment Score: 8

The verdict is in:

The final score for North Carolina was 7.4, and it will NOT be our new home. Nate already used his wild card, and Lori chose not to use her wild card on this state

Below are the current standings:

Colorado 9.2

Michigan 8.3

Oregon 8.2

Tennessee 7.8

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

North Carolina 7.4

Texas 7.3 (NATE’S WILD CARD)

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Washington 6.9

Georgia 6.8

Virginia 6.6

Wyoming 6.5

Arizona 6.5

Pennsylvania 6.5

Florida 6.2

Idaho 6.1

West Virginia 6.0

Alabama 5.9

California 5.9

Kansas 5.9

Nevada 5.8

Nebraska 5.7

South Carolina 5.4

Utah 5.0

Kentucky 4.9

Mississippi 4.7

Wisconsin 4.5

New Mexico 4.5

Louisiana 4.3

Minnesota 4.2

Montana 4.1

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Oklahoma 3.3

Illinois 1.9