So we head out from Raleigh on our way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, excited to have a week at the beach with new sights to see and time to relax on the beach. I am driving along on the interstate with my trusty navigator at my side, when we the passenger side rear view mirror flies from the bracket and starts dangling in the wind at 65 miles an hour. It is still connected by the electrical cable which allows you to control the mirror so just keeps flopping around until we manage to get to an exit to pull off and figure out what happened. After we had gotten on the road we had realized that the mirror had been damaged and was held on by a clamp, but honestly had forgotten all about it until this happened. So Buzz cut the electrical cable and we proceeded on, but rather tentatively as the only way to see what is on the left side of you is from that mirror. We do have a backup camera which lets you see what you have passed, but it is certainly not as reassuring as having that mirror.
Anyway, we arrive safely at our site in Kitty Hawk, to find that we probably have the best site in park by sheer luck. This has happened to us a couple of times and we're not exactly sure why; must be because we are just so darn nice! We settle in and spend the next morning trying to locate someone to fix or replace the mirror. Of course, not only can it not be fixed, but has to be ordered. Not only does it have to be ordered, but is not made any more so in order for it to match the other one we have to buy two. We manage to find someone in our next stop to order it, for a mere $850, plus the cost of labor when we get there. Guess we'll eat in this week.
Our first expedition is right down the road from us, at the Wright Brothers National Park which is where the first powered flight took place. It was a very interesting place to visit, but rather disappointing when you realized how short a flight they actually made. From there we headed over to Roanoke Island and Fort Raleigh which is the sight of the Lost Colony. Some of the first settlers in the US arrived here, but were mostly businessmen and merchants sent to scout out ways for the English to make money off the new land; they were not trained to support themselves in the wilderness and when ships returned to bring them additional supplies the colony was deserted with no sign of any of the settlers. They do have a dramatic presentation of the Lost Colony, but we did not attend that, opting instead to come back for an evening presentation by a local college of songs from the broadway show The Jersey Boys. Quite well done, although a little hokey at times.
The next day we headed south to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and took the ferry (which is free!!!Imagine that!!!) over to Ocracoke Island which is to the south. It was a nice relaxing trip and we were able to take Suzie with us. North Carolina is much more relaxed about dogs in public places than Florida is, that's for sure. Dogs are allowed on the beach, but during the summer have to be on leashes which is just fine with us. Suzie manages to find ghost crabs to chase whether she is on a leash or not. The restaurants on Ocracoke allow dogs in the outdoor areas, so she was able to sit on the deck with us and enjoy the view. She also helped clean the floor.
North of where we were staying was a little town called Duck which had some great shops and restaurants, a little more upscale than some of the more touristy areas to the south. We headed up that way on Sunday morning to give Buzz a special treat for breakfast as it was Father's Day, and also his Birthday - 29 Again! His first phone call of the day was from our insurance agent's staff in Florida with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday - nothing too good for Rocco's clients. So we drove north, looking for the perfect place and finally reached the end of the island; we headed back south, getting hungry by this point, so stopped at what looked like an interesting place only to find we were only the 2nd couple in there and were sadly dissapointed in our fare. So much for the birthday breakfast. We spent the day on the beach and relaxing around the campground figuring we had done enough driving the day before. The next day was our anniversary, so we started off doing laundry to make it especially festive. While I got that started Buzz got a haircut - a brand new style he hasn't had since he was 14. Next entry will include a picture as I also got mine cut off to a more manageable length. Figured you need to know what we look like so you can recognize it when we get home.
The next few days we took time to relax, take Suzie to the beach, and tour the rest of the Outer Banks. We went to a baseball game for the local farm team which was really just a bunch of college players trying to keep in shape for the summer. There were probably only 50 people in the stands, half of them representing the other team, but the mascot for the team kept everyone interested and involved and even came up and gave Buzz a baseball for his enthusiastic support. The one downside was that the game was held on the high school ballfield so they couldn't even serve beer - a baseball game with no beer!
We went down to see Bodie Island Lighthouse, and then further down to see Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was especially interesting as they had a movie showing how they had moved it about a mile and a half to protect it from beach erosion. It was quite an operation and of course my engineering partner thought it was fascinating; I have to admit I did too. We took time to check out the houses along the way, and decided that a hurricane that hit in the early 2000's must have wiped out most of the island as the houses all seemed to be quite new and built to tougher hurricane standards than we are used to seeing in Florida. They all are on stilts or have breakaway first floors so the water will wash underneath. Another trip we made was to the Army Corps of Engineers Ocean Research Facility. They give a tour at 10 am M-F and talk all about the projects they work on to protect our beaches from erosion. Some of the equipment they have looks like it came straight from Star Wars.
So that is our week at the beach. We head from here to Richmond, first to get the mirrors repaired, and then to visit some Civil War Sites. From there we will be heading to Northern Virginia as a base for our visits to Washington, DC. All is well, and the weather is being a little more cooperative (i.e. cooler) so that makes the touring a little more pleasant.