Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
6Trip End Jul 13, 2013
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Where I stayed
I guess the fire wasn't that bad
Anyway, we packed up...double checked for any missing items and set sail...err, uhh, drove onward to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The best part of this drive is that the Outer Banks are so beautiful. It's essentially a 200 mile long string of barrier islands situated way off the coast of North Carolina. Some areas of the northern section are quite built up with chain stores and restaurants and remind me a lot of the Jersey shore. Thousands of houses dot the beach and traffic can be pretty bad (one thing to note is that all of the houses are on pilings since flooding here during hurricane season is almost guaranteed). Once past the area of Kitty Hawk (you know...where my cats Rocky and Oliver first took flight?) things get much quieter. The road narrows from four lanes to two...traffic lights disappear...and all that's left are beach dunes and ocean on your left and marsh and bay on your right. It's incredible.
This goes on and on and on. In fact if you were to stretch out the Outer Banks (at least the portion that we cover) end to end it's nearly as long as the whole state of New Jersey. Every once in a while a small town like Buxton or Hatteras will pop up
Finally you come to the end. Not of our journey mind you, just the end of the island! Here a ferry will take you over to Ocracoke Island since it's only accessible in this manner. No bridges, no tunnels. This is what makes Ocracoke so charming...it's isolation. In fact the small town spent so much of it's history separated from the mainland that the people native to the island actually developed their own dialect of english!
The ferry is a small one, holding only 30 vehicles. Even with four ferries operating today the wait for the trip was nearly two hours. We took the time to walk around some shops and eateries near the slips until it was out time to depart. Oh yeah, I wanted to buy a kite in one of these shops but Jen said she, "Never understood the whole kite flying thing." Sad. Just sad.
The ferry ride was interesting on it's own. To begin, a tourist (yes I know I'm a tourist but anyone with fewer than 8 brain cells is a REAL tourist) decided it'd be a good idea to feed seagulls that were following our ferry
But the ferry crossing got better. The area of water that the ships traverse is known as Pamlico Sound and it's quite shallow. The boat channels are narrow and in a constant state of being dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers. Yet..that didn't stop our ferry from being grounded on a sandbar today. I assume it happens often, because there was no announcement...no warning bells....no mad rush to the lifeboats. There was simply 4 or 5 minutes of earnest chugging away by the engines. Black diesel fumes poured from the ship as it struggled forward inch by inch until finally we broke free. Looking down over the side of the ferry you could see sand and silt floating everywhere, a result I suppose of our victory over it.
About 45 minutes later our boat came into the dock and we drove off. This part of Ocracoke Island is deserted except for a few areas that people use for swimming. Thirteen miles later is the town, which is as lovely as I remember it. We found our motel quickly (there are very few roads to get lost on) and here I sit now...writing this entry. I may update it later...but that's all for now!