We left Chapel Hill mid-afternoon, which put us on the Outer Banks (OBX) before dark. North Carolina is a long state, east to west. From Chapel Hill to the OBX was still about three hours away. It was an interesting drive in that we crossed three bridges, each one taking us further out into the Atlantic Ocean.
As I was watching Google Maps, it was somewhat weird knowing we were pushing farther and farther from land. It seemed to be a vulnerable position being basically on an island in the Atlantic. It was also cool. The OBX are completely disconnected from the contiguous states. Only by bridges can you access them. You can drive north and south for quite a ways, where at some points you see the omnipresent ocean bordering both sides.
We stayed in Nags Head, which is the place of Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers did their experimenting with flight. There are a museum and grounds that you can go to. We did that, which took a day to take it in. There was not a lot there. We are traveling plodders; you may be able to do it quicker.
We also visited a lighthouse, though not the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which is the most famous one. It was about 50 miles south of where we were, down the skinny island. I did not care to drive down there to see it and then drive back. We could enjoy the beach in the Nags Head area, and a smaller (shorter) lighthouse.
The beaches were different from other beaches we’ve been too. They were isolated, great waves, and clean. It was probably the remoteness of the area that was most appealing. It was a true getaway. Interestingly, being an NC boy, I have never been to the OBX though I’ve always wanted to.
This is one of the places I’d like to return. I think I could spend a month there, even though I’m not a beach boy. I don’t care a lot for the beach but this was a nice one. (The wifi was good too.)
The Wright Brothers museum was interesting and worth the time. It is part of the National Park Service, which is a plus. The Rangers both years of summer travel have been wonderfully helpful and pleasant to deal with. They were that way in Kitty Hawk.
One of the funnier moments was when a Park Ranger was giving a speech about the Wright Brothers, and he asked about the four animals someone took up in a hot air balloon. While he was talking, I Googled it, and then said a duck. He was impressed. I then said I Googled it and everyone laughed.
From that point forward he made several references to Google Man. I had picked up a new name. I’m Google Man. Later at the monument there was a group of folks taking a picture at the monument, maybe ten people lined up, side by side. I joined the group, and some of the folks in the group were humored by it.
The lady taking the picture did not see me. I stood there for a while and finally broke from the group. I asked the lady if she saw me. She said that she did not. She then said, “It’s Google man. You’re funny.” The name stuck. I was talking to the children about this and how it would be good to create a “Where’s Waldo” idea, by calling it Google Man. I would randomly show up in pictures around the country.
From that point forward I began photo bombing groups throughout the trip. (I was called out at the Jefferson Memorial by a teacher trying to herd her students for a pic. She was humored, though directive, let’s say.)
The other memorable thing about this part of the trip is that I ran the longest of the four distances that were laid out as the four distances the Wright Brothers were in flight. I was trying to run the distance quicker than their airplane that covered the same distance.
Haydn was able to do it. He was literally faster than an airplane. I was about 10 seconds slower than a airplane. Oh, well. Being almost as fast as an airplane was good enough.
We also went out to some dunes. In a way, it reminded me of what it would be like standing in a desert. They were providing hang-gliding lessons too. You pay $100 or something like that for a handful of lessons where you can run down a hill while tethered by two folks running with you down the hill. They don’t let go of the rope.
If you want to go to the next level, there is another charge. I’m not sure how many levels there are to be certified. To do that would require a lot of money and dedicated time. That would be a trip in itself.
Next stop Colonial Williamsburg.