Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Avon NC (Day 2)

We woke up to nice warm temperatures today. It always seems strange to us West Coasters to see grey skies and step outside and have it pretty warm! We rode out for a nice breakfast at Oceanic Bistro today. Thanks to Erica for making us welcome! Breakfast was delicious!! 

We went for a great bike ride today, trying to explore both sides of this very narrow spit of land. When I say narrow, it is probably only about 1/2 mile wide. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean (which, by the way, still looks pretty angry) and on the other side, the Palmico Sound. (calmer but it is huge and rather like a small ocean). We rode about 8 kms and I think that it sounds rather grandiose of us but when it is always dead flat, as the areas around these waters often are, it is probably the cardio equivalent of about 5 kms. Oh well, better some than none!

We started out with the Atlantic side. We love it, even in it's anger.....

We wanted to lock our bikes at the top of the ramp at the Avon Pier and then noticed
this sign! $1 for you to go out on the pier and "sight-see" or fish!! Good thing we were
just going down onto the beach. Although, we asked if it was alright if we locked up the
bikes on the ramp - no problem they said!!


The water was cold, but certainly not as cold as our
Vancouver, Pacific Ocean would be right now!



To me, there is something cool about the underside of a boardwalk!


The love of our life......

After the beach visit, we rode back over to the other side of the "seashore". It took us about 5 minutes to get back past our RV park and around the roads here.
This house is just about a block down the road from the campground....

Family burial plot.....
Something we have noticed for a while now is the right to have family burial plots
right on your own land. This is very different for us. I am not sure what happens if and when the family ever decides to sell their house. I mean, If I buy the house, grannie and gramps have to go with you, cuz they aren't staying with me!!!

Ah, just further down the road, our equivalent of a mountain bike track, probably about 3 feet wide but skinny for those of us not accustomed to riding elevated!!
It took nerves of steel!!!
Gather up your courage!!!!!

It lead us to this canal...that's all.


Cool houses, back up on stilts for those storm surges, that will come eventually!
We continued on to a rather dilapidated old marina and we could see some wind surfers nearby. Our campground is about a block from that water globe you see....
An old piece of concrete, embedded with shells on the breakwater.
Seemed that they used anything old and brick or concrete related to
shore up this breakwater on the Palmico Sound side.....

An old check valve from a boat....I wonder where the rest
of the boat got too??!
Doug, my expert check valve guy, looked it over.
He said he wished he could have knocked some of the rust off so he
could see who's valve it was!! Old valve guys never die, they just retire!!!


Notice the two kite surfers out behind this wind surfer?

 New construction in same area....

Love these stilted houses.....


Loved, loved this old house. Just needs a loving touch (or two)

One of the interesting things that Doug has researched is that you can rent a nice, modest home here in Avon (not right on the beach, but everything is within a 3 block radius of the beach) for about $500-600 per week, during the months of mid-September (after Labour Day) to mid-May. Check out this website: if you want to see some interesting things. Of course, in the summer they pretty much double in price!! Just check out the Avon NC area.
And with that we ended up back at the van with a nice glass of wine in our hands. Thanks to Doug for putting the composition of this picture together. 

There has been a tornado watch here today. Not sure why, but we think it encompasses all of Dare County which reaches a bit inland as well. As of this evening (7 pm) it has been lifted but we have had a good soaking of rain this evening.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone affected by the terrible storms and tornados in the south of USA. Gosh, it just never ends, this terrible weather, every spring......

Thought for the Day: "It's impossible" said pride. "It's risky" said experience. "It's pointless" said reason. "Give it a try" whispered the heart.

Shawboro NC to Kinnakeet/Avon NC (93 Miles)

Late post from Tuesday, April 29th:

Well, Kinnakeet is actually the "historic" name but on a map you will find it listed as Avon. Loved the drive on Tuesday. We left Shawboro and came down Hwy 168 and then  turned east and went onto the 'Outer Banks" and Hwy 12.

Between Southern Shores and Kitty Hawk, we stopped to check out the ocean!!

Mother Nature looks a tad irritated today, doesn't she???
As we were going through Kitty Hawk, we stopped at the Wright Brothers Nat'l Memorial. First, we were pretty stoked because that Nat'l Park pass we bought in December in Oregon once again came in handy as it waved the $4 each entrance fee (...that only leaves $66 more worth of entrances fees to be able to pay for itself!)

This was an amazing stop. One of those that we did not plan. It was a serendipitous occasion! I am pretty sure none of us gives the Wright Bros. much thought these days. We just all pile into today's airplanes without ever thinking about their contribution to that first flight on December 17th, 1903. Check out these pictures and if you want some good reading pick up a book or go on the internet and look up Wright Bros. Pretty cool set of dudes! 
They both always dreamt that flight was possible. Their serious work in aeronautics began in 1899 when they wrote to the Smithsonian to ask about literature on the science of aeronautics. But the institute had nothing to offer and the brothers were both dismayed and excited that they could be the first to achieve this dream so they went to work. 
The brothers first owned a bike shop in Dayton Ohio. 
Interesting that their knowledge of bikes helped in launching the first flight!!

A full-sized model of one of their early gliders in the museum....
Recreated work shop and living quarters....
This area in this field is where it all happened. This large marker is where they made those first, engine powered flights. It took them many years after they started their rudimentary flight experiments (gliders, etc.) that they actually got to this point.
See that metal rail/track? (not the plastic walking stuff around it) They attached the plane to the rail, using a hub-type fixture and used it as a guide to launch the plane. This was not a glider. This had to be a plane that would "break man's bond with earth in a controlled flight" under power. Straight ahead from this marker are the markers for the 4 flights that they took that December morning.

First attempt, from the big rock marker, 120 feet

 Second attempt, 175 feet

Third attempt, 200 feet.
Notice that the brothers took turns each time.
Fourth and successful try. The one that changed history!!
Take note of the distance between the first 3 and this one - I think they got it right!
Can you imagine the hooting and hollering that must have gone on??!!
Simply incredible!! We walked up to the big monument that was erected to honour them on one of the anniversaries. While it looked like a murky day, it was actually very warm but with a good breeze. From here you are only 1/2 mile to the Atlantic Ocean. I guess one of the reasons they chose this area was because of the soft sand for "crash" landings!
One nice thing about "off-season" travel is the ability to take
photos with no people in them. There were folks there but not too many! 



They had to have a lot of this!!

Looking way back down to where we were. That skinny strip of concrete in
the middle is just the sidewalk. You can see the museum buildings on the right as well....
Then down on the other side of this hill, there is a life size mock up that you can crawl on.
Notice how he was dressed. They both dressed in Suits and ties that morning. They must
have known that they were going to achieve something special and spectacular!!!


Doug helps cheer them on!
There were several men from town and from the Life Saving Squad from the beach there to help out. In some of the pictures you will also see two little boys. They actually ran away when the engine was started up. Can you imagine years later, them knowing that maybe they should have stayed for something so important!!!  (..."Grandpa, tell me again, why you ran away?)
December 7th, 1903 (see the two little boys?)
It was the postmaster of Kitty Hawk, Mr. Tate, who invited them to the area.

Archive photo.....
This famous shot was taken by one of the life saving men. He had never used a
camera before and the Wright brothers did not even know if this photo
had turned out until they got back to Dayton.....
What a great tour. Now it TOTALLY makes sense why many of the North Carolina license plates say "First in Flight".....duh!!! Another great stop!!!
Then it was on to do something I said for many years I wanted to do. And when we started planning this trip, it was a must stop for me!! All the years I was working in transportation, I told the people I worked with "When I ship something to Nags Head, NC. I am going to retire. Surely a man must have named that area Nag's Head!!!
Well, I got here! Lexi, Bobbi Jo, Sharon - take note, it really does exist and it is a nice little town!! I am just not sure why we could NEVER ship anything here!!!
Finally, I made it!!!

Nothing special - just random things that end up on our dashboard.
Phone, glasses, tomatoes (I don't know why....) sea shells, camera!!!
After that it was just more cruising, always working our way towards Avon. We just love this coastal area. 
More of my favourite water towers - This is for Nags Head....



Constant road maintenance due to shifting sand!!
This strip of land is constantly moving.....
We checked into our campground, Sands of Time. It is just about 2 blocks off the main drag and is perfectly quiet. Actually the thing that we can really hear is the "roar" of the ocean to the east of us. Pretty amazing!!
See Euri, on the right of the picture? 
Bathrooms are on the back of this house.....
We are not sure about putting up the awning right now.
It is pretty windy so we will see what happens!!
So, are you tired yet? After we quickly had lunch (without unpacking) we headed 6 miles down the road to see the famous Cape Hatteras lighthouse. It has spent over 200 years protecting mariners from the Diamond Shoals.
In 1999 they had to move the lighthouse to it's present location, a full 2900 feet from where it originally stood. When it was originally erected, it was 1500 feet from the shoreline. Over time, the ocean moved the tip of the island and it was dangerously within 500 feet of the water. It took 26 days (instead of the 51 days first estimated) to move it. It must have looked like the space shuttle going along. They had many, many people who volunteered extra time and knowledge to work with the engineers to help move it along. It had all kinds of sensors attached to it so even if it tilted 1/2 a degree, they would know. It never tilted not one little bit. Super great spot and such a famous lighthouse!!! 
The main lighthouse keepers house (he was the boss).

Inside the museum. Lots of neat displays.....
Sorry, forgot to take a picture of the outside of this house. It was a duplex
and it housed the other two keepers and their families. Both homes were moved
to this new location when the lighthouse was moved in 1999

This is where the old lighthouse location. Pretty dangerously close to
the sea to support that huge structure, plus the bricks were beginning
to crumble underneath it. These large stones were put here to honour all
the lighthouse keepers, right from the first ones in 1803!!!
Still, you can see in storms how the stones have been pushed about!!

This is the new spot - pretty far to have to move a structure, huh?? I am sure, like the Wright Bros. history, you could Google the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and it's history and it's move
and find out lots more than I can remember!!!

Doug loves the sea......
...guess we both do!!
Phew!!! That was a busy travel day, huh? And I thought I wouldn't have much to tell you!! Anyway, last night there was a problem with the internet but all seems fine this morning. As long as the internet continues to work, we will stay here at this little campground. There is hardly anyone here. Lots of stored RV's and just a few campers. The lady that owns the property lives at the back of the property in a nice house. Right now, she is busy on the lawn tractor cutting all the grass - and it smells heavenly!!
Plan is to do lots of bike riding all around this quaint neighbourhood. Even out on the main street, everyone rides on the sidewalks. Maybe a haircut is in order for me!!

My favourite picture of the day......
Okay, I have 2 favourites!!
Sorry I was late.....ahem, Cindy!!
Thought for the Day: Unconquerable faith...on a dedication to the Wright Bros.