Flying Machines, Shipwrecks & Big Lights

From one end to its other, the OBX is a very cool strip of sand. When I arrived by ferry on the island of Ocracote I knew I was gonna hang here longer than I originally thought.

My drive northward up the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway took me through Ocracote, Hatteras and a few other villages to the KOA near Rodanthe. Although it’s a bit of a parking lot style campground, the place is nice, very well maintained and convenient to entire the Outer Banks.

The day after I arrived (Thursday) I headed north about 35 miles to Kill Devil Hills. I needed some diesel exhaust fuel that I could get at an auto supply store. But really, my main reason was to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Kitty Hawk gets all the history book love, but that’s because it was the main community back in the early 1900s. The first flight took place at Kill Devil Hills, a couple miles south of Kitty Hawk.

The National Park Service memorial is really very cool. Spacious. Inviting. Simple. Pretty. Check the photos in the slideshow attached to this post. I especially liked walking along the exact path where man’s flight first went down (ugh, unfortunate phrase)—a mere 12 seconds and 120 feet long. It struck me as apropos that I noticed both a small single engine prop plane towing an advertising banner and, much higher up at 35-40 thousand feet, jet trails of a flying machine on a trip a bit longer than 12 seconds. I wonder if Orville & Wilbur had any idea…

A late lunch of a good burger & decent brown ale at Outer Bank Brewing Station would negate the need for much dinner once I got back home so I visited the Bodie Island Light Station. The third lighthouse built on the OBX, this 3rd generation 164 foot tall beacon on the island starting shining in October 1872.

Next I stopped in for a Flagship IPA at Watermens Bar & Grill—a cool place on the west side overlooking 30-mile wide Pamlico Sound. I didn’t know you could stand on land on  the east coast and watch a sunset over water. Very cool!

Friday I headed 35 miles back the opposite direction to Hatteras Island. I’d sailed past The Lighthouse several years ago, so visiting it was a gonna be great! The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the United States and its white rotating light flash every 7.5 seconds is visible from all directions miles away at sea. The 7-minute, 257-step climb to the observation deck of the 210-foot high beacon is worth every breath (and every dime since the NPS comped free tickets for the first day of the season). The views are freaking amazing!

I also briefly visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum in Hatteras Village… ’nuff said; I guess was just hoping it was gonna be more shipwreck oriented. I’d spent more time at the lighthouse than I thought I would so I grabbed a sandwich and brew at the Wreck, near the boat docks and then headed back north to my 4-day home.

My plan for  Saturday is to take care of a couple maintenance things, walk the beach a bit, and prep B for a departure after watching (attending?) services Sunday morning. After online church, I’m headed to Greensboro to help out with a Samaritan’s Purse tornado recovery project for a few days. Also gotta get an oil change and tire rotation done while in Greensboro. After that … we’ll see!

Pics of The Outer Bank (click image to view full)