Monday, October 22, 2018

Sad Start to a Special Stop

October 13-17, 2018
Outer Banks, North Carolina

Saturday morning Bill receives one of those phone calls we all dread.

Coy at the annual golf tourney, 2018
Our dear friend Coy passed away on Friday. He's been ill for a while, but we were sure we'd see him again at the reunion in April. It's a horrible loss. Coy and I were good friends in the '70's, with some crazy memories. My mother adored him. He and Bill have spent more time together in recent years, and become very close. His house was where we spent our first night in the motorhome. Coy is part of our history.

The beautiful drive into North Carolina helps, but it's still a quiet trip. One big surprise is the Hampton Bridge-Tunnel that first takes us over the water, then under it!

Yep, just drive out there and go under water!
Driving on the Outer Banks feels like being on a sliver of sand that may sink at any time. It's very cool!

The island is so narrow, the motorhome on our GPS is wider than the strip of land we're driving on!

The sinking feeling gets a little more real in Rodanthe.

Reaching someone at Sands of Time Campground in Avon was challenging, but we did finally get a reservation. The Passport America rate is cash only, which I don't have, so I pay the extra $2/night - still a great deal for the island. Electric is also additional with a cash deposit (I do have that). Our dirt and grass site is level with FHUs and 50 amps. A few small trees and hedges provide a little privacy behind us. 

With cooler temps we share a few brews outside and decide we really like it here!

Football and laundry on Sunday is even better with all the windows open to enjoy the cool breezes.

The one thing I really want to see here is the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. Monday morning we return north. We stop to see Bodie Island Lighthouse, and pick up an off-highway permit. 

This third lighthouse at this site was completed in 1871, was automated in 1934, and continues to safely guide ships along the barrier island.

A recent restoration has the keepers house, tower and grounds looking new.

There are so many human achievements in our history that have changed all of our lives. The 12-seconds of powered flight is one that has always amazed me. From gliding off a tall sand dune multiple times to getting off flat ground and into the air - can you imagine the excitement?!

Fortunately, the national park's memorial is equal to the moment. It is simply done, leaving room to envision that chilly day in 1903. 

The museum is still closed for renovation - we missed the reopening by five days. The 1920's building itself is a national historic landmark.

Modernizing mechanical and electronic systems.
Marking the location where the brothers practiced in their glider for years before attempting powered flight. A sand dune at the time, the hill was fortified with dirt and foliage to stabilize it for the monument. Children were paid a penny a bucket to help take dirt to the top.

The hollow monument built in 1927 was the first structure placed in a national park.
The multi-piece sculpture of the first flight is one of the most delightful I've seen. It really captures the excitement of the event in the faces of those who were there. Walking among them is quite wonderful.

Wilbur lets go of the wing he's stabilizing as Orville pilots their plane off the ground for the first flight.

Orville flew the first and third flights. Wilbur flew the second and fourth - the final one nearly a full minute in the air.

Friends from the life-saving station nearby had been helping the brothers, and were there to cheer on the successful flight!

John T. Daniels also worked at the life saving station, and took the famous photo showing man releasing the binds of earth.
10:35 AM, December 17, 1903
Wonderful how the propellers look like they're moving - they're not.

Walking where man first flew.

Standing at the first flight location looking at the practice hill, under skies that make you question why you'd want to be "up there".

At the Visitor's Center in Kitty Hawk is the Century of Flight Memorial.

An auspicious beginning.

A hundred years later man is living in space!

Major achievements when we were born.

Even more when we graduated from high school.
It truly is incredible what we have accomplished since that 12 seconds a few feet above the sand.

We're enjoying the island so much, we extend for another night, giving us a day to take the Jeep out on the beach (sorry Sherry). It's very deep sand, and not surprising it gets very narrow even at low tide.

There are so many people and vehicles on the shore fishing and sun bathing, we turn around just south of the pier. Bill reads that in the summer there are days when there's no place to park between the dunes and the water!

We never see anyone catch anything.

Deep sand, 4-wheel drive required.

Beautiful clear skies, no humidity. Wonderful.
We've see a lot of beauties, but Hatteras Lighthouse has to be at the top of the list.

Staff and keeper's house. Museum in the staff house is open "intermittently as funding allows".

What a wonderful place to enjoy when weather permitted.
A very impressive base with huge steel doors. Locked today, no tours for anyone.
The lighthouse was moved in 1990 due to eroding coastline. The old foundation blocks now form an amphitheater here. 
The names of the Keepers are engraved on each block.

This bright green little guy is the size of my thumb.
A modern fossil from the 1990 build. Poor guy!
Pelicans are very entertaining.

Lots of casting and reeling. No catching.

Dodging bubbles.
Single scoops of sherbert at the very southern tip of the island.

Large wooden puzzle boxes along the shore.

The Sound is very popular with parasailors.

They're moving very fast!

Almost as much fun as pelicans!

The Outer Banks is a fun and special place, geographically unique, and definitely somewhere we'd love to return to.

Wednesday we head inland for a couple one-night stops along the Interstate that move us into South Carolina.


  1. I’m amazed that two brothers from Dayton taught the world how to fly. What a great site to visit

    1. They weren't the only ones working on it at the time - but they got it right and then shared it with the world. What an amazing legacy!

  2. So sorry for the loss of your friend. He seems awfully young to have been so sick. Dayton is my home town and I've always loved the memorial at Kitty Hawk. Living so close for so many years, we've watched it get better and better. The Wrights were revered in Dayton in their life time and beyond. Their home and bicycle shop are museums. When he was a teenager, my father was a Western Union messenger boy and delivered to the Wrights in their later years. I knew you'd love OBX. My two months there this April and May were not enough. SO sorry you didn't get to go inside the light and the museum. Next time for sure.
    Great pictures. Happy memories for me. Thanks!

    1. We definitely could have spent longer - you were so right that we would love it! How incredible that your father had that connection with the brothers!! There's so much war history in the east so I think we were ready for this inspiration. I hope the museum gets the funding they need to stay open.

  3. Thanks for the re-tour of the Outer Banks. We stayed near Rodanthe and I've communicated with the owner of our rental--all is well with their home after Hurricane Florence. So sorry to read about your friend--I found out today we lost another member of my high school class.

    1. It's such a wonderful place, I'm glad they had so little impact from the hurricanes. We're really grateful for our annual reunions, none of us are getting any younger.

  4. We LOVE OBX! We’ve stayed at Sands of Time and also Ovean Waves. So happy you enjoyed your time there! Next time be sure to find your way to Ocracoke - it’s an awesome day trip!

  5. p.s. meant to say so sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you Kelly :) Still can't believe he's gone. There will definitely be a next time at OBX, we loved every bit of it.

  6. We spend a little bit of time in Sept. at OBX but a pesky hurricane chased us away... enjoy.

    1. Oh yeah, I might have heard of that one! Luckily they came out okays so lots to go back and see :-)

  7. So sorry to hear about Coy, Jodee and Bill. Too, too young. So glad you loved the Wright sculpture. It’s pretty special!

    1. Thank you, we sure miss him. I can't think of a sculpture I've likes as much!!

  8. We are so sorry to read about your friend, Coy. I am sure you have many wonderful memories to carry with you especially since you have reconnected over the last few years.

    The Wright Brothers Memorial is so amazing. We really enjoyed all it had to offer, as well. Looks like a great visit to the Outer Banks. Love your photo of the Tunnel-Bridge.

    1. We are so grateful that we get together with our high school friends every year. We aren't getting any younger!
      It was weird enough driving from that bridge to the tunnel, but when I saw this pic I thought it was even weirder!! What an engineering feat!

  9. We're so sorry to hear that you lost your dear friend Coy. You guys are great about staying connected with friends—I hope your memories of the good times you shared will bring you comfort.
    Your time on the Outer Banks looks wonderful. We have it on our big long list for late next fall. The Wright Brothers memorial is incredible! Your photos are great. Love that sweet little green frog, too. :-)

    1. Lots of birds and biking in the outer banks - you guys will love it. Definitely recommend the rv park with PA rate!

  10. Sorry you've lost a dear friend. Not sure about the driving under water thing. So glad you're visiting all these historic sites I doubt I'll ever see.

    1. Glad to have you along to see them :-) We had no idea about the tunnel before we got there so no chance to change our minds!!

  11. So sorry about your friend . I can say I know just how you're feeling as one of my long time best friend's husband passed in June. A shock. Are we really at that age that we're starting to lose friends. Again, so sorry. Dwell on your wonderful adventures for now and great memories of your friend.

    1. Sadly we are at that age. Each year our reunion memorial board fills.