Outer Banks, N.C. 2009
It was time for
another "land cruise". Actually we did go to Las Vegas in April. We
met up with a couple we had sailed with last year on our
It was their first time in Vegas so they packed in a bunch of shows while Patti and I gambled a little and just hung out.
Now it's time for a real relaxing vacation in OBX! Plus it was my 50th B-day and it's where I wanted to go!
Patti and I flew into Norfolk again but this time we stayed in Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills. We didn't have time to see the Wright Brother's Memorial last time so we made plans this time and staying closer was the best way. We're also staying at the house for a full two weeks this time!
Patti and I flew in on Thursday and stayed in Norfolk that night. Getting the rental car (actually SUV) was an experience. I called to confirm that they in fact had 4WD's available. We still had reservations with 2 different outfits which proved to be fortuitous when our primary offered a FWD Ford Escape! We canceled that and went to our second choice who scoured their computer and came up with a Ford Excursion! (4WD of course) Much bigger than we needed but it worked out great. It was actually a nice vehicle even though I dubbed it the S.S. Excursion.
Our friend Ted came in late Thursday night and drove down to Kill Devil Hills on Friday with us. We had booked into the Days Inn Oceanfront for Friday night. It was a nice place and almost right on the beach. Just a short dune walk away. After check in and settling in we all went to the Wright Brother's National Memorial park to check it out after a little shopping to stock up on pool stuff, plus some souvenirs and the requisite OBX gear. The park was quite interesting and informative. The visitor center has many photographs, newspaper clippings and letters from their three years here while attempting their flights. Many other photographs depict other pioneers of flying. It also has full scale and scaled down models of the flyer and other designs they had and tested including a mock up of the wind tunnel they developed and used. There are two wooden sheds reproduced from historic photographs depicting their hangar and living quarters. Beyond these buildings are markers showing the start and finish points of the four flights made on December 17, 1903. We didn't make it up to the actual memorial tower as by the time we were heading that way the park was closing. For dinner that night we went to Awful Arthur,s Oyster Bar. Nice little place. None of us had oysters but I can say the shrimp were quite tasty. After dinner we went back to the motel and found the picnic tables out back and hung out with a few beers and talking. There was a large group of young people at the house next door who appeared to be partying. A bunch of them walked by on their way to the beach and we politely said hello. After a while they headed back and one decided to stop and talk. He a nice kid and we found out they were all from UNC Chapel Hill and mostly Christian. Before he left he wanted to pray with us. We weren't sure if he was praying for us or with us but we obliged.
Next day, Saturday was house check in day.
Since we were already on the "island" we decided to meet up with our friends Norma & Steve (with puppies in tow!) at our usual first stop, the Food Lion. We connected via cell phone to try and time our arrival then headed north up Highway 12 to Duck and Tommy's Market to pickup steaks. Next stop was the ABC store just below Corolla (next to the Currituck County Visitors Center natch) to stock up on alcohol. Found out that if you buy more than 8 liters you have to get a "Special Occasion Storage and Transportation Permit". Wow!! We were just over (honest!) but is was interesting. It's just a one day permit that you fill out right there that essentially covers them with the state ABC.
After we were stocked up on booze and beef it was up the road to Food Lion. My father Lee and his wife Sally and my brother Ryan and his girlfriend Erica were coming in later this same night so we were shopping for 9. We met up with our friends and loaded up 2 carts then crammed it all into their Durango and the S.S. Excursion. We skipped the Brew Thru this day and just grabbed beer at FL. So all stocked up we headed down the road to Twiddy to pick up the house keys. We dropped our tire pressures to 25 psi to prepare for the beach drive. The tide was way out so we had mostly wet hard pack instead of the loose sand we had last time. Driving on the hard pack was a whole different thing from the loose sand. It was almost like driving on pavement. That coupled with the fact that I had driven it two years ago, I had a better idea this time. Plus this house was only 6.9 miles up the beach instead of almost 10. It turned out to be another challenge but not too bad. The hardest part was shooting the inlet that led to the house. I drifted off course a little but the S.S. Excursion hung in and made over the dune. Steve had brought a shovel and tow strap but luckily we didn't need them. I didn't want to have to use the towing service. Especially at $300 minimum!
Pulling up to this house (Crosswinds) was not as amazing as in 2007 but very still nice. Of course we didn't need a 9 bedroom house this time! It still has the amenities we wanted like a game room, huge great room off the huge kitchen as well as a pool and hot tub. Of course the deck looking out over the Atlantic waves is a given. We also found that with the pool on side of the house it got more sun all day.
When we got all our supplies stocked away we got down to some serious relaxing. No elevator this time so we had to lug it all up the front stairs. We toured the house and area, cracked some beers and hung out around and in the pool. As before this would become our SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the next two weeks. Slight revisions being mixed drinks an/or shots, wine, hot tub and ocean. The ritual (sorry that sounds too harsh, lets try goal) became coffee (w/Bailey's natch), breakfast (from donuts to eggs & bacon), Bloody Mary's, lunch then your beverage of choice with plenty of noshing in between.
Saturday night was mostly about partying and waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. We picked up some bake at home pizza's so we cooked and ate them while waiting. When they showed up about 8:30 it was a like a family reunion. Well it was for me of course ;) but Norma & Steve had met Lee and Sally before our 2003 Grandeur cruise. It was great to see Ryan and meet Erica as well. We partied well into the wee hours drinking and talking. There were many birthday shots to break in the new shot glasses that Norma & Steve bought for us. Including the special 50th B-day one for me! Very cool. Patti and I slept in big time the next day. We finally got out and about at 4 PM! Everyone else had gotten up by at least 12:00. We missed most of the day. Oh well we have 2 weeks!
Sunday night's dinner was all about the Tommy's steaks. Filets for everyone but Steve who had to have a ribeye! It was a great meal enjoyed by all. After cleaning up we got back into partying but not as heavy as Saturday night! At Food Lion I saw they had Yuengling Lager so I grabbed a case. It's only available in some eastern states so we don't see it in Cali. They claim to be America's oldest brewery (est. 1829). It's not a bad beer either. They also have a Black & Tan which I thought was quite good too.
Monday was all about relaxing by or in the pool. Weather was nice, not too warm or too cool. Later in the afternoon we headed into Corolla to get dinner, steamer pots from Steamer's (of course). After picking them up we ran through Brew Thru just to say we did then grabbed some more stuff at FL. The steamers pots that night were awesome. Just as I remembered from 2007. It wasn't too wild a night. Ryan and Erica had to be back home Tuesday afternoon so we said our goodbyes Monday night and they headed out very early Tuesday morning.
Lee and Sally were planning to leave as well but decided to stay another day. We were pretty well stocked up on supplies so everyone just hung out around the house (we had started a jigsaw puzzle so that occupied some time), wandered down the beach and also put in some pool time. Dinner was not as big this night. We just made up something from our FL supplies. It was a nice casual evening. I got to spend some time with my dad drinking a little Jameson and chatting.
Supply "excursions" as before were about every 2-3 days when you're staying in the 4x4 area so it's best to read the tide charts and travel accordingly. However since Lee and Sally were heading out Wednesday (they hired a town car back to ORF) we decided to shop anyway. Don't want to run out of beer after all ;)
Now we were down to the 5 of us. The rest of the next week and a half we spent floating in the pool, hanging our feet in the pool, just hanging on the deck, doing our jigsaw puzzle, etc. It's nice to just relax and do essentially nothing. Pepper again enjoyed floating on the pool. The ocean was great, 75° and light waves. The waves got heavier later on and they put the red flags out. You could see the riptides. The full moon may have had something to do with that.
Again the weather was beautiful! It was 70's and 80's every day. It did rain a couple of days but who cares, we didn't have to go to work! There were some cloudy days too but it was still warmish and still definitely better than at home. Didn't get quite the tan as last time either. We did get to witness one of nature's fireworks. One night for about and hour and a half we stood out on the deck and watched a lightning storm as it drifted over the Banks and the Atlantic. It was spectacular! The the huge black cloud came over us and dumped a heavy storm on us for about an hour. After that the sky was fairly clear.
It's still amazing the simple things that awe you when you slow down and enjoy what mother nature has to offer.
One of the days we took a 4WD tour of the inner area. We drove around the "neighborhood" checking out other houses and found many more of the wild horses that live here in the northern Outer Banks. We saw many more horses this trip as you can see in the slide show. As you will see they even took a stroll down the beach. While on our little tour we discovered a park, Carova Beach Park complete with boat launch. It is next to Wild Horse Estates where we found many of the horses :) On our way back toward the beach we came across and old beach house that had seen better days. The decor, what was left of it was very 60's style. Probably quite nice in it's day.
When it came time to leave we really didn't want to go. All that was left was the drive out. We had booked a later flight and we caught a decent tide so it was a fairly easy ride out. No issues with dodging oncoming traffic, people walking or parked vehicles this time. We did have to drive in the soft sand but it was much easier than last time.
Again, another great relaxing vacation.
View the slide show below for all the pictures
|Wright Brother's Memorial|
|Days Inn Oceanfront|
|Twiddy Realtors (OBX Rentals)|