May 31, 2008

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Yesterday we drove south from our campground. Today we drove north.

What did we see? A light house!

This light house, Body's Island Light House, will soon be restored for climbing. Right now though you can only LOOK up the stairs.

Just in case you wanted to know how to find this light's its coordinates.

Next we arrived in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Marlon tries to fly...but fails.

This is a full-scale reproduction of the original 1903 Wright Flyer.

The 4 initial successful flights occurred here December 17, 1903. They were in succession 120 feet, 175 feet, 200 feet and 852 feet long.

The 60-foot high granite monument sits atop 90-foot high Kill Devil Hill.

The monument was completed in 1932 with a budget of $213,000.

To see the view from the top of Kill Devil Hill and hear the fierce winds on the day we visited, click below During the Centennial of Flight in 2003, participants attempted to recreate the legendary flights with varying degrees of success.

The Wright Brothers designed this wind tunnel to teach themselves what makes a wing work well.

Near the Outer Banks Visitor's Bureau in Kitty Hawk, we found these monuments to 100 years of flight.

Did you know that pilot Chuck Yeager first flew faster than the speed of sound in 1947?

Did you know that this 945 pound Marlin fish weighs several hundred pounds MORE than this Marlon human? As Ripley says, "Believe It or Not!"

For more pictures, go to .

To be continued...

May 30, 2008

Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry to Ocracoke Island

Now that we were worn out from the climb, we headed to the ferry.
While we paid $7 for the opportunity to climb a light house, this ferry is FREE. Yes, that's right...FREE.

But don't worry, I'm sure that will change soon.

Here's the captain's deck.

The ferry runs twice an hour during peak season from about 5 am to 9 pm. Pretty convenient for FREE, huh?

Wild horses roamed Ocracoke in the years prior to its establishment as part of the National Park Service. When the National Park Service took over, the wild horses were fenced and given their own pasture so as to not compete with the native wildlife. The herd currently numbers between 25 and 30...and they don't APPEAR too wild anymore.

We ate at this waterside restaurant.

When the ferry began in 1955, cars had to drive off into the water!

Look! Ocracoke has its OWN light house...not open today though.

This stump was open for climbing though.

Uh-oh! Everybody wants to go back to Hatteras at the same time. Luckily, the ferry was able to hold us all.

The birds...the birds...

Not far from the ferry, we passed by this product of post-war Finland...the Future House. About 100 of these polyester plastic and fiberglass houses were built during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When the energy crisis of the mid 1970s made the manufacture of plastic extremely expensive, the houses were taken off the market. Anywhere from 60 to 100 of these homes are thought to survive today.

Marlon made it back to the beach and wants Doug to snap this picture before his feet get wet.

For a video of our day at the Cape Hatteras Light Station and on the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry, click below. For more pictures, go to pictures 50-121.

To be continued...

Cape Hatteras Light Station

Time to head toward the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry.

As we headed south, we saw hundreds of huge rental houses like these. They rent for anywhere from about $1,000 to $4,000 per week depending upon size and season.
Our first stop was the Cape Hatteras Light Station where we decided to test our stair climbing skills on 268 steps.

Marlon has finished counting the 1.25 million bricks used to construct the light house and is ready to start climbing.

There are several landings to stop and rest on along the climb.

We made it to the top!

The light house was moved 2,870 feet inland during 1999/2000 due to shore erosion.

The light house casts its shadow...

Doug made it back down the stairs and left Marlon up there. Here Marlon risks life and limb by putting his hand in the air.

For a video of the top of the Cape Hatteras Light Station, see the next blog.

For more pictures, go to pictures 1-49.

To be continued...

May 28, 2008

Driving to the Outer Banks' Camp Hatteras

Today we headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We ran into some very stormy weather on the way and had to contend with it as we went over very LONG bridges. This one was the worst...two lanes!

Here the storms continued but at least it was two lanes both way and divided.

This is North Carolina Highway 12 which is the north-south artery on the Outer Banks. No more bridges...just harsh winds and blowing sand.

But we made it safely to Camp Hatteras, near the town of Waves, on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

This campground had over 400 rv sites and its very own beachfront. We arrived about 2 weeks after tornadoes had gone through the area and taken away the boardwalk to the beach. They had already finished a new boardwalk though.

For some video of the beach, click below.
This picnic shelter was located beachfront.

The resort featured a nice gameroom with video games and pool tables...

a fully furnished clubhouse with board games, book exchange and complete kitchen for social activities.

An outdoor pool as well as an indoor pool and hot tub.

For more pictures, go to .

To be continued...

May 26, 2008

Visitors Arrive and We Visit The Haven

Today is Memorial Day. Carol and her friend A (formerly known as O, which stands for Orville) checked into Pedro's Motor Inn today after attending a NASCAR race over the weekend. A is from Canada...get it, eh?

Here we are trying out Peddler's Steakhouse at South of the Border. We love Outback Steakhouse...Outback it ain't.
Next we went to the Waffle House. But we didn't eat any waffles.
Based on our recommendation, they were excited to go up Sombrero Tower. Our SECOND trip up was double the fun.
We ran into an Elton John impersonator who treated us to an ocapela version of the 1983 hit I'm Still Standing.
Carol and Doug tried on a little color.
That was obviously NOT a hungry, hungry hippo.

On Tuesday, Carol and Orville left us for Myrtle Beach.
I've fallen and I can't get up!
Okay, I can...for food.
We didn't think we should leave our new kitty friend at Pedro's Campground, so we packed her up and dropped her off at Raeford, North Carolina's The Haven-Friends For Life No-Kill Animal Shelter.

Here's one of The Haven's cathouses.
The Haven is an extraordinary shelter run by Linden Spears. Linden moved to the Raeford area to raise horses on her farm but saw the need to save some animals.

And save them she does. At any given time, The Haven houses approximately 500 cats and 1,000 dogs!

Learn more about The Haven and the challenges it faces at .

The Haven was recently gifted 10 of these Pawsidential Suites which will serve as home to 60 lucky cats. The Suites were donated by The Diane Warren Foundation run by songwriter Diane Warren.
It is almost guaranteed that every person (at least in America) knows many of Diane's songs whether they realize it or not. Check her website out at and learn more about this supporter of both animal and human rights.
Oh...and don't worry about this little one.
Doug will soon sign a long-term contract upgrading her from guest star to regular.

To be continued...