Week Nine: North Carolina

We ended up spending a lot of time in North Carolina and it was a very positive experience. We drove though quite a bit of the state; from the Outer Banks to the southwest corner and loved the rolling hills, fall colors and forest. The state parks are reasonably priced and in beautiful areas with rivers and lakes. We were able to visit friends and are very happy serendipity brought us to North Carolina. Our first stop was Williamston. We chose this area so that we could take the car and easily visit the Outer Banks and Kitty Hawk.

Williamston

We camped at the Farm Country Campground and again we were one of three other campers. It’s a very nice campground in the middle of cotton fields. I don’t remember ever seeing cotton fields before.

Cotton field

Cotton field

We drove east from Williamston for 2.5 hours to the Outer Banks. First we headed south as far as Rodanthe and Wave. It was a warm, sunny day. We visited the Bodie Island lighthouse just south of Nags Head. It stands 156 feet tall and you have to climb 214 steps to get to the top. This is the lighthouse you see in all the photos for North Carolina. We had lunch on the beach and I dipped my toes in the Atlantic once again. We hated to leave the beach but we needed to if we were going to make it to Kitty Hawk before the Wright Brothers monument closed.

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Bodie Light House

Bodie Light House

Lunch at the beach

Lunch at the beach

I was impressed with the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. The Visitor Center had exhibits that tell the Wright Brothers story of solving the problem of flight. There are full-scale models of their 1902 Glider and 1903 Flyer. The First Flight Airstrip has markers at the first, second, third and fourth flights indicating how far the plane flew.

The Wright Brothers represent the best of American ingenuity and perseverance. They never married and self-funded their flight endeavors. The brothers were from Dayton, Ohio and chose Kill Devil Hills for its remoteness, hill, air currents and soft sand for landings. There is a 60 foot marble monument at the top of Kill Devil Hill that honors the Wright Brothers and the site of hundreds of glider flights that preceded the first powered flight. If you’re in the area be sure to visit this monument.

Wright Brothers Memorial

Wright Brothers Memorial

Wright Brothers

Wright Brothers

Replica of the glider

Replica of the glider

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First woman to receive the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award

First woman to receive the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award

Mary S. Feik, aviation engineer, master mechanic, pilot, instructor, and aircraft restorer.

We had dinner at Dirty Dick’s Crab Shack and I had the best mussels, broth and bread I’ve ever had…delish!  Debated buying the t-shirt, but decided I probably wouldn’t wear it, so just took a photo.

Dirty Dicks

Dirty Dicks

Mussels were delish

Didn’t get Dirty Dick’s  Crabs, I had the mussels and they were delish!

My new look

My new look

Apex, NC (just outside Raleigh)

Thanks to our Camp Where app we found a wonderful NC state park on Jordan Lake. Camp Where only lists public campgrounds; national, state, county and city. We prefer these because they are more scenic, private and less cost than independent campgrounds. At Jordan Lake there are actually four or five campgrounds but all were closed except Poplar Point. There is one loop (loop E) that is first come, first served and it has lots of sites, some right along the lake edge. We intended to stay a couple of days, but with the weekend approaching and the nice weather (70s) we knew we might have a problem finding an open site for the weekend. The lovely ranger lady told us they were completely booked for the weekend and there weren’t many state parks open for camping so we should “ce-ment ourselves in” and stay through the weekend. So that’s what we did! And we were very happy we took her advice. It’s a beautiful state park and we had a site right on the lake. The site was somewhat private and our neighbors on one side were very friendly. Always good to have someone besides each other to talk to! Matter of fact, this post was written at the water’s edge while I was watching bald eagles fly around the lake and fish jumping. We were there for five glorious days and I know Ralph was happy to not be driving for awhile.

View from our campsite

View from our campsite

Just want to give credit where credit is due… Ralph is such a good driver of our rig. We have gone through some pretty busy cities and his driving has been flawless. I freak out just riding in the passenger seat. We take the bypasses around the cities but there is still a lot of traffic and interchanges. I’m very thankful he is such a good driver. And can fix things too! :>)

Lake Norman

We drove a couple hours from our campground to Lake Norman to visit with Debbie and Lee. They have a beautiful house on the lake and they took us out on their  pontoon boat. It was a perfect day on the lake. They pointed out their famous neighbors or former neighbors.  NASCAR is VERY popular here. Some of the race drivers that have lived on Lake Norman are Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs (sponsor and coach of the Washington Redskins a number of years ago). Also Michael Jordon has a house there too. We went out to dinner afterwards and ended up with free dinners. The service was slow and the orders were not correct, so the manager came over and comped our meals. The food was good so it worked out well in the end. We spent the night in their beautiful in-law unit and came back to the campground the next morning. It was great spending time together and we had a wonderful time.

Debbie and Lee at Lake Norman

Debbie and Lee at Lake Norman

Lake Norman

Lake Norman

On the way back to camp  we stopped by Gretchen and Ross’s Yankee Belle Farms in Pittsboro. Gretchen and Ross moved to NC several years ago. They have two small children and LOTS of animals; pigs, chickens, dogs and alpacas. It was a lot of fun observing the alpacas. Some were very interested in smelling us. Also, got the big spit when we started messing with one of the babies. Actually Ross caught the brunt of it and I got a little overspray. It was very cool visiting with them, meeting their kids and playing with the animals. Afterwards it was a short drive back to our campground.

The alpacas at Yankee Belle Farm

The alpacas at Yankee Belle Farm

Mamas and babies

Mamas and babies

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Next stop Charlestown, SC.

The Happy Campers

The Happy Campers

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