Saturday, October 20, 2012

On to OBX

After leaving Charlottesville we headed to the Outer Banks for a month-long stay.  Hatteras Island was our favorite vacation spot when we lived in a stix and brix and this will be the third time we have visited here since going on the road.  Being here in the fall is wonderful with warm weather and almost no crowds.
 Before we headed to Hatteras Island we stopped to see Sherri and Mike who were here in Corolla with their family for the Columbus Day weekend.  This was the BIG house they rented.  It was nice to see how the other half lives.
Pappy Sharp fishing with Andrew and Benny.

The guys drove up the beach to see the wild ponies that roam the beach here.  They are descended from ponies that swam ashore from some of the many ship wrecks along the Outer Banks.  I have never been this far north here and was surprised by the many houses that are off the road and require a four wheel drive to get to.
Here is the Sharp family celebrating Mike's birthday.  We had not seen them for quite a while and it was great seeing all seven grandchildren together. The only ones we missed were Carrie's and Tracey's husbands, John and Matt, who had to stay back and go to work and pay into Social Security.  I'm sure that was why they were not there and it was not to get away from the chaos of a weekend in a house with seven kids under the age of 12:)
You never know what you are going to encounter when you get on Hatteras Island and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  The island really is just a narrow bit of high sand that jets out into the Atlantic.  There is an almost constant moving of sand off the road and rebuilding of the dunes.  This is the same stretch of road where we had to drive through the water when leaving on our last visit.  Here is a link to the scary trip and a look at Andrew and Benny the last time we saw them.
On the Northern end of the island the dunes are slowly being destroyed by the waves.  The dunes are not natural, they were built by the CCC (socialist government program to employee people) during the Depression.  The results have not all been positive and it looks like they are going to let them disappear in the areas that are not populated.
Another change since we were here two years ago is a new inlet with a temporary bridge.  It was a bit tight with two rigs passing.
This inlet in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is the second cut by storms on Hatteras in the last ten years.  Long term plans are to move the highway to a bridge on the bay side so the "temporary" bridge may be here for a while.
We arrived on Columbus Day, the last day of the season to climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse is the US.  We have not done that for several years so as soon as we were set up we headed to the lighthouse.
Here we are 254 steps later at the top.  In 1999 we were vacationing here when they picked up the lighthouse and moved it 2900 feet away from the water's edge.  It was quite impressive.  The brown circle of sand in the distance over my right shoulder is where is used to sit.
Looking north from the top.  In the foreground is Buxton and in the distance is Avon where we are staying.  You can see how narrow the bit of land is connecting the two towns.  In the 1960's a storm cut an inlet here, so you can see why you really have no idea what you are going to find when you return to Hatteras.  The thing we love best about Hatteras is the long stretches of beach with no buildings and almost no people.
Doing my thing.  We have been to both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in our travels and I must say the west coast is beautiful, but when I think ocean I think beach and getting into the water, which you cannot do in the cold Pacific.  We are looking forward to a month of wonderful beach days.