Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More Beach, More Friends---Life Is Good!

We had another great week on Hatteras Island with some fishing, beach time and a surprise visit from friends.  The more time we spend on the East Coast the more we like it.  Unlike the Southwest, when you are near the water the night time temperatures stay much warmer.  In the desert when the sun goes down it gets too cool to be outdoors without a coat.  The more time I can wear shorts the better I like it. 
We like Hatteras because it is so isolated, but the downside is you don't have all the services offered in more populated areas.  Nanc has been getting her nails done the last year or so and could not find a place on Hatteras Island to do the kind she likes.  So we took a drive to Nags Head 45 miles up Highway 12 where I checked out the beach while she was at the shop.
Proof that the weather has been very nice.  Nanc soaking up the rays on the beach.
My favorite Hatteras pastime, surf fishing.  You never know what you are going to catch when you fish here.  Some days the catching is great and other days I just enjoy the solitude.
Just watching the ever changing patterns of the waves is so relaxing.
Sometimes a fish even takes the bait.  Life is Good!!!
We had been emailing Jean Paul and Celine hoping to see them as they headed south from Quebec.  On Friday afternoon they knocked on the door and surprised us with a visit.  We got to share a bit of one of our favorite places with them.
Of course that has to include a visit to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
And a walk on the beach.  They lived on a sailboat for seven years and have been to North Carolina, but never to Hatteras Island.
There has been a high surf warning for a couple days so the waves were attracting kite surfers.
We met Jean Paul and Celine at Betty's RV Park and have seen them there several times.  We also visited them at there home in Quebec in 2010, so we had a chance to repay some of their hospitality with dinner.  Making and seeing friends along the way sure is the greatest thing about our traveling lifestyle.
They headed out early Sunday morning going south on Highway 12.  They had two ferry crossings, one to get to Ocracoke and one back to the mainland at Cedar Island.  We had a great visit and hope to see them again in Florida this winter.  They are gone but not to worry, more friends are on the way. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Friends in Hatteras

When we lived in a stix and brix Hatteras Island was our beach vacation go to spot.  Of course, almost all those visits were during the summer so when we went on the road we decided to make it a regular stop when we stay in the East.  We always loved it for its uncrowded beaches and laid back ways.  No Walmart, McDonald's our other big chain stores.  Being here in October does sometimes present weather challenges but, with even fewer people and better fishing, it is the best time to visit. 
This is typical of the beach crowds in October.  A few surfers, kite boarders, fishermen and even some swimmers.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the United States and we visit every time we are here.  We were here in 1999 when the lighthouse was moved 1900 feet to save it from the encroaching Atlantic.  It's a good thing they moved it, the top picture was taken at the spot where it used to be.  We went the last day it was supposed to be open allowing visitors to climb to the top.  Unfortunately, because of the storm off the coast and the rain they had the couple of weeks before we arrived, it had closed early.
The current lighthouse is the third one at the cape.  Years ago you could still see the foundation of the previous one, but it has since been washed away.
When we vacationed here we stayed at the Outer Banks Motel in Buxton.  Tom and Georgie stay in the motel each summer and rent one of the beach front cottages each October.  As you can see, the place gives a whole new meaning to beach front.  This picture was taken a low tide.  At high tide the waves are breaking under the deck.
These are three other cottages that were moved back several years ago.  I'm not sure how much longer they are going to last.  One big storm and they would be gone.
This is a postcard of the five cottages on the beach many years ago when we first started staying there.  There was a big dune and beach between them and the water.
We have been to Hatteras Island many times over the years, but have never visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.  The museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the hundreds of ships that sank nearby and of those who worked to save the lives of people from those ships.  
This is all that is left of the first order Fresnel lens that was in the old Hatteras Lighthouse.  The Fresnel lens were made with many pieces of cut glass to focus the light into a beam that could be seen by distant boats.  The first order lens is the most powerful.  
The museum has several carvings of old ships; from sailboats, to mail boats to WWII subs.
This is a statue of General Billy Mitchell who came to the Outer Banks in 1923 to demonstrate how effective air power could be in bombing battleships.  Two old ships were bombed and sunk in less than an hour during the demonstration.
Enigma machines that were developed after WWI were used to send and receive coded messages.  Enigma M2946 was recovered from German U-boat 85 that was sunk during WWII off the coast of the Outer Banks in 2001.  It was acquired by the museum from the German government in 2002.   The museum also has exhibits on the Civil War events that took place in the area including the ironclad Monitor that sank 16 miles from Hatteras.  No photos were allowed.
I hit the beach to do some surf fishing, one of my favorites things to do here in the fall.  The results varied, with only one fish one day and ten in a couple hours another.  I'm looking froward to a couple more weeks of fishing.
We played euchre a couple evenings and I'm happy to report that the guys ruled.  I don't want to say some people were sore losers but Tom and I had to take a victory selfie as the ladies would not take our pictures.
We had a great week with Tom and Georgie hanging out at the cottage, playing cards and supporting several local restaurants.  This was our last evening celebration at the Breakwater in Hatteras Village.  It's going to seem lonely after having Mike, Sherri, Tom and Georgie here for the first ten days of our stay.  Not to worry, more friends are on the way.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

On to Hatteras Island

The plan, always written in the sand, was to spend one night in Somerset and then go to Washington, DC to tour and see Nanc's sister Michelle.  Because of the storm coming up the East Coast, we decided to stay until Sunday and went to see the Flight 93 Memorial (last post).  When we checked the Pressure Pro tire monitor on Sunday morning as we packed to leave, we discovered the same tire that had lost air twice before was down again.  It turns out the issue was a leaky sensor and we had to wait until Monday to have the tire aired up in Somerset.  Because the worst of the weather had passed, we decided to skip DC and go to Hatteras Island a day early.  The joy of our lifestyle.
Two days later we arrived on the Outer Banks under sunny skies.  The Bodie Island Lighthouse is always the first sign we are on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  
If you want to see the Outer Banks the way it was before it became a major tourist destination you have to go over the Bonner Bridge were you will find miles of undeveloped beach between the seven small villages on Hatteras Island.
South of the bridge they are always rebuilding the protective dunes.  Because of all the rain there was still some water on the road in several places.
This "temporary" bridge has been in place for several years now.  The new inlet under it has filled with sand but they have not rebuilt to road.
The section of NC 12 on Pea Island is under constant rebuilding as the ocean is beating down the dunes.  Many people want the state to build a new causeway on the sound side of the island to eliminate this problem.  That would be a great improvement.
The last 100 yards of road into the Sands of Time Campground was covered with water from all the rain they have had the last month.  We have had some bad weather every time we have been here in October.  We are hoping that this storm is the last.
We arrived on Wednesday and Mike and Sherri came in for a weekend visit on Thursday.  It sure is great seeing friends on the road even after being in WashPA for two months.  I'm happy to report that the guys ruled over three nights of euchre.
Mike is still wearing the boot on the leg he broke in July, so rather than going to the beach to fish we headed to the Avon Pier.  Even though we have been here many, many times, this is the first time I ever fished on a pier.
And you can see Mike did okay fishing.  He had such a good time he even dropped the F-bomb -FUN.  I did catch a couple and we enjoyed the beautiful blue skies.
Nanc and Sherri went to the beach by the pier while we fished, but the pictures they took did not turn out.  Not sure if it was the camera or the photographers.
We had a great meal at Ketch 55 and as you can see Sherri had no interest in sharing her wonderful cheesecake.  How greedy!!!!!
Tom and Georgie have rented a cottage on the ocean the last few Octobers. We met them for lunch on the way in at one of our favorite spots in Nag Heads, Sam & Omies.  Mike and Sherri headed back to WashPA on Sunday and we are looking forward to a great week with Tom and Georgie.
Things are looking up with a beautiful double rainbow over Opus.  We hope to be here until early November if the weather stays the way it has been since we arrived.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Flight 93 Memorial

We have visited all three 9-11 sites over the years but have not been to any of them since new memorials were built honoring those who died on the fateful September day.  Flight 93 was different from the other flights that were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon because the passengers had learned what had happened to the other planes.
The Flight 93 National Memorial honors those passengers and crew on that plane who attacked the hijackers thus preventing them from achieving their goal of crashing into the U.S. Capitol.
The memorial includes a visitor center complex on the knoll overlooking the crash site below.  The black wall and walk set the tone for the visit to the very somber visitor center. 
All four hijacked flights were chosen because they were cross-country flights which carried a lot of fuel and very few passengers.  This is the seating chart of flight 93.  The lights in the background show all the planes that were in the air when the hijackings took place.  As soon as they realized what was happening all planes were ordered to land at the nearest airport. 
Flight 93 was different from the other three planes hijacked that day for two reasons, first it was delayed on the ground for 25 minute before taking off and then the hijackers waited 45 minutes before rushing the cockpit.  The others were done within 15 minutes of take off.  Because of this delay the passengers learned the fate of the other captured planes.  As you can see, the hijackers flew over Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania as they headed for Washington, DC.  
A very emotional part of a very somber experience in the visitor center allows you to listen to the calls that people made to loved ones on cell and sky phones after they learned the intention of those who had taken over their flight.  I listened to three different calls and it was very difficult hearing these final messages.
The flight and cockpit voice recorders on flight 93 were the only ones recovered from the four planes that were crashed that day.  This gave investigators information of what exactly happened as the plane crashed into an abandoned Pennsylvania strip mine only 16 minutes from Washington, DC.  
The plane crashed at such a great speed that most of it and everything on board was reduced to a few small pieces.  The largest remaining piece of the plane's body was about six feet long.  The site then became a crime scene where a number of government agencies literally sifted thought the rubble looking for evidence.
Almost immediately people began visiting the site and leaving personal memorials to those who died that day.  This is what I remember from our first visit.
A Shanksville fireman's coat with the signatures of those who were the first to respond to the crash.
The last stop in the visitor center is a wall with the names of all those who died on 9-11.  From there you can see the crash site that is now the Memorial Plaza.
Looking at the Memorial Plaza from the visitor center.  Right is the Wall of Names and at the tree line is a boulder marking the impact site.
So very true.
This gate is at the entrance to the crash site that is the final resting place for those forty heroes of that day.  Since that area is the final resting place for all those aboard flight 93, it is only open to their families.  While only 10% of the remains have been found there was enough that all the victims were identified using DNA.
The Wall of Names lists all those who were aboard flight 93.  The visitor center, above, is on the knoll the the plane flew over that morning.
Those who died in Shanksville that day. 
There is a board at the Memorial Plaza where you can leave a message with your thoughts.  This one says it all, a message from a woman who lost a loved one at this site.