American Locations 11 – Oregon Inlet Campground, Outer Banks

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

Oregon Inlet Campground, Outer Banks, North Carolina

 

I and my wife continued south off Hwy. 158 back onto Rte. 12 into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. After a brief stop at the visitor center to insure everything was open following the hurricane, we proceeded south to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. 

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We viewed several different birds.

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On the way we drove over sections of the narrow two-lane blacktop that was still covered with sand washed over it by the hurricane. A ranger in the visitor center told us they had just re-opened the day before, the road had been impassable before then. We hiked all around the refuge, then left.

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We crossed the road to view the ocean.  There was an old shipwreck on the beach.

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It was extremely windy as you can see by the surf, which made being out on the beach feel like you were being sandblasted, so we didn’t stay out there for long.

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After, we continued south on Rte. 12.  We stopped to watch some people windsurfing. They certainly had a good wind to do that.

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We drove on to see Bodie Lighthouse.

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Then it was on to Oregon Inlet Campground. We got a site where we were backed up against the dunes, which sheltered us from the wind. Notice the short grass at our site. Looks inviting to walk barefoot across, doesn’t it? My wife learned right away to keep her sandals on. This grass is filled with wicked little nettles that sting.

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The location of our site made for a short easy walk up over to the beach.

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The surf was too stirred-up by the just-passed hurricane and still too rough to do any more than wade.

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We spent the rest of the day relaxing at our site.

 

Next Location – Oregon Inlet Campground, Outer Banks 2

American Locations 10 – Wright Brothers Memorial & Jockey’s Ridge, Outer Banks

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Wright Brothers National Memorial & Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina

 

The next morning we drove east off Colington Island back onto Bodie Island to the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

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There is a visitor center with photographs of the event.

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But the main attraction is outside. There is a full-size model of their original plane. The photos are from the front, then back.

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With a full-size mock-up of their take-off site.

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We then drove south on Hwy. 158 to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The park has the highest sand dunes on the Atlantic coast. It was actually from the height of these sand dunes that the Wright Brothers took advantage of the strong winds blowing in from the ocean to help their aircraft lift off. So we parked and hiked up the dunes.

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We trekked all over them. There is something childishly enjoyable about walking around in a sandy expanse. It’s sort of like a playing in a giant sandbox.

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We saw a thirsty bird.

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After we had worn ourselves out yet once again, we climbed back in the motor home and continued south on Hwy. 158.

Next Location – Oregon Inlet Campground, Outer Banks

American Locations 9 – Duck, Outer Banks

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

Duck, Outer Banks, North Carolina

 

We continued driving south on Rte. 12 from Corolla to the town of Duck. There is an extensive boardwalk along the inland side of the island that we walked.

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Several wading birds posed for me.

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Including this sleepy-head.

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And, of course, seagulls.

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There was a small chapel along the boardwalk. I could see how it would be a beautiful setting for a wedding.

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It was a wonderful place to stroll.

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By the time we finished walking the entire length of this impressive boardwalk we were done for the day. We continued driving south on Rte. 12 to where it joined Hwy. 158 at the place we had come onto the island in Kitty Hawk. Just beyond the Kitty Hawk Memorial we turned west onto Colington Rd. and drove off Bodie Island onto Colington Island. There we found a private campground on a canal that opened up to the sound.

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At a nearby seafood market we bought some shrimp that had been caught that day. They seasoned and steamed them for us, then we took them back to the campground to gorge ourselves on. A clear night sky was a fitting end to a great day.

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Next Location – Wright Brothers Memorial & Jockey’s Ridge, Outer Banks

 

 

American Locations 8 – Corolla, Outer Banks

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 Corolla, Outer Banks, North Carolina

 

We drove back onto the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk and turned north on Rte. 12. Where stopped for our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Since it was our first day on the beach we posed for photos.

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As you can see, there wasn’t anyone out swimming. A few were wading in the surf, or fishing, but most people were merely enjoying the sun on the beach. The surf was still strong from the lingering effects of the just-vacated hurricane. Did you notice the red flag in the previous photo? Red flags were out everywhere on the coast.

We got back in our motor home and drove north on Rte. 12 to the end of the road.

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As the sign says, four-wheelers are allowed to continue north on the beach. And, of course, you can walk as far north along the beach as you desire, as long as you can find a parking space, which are scarce. The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge is just north of the end of the road. Here is a Wikipedia entry about the place:

 

Currituck National Wildlife Refuge (/ˈkʊrɪtʌk/),[1] located on the northern end of North Carolina‘s Outer Banks, was established in 1984 to preserve and protect the coastal barrier island ecosystem. Refuge lands are managed to provide wintering habitat for waterfowl and to protect endangered species such as piping ploversea turtles, and seabeach amaranth.

Habitat types common to most barrier islands are found on the refuge. Moving westward from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound, these habitats include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, interdunal wetlands (flats), maritime forests and shrub thickets. Currituck Sound’s shoreline is made up of brackish water marshes and occasionally, mudflats that have been exposed by wind tides. A few forested islands also exist on the refuge. Monkey Island, a noted bird rookery, provides nesting habitat to several species of wading birds. It is also currently the most northerly known native habitat of the Sabal minor palm.[2][3] In addition to Sabal palms, vegetation within these diverse habitat types include several varieties of beach grasseslive oakloblolly pinewax myrtlecattailssedges and rushes, black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) and giant cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides).

Various types of wading birdsshorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, mammals (including feral horses), reptiles, and amphibians common to the eastern United States, are found on the refuge. The endangered piping plover and loggerhead sea turtle sometimes nest on refuge beaches and dunes.

The refuge has a surface area of 8,316 acres (33.65 km2).[4]

 

The main attraction are the wild horses that live on the beach. Unable to park, we turned around and drove back south on Rte. 12. Our next stop was to see the Currituck Lighthouse.

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I climbed to the top. My wife wasn’t up to all the stairs.

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The view was great from up there.

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I descended and rejoined my wife, who was patiently waiting on the front porch of the visitor center.

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A park ranger had one of the wild horses that had been brought in from wildlife preserve just to the north for people to view and interact with. It didn’t look too wild to me. We walked on a boardwalk through billowing sea oats – the wind was blowing pretty hard, an effect of the receding hurricane – to the beach. As you can see from the deep footprints in the third photo, beyond the boardwalk was thick mud. Needless to say, we stayed on the boardwalk.

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From the end of the boardwalk we could look back to see the lighthouse.

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And across to another boardwalk.

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Next Location – Duck, Outer Banks