American Locations 20 – Cedar Island & the Crystal Coast

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

Cedar Island National Wildlife Preserve & the Crystal Coast, North Carolina


This morning we left the campground and drove south on Rte. 12 into the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge. It was a scenic drive and we stopped numerous times.

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We emerged from the nature preserve and continued south along the coast on Hwy. 70. This part of North Carolina is called the Crystal Coast.

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The state park we had intended to stay at was full. That is one of the dangers of traveling like we do. We don’t make reservations because we never know where we will be on specific days. If we like a place we’ll spend more time there than anticipated. Also, if we learn of a good place to see we want the freedom to take a detour. And we like the idea of traveling with no schedules. When we get tired we go home. So occasionally we encounter full campgrounds. But it doesn’t happen as much as you might imagine. So we continued down the coast on Hwy. 70 to Rte. 24, then drove south on that around Marine Camp Lejeune. In Jacksonville we turned onto Hwy. 17. By this time we were getting tired of traveling, so just south of Jacksonville we found a private campground on Hwy. 17 and stopped for the night.


Next Location – Airlee Gardens





American Locations 19 – Cedar Island

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

Cedar Island, North Carolina


The ferry boat at Cedar Island was quickly emptied.

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Then loaded back up and immediately headed back to Ocracoke. It didn’t take long for it to get gone.

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There is a private campground right next to the ferry station that we checked into. We camped about a hundred yards from were we disembarked from the ferry.

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Not much else is around. The ferry station is on the edge of Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, so there is no development.

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But we did see some cows wading in the surf.

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I never knew cows did that. The campground host told me when the wildlife preserve was established a farmer who had been bought out by the government released his cows, and they have thrived in the wild. Weird. Besides the cows, the beaches were pretty much deserted. We were the only travelers getting off the ferry who had stopped, everyone else had driven on into the wildlife preserve.

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The ferry boat we had ridden to Cedar Island was still in sight for quite a while as it headed back for Ocracoke.

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Later some fishermen showed up.

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The campground also operates a stable. We saw people riding into the wildlife preserve on horseback.

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They also operate a restaurant. So we ate out for the first time since Biscuit World. The other diners must have thought me very rude. The entire time in the restaurant I ignored Connie and caught up on my email on my laptop. They had free Wi-Fi. Actually that was the reason we were eating there, the food was only so-so. And we enjoyed electricity and plentiful water at our site. National park campgrounds are beautiful and very enjoyable, and we stay in them whenever we can. But they have no hook-ups. That means if we want electricity we have to run the generator, and we have to skimp on water since we only have a 30-gallon tank. And no Wi-Fi! So it’s good to pull into a private campground once in a while. But you wouldn’t believe all the evil glares I got from the other diners for ignoring my wife throughout the entire meal.


Next Location – Cedar Island National Wildlife Preserve & the Crystal Coast









American Locations 18 – From Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island

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

From Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island, North Carolina


This morning we left the campground and took one last drive around Ocracoke.


We spied this trespasser but didn’t report him.


After, we drove to the ferry station. This is the inlet to Ocracoke Bay as seen from there.


This ferry boat was quite a bit larger than the last one. Whereas the previous ferry trip was less than an hour and went through the sound, this trip took over two hours and ventured out into the open sea.


Like before, we parked our motor home then got out on deck.




An empty ferry boat docked as soon as we departed.


One last look at Ocracoke lighthouse.


Then it was through the inlet.





And out to the open sea.


Since this trip was taking so long, we went back to our motor home to eat lunch. One thing that’s great about traveling in a motor home, food and drink, and a bathroom, are always available. After a relaxing cruise we approached Cedar Island.

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We arrived at the ferry station on Cedar Island.

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Next Location – Cedar Island





American Locations 17 – Ocracoke Campground, Outer Banks 2

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

Ocracoke Campground, Outer Banks, North Carolina


This morning we drove into Ocracoke, parked the motor home, and walked around. It is a scenic little town.



With some interesting shops. Does anyone know what a ragpicker is?


Then, of course, there is the waterfront.



Ocracoke Island was where justice caught up with the legendary pirate Blackbeard.


Here is an brief Wikipedia entry about him:

Edward Teach or Edward Thatch (c. 1680 – 22 November 1718), better known as Blackbeard, was an English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of Britain’s North American colonies. Little is known about his early life, but he may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne’s War before settling on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold, whose crew Teach joined around 1716. Hornigold placed him in command of a sloop that he had captured, and the two engaged in numerous acts of piracy. Their numbers were boosted by the addition to their fleet of two more ships, one of which was commanded by Stede Bonnet; but Hornigold retired from piracy towards the end of 1717, taking two vessels with him.

Teach captured a French merchant vessel, renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge, and equipped her with 40 guns. He became a renowned pirate, his nickname derived from his thick black beard and fearsome appearance; he was reported to have tied lit fuses (slow matches) under his hat to frighten his enemies. He formed an alliance of pirates and blockaded the port of Charles Town, South Carolina, ransoming the port’s inhabitants. He then ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground on a sandbar near Beaufort, North Carolina. He parted company with Bonnet and settled in Bath, North Carolina, also known as Bath Town where he accepted a royal pardon. But he was soon back at sea, where he attracted the attention of Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia. Spotswood arranged for a party of soldiers and sailors to capture the pirate, which they did on 22 November 1718 following a ferocious battle. Teach and several of his crew were killed by a small force of sailors led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

Teach was a shrewd and calculating leader who spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response that he desired from those whom he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the consent of their crews and there is no known account of his ever having harmed or murdered those whom he held captive. He was romanticized after his death and became the inspiration for an archetypal pirate in works of fiction across many genres.

That afternoon we returned to the campground and rested a while, then later walked a short nature trail.




It was a quick hike. The whole time we were in the high grass we were swarmed by mosquitoes. These were the first, but far from last, mosquitoes we encountered on our trip. As soon as we emerged from the nature trail the plague ended. We got back to our site to discover we had a visitor.


He left us alone and we left him alone. We retired to our motor home for the night.


Next Location – From Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island


American Locations 16 – Ocracoke Campground, Outer Banks

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

Ocracoke Campground, Outer Banks, North Carolina


Our first stop after driving away from the ferry station was to see the horses. There are wild horses living on Ocracoke Island, as they are in Carrituck. A few of them are penned up by the road for the tourists to see. They don’t seem very wild. But I guess it’s better to keep a few on hand rather than have the tourists traipsing all over the island looking for them.



While we were stopped to see the horses we crossed the road to check out the beach. Notice how the stairs disappear beneath the sand? No telling how much sand the recent hurricane had washed up over the bottom steps.


These barrier islands aren’t very wide. In places there is just enough room for a two-lane road. So it’s easy to go from one side of the island to the other. We drove to the far end of the island, where the town of Ocracoke is located.


One last Outer Banks lighthouse to see.



Then we drove to Ocracoke Campground.


As at Oregon Inlet Campground, we got a site where we could back up against the dune next to the beach.


It was then a short walk up and over.



To another glorious beach.



Here I pulled a double. I stayed out at our site to watch the sunset.


It was a full moon on a clear night.


Then the next morning I sat out on the beach to watch the sunrise.




We stayed two nights at our last campground on the Outer Banks.


Next Location – Ocracoke Campground, Outer Banks 2