. The man who directed us was amazing and gave us just enough room to open the door so we could come and go during the 2 1/2 hour ride across the Atlantic to Okracoke. We made it on but we weren't sure how we would make it off! Fortunately, Clark was prepared this time and wore his rubber underwear! We all enjoyed the boat ride and posed the question; if Rusty got motion sickness (which he sometimes does) would it be considered car sick or sea sick? We were glad that we didn't have to make that delineation. It was very surreal looking out the window of Monica and seeing only water, no "real" land in sight. We watched the small sand islands pass by as they are everywhere in this area. Clarkism, "Kids, did you know there are over 650 located shipwrecks for various reasons over the last 400 years in, around and near the Outer Banks?" Blackbeard the pirate was responsible for at least 20 of them. We understood why so many ships had sunk as we were in the Atlantic Ocean, but the water was only 10' deep. There were sand bars everywhere! In fact, Ocracoke was settled purely as an outpost for "pilot ships" to escort ships to the mainland through this treacherous area.
We made it to the island and off the ferry without much ta-do at all. We decided to park Monica in the Visitor's center and run about in the PT. We drove around this small town where at least 90% of the housing is for vacation rentals
. There are no hotels to speak of other than a couple very small Inns. We enjoyed the unique architecture as we drove about and landed at one side of the island and went to get our feet wet. It was a quiet area with a gradual slope into the sea. There were hermit crabs and shells galore and we actually found some sea glass, possibly from a wreck! We criss-crossed the rest of the very crowded island, dodging bicyclists and pedestrians. As busy as it was, we found it to be charming and unique. Kind of hippie. Kind of hip.
We hooked up and headed North. We stopped roadside in the middle of nowhere and while Ellen and the kids hit the beach, Clark climbed to the top of a dune. Smack dab in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Clark could see the sound to the west and the Atlantic to the east. Beautiful! Continuing northward, it was time for another ferry. Great. This time, we couldn't even get out of the RV but it was only a 40 minute ride. Getting off this one was a struggle with Ellen ready to climb out the bedroom window to unleash the bikes. Fortunately, due to the magic of the traffic director we got off the boat, bikes intact. Welcome to Hatteras. Oddly stark with no trees over 10' high yet it was beautiful in a desolate sort of way on this strip of land in the middle of the ocean. We passed a smattering of grand, brightly colored vacation mansions and the yacht club which gave way to the dunes, sea oats and beaches again as we entered the unsettled part of the island
. Crossing a large bridge, we found ourselves on Roanoke Island and the settlement of Rodanthe. The architecture here was unique, to us anyway, consisting of tall 3-4 story homes on stilts. They weren't particularly large, maybe 4-500 sqaure feet per floor plus outcroppings and balconies on most floors including the top. They were unpainted cedar siding or shingles giving them an old, weathered look when perhaps they were only a year or 2 old. We landed in our campground, unusually situated between both bodies of water (the Atlantic and Palmico Sound) we were able to enjoy a beautiful sun Set on the water on one end of our campground and a beautiful sun Rise on the water on the other end of our campground, (which, of course, we did both). That evening we brought the fireworks that Ethan had purchased to the beach to set off. As we crested the dunes we were astonished to see little bonfires up and down the otherwise isolated beach. Perhaps, there were a dozen of them within the realm of sight. After we set off our few "fountains", we enjoyed the ambiance of the night sky and the peaceful little fires as there so few places left that you can do this.
The drive back to Cedar Island was grueling on the small streets and bridges that seemed to be teaming with people now that we were in the RV and had a firm schedule. We arrived on time and they began to load right on time as they promised. We were asked to move to the far left lane and to turn off our propane tanks to prepare for loading onto the ferry. HMMM? We've never done that before. Good thing we had the trusty Monica reference guide and Clark was able to find the information in the time allotted and actually take care of it. We were behind a trucker who was asked to move on to the boat. It was definitely interesting watching him and we weren't sure if it was a good thing or not. It was good to know that it could be done. Then we were asked to move forward on to the ferry. We couldn't believe what they were asking us to do. Not only did we have no room on either side as we moved through onto the ferry, in fact they had us squeezed within 2" between our mirror and the inside wall of the ferry, but, It was also bumper to bumper with the car in front of us