Banks with no money (nothing new there then!)
Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
27Trip End Jul 23, 2009
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Well, Malc has had his share of daydreaming and I have to admit I was pretty moved by those brothers and the legacy they left. We take so much for granted these days...just look at this as some indication of what difference their persistence has made to us - you may need to zoom in a bit...
anyway on with the 'story'...
On the drive over from Raleigh two points I think are worth a mention - all the wild flowers that blanket the road side look lovely, they are part of a 'beautifying' programme and have been 'planted' on purpose - what a great idea!
The second mention goes to the crews that clean up the roadsides - look carefully and you will see that perhaps they are not there by choice! maybe we should take this on board.
Well we have spent a week in this area now; we never realized how agricultural it is before coming here. We, well I, didn't expect to see the vast fields of crops, stretching back from the road. In many cases the crops are growing right up to the front lawns of the farm houses, where the grass has the look of a new haircut beside the waving corn! .
Some farm buildings have obviously seen better days, but for the most part the farmsteads whilst not large are well kept and neat. The area is flat, very like Norfolk and the soil is fertile
We found a great campground a way back from the Outer Banks but close enough to use it as a base to explore. As you can see it was a little off the beaten track, the road got narrower and narrower but we aren't as spooked by this as we might have been on Leg 1. However when there was only enough width for Toad, we were glad we didn't meet anything coming the other way!
Fellow campers provide interest too, yes the bikers were camping in that trailer, but this family had brought everything with them!
We had dallied with the idea of heading for the southern tip of the banks, getting the ferry across to Ocracoke and then making our way slowly up and stopping on the way. Two things put us off this idea, it is not easy to just pull over and stop when you total over 50' long and being Memorial Day week end we knew it would probably be mega busy. This is the 'Beginning of Summer' week end and the proximity to the East coast population conglomerations, both meant busy, busy. As it happens now we have driven down the Banks a couple of times we know we made the right decision. Once you leave the "Blackpool" area behind (there are only so many T shirt/ beach outlets you can stomach!) and reach the wonderful unspoilt Cape Hatteras National Seashore the parking spots are small and few and far between. As the week progressed traffic/ people increased!
But it is obvious why people are drawn to this area, the Outer banks; a necklace of islands stretching 100 miles from the Virginia border, down along N and S Carolina have some of the most beautiful beaches we have seen anywhere
http://www.outer-banks.nc.us/tourism/dchome.htm Elsewhere you find yourself driving along the narrow ribbon of road between the beach and marsh.
I particularly wanted to visit Rodanthe, sadly Richard Gere wasn't there :( Girls if you haven't seen 'Nights in Rodanthe' I highly recommend it. The house looks rather sad now though and like many we saw will soon give its life up to the sea, despite the vast piles of sand bags some employ to stave off the inevitable.
We spoke with a local*, whose grandfather had built one of the first 13 houses on the Outer Banks - he told us that back in the 1960's the houses were way back from the tide line, perhaps as much as 300'. Mother Nature will have her way; she will reclaim what is rightfully hers! This coast is in the path of hurricanes after all.
It has been a magnet for man for hundreds of years; the first European settlers an English group settled here in 1585 (On what is now Roanoke Is) only to 'disappear' and forever be known as the "Lost Colony'
Today you can visit the Raleigh National Historic Site, watch a production that tries to retell their story, visit the Elizabethan gardens and see Elizabeth II a replica of one of the ships the
settlers arrived in.
I have to say we didn't spend much time there - without wanting to sound blasť we've got plenty of that at home! We did explore the island though and as usual we found a few photo opportunities - we wouldn't want to disappoint you!
We have also enjoyed the drive all the way down to Okacroke...but that's another story.
PS Thanks Travelpod for featuring our blog and thanks to the 200 new viewers who came to have a look :)
* Our "local" was in fact a Mr. Outlaw (so now we can say we have met an outlaw) a chap we met whilst taking a sample of the sea water in Elizabeth City, a future blog - all will be revealed...