Kitty Hawk, NC to Avon, NC
The highlight for today was a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. It was located just a few miles south of the fantastically cheap Buccaneer motel, and we were there in time for the 10 am ranger talk. The talk was very well done, and we learned the trials that the brothers overcome in their quest for powered flight. We saw a replica of their first flying machine, and learned how they controlled it using their hands and their hips. It was quite interesting!
After the ranger talk we ventured outside to see the place where those first flights actually occurred. The Wright brothers had chosen the particular location because of it’s consistent strong winds and the sandy ground for soft landings. The wind was certainly blowing while we were there!
We spent some time checking out the monument and poking around the museum before getting back on the road. It wasn’t long before we were hungry though, and needed to find a grocery store to restock our snack supply. We found a drive-thru beer distributor near our route and they pointed us to the grocery store. Going shopping on tour is always fun, but also dangerous because the temptation to buy more than we can fit in the bike bags is always present.
We were soon in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation area – a narrow strip of sand and dunes. On Bodie Island there was a lighthouse that we lunched near, although weren’t permitted to climb. It was quite bizarre to watch the tourists at times. Some would drive up, stop their cars to take a picture through the window, and then continue driving. It wasn’t even that cold!
Another highlight, as we headed south, was our first big ‘hill’! Ok, so it was a tall bridge, but still! As you can see from the photo, it was a fantastic day despite the cold. The sky on the outer banks was quite beautiful.
On the narrow, sandy parts of the highway we witnessed a uniquely Sisyphean task: the removal of sand from the roadway. A host of construction machines sat waiting for traffic-free moments to scoop up sand near or on the road and deposit it slightly farther away from the road. We asked a ranger about how often this happens, and the answer was ‘every day’.
Unfortunately for us, we planned our trip too late in the year to stay in any of the national park campgrounds. They all closed nearly a month before our arrival. As a result, we planned on another motel stay. We rolled into the town of Avon as the sun set, and the only motel we found looked abandoned. I asked some locals if there was anything else, and they said we’d need to ride an additional 8 miles. No thank you!
Jason called the number on the abandoned motel office’s door and found we could rent a ‘cottage’ for the night. I put cottage in quotes because it was in fact a quadriplex, but it was cheap, had a kitchen, and it was getting cold outside very fast. The women on the phone took our info and told us where to find the keys. We were in! Once inside, we checked out the distinctly dated decor, turned the heat to maximum, made dinner and were soon asleep.