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Today was full of travel.  I left Walter’s house around 9am and drove over 360miles to the Outer Banks. For most of the drive, the day was damp and misty. It was a good day to hang out in VANilla.  Of course I needed gas and the dogs needed a break every once in a while, so we stopped twice before reaching our destination, and one stop was a pleasant surprise.

We originally tried going to a park a few miles off the highway that was a point of interest on my GPS.  As I drove through the neighborhood, I just kept going and weaved my way along a few side streets right back to the highway.  I don’t know if the neighborhood was safe, but it was a little too run down for me to try it out.  Not much further down Highway 64, we found a rest area.  I took the dogs to the grassy area behind the parking lot to find an interpretive boardwalk built around the bog land in the Scuppernong River.  It turns out the rest area shared space with Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.  I didn’t even have my camera with me, as I was really planning just a short stretch for the dogs as I wanted to at least complete one tourist stop on the Outer Banks before night fall. We basically raced around the nature walk, partly due to Scout’s uncontained energy, and altogether skipped a boardwalk stroll to Columbia’s downtown, as we still had some distance to cover to start our scenic drive.  But in reality, we enjoyed a much better setting than the parking lot I anticipated.

I arrived at Kill Devil Hills just in time to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial.  The memorial is erected where the brothers experimented with gliders and eventually succeeded with the first power driven flight in December of 1903.  Before the memorial was constructed and placed atop the sand dune, the dune required stabilization as the constant winds have shifted the hill over time.  Army engineers used grass and a wood mold to keep the dune from moving.  The memorial is carved out of granite and is meant to inspire those who believe and accomplish the impossible.  In addition to the memorial, the park includes markers that show the distances each flight traveled as well as replicas of the aircraft.  Also, a 3D scene depicts their feats.

While the sky was overcast, the Outer Banks was relatively warm…in the 50s which seemed balmy compared to Charlotte and most of the country.  I was curious to know what the night had in store for me.  I opted for an early dinner at Black Pelican Ocean Front Restaurant.  I’m glad I arrived at 6.  The hostess estimated a 25 minute wait for a table.  Being a single diner, I found a seat at the first come, first served bar.  Even better, I sat next to a local for lack of a better description.  Frank previously owned a summer home nearby.  He was in town looking at some of his commercial property and was staying at his daughter and son-in-law’s home while they were at the Virginia Tech game.  He provided a few tips for sightseeing tomorrow and by the time the evening ended, I had a place to stay for the night!  I don’t think the cats appreciated his invitation, but I did…bed, shower, and coffee…can’t beat that!

On a different note, I forgot to mention on Wednesday, as I was leaving the Blue Ridge Mountains, I passed by an “eyewitness news truck”.  I wondered what could be so important to lure a news crew to the area, and it so happens the news station I tuned into Wednesday reported a climber had been stranded in the mountains for a second day and attempts to make contact with him had failed.  I never heard the final outcome, but it didn’t sound like the incident was going to end with good news.  I hope I’m wrong. ETB

websites: www.kdhnc.com, www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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