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I survived staying at a complete stranger’s house.  I stayed in Ted’s driveway a couple of nights, but this was the first time for me to borrow the extra bedroom.  I figured with my dogs, bear mace, and a 38 special I could handle a man shot in the hip by an M16 from three feet away.  Seriously, we talked about Frank’s army days, grown kids, and ex-wife enough for me to feel comfortable.  And he even showed me his driver’s license so I could text a friend my would be killer if my friend didn’t hear from me the next day!  Also, for my daily reader’s, I ended up googling about the climber last night, and he survived too.  I see one of my reader’s also googled.  Here’s the news link: http://www.wsoctv.com/news/25914738/detail.html

Before heading south for the day, I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and cereal with whole milk.  I want to know how many of my adult readers still drink whole milk on a daily basis.  Most people I know get whole milk for their kids and a lighter option for themselves.  I generally drink soy milk, but Frank’s daughter and son-in-law both drink whole milk, thus the choice in the refrigerator.  I’m not complaining; I was just surprised.

Our first stop this morning was at Jockey’s Ridge State Park to see the East Coast’s largest sand dune – 80 to 100 feet above sea level.  The dogs and I walked to its peak to get a view of both the bay and the ocean while other spectators waited for the hang gliders to take flight.  Looking west without peripheral vision, only sand and sky could be seen.  I felt like I was crossing the Sahara Desert except for the fact it was cold.  For a quick sand shot in a movie, this area would be the perfect setting.

We continued south to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Standing at 208 feet high, the lighthouse is the tallest in the United States and the tallest brick light house in the world.  The lighthouse, made of 1.25 million bricks and weighing over 6,000 tons, had to be moved as the shore continues to recede due to the Atlantic’s strong winds and powerful surf.  During summer months, visitors may climb the 268 steps to the top; however, the spiral stairwell was closed for the season, as was a movie theater I passed by.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie theater close for the season.  That was a first.

Just across the way, lies the Buxton Woods, the largest forest on the Outer Banks.  The dogs and I took the ¾ mile interpretive, loop trail.  I got a kick out of walking more than half of it to come to an interpretive sign showing a picture of poison ivy…REALLY…that should be the first sign posted!  The trail wound past some fresh water marshes that were quite pretty, but I left my camera in VANilla, so the only photo documenting the woods is a boring one of trees.

I didn’t think it would be right to leave the Outer Banks without walking on the beach, so we made a short stop on the Hatteras National Seashore.  Fishing seemed to be the popular activity.  Fishermen were lined up on the beach with their lines cast into the water.  Many local trucks included front mounts that held eight upright rods in a straight line across the hood.

I retraced my steps to Nags Head to exit the islands and head south.  As I passed by miniature golf, go cart tracks, restaurants, and clapboard houses, I thought the Outer Banks feels like a cross between the looks of Cape Cod and the commercialism of South Padre Island. The dogs and I stopped at one rest stop on the way to Wilmington, NC to lay over for the night before going to Charleston, SC and later Bluffton, SC (not on my scenic drives, but on the way to Savannah, my next destination). ETB

http://jockeyridgestatepark.com/info.html, www.nps.gov/caha, www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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