North Carolina Adventures

raleigh and the surrounding area

Our first 3 days in North Carolina we stayed in a pretty nice campground. The rest of our stay we stayed in a motel in Raleigh while getting some needed repairs done on our trailer.
Our friends Jorge and Kathy came to visit us while there. (Kathy’s taking this picture)
We also went to their condo for a dinner; great fun!
Jorge and Kathy were excited about our tower kit and bought one; we experimented with a tower for our dinner there.
If you’re interested, you can find the kits on our website,
Our creation, a simple side salad.
The finished product.
On Kathy’s recommendation, we visited William B. Umstead State Park for some gorgeous fall hiking. Very nice mostly paved trails!

We also found this beach park; Falls Lake State Park. Beautiful and hardly another person there on such a nice day! The advantages of retirement; go mid-week!
The only other person we saw was flying his drone around.

Some odd patterns in the sand; we think formed by seaweed or snails?

the outer banks including kitty hawk, nags head and cape hatteras

Since it was mid-week and our friends were busy at work we decided to take a couple of days to go check out the Outer Banks. I hadn’t been there since I was about 12!

The first place we visited was Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers made their historic first flights.
The monument erected on top of Big Kill Devil Hill that they used to do their non-powered glider flights. It was just sand back then so they had quite a struggle getting the plane back to the top for each test flight.

From up there you can see where they did the 4 historic flights. Just think, this was November of 1903 and we’ve progressed from this to manned space flights in the 1960s!
Their flight path and markers for each successive flight; notice the rail they put down to get started!

Marker #1
Marker #2
Marker #3
And Marker #4 for their 4th and most successful flight.
It’s kind of fitting; they put the local airport, First Flight Airport, right adjacent to this historic sight. It must be pretty cool to fly in and see this site!
Some military helicopters buzzing the field too!
This was a very cool bronze sculpture that was donated and dedicated by the state of North Carolina in 2003 commemorating the centennial of their achievement.

They even included a statue of the photographer who took the photos of the occasion!
Wilbur Wright at the controls.
Orville Wright cheering his brother on!
Local Coast Guards that volunteered to help the wright Brothers in their historic flight.

That first evening we stayed at a really nice beach front hotel, The Seaside Inn. Just over the dune we had this ocean view. No pictures of the Inn, but this view was awesome!
In looking through visitors guides we came across this Wild Horse Humvee Tour and decided we would do it. I’m really glad we did, we had no idea that there were wild horses out here!       Apparently they are descendants of the horses the Spanish brought over back in the 1520’s. When the ships ran aground in the famous “Graveyard of the Atlantic” as this coast is called, they lightened their load to get free by off loading these wild Spanish Mustangs. That was almost 500 years ago! The herd is now down to a managed size, one at each end of this string of islands. One at the southern end on Ocracoke Island and the one we visited on the extreme northern end near Corolla.
Our transportation for this adventure, a custom built 13 passenger Humvee.
A little horse humor! I know a few people who could use this doormat!
At the end of the island you go through the gate at the barrier dunes and the road continues on the beach! It’s the only “road” down to where the horses live and the beach homes that are now there. The residents are just accustomed to living with these four legged friends!

Our guide pointed this house out; it’s red & green and it’s called the Christmas House, The guy who lives there sometimes even dresses up as Santa (during the appropriate season we assume!)

Notice the tree stumps? The ocean has moved about 250 feet closer to shore over the last few centuries!
Most of these are vacation rental homes; our guide says there is one that has 26 bedrooms! Many of them have carports underneath and during periods of extreme heat or inclement weather the horses have been seen using them for shelter !

The fence line that keeps the horses on their 180 acre preserve,

Back at the shop.
Until we did this tour we couldn’t figure out why these beautifully painted horses were all over the Outer Banks; now we know!
Their vehicle for larger groups! This would make a great desert camper!
We stopped at a convenience store after our tour; apparently you can get just about anything here!
The weather started turning towards the end of the day as we got on the ferry back to Hatteras Island.

On the ferry
We visited two lighthouses here. This one is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. If you Google it you’ll discover it was moved 2900′ inland in 1999 because of the threat of beach erosion sine it was originally built in 1870. Fascinating story if you’re interested!
Some of the original foundation stones are still here.

The other lighthouse we visited was the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Notice it’s stripes are horizontal rather than spiraled like the Hatteras Lighthouse.







Our Time in Virginia

We stayed at this FamCamp, Kings Creek RV Campground, while visiting Williamsburg and the surrounding area. It’s on the Yorktown Annex/Naval Weapons Station so obviously I no pictures other than this! A nice campground with lots of space.
We visited the Mariners Museum in Newport News, not far from our campground.
A beautiful carved Eagle figurehead.

Another Figurehead carving.
The Freshnell lens from the Cape Charles lighthouse.
They had this cool play area for the kids that was shaped as a pirate chip.

Some parts of the Monitor, a Civil War submarine, are being painstakingly cleaned and restored as much as possible for future display in the museum. As you might recall from school, it was sunk in the James River by the Merrimack.
Some large parts recovered from the wreckage in a bath to dissolve slowly the ravages of their time under water.
They even recovered the huge main turret!

yorktown revolutionary battlefield

We visited the Yorktown Battlefield area where the revolutionarys battled the British

I noticed the groove where the cannon would fire and wondered if it was cut that way or they just let the shots carve their own path!
Amazing that they have saved these bunkers just as they were during the conflict!

This is the Moore House where Washington and Cornwall signed the papers ending the Revolutionary war and giving the United States it’s freedom from British rule.

jamestown settlement

I never realized until this visit that Jamestown is on an island!

The foundation still exists for the original Jamestown Statehouse.
They built the Visitors Center over some of the original foundations to protect and display them via some see through floors, pretty cool!

They had a tribe member who is  a descendant of the Paspahegh Indian tribe who lived there when the settlers landed to give us insight into how they lived before and after the settlers came; very interesting.
After our visit to Jamestown we went to nearby Riverwalk to have lunch by the river.

After lunch we decided to take the ferry over to Surry.

Looks a little off course to me!

Being greeted by some locals!

taking the 17 mile chesapeake bay bridge-tunnel

On another day we decided to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It’s 17 miles long with two 1 mile long tunnels under the bay; quite the engineering marvel!

After crossing we found a little seafood restaurant on the bay, beautiful, and we were practically the only ones there!
You can barely see the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on the horizon in this shot.



Our visit with our niece, Dr. Logan Clark, while in Washington DC

Our niece, Dr. Logan Clark, earned her Doctorate degree from UCLA in Ethnomusicology this summer. She got a job at the Smithsonian Folkways here in Washington DC. Which is perfect for her.
We spent the weekend with her at her new apartment in downtown DC, a very cool place to live! She can walk everywhere, even to her work!
The view from her balcony.

One of the days we walked down to have lunch on the Potomac and saw Washington Nationals stadium along the way.
The waterfront is nice. Fountains that the people are allowed to play in even! (Too cold that day though!)
Okay, one brave (crazy) soul!
A very cool foot bridge!

Cool artistic bench, the leaves are changing!
We took the subway to get to downtown DC, very convenient and efficient!
Here comes our train1
This is the National Museum of African American History, the newest Smithsonian. Tickets (which are free but required) usually take months to get, but because Logan is a Smithsonian employee she was able to get us right in! As you can see I got this photo earlier while on our bus tour.
Unfortunately this is the only picture I took inside. They had a sign about no video or photography in one certain area and I read it as no photography in the entire museum except the lobby. Too bad, it was all very interesting!

The national cathedral

We went to see The National Cathedral with Logan. An interesting side note; Polly and Denny (her grandparents) were married there over 70 years ago! Unfortunately we weren’t able to see the inside because there was a mass in progress.
Notice the scaffoldings? They are doing retrofit restoration for earthquake reinforcements because they actually experienced one recently!

An explanation about the earthquake retrofits.

I noticed these interesting carvings at the top of some of the columns; each one is different!

The Bishops Garden adjacent to the Cathedral.
Apparently the Bishop enjoys a rousing game of corn hole occasionally!

the anacostia smithsonian

Logan wanted to go to this to enjoy the music and sights of this community event at the Anacostia Smithsonian across the Potomac from Washington DC.
There was dancing.

….and music

Even Face painting for the kids; a fun event!