Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Category

This is gonna be a post without an actual point. Just some bits and pieces of cool things we saw on our adventure.

I hope you don’t think me weird…nah, that’s a lie – go right ahead and think it if you like…but I really love love love old cemeteries. The one in New Bern, North Carolina is one of my favourites. It has graves and tombs dating back to the 1700’s. Some are very elaborate, and some are flat out bizarre. The ambiance of the place is amazing: trees draped with Spanish Moss, pathways paved with crushed oyster shells, giant tombstones, and so on.  

Gate R

I love the little bits of ornamentation that look sorta like faces.

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What the heck does that mean: “Her lamp was burning?” You couldn’t give us a clue at least? Like, “Her lamp was burning, but her candle wasn’t?” Or, “Her lamp was burning so fiercely that it burned her house down and that was the end of her?” Was she a pyro?  C’mon, I have questions, dammit!  Don’t leave me hangin’ here!

And here’re some pictures of our awesome campsite on the Outer Banks that I forgot to show you earlier (or possibly I was at a loss for a decent segue, which is more likely the case):

Outer Banks Campsite 1R

Here are some of Bob’s famous (amazing) sunset photogs. We had to look at this mess every evening (sad, eh?):

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Ever since our trip to Maine last year, we’ve had a bit of thing for lighthouses. Happily for us, the Outer Banks of North Carolina has some really cool ones.

During tourist season (which isn’t now), when it’s hot ‘n’ heavy, they actually allow you to climb up inside of some of them. I for one was grateful for all the “currently closed for climbing” signs. If I’m gonna have a heart attack climbing something, I’d prefer it had easy access for the paramedics. And maybe a helipad. Just sayin’. So no climbing for us. Just looking:

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 1R

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

This was the first lighthouse we checked out on our list of four. Several cool things about this one: Built in 1870, this lighthouse sat back 1500 feet from the ocean. A hundred years later, it sat only 150 feet from the ocean’s edge. Erosion had placed this beautiful lighthouse in peril, so, in 1999 the entire lighthouse was moved intact about 2900 feet from its original position.

And that’s all the history you’re gonna get outta me. On with the visually cool bits. The base on this thing just blew me away. From a distance, it seemed like maybe some pot-smoking artiste had been commissioned to create the base. Upon closer inspection, it was probably the coolest part of this structure. The colours in the marble are just amazing:

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Door BR

The second lighthouse we went to see was very similar to the first one. No history lesson this time, just a picture:

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The Bodie Island Lighthouse

Next, we went to see this one:

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The Ocracoke Lighthouse

We had to take a (free!!!) ferry to go and see this one. Bob got pooped upon by a seagull, but you didn’t hear that from me.  I think it was divine retribution because he nearly drove me off my nut saying “Ocracoke” all the time.  He just wouldn’t stop!  Oh what, that doesn’t sound all that annoying? HAH!  Get someone to follow YOU around all day saying, “Ocracoke” then get back to me.

And, last but not least, was this unpainted beauty:

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The Corolla Lighthouse

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It was virtually impossible to get a good shot of this one because of all the trees (I’m not sure what a lighthouse is doing in the woods, but anyway). This one was interesting because it was surrounded by nature trails and other cool stuff.

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The Whalehead Club

The yellow building is called The Whalehead Club. I think it used to be sort of a hunting lodge for rich good ole boys. Now it’s just a museum with a really cool bridge leading to it.  

This concludes our Official Lighthouse Post.  Thank you for showing up. 🙂

 

Ever since I first spied one of these:

Eastern Screech Owl, LaSalle ParkR

in a knothole in a tree, I’ve made it a habit when I’m hiking in the bush, to at least give such places a passing glance.  You’d be surprised how often it pays off.

Sleepy Chippy R 

The thing about hiking in the woods at home in Canada is that there’s really nothing out there that can hurt you unless, of course, you happen to live where there are bears or mountain lions. We don’t. We live where there are squirrels and rabbits, and while they can sometimes be terrifying, they will usually not attack.

I was a bit nervous about hiking in Florida and North Carolina because there are things out there in those woods that will kill and/or eat you. It’s recommended that you make a lot of noise when hiking in these areas so as not to startle lethal snakes and whatnot and give them a chance to get away. Hah! What about giving me a chance to get away, huh?! Isn’t making a lot of noise a bit like yelling, “Yo! Free meal, over here!?”

We decided to be extra wary, but maybe not too too noisy since we were hoping to find some interesting birds. Birds, as we all know, don’t like a lot of noise (I read that somewhere). In fact, if you announce your presence at all, they’ll just leave. Yeah, I know. Fargin’ snobs, eh?

So there we were, hiking through the woods on the Outer Banks. We were stomping lightly, I guess you’d say, and keeping a close eye on the ground for slithering and listening closely for fang-sharpening. If we were to be eaten by a snake, I was fairly sure it would come flying out from the underbrush. Still, I am in the habit of peering into knotholes, so, once in a while, I’d brave an upward glance.

Snake 1R

I have no idea what sort of snake this is or if we were having a near-death experience here, but I was praying it wouldn’t suddenly decide to unfurl itself and become hostile instead of sleepy.

Snake 2R

I’ve honestly never seen a snake do this before. Not that I see a load of snakes on a daily basis, and, generally when I do see one, I’m running like mad in the opposite direction and screaming my fool head off (and we don’t even have poisonous snakes in Canada). So technically, snakes could coil up in knotholes all the time and how would I know?

Still, we thought it was pretty cool.

If you’re a person who loves gorgeous sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, you need to add “Outer Banks of North Carolina” to your Bucket List.

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We are here in the off season (April is “off”; May is “on”) which means that we virtually have the place to ourselves. Yep, 80 degrees and a zillion miles of glorious unspoiled beach. Life sometimes sucks, but now isn’t one of those times.

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After a few days of poking around, we began to notice little signs posted in certain areas saying things like “This area of the beach is closed!” Beneath this was a stick drawing of a bird sporting what appeared to be a silly hat, together with an explanation (paraphrased by yours truly): “The Fluffy-Headed Shrimp-Suckers are currently nesting in this area.” Then, in smaller print, a few words describing why this should concern us, followed by (something like) “Love and Kisses, The Audubon Society.

Being the fledgling birders we are, we thought it was darned swell of those Audubon folks to do such a thing. There are those, however, who would disagree.

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In any given situation, there will always be an arsehole or two who can’t just live ‘n’ let live. They probably don’t bother to vote but they’ll be first in line braying like a bunch of jackasses the second they imagine that their rights have been violated.

Let’s just back up here for a second. Back to the part where I mentioned “a zillion miles of glorious unspoiled beach.” Back, too, to the “off season” bit. Okay, so we have oodles of beach with nobody on it, and we have a comparatively miniscule portion of said beach cordoned off for a few weeks so that love might flourish for the Fluffy-headed Shrimp-suckers (or whatever they actually are).

Yep, I can certainly see cause for alarm there.

Imagine having to exist in a world where some stupid bird can just up and hog the beach! Gawd’s teeth!!  Especially when it’s just a few acres of beach that nobody’s using anyway. That’s certainly worth going to the expense of having a special protest sign printed up and nailing it to your hand stenciled board (pardon me while I wipe away a wee tear). That’ll show ’em, boy!

The thing is that unless this is really just a clever ploy by the government to ferret out the local morons, the Audubon Society could probably have saved themselves some sign money and aggravation by just keeping mum and letting those Shrimp-suckers do their thing on that empty beach. Nobody’d be any the wiser. Least of all the local moron bird-flippers who’ve lost their precious freedom (insert melodramatic eye roll here).

I’ve never been a big fan of “tourist trap” places.  I prefer to see what’s on the street behind the one with all the souvenir shops on it, y’know?

When we first arrived in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we were assailed by big flashy signs wanting us to come to Kitty Hawk (!!!) and see the Wright Brothers monument and museum (!!!).  Pfft!  Even I, the non-history buff slash museum hater in the bunch, know that this is the spot where Orville Redenbacher and that guy that Mr. Ed used to talk to invented the self-flushing toilet.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that those stupid toilets always either flush before you’re ready, hose down the whole bloody stall, or just simply refuse to flush at all even when you glower sternly and say, “Please.  Just flush, damn you!?”  And just what is it that lets the toilet know when it’s time to flush?  Ever wondered about that?  Hmmm?

Where was I?  Oh wright – Kitty Hawk.  It turns out you can see the whole shebang, dorky monument and all, just by driving by, pointing, and saying, “Yep, there it is.  That’s the spot.”

The other person is our gang (hint: the one who isn’t me) actually is a history buff slash museum lover, so we had to negotiate a few historically significant (apparently) stop-overs.  Roanoke Island was one of these.

What’s so fascinating about Roanoke Island?  Why, I thought you’d never ask!  It’s the scene of a great historical mystery!  (Yawn…oops!)

The story goes that some pompous English oaf, bent on pillaging and world-domination, pitched up on the beach with a bunch of his home-dawgs with the intent of opening a 7-11 and establishing a colony.  After a short while, the colonists discovered that they hadn’t brought quite enough clean underwear and food, so they took a vote and decided to send Pompous English Buddy back home to get more while the rest of them set about murdering the Natives to tide themselves over.

Okay, now here comes the (insert Phantom of The Opera theme here) mysterious part:  When Pompous English Buddy finally remembered to come back, three years had elapsed, and lo and behold the Native-murdering colonists had vanished into thin air.

Really?  This is your big mystery?  I guess it never dawned on these bozos that bumping off the indigenous folk might actually piss them off a bit.  No?  Sigh….