New Bern and Outer Banks, NC May 2-4, 2006
Headed to New Bern, NC to visit family. Picked up the kids from school in the Lance and what a hit! Ended up with 5-6 under twelve year old boys and a dog up on the bed looking out the front window for a too short ride home. Camped on the Neuse River at a KOA overnight. Quiet, nice, very clean site with wi-fi to catch up on emails. Walked New Bern next morning but since we are early risers and town doesn't open up early, nothing was open. Joe did find the home of Pepsi Cola though. Took off for the ferry across the Pamlico Sound at Aurora. Lunched in the Mattameskett Wildlife Refugee waiting for the ducks to come grab the sandwiches. Fun to drive very narrow road across NC's largest natural lake.
Toured the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC in the rain. http://www.elizabethangardens.org/visitorinfo_directions.aspx Are we cursed with rain? Beautiful flowers and great floral smells. We'd been here once in November when nothing was in bloom - this was better.
You can see how narrow the Outer Banks are on a map but you don't realize how truly narrow until you drive the road from Manteo down to Hatteras. Huge areas of preserved land for migrating bird flyways. Camped in Rodanthe snugged right up to a sand dune. Massive thunderstorm just as we were setting up but once over, we scrambled up the dune to see huge waves crashing in on a totally deserted beach. Walked for a long time in a place we drove a long time to reach, a very special time. Camper folk are fun. Met up with a couple from PA who are full timers and who are headed to ME this summer to the Rockland Lobster festival. We clued them in on all the "not to miss" spots on coastal Maine.
Next day, bright blue skies and warm temps for a change. Drove down to Hatteras and toured the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" museum. http://www.hatteras-nc.com/atlanticgraveyard/. Very interesting especially the history of Billy Mitchell proving that airplanes can sink ships - done right off Hatteras during WWII as a demo to the Navy. Joe then trotted up Cape Hatteras Lighthouse followed by softshell crab sandwiches at Dirty Dick's. Walked Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, http://www.stateparks.com/pea_island.html another preserve for migrating waterfowl. Saw lots of geese and other birds but we were too late for the huge spring flocks.
After taking the state ferry at Currituck over the Currituck Sound to Knotts Island and the entry to VA Beach, we headed to a KOA in VA Beach. This was NOT a good camp for us, the worse we were in the whole trip. It was a clean, well wooded site but right beside a major road and under the flight path for the Oceana Naval Air Station. If I'd spent more time with the Delorme map program I'd have seen the air field. Oh well - long day, lots of beach walking done and a couple of drinks and we finally didn't hear the planes anymore
May 5-8th. More visiting with mom and family and then a leisurely drive back to Maine. Camped in Plattekill, NY at a very comfortable campground with lots of geese escorting the baby geese around. Skipped going through Hartford by heading up Route 87 towards Albany and then over to the Mass Pike and home to Maine.
We learned a lot about the truck, the Lance, planning routes, campgrounds, living together in a small space and how well it all worked. Oil and filter changed today, truck all cleaned and ready to hit the road again soon.
Total of 3164 miles, 273 gallons of diesel for 4717.30, 11.6 mpg or 22.6 cents a mile. Sure beats moldering on the couch waiting to get stuck in the "home".