Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Drive all around...

Yet another travelogue, this time about the North carolina trip we took on the New Year weekend (I know I've been absent for quite a while, but I'm back now :-D). This was the longest drive that we have taken since I've come to US, with Sri doing all the driving. The trip to orlando last year was pretty long too, but Sri and his friend took turns driving then. Well, I still have to get my driving license (I have the learner's permit now {grins sheepishly}, have been driving quite well for quite long now, will probably take the test in the next couple of weeks..). Here's the google map sketching the drive :).

29th December 2006:

Friday evening we started off. We planned to leave a bit more early, but a friend of Sri's called us and indicated they may join us, so we waited until their plans got finalized. But well, they decided not to after all. So we set off only at about 7 PM in the evening. To reach North Carolina, we have to cross 2 states - West Virginia and Virginia. We drove till Wytheville, VA and stopped for the night there.

30th December 2006:

Saturday morning, we started driving again, drove, drove and drove more :-p. We actually had planned to see Kitty Hawk on Saturday itself. But the drive was longer that we thought it would be. It was already evening when it looked like it'd be dark when we actually reached Kitty Hawk. So decided to drive directly to the hotel at Washington, NC and change all the plans to the next day.

After arriving at the hotel, we did go to the waterfront there. The bay was not really big, but it was nice for a night time stroll. No pictures to account for the bay though, as it was too dark for that :).

31st December 2006:

We started driving pretty early on Sunday morning and reached Kitty Hawk pretty soon. What's interesting about Kitty Hawk is that its on a stretch of islands on the Atlantic ocean. These islands are connected to the mainland US by a bridge.

As the Dayton citizens are proud of the Wright brothers, Kitty Hawk is too. This is because of the fact I mentioned in my previous post that the Wright brothers actually conducted their initial experiments there. So as usual, they have a museum and a monument dedicated to the Wright brothers. The museum again had a model of the Wright brothers' first flight.

The field in which the brothers experimented is also preserved (as usual :-D) and so are the distances made by their first few gliders, marked by stones like this:

They also had 2 small hangars full of museum artifacts:

The monument looked beautiful, but we didn't really walk to it as it looked pretty far off..

Our next destination was a beach near Wilmington, NC and the shortest way to get there was to drive on the island and later catch 2 connecting ferries :). The first ferry connecting Hatteras island and Ocracoke island was not really a problem as there are ferries every half an hour. The second one we had to catch was at 1 PM and the next and last available ferry for the day was only at 4:30 PM. If we missed that one, it meant we had to go back and take the round-about route. Which certainly meant we couldn't reach the beach where new year fireworks were organized that day :-p. We had planned to take the 4:30 PM ferry, but we still had to make haste, since we had a pretty long drive.

So we didn't stop on any of the thin island stretch until we reached the 1st ferry at Hatteras. I've never been on a ferry before which carries cars across, so it was a new and a delightful experience :). This was a free ferry as there is no other transportation between the Hatteras and Ocracoke islands :). Here's our SUV on the ferry :).

The ferry took only about half an hour to reach Ocracoke island, but we encountered another one in opposite direction soon. You can see that the ferry was pretty big and could carry about 15-20 cars at one go :).

The distance between the islands is not much and I really wonder why they didn't build a bridge in-between. The photo below shows the 2 islands and the distance between them.

Well, it was fun travelling in the ferry. There was a lounge on an upper floor where you could have coffee and there were also restrooms!!

It was a short trip and though we did have a bit of a drive on Ocracoke island, we stopped to enjoy the views of the Atlantic ocean at an ongoing beach.

It was pretty cold and breezy. But the best part was a bird we saw. It'd peck at the water until the wave came. Then it was as if it'd get frightened of the wave and get back. As soon as the wave retreated, it's again venture forward pecking at the water :)).

After a blissful walk along the beach (the water was freezing, we put our feet in once and immediately jumped back to wear our shoes brrrr :-p), we drove to the ferry station to reserve our ticket for the 4:30 PM (this one had a ticket, a fare of about $15) Cedar island - Ocracoke Ferry :). Then we had lunch at one of the restaurants. Thankfully the restaurant had a few vegetarian options and we were able to enjoy the meal (we really didn't think we'd be able to find vegetarian food, as it is an island and we thought there'd be only sea-food :-p). We still had about an hour's time for the ferry reporting time and so were able to visit another beach.

Lingered on the beach just for a couple of photos and then we were off to the ferry station.

The Cedar island - Ocracoke Ferry was bigger, almost double the size of the earlier ferry and this trip was more than 2 and a half hours!

We both strolled around at first. There were seagulls flying over the ferry was we floated in the water. They were directly flying over the ferry, so I was able to take a couple of nice shots :)).

Later Sri had a nice nap while I read a book in the SUV. Still later, it was nice to see the sunset from the ferry.

The ferry was a beautiful experience. You are sitting in the car, moving, yet not driving ;-). We reached Cedar island (which is again connected to the main land by a bridge) at around 7PM and again started driving towards Wilmington. Since we had found out that the fireworks were at 10PM, we couldn't stop for a proper dinner and just grabbed veggie burgers on a Burger King drive-in.

We reached Kure beach at almost 10 PM. The place was all lit up and there was a dance party going on :). It was all nice, but it was only there we found out that the fireworks were actually at midnight. After much deliberation whether to leave immediately (as we had another 2 hours of drive to reach out hotel for the night), we decided to stay and watch the fireworks.

We walked to the beach in the dark, finished the dinner brought with us and sat on a lifesavers' high wooden chair at the beach for quite some time. We could hear the music from the party and it was really pleasant :).

After sometime, we actually went to the dance party and danced to a couple of songs!! Hehehee :-D. Actually, I pulled Sri into dancing with me ;-). I've never really danced in public before and I really enjoyed it. Anyways the people around us were all Americans and strangers. Its not like I'll ever see them again :-D. You don't really feel self-conscious when nobody knows you :-D :))). It was really fun. Hmmm maybe I should join the tango classes I've always wanted to ;-).

1st January 2007:

At precisely midnight, with the shouts of "Happy New Year" in the air, came the fireworks. I've never seen fireworks up and close like it was here ever.

As soon as the fireworks were done, we left the place and were off to our hotel in Burlington, NC. We were sleepy, but we still drove. Actually I was sleepy all the way and poor Sri drove :-D. We were able to reach the hotel only at around 3 AM.

Morning we got up late and set off again. Planned to visit some vineyards, got near to one and realized that the plants were all hibernating :-p. So quietly headed back to track..

It was a 6-7 hour drive back. On the way, we encountered the hills we had crossed before and I took this picture of a tunnel dug in a hill. Look at how impressive it is :).

And last but not least look at this:

Yup, Hurricane is actually the name of a place in West Virginia :-D. Imagine living there and saying "I live in Hurricane" :-D. Well, with that laugh, I'll say bye. Hopefully, you don't have to wait much for the next post :-p.


maavinayanasa retorted...

wonderful pics and narration. i felt as if i was also a part of your trip.

thank you once again the nice pics.

Orchid retorted...

hey deepthi,
enjoyed your travelogue and a strange coincidence is hubby and I were just discussing that we haven't gone on a road trip in almost 2 years...we have taken vacations just not road trip :)
I think the picture on the beach (of the sand and the shells) is really would make for anice decorative piece of art.

Deeps retorted...

Srinivas sir, thanks :).

Orchid, I guess its difficult to take a road trip after having kids. Well, I'm not too fond if long drives (I must be the only one!!), but this trip was interesting..

mommyof2 retorted...

nice pics:-)