Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Outer Banks

There is a place in North Carolina. A set of islands a that act as a big breaker for the coast. As you drive along them you sometimes catch a glimpse of waves to the east, other times you see calm waters to the west. No matter where you look (so long as you are not in any of the little towns along the way) all you see is gorgeous. Oh, and there are lighthouses too, it’s kind of a thing along the banks.








I take a short ferry ride to Okracoke Island at the south end of the banks, but darkness falls quickly and the ferry to the mainland doesn’t run again until morning. I find an overnight fisherman’s parking lot nearby, and even though it explicitly states that there is no overnight sleeping allowed in the lot, I climb into the back of the truck and am rocked to sleep by the wind. I wake up early, I read the ferry schedule wrong and end up with over two hours to wait before it leaves. The island still sleeps, no coffee shops, no restaurants are open yet. I go to the dock and sit with my camera in the cold as sunrise comes to the east coast:



Eventually the ferry is made ready and I am allowed to board. It is a lonely 2 1/2 hour ride to Cedar Island, my truck sits alone on the ferry:



I continue along the coast, choosing highway 17 to take me down the water’s edge. As night time approaches I find myself in another Wilmington but in a different state. Wilmington, North Carolina. I find a coffee shop and edit photos. I read my book, and make scribbles in my journal. I find a parking space and crawl into the truck for the night.


I make some turkey sandwiches in the moonlight and eat them while reading a new book. I sip on whiskey to wash the food down. I go to sleep, but there is no rest. I toss and I turn.

Maybe it’s the buzz from the coffee, maybe it’s the buzz from the liquor. Either way, it’s one thirty in the morning and I’m just laying in the back of a truck. I load everything back up, and head downtown. The bars are closing soon and I figure I will watch the drunk kids stumble around before hitting the road.


The dog hates it, too many people who act far too familiar with him. The cops are out in force to break up the fights. We wander around for almost an hour, just people watching, before we hit to road for Myrtle Beach.


Warren said...

great pictures, I really like the peaceful ocean ones and the lighthouse with surrounded by scaffolding.

Anonymous said...


You missed Flip's BBQ in Wilmington, one of the best BBQ joints in the country! You can google it. I would have had you buy me several gallons of the sauce and happily paid double or even triple for them.

I lived in Wilmington way back in the early '80s.

It's where the marine recruits go to ah, blow off steam. Sounds like things haven't changed.

When I was there I worked a few cubicles down from Michael Jordan's dad at the GE plant in Wilmington. The one that got murdered.

(I'm the guy who said hello to you in Brown Bag Burger when you were reading that very fat book...)

TomboCheck said...

Warran - Thanks! The lighthouses were a real treat for me. At first I was disappointed by the one with scaffolding around it, but then I realized how much more interesting it was surrounded by a framework of metal. :)

Anon - I did indeed miss it. I asked a few locals if there were any amazing places I had to go and they didn't have much to say. :(
Downtown was definitely rowdy, I can imagine the marine recruits causing a raucous.