While family and friends are bundled up at Spartan Stadium at MSU for the MSU-Wisconsin game, I was standing barefoot in the sand grilling burgers, only a few hundred feet from the beach at Kitty Hawk, NC – what a life!
Pat and I arrived in the Raleigh area on October 9th and set up camp at the Falls River Recreational Area. This is a great campground with nice, deep sites and plenty of space between camp sites. Elisabeth met us at the campground for dinner and a campfire. It was great to see her again and to be able to spend time together.
Tuesday I went to Pittsburgh for my Corps of Engineers Leadership Development Program. Pat and Elisabeth hung out together while I was gone and Elisabeth and I went kayaking on Falls Lake after I returned on Friday.
A few years ago we discovered a winery between Raleigh and Wilmington that had some great Muscatine wine, so Saturday was spent traveling to and touring the Duplin Winery. I can’t remember the last time I went to a Michigan State Fair, but now we have gone to two state fairs this year! The North Carolina State Fair was great, with all kinds of good food that is not good for you, but fun to eat. We checked out the garden displays, historical and craft displays. When we walked by the North Carolina Army National Guard recruiting booth I saw they had a climbing wall and, of course, this old Army Ranger couldn’t pass that up. While the age limit was 45, they let me climb it anyway and I DID make it to the top!
Later in the week I took the opportunity to do some handyman work around Elisabeth’s house. It was fun and after three tries I finally got the exhaust fan in her guest bathroom fixed! I guess I should give up my dreams of home repairs as a career. The rest of the week was taken up with checking out some to the area around the campground, more kayaking and handyman work. We had a great time visiting with Elisabeth.
On Saturday, Oct 22nd, we headed to the Outer Banks to stay at the Kitty Hawk RV Park. At first I wasn’t very impressed as it looked like your typical trailer park. However, it all changed when we realized we were right across the road from the ocean – a one minute walk from the trailer, and we had an ocean view from our living room. Later in the day we went to the Wright Brothers Memorial. The memorial was built on Kill Devil Hill which is a sand dune; consequently it is always moving. In fact it is over 450 feet from its location in 1903 when the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight. In preparing the memorial the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stabilized the dune with a variety of grasses. After that we went to Jockey Ridge State Park, which is known for outstanding kite flying and hang gliding. We flew kites until after sunset.
Sunday we checked out the Currituck Lighthouse. Elisabeth thought this would be good because I had already visited the other four of the five lighthouses on the Outer Banks. It is also the only unpainted brick lighthouse on this part of the coast. That afternoon we headed to Roanoke Island to tour the ‘Lost Colony.” Three expeditions landed at Roanoke. The first two returned to England, but the third group was supposed to be permanent. The Governor returned to England to get more support, but was unable to return for three years. When he finally returned the colony was gone without any sign of where they had gone or why they had left; hence the “Lost Colony.”
Monday we went back to the Wright Brothers Memorial. They had a display of WWII gliders and I was able to meet a glider pilot who had flown in Operations Market-Garden and Varsity. Boy, did he have some stories to tell!
This next morning we were up early to watch the sunrise and then headed back to Raleigh. Back at the Falls River Recreation Area, I couldn’t help but notice we were one of three campers in our area of the campground; it was like having your own forest! There are some benefits of camping late in the season. After some housekeeping and trailer washing, we headed out on Thursday for Mississippi.
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