Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The trip - next (I forgot the chapter number)


Blackbeard...aarrgggg!

Sunday morning, the 8th, I got up early because I am a early riser. And I am addicted to caffeine. It was still dark. I took a little walk down the highway a couple of blocks. A cat walked with me meowing. I think she was saying, “Got any fish parts? “ On the left was a store opened that said ‘Bait’. I walked up to the door and a young woman, who looked sort of manly, jumped out and closed the door quickly behind her and called the cat by name and said she wasn’t going to let her in. I asked her did she have coffee and she said no. So, the cat and I did not have any reason to hang around, but the cat thought if he/she just hung out a while she could probably run in when the door opened next. I thought of Elvis’s song about a One Eyed Cat Peeping in the Seafood Store… shake, rattle, and roll.

I saw no advantage in for me to hang around with the cat so I walked across the street to an old building that was some kind of store that also sold gasoline and fishing supplies.

An old man was there working on the cash register and was telling another man standing there that he was completely confused over new computer cash registers. But they had coffee! As I was paying for my coffee the old man had me go down to the end of the counter, “that cash register is still working – it’s the old fashion kind”. Behind him was a long track-like thing with a little machine of some sort on one end – I thought it was a lathe. I asked him what that was for and he said to wrap rods. I paid for my coffee and left.

We packed and moved on more southward.

Not too far alone we had breakfast at Bubba’s BBQ. It was just so so… nothing to write home about as they say… or in this case, write a blog about.

Next door to Bubba’s was a store that sold gas. We didn’t want to be down on some lonely island with no gas station and see the that little “empty” light again. So, I pulled in and to fill up. The pumps, like the ones outside Raleigh had no place to put your credit card., so I went in. Behind the counter was a little girl about 7 or 8 coloring a coloring book. On the outside was a nice looking young man leaning against the counter watching her with pride.

I hated to interrupt their activity but I guess I needed to. I asked him did I pay before hand or what. He, very casual and relaxed, said, “either way, it doesn’t matter.” Since I was standing there with my credit card I went ahead and gave it to him and went back and filled up, amused the whole time about the laid back island life way of life.

I went back inside to sign the slip and retrieve the credit card and I told him that the people there really have their own ways…. I thought I was complementing him but he looked taken back, maybe even offended. I did some fast talking to explain how much of a pleasure it was to see people enjoying their children and not paranoid over when you pay for the gas… he seemed to appreciate that.

I guess now is a good time as any to throw in the houses of the middle class here. The mansions are pretentious mansions, I am sure they are just as pretentious and snobbiest on the mainland or there, but the middle class on the island and on the last ten or fifteen miles before the you start leap frogging over the sounds the houses are very unpretentious with many houses with junk thinks around… almost always with a old rusty boat out front…. And quiet often you would see something of a strange yard ornament of some sort. Also, not usual is to see a regular 3 bedroom size ranch house or something of that order with a two or three tombstone markers in the front yard. I suppose there are no laws against buying your dead in your front yard.

I wonder if that would hurt the sale of the house, if a tiny cemetery was in the front yard? And if someone did buy a house with a little tiny cemetery in the front yard would it be okay for them to bury their kin there? And if so, wouldn’t that confuse future family researchers?

I told Anna I needed to tell Bob of this style of living…. Mainly about the junk in people’s yards… he would fit in.

Five miles after we filled up we took a ferry ride to the next Island which was Ocracoke Island. The ferry ride, as Anna read in one of the travel brochures of the area was one of the best entrainments in the area. I don’t know how long the ride was but it was far enough where you could not see land to where we were headed. The sea fowl, such as pelicans and sea gulls flew near us, dipping down in the waters to grab a bite and moving on. On the way back we saw porpoises or dolphins. It was interesting and beautiful.

The ferry is a free service. It is part of highway 12, which I would think it would be the highway department’s responsibility to keep the travels on Highway 12 uninterrupted, but Anna read in one of the brochures that the Coast Guards keeps the show going.

Which the people who guided us onto the ferry, making sure we got in on of the our lanes on the boat and were parked only inches from the car in front of us wore khaki officer’s uniforms with the gold bars. I don’t know if they go by the same ranking as the Navy, if so, we saw at several Commanders and Captains out hand directing traffic.

We had another long stretch of a wild life refuge with water on both sides of us. In this area we came upon a parking area, a platform and a wood gate-like fence. Inside the wood fence were ponies. The sign said they are not sure where or when the ponies originated. They said they probably are the descendants of the survivals of a sinking boat tragedy in the early to mid 1700s when British settlers were coming to the area.

If I could just get close enough to look in one of their eyes I think I talk the universal genealogy talk fairly good… maybe I could communicate with one of them… maybe one of them knows all the information and is responsible to hand it down to the next generation…. And here I am willing to talk the talk and walk the walk and all I can get is a snort and a “neigh”.

Eventually we came upon a little village and another ferry if we wanted to continue our journey – this time for a price. The little village had several inns and old homes that presently are restaurants… all with sea or nautical kinds of names…. Like maybe “The Ole Captains Table Restaurant”.

At a distant we could see a lighthouse. We went looking for it but couldn’t find it. We made three trips down a little narrow street that would have had to gone right by it, but didn’t see it. We asked somebody walking and they said it was “back there – you can’t miss it.” Damn them and their “you can miss it” – we can too!

One of the people we asked said we just rode by it, it is where the small little parking lot is. We turned around and looked for the small parking lot and there it was in all its tall white glory standing up with its head in a beautiful blue sky backdrop.

In this little community is a British Sailor Cemetery, where six sailors were killed defending the area, I think fairly recent – in WWII. Also, this is where Edward Teach, aka “Blackbeard” was beheaded by the British Royal Navy in 1718. I hope the cats’ ancestors weren’t near by.

We saw what we intended to see and headed back to where we came.

On the ferry ride back I talked to a preppy young man on his first day of a six day biking tour. He had a little trailer bike loaded down with his camping gear. One time he and a friend walked part of the Appalachian Trail, starting at Amecola Falls in north Georgia.

We ate lunch at Pigman Barbecue, which was okay to me, but Anna didn’t like it. It did have an interesting mural on the wall of a man with no shirt on but had a bra cooking a human-like pig tied to a stake.

Then we went back to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and got a daylight closer view of the giant lighthouse… which is the highest lighthouse in the U.S. we were told.

When we decided to go on this trip, we went to our favorite used bookstore and bought several fiction books about the area. Anna read them. She pretty much knows a lot about the Fresnel lens of lighthouses.

They had several Park Rangers on hand handing out their expertise knowledge at a cheap price.

By the way, we were told and read a number of times that off these shores there has been more than 1400 ship wrecks. That is a pretty high number. I think the Outer Banks has 4 lighthouses, which I am sure are/worth their weight in gold.

Also on our way back, with the huge bodies of water on each side, we could see people with giant colorful sail- kites hooked onto their backs that would take them high up in the air…. That looked fun…. Fun to watch, not to do – for me.

We went back to Nags Head to the Comfort Inn and got a room on the 5th floor, and paid $30 more for an ocean view. We decided it would be worth it… heck, you only live once. We enjoyed sitting on the patio outside the room and hearing and seeing the surf pound.

Also I got tied up trying to count the 7th wave – or picking out the highest wave, assuming it was the 7th, and seeing if every 7th wave from then on was a high wave. I was unsuccessful… I kept getting mixed up. I read the 7th wave theory in a book one time, I can’t remember the name of it – “Pappyon”? They also made a movie of it starring Steve McQueen and Dusty Hoffman… about a French prison in the South Seas someplace.

In the evening we went over to Roanoke Island and cruised around looking at things near the water. Some kind of festival was going on and I think another festival, musical, was going on nearby too, but we couldn’t find it. Interesting, a lot of houses with the water touching their back yards had stacks and stacks of cages. I suppose to catch crabs.

We ate at a nice restaurant overlooking the sound that separated Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks. The name of it was Sugar Creek. I had Sea Scallops. The view was really good and I thought the food was too. But why name the thing Sugar Creek? There is the bay or sound but where is the creek?

Back to the Comfort Inn. It was very windy outside. During the middle of the night I heard a noise that sounded like someone was politely trying to enter our room from the balcony. First came three knocks, that sounded definitely like knuckle knocks, then a rubbing sound like someone in the dark was searching the door with their hands looking for the door knob… then scratching…more rubbing, more knockings.. it had to be a dream – or maybe it was some of the dead from the old ship wrecks trying to get in from Harm’s Way.

More coming.

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