Southward Bound to Florida

I’m finding it challenging to find expediency in packing up after settling in at a place for longer than 3 days. It’s at this stage where we’ve settled in and found homes for our ‘stuff’. But in order to travel efficiently and without movement of the Airstream’s innards, everything needs to have a place and semi-permanent home. So in leaving Kitty Hawk today, it took us a good 3 hours of battening up the hatches, tucking the bikes and wood in under the tonneau cover. With a wistful goodbye to our wonderful new friends, we started our trek south through Hatteras National Seashore and Island crossing via 40 minute ferry to Ocracoke. What a beautiful trip, with a plethora of birdlife spiralling patterns of whimsy as they forged through the strong south winds (which wreaked havoc on our gas mileage). This was our second ferry crossing with both the truck and trailer, and with slaDE~s skilled maneuvering in to the tight ships parking bay, we breezed of and off without event or worry.

I think my favourite aspect of today’s venture was visiting the world-famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which so happens to be the tallest brick beacon in the USA, standing 208 feet in height. This spiral-striped black and white landmark served to warn mariners of the submerged and shifting sandbars which extend almost twenty miles off Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic (known as the Diamond Shoals). Although impressive in stature, the most magnificent facet about this sandstone lighthouse is that in 1999, when threatened by beach erosion, it was moved off the shoreline by 2,900 feet. The participants didn’t take it apart and put it back together. Instead, the Lighthouse was (diamond) cut from its original base, hydraulically lifted on to steel roll-beams and moved along railroad tracks inch by inch to its present position. This outstanding Civil Engineering achievement took 23 days. The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society engraved the keepers’ names, at the original site, on the foundation stones in their memory. The vantage point from this original location is a stunning sight to witness — what a vast distance this structure was painstakingly moved (the photo of the truck in the parking lot with the Lighthouse to the far right in the background is the approximate distance of 2,900 feet in which the Lighthouse was moved over 23 days)!

At the other end of the free ferry crossing lies Ocracoke. A very quaint little Island … with it being off-season, only a handful of stores, restaurant cafes and campgrounds were open. Teeters RV Park proved to be a quick stopping point (a bit overpriced for supplying electric only, but with such cold temperatures, we were needy of a place to plug in) before setting off early in the morning for our ferry crossing to the mainland.

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