Saturday, June 08, 2013

OBX Day 1: Dismal Swamps & Ironclads

We went on a trip to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. Originally, we were just going to fly out to visit my brother T's family in Manhattan, but he had mentioned the OBX at some point and we decided to meet up there instead. I had never heard of the OBX previously, but I recognized the name of one town: Kitty Hawk. I had a model of the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier as a kid, which I knew was named for the place where the Wright Brothers had done their first powered flight. That's all I knew. Until I looked more closely on a map, I had no idea that there is a 200-mile system of narrow barrier islands along most of the North Carolina coast. Your typical map of North America doesn't have that much detail, or maybe I had just never noticed it.

If you don't know how to get there, you basically go south from Virginia towards North Carolina and then hang a left (ie: east) when you get to The Great Dismal Swamp and drive until you see the Atlantic Ocean. That's essentially what we did. We flew to Richmond, Virginia, where we piled into T's SUV and we drove a few hours towards the coast.

It was a bit unsettling at one point when we left the south end of Newport News / Hampton onto a bridge across the James River, which is more of a bay than a river. The bridge suddenly dove down into the water and became a tunnel. There is something that just doesn't feel right about diving your car down a hole in the middle of a bay. Apparently, the hole is called the Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel -- named for the famous first battle between ironclad warships that raged for 2 days on that spot in the US Civil War (who remembers this clasic segment from Max the 2,000 Year-Old Mouse?). Both ships survived the the standoff at Hampton Roads, and so did we. Scott claims that he held his breath through the entire tunnel, but he didn't have his nostrils pinched, so the claim is suspect.

Another highlight from the trip was the roadside signs. A certain farm had miles and miles of signs with a cartoon farmer holding out the names of various produce, such as "Corn" or "Watermelon". Another store had signs every few yards that said "Guns" "Ammo" "Guns" "Ammo" "Guns" "Guns" "Guns" "Guns" "Ammo" "Ammo" "Ammo" and then finally "Guns & Ammo".

1 comment:

Grandma Walters said...

What fun!!! Tell us more of the trip!!!