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Old 05-05-2004, 07:22 PM   #17
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,673
Flying Back to North Carolina...

20th February

Up early, as Buddy has to go to work today! Well, to a meeting anyway – no need to go crazy . I say my heartfelt thanks to Buddy & Sue for their generous hospitality and I’m packed and on the road by 0815. I decide to set course for the Outer Banks and the home of powered flight – Kittyhawk. The weather is beautiful, brilliant blue cloudless sky and already above freezing. I make my way South West, re-entering North Carolina at 1100.

I’m struck by the odd marketing strategy of some companies over here – would you honestly go in and ask for a ‘Sheetz Sandwich’?



I stop for lunch at a ‘traditional’ chrome diner. This might have been here since the fifties, but I suspect it’s a modern reproduction.



These diners sprung up all over the USA between the 30s & 50s, their design being such that, if they weren’t successful in a location, they could be uprooted and moved without too much drama. This one has a reserved seat at the counter…



The food, regrettably, is mediocre :( Ah, well…

I ride on, arriving at Kill Devil Hill at about 1400. The visitor centre here is run by the National Parks Service, so the pass I bought yesterday gets me in free ;). I wander around the museum, looking at the replica Wright Flyer and the genuine exhibits of the crude tools that Wilbur & Orville used to build the world’s first powered aircraft.



I then walk out to the world’s first runway. The first flight took place on 17th December 1903. The ‘Flyer’ flew four times that day, with the toss of a coin deciding that Orville Wright would be the first pilot. They then took it in turns to increase the distance flown from 120 feet to 852 feet by the end of the day. The large boulder in the foreground represents the take-off point and the other stones in the middle distance signifies the 4 landing points…



…less than 66 years later, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon.

The flight is commemorated by a huge art-deco monument on the hill overlooking the runway.



I set off South, then turn inland, through Roanoke Island and make my way West. I intend to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway at some time during Saturday – it should’ve had enough time to thaw out a bit by then . The temperature has climbed and I’m wearing my summer gloves for the first time in over a week. I ride past signs warning of bears and deer. As I cross the long, causeway-like, bridges which join the Outer Banks to the mainland, I see pelicans almost hovering in the onshore breeze.

Further inland, the ditches alongside the highway (called, ominously, Alligator Road) are flooded and there is further evidence that this entire low-lying area was hit hard by Hurricane Isabel last year too…

I pull in to a cheap motel in Edenton, and get to work on the (lengthy) business of uploading my pictures to SmugMug and writing up my journal…
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MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:20 AM
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