<< Days 28 and 29: Rock Hill, South Carolina | Day 31: Cape Hatteras >>
Rock Hill to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
We left early this morning to drive to a campground along the Outer Banks, which consists of a string of narrow barrier islands off of the North Carolina coast. Some of the islands are connected together with bridges, and the area has an array of beautiful beaches (many undeveloped), marshes, plants and wildlife.
My parents would be joining us for a few days, staying in a small cabin at the campground.
Even though we had almost 400 miles of driving today, we tried to stay off of the freeways whenever possible.
North of Charlotte, North Carolina, we found a road that alternated between 4 lanes and 2 lanes, over gently rolling hills covered with dense forests.
We passed the "Simply Styling" Hair Salon:
An old home nestled on a bright green field:
J&J Custom Paint & Performance (nice sign . . . the building, however, could use some some sprucing up):
We crossed the Yadkin River.
The road stretched out before us:
The name of this restaurant, “Huddle House,” made me wish that we had enough time to go inside and get all cozy.
One of the many Baptist churches that we would pass today:
A house with some personality:
We drove past a few “gun & pawn” shops, which seemed like a curious combination. I grabbed my camera in time to catch this shop across the street:
An interesting barn:
A pretty farm:
Sometimes the small highways we drove would have more than one number—indeed, as many as 4. At times, we would come to a junction and have to quickly scan all of the numbers to see which way we were supposed to go. This task would be particularly confusing if the highway line on my map had an east-west direction, and the signs gave me a choice of “north” or “south”. The signs below were not too confusing but provide an example of what we often saw.
A Methodist church with a cemetery:
We passed through the small town of Pittsboro, which was founded in 1787. This building was beautiful, but the bright eastern sun washed out the photo colors.
Other buildings in and near Pittsboro:
The rocks in the Haw River were challenging us to a game of stepping stones—but we didn’t have time to stop today.
Jordan Lake looked like a peaceful place to relax and fish.
One of the benefits of traveling off of the interstates is the wonderful absence of continuous billboards.
The land flattened out east of Rocky Mount. Farm land surrounded us.
We saw our first tobacco fields.
We also saw some peanut crops.
I only learned last week that peanuts grow under the ground. (What?!) While I knew that peanut plants looked like small bushes, I had always thought that peanuts grew like other nuts and could be picked from the outside of the plant. Silly me! (Am I the only one who didn’t know this?)
On the east side of Jamesville, a shop called “Mackey’s Gun Store” flashed a sign that read, “If You Don’t Buy Your Guns Here, We Can’t Eat”. These are hard times indeed.
A small marshy pond:
This home had a collection of old tools and other items on the front porch:
An old fire engine decorated the side lawn here:
We stopped for a lunch picnic in the welcoming town of Plymouth, where we found a small museum and a park along the river.
My dad on the side of the museum:
The historical marker outside of the museum stated that this was the site of the Plymouth battle in April 1864, in which the Confederate army fought the Union army to regain control of Plymouth and won. (The Union army had controlled Plymouth since 1862.) The success of this battle was due in large part to the iron-clad vessel CSS Albemarle, which sank 5 Union ships.
Just three months later, in October 1964, the Union army regained control of Plymouth and sunk the CSS Albemarle.
A small replica of the CSS Albemarle had been constructed recently and was floating in the river.
In front of the museum was a replica of the 6.4 inch Brooke Rifled Canon from the CSS Albemarle. This was considered to be the “finest canon” on either side of the war.
The river was very pretty. Along the bank was a patch of lilypads.
Two turtles were sunning themselves on a log.
Genevieve and Sebastian found this very interesting bug:
They were horrified--and fascinated--when they returned to check on the bug and found a big dragonfly on top of it.
We weren’t sure if the dragonfly was feasting, but the big bug underneath did not look healthy.
The river had benches nearby to sit and enjoy the surrounding beauty. My dad and Sebastian:
The museum also had an old caboose:
Here is a side view with my parents:
My mom and I walked across the street to visit Grace Episcopal Church and the adjacent cemetery.
Some of the headstones looked very old.
Here is the headstone for Charles Haughton, who died in 1869.
The babies’ graves always touch my heart.
Here are more homes that we passed on our way out of Plymouth:
Continuing on our journey, we saw a long row of buildings along the river.
We thought that perhaps they were tobacco drying sheds.
This was a happy bug!
One last farm house (I just can’t help myself!):
The Scuppernong river:
We were now in the Tidewater area of North Carolina, with low, flat ground and many bodies of water that connected with the Atlantic Ocean.
We crossed the wide Alligator River to the Alligator River National Wetland Reserve.
This old house in the Reserve area looked as if it might have been abandoned, perhaps for the newer modular home in the background.
The barrier islands were reached by leap frogging onto Roanoke Island, which lies between the outer islands and the mainland of North Carolina.
Leaving the mainland behind.
The bridge to Roanoke Island was quite long. Sebastian noted that it had a “bump” in it.
The southern part of Roanoke Island was flat with tall grasses.
The eastern shore of North Carolina has a restaurant called “Dirty Dick’s”. I may not care for the double entendre in the advertising slogan, but I have to admit that their ads are memorable. (However, we never ate at that restaurant.)
We crossed another bridge to get from Roanoke Island to the Outer Banks.
Once on the first island in the Outer Banks (Bodie Island), we turned south and entered the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
I hadn’t visited these islands for over 25 years, but my initial impression was that they were still as beautiful as I remembered.
The barrier islands are extremely skinny strips of land that stretch down through the coastal waters. Our campground was about half way down the next island, Hatteras Island. To get there, we had to cross another bridge.
Views of Hatteras Island:
Among the miles of deserted beaches are pockets of homes. Many of the houses are vacation rentals.
Our campground had a pool with two enticing water slides. The children had their bathing suits on before we even arrived at our RV site.
Genevieve, hitting the water first:
Sebastian, making a splash:
My parents and I went for a walk along the beach. The coolness of the Atlantic Ocean felt good on my toes. The waves were a bit strong tonight. We had to be careful to avoid the occasional small clear lump of jellyfish.
Me and my mom:
Our campsite was right next to the sand dunes. While Ben was BBQ-ing, he met the family camped next to us—they are from Montreal, Canada, and they come here every summer for a month.
My dad and Ben:
We were lulled to sleep tonight by the sound of crashing waves. Ahhh, heaven.
<< Days 28 and 29: Rock Hill, South Carolina | Day 31: Cape Hatteras >>
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