Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Whirlwind Tour of Manteo and the Northern Outer Banks

Ok. Manteo and Roanaoke and Kitty Hawk and Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. Where do I begin? I mean we had the car for only a day and there was lots to do and see. Here goes!

Manteo is on Roanaoke Island where the mysterious lost colony of Roanoke was, or is, or whatever. The island is connected to the mainland on the west side and the outer banks on the east side. Our marina, Manteo Waterfront Marina is located about a third the way down from the top of the island near the channel on the east side. But on Monday, our get-out-and-see-everything-we-can day started when Enterprise Rental picked us up at the marina about 9:00 am and drove us back to their office on the bank. The first thing you see is that this is very much a resort area. The outer banks (known as OBX) is a thin strand of sandy island that is not very wide and there are only a few north and south running roads. There are a lot of the typical rental houses, hotels, beach stuff stores, all you can eat pancake houses and other shopping. There are shopping centers all along the way. The beaches are very popular with swimmers, sun worshipers and surfers alike.



After we left Enterprise our first stop, because it was close by, was the national memorial of the historic first flights of the Wright Brothers. Historical Accuracy Point #1 - Kitty Hawk gets all the credit but actually their daring deeds were done at Kill Devil Hill. Kitty Hawk got the glory because that is where they sent their "we did it!" telegram from. Historical Accuracy Point #2 - The fact of them being the first at powered flight is up for a great deal of debate now. There are recorded occasions of it actually being done by a German-American immigrant in Connecticut about a year earlier. But the thing that the Wright Brothers certainly get credit for is that their flights were CONTROLLED powered flight. They were the ones to correctly figure out the whole 3-axis controlling system on an airplane. Historians are quick to point out that their contribution was by far more significant than any previous example. For instance they were the first to fly from a starting point, out in a circle and back to the same starting point. In other words they figured it all out and got it all to work correctly. This correct flying ability is otherwise known as "not crashing and dying." The monument is very interessting with the exact strip of land that they flew their first four powered hops in December of 2003, with markers showing where they landed, and a large monument on Kill Devil Hill.


Behind Lisa is the plain where the Wright Brothers made their flights (at the far end)
If you look carefully at the far end you see four granite markers in a row that indicate where their first flights landed. The first three are kind of bunched together, the fourth is further down. Fyi, we have all seen the pictures of them on a sandy surface. The grass was added later to prevent erosion.

Speaking of Kill Devil Hills, along with Nags Head and Kitty Hawk, they form the seamless ribbon of touristy stuff. 'Nuff said. Ya seen one tourist trap, you've seen them all.
Eh, no thanks. I'll pass.

Our romping on OBX included, of course, a trip to West Marine, two grocery stores, a couple of hardware stores and picking up odds and ends that were on our shopping list.

Once we drove back onto Roanoke Island we headed to the north end of the island where the aforementioned lost colony of Roanaoke Island was, or is. (I guess it depends on if you are a past-tense or present-tense kind of person.) We visited their little museum and watched a short movie about the colony and how it was founded and losted, so to speak. It was quite interesting. We were not able to actually walk to the site itself because there was major tree trimming going on over the walking path to it. There was also an informative display covering the possible reasons the colony disappeared. These reasons included being attacked by Spanish soldiers (England and Spain were at war at the time), being wiped out by the local natives, or that they packed up and moved to the bank down near Hatteras and were assimilated by the natives. Historians are mostly leaning towards this third option as the most likely. This is because in quite a few years further on in the timeline some of the natives in that area were found to have lighter skin and blue and grey eyes and spoke with a more anglicized sentence structure. But there is nothing concrete one way or the other. I believe there is another possibility that archaeologists have not considered. This is that the settlers were sucked up into a giant time vortex and were resettled in Ohio sometime in the 23rd century. Only time will tell.
Didn't know I had a restaurant, did you? Neither did I. (And they spelled it right.)

The next morning we made the trek back to Enterprise to return the car. Upon our return to the marina we started tinkering around the boat. Our fresh water has been twitchy lately. When we used the shower the pressure would run down to a drip after about three minutes of running time. I had talked to Shurflo, the maker of our pump, and they gave me some tips on how I might be able to fix it. And fix it I did! Now we have no running water at all. And on top of that there is a slow pressure leak of water into the bilge. Great! Captain Carl gave us the name of a technician in Coinjock, NC that he said was terrific. I called the guy and since our next stop was Coinjock itself we figured we could stand twenty-four hours without running water. I don't know how Lisa does it but she seems to be totally unaffected by this. I, on the other hand, am coverd with a crust and I smell like a monkey.

Tuesday afternoon we toddled around Manteo itself and it is a quaint town with shops and restaurants. It actually is very modern in an old-timey way. After a short while I headed back to the boat for a nap and Lisa did her shopping thing. She says she has bought a new outfit that will knock my socks off. I can't wait!

We woke up early Wednesday morning to make the trip up to Coinjock. The conditions were not, shall we say, ideal and we did get rocked and rolled, but it was manageable. So we are now in Coinjock waiting for our technician to show up. And yes we are having prime rib for dinner tonight. And yes I will have my socks knocked off, too.

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