Friday, June 09, 2006

Day 8: The Wright Stuff

We were supposed to be checked out of our room by 10 AM, so most of the morning was spent packing up, cleaning and loading the car. After getting all our stuff in the car, I could still see out the back window, so that’s a small victory in itself.

The first order of business before leaving the OBX was a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk. Or Kill Devil Hills, I’m not sure where the “official” location is. The two towns are adjacent and virtually indistinguishable. I do know that the large sand dune from which Wilbur and Orville flew their glider is called “Kill Devil Hill”. There is now a granite monument on that hill, since planted with grass, along with the surrounding grounds, to prevent erosion. The first powered flights, on December 17, 1903, were initiated on more level ground. There were actually four flights that day of increasing distance, with Wilbur and Orville sharing piloting responsibilities. The first of these was only 100 feet and lasted some 12 seconds. There are markers in the ground showing the four landing points. The longest flight was 852 feet and lasted almost a minute, quite an improvement over the initial run.

We spent a little more time at the memorial, but left quickly when we noticed the ominous rain clods gathering. As we were crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge, over to the mainland, the rain started coming down in buckets, no doubt causing concern for the drivers headed in the opposite direction who were just starting their vacations. The next week was predicted to be somewhat cloudy and rainy weather-wise.

On the way down, Lauren noticed a Sonic drive-in, where we hadn’t eaten since we lived Texas. The closest one to us now is about 100 miles away in Pennsylvania. There’s one in Williamsburg, Virginia, also. Nothing says you’re in the South like a Sonic. The unique thing about Sonic is that there is no structure wherein you sit and eat your food. You’re either outside on a bench or you eat in your car, unless you’re taking it to go, of course. And if you stop at Sonic, you must order a Cherry Limeade. I used to drink a large Cherry Limeade in one gulp after softball practice in 100 degree Texas heat. Replaced all the calories I’d burned off and then some.

So, after lunch, it was a pretty smooth trip, even along the dreaded I-95. The problem was Ally didn’t sleep and no nap makes for a cranky kid. It also means any inkling of tinkling has to be dealt with, so there were a few stops.

Overall, I think we did about as much as we could do in a week. I think if we went back, I’d like to go a bit further south, down to Hatteras Island. One thing is for sure, and that is that I’ve made peace with my inner beach bum. Just as long as there’s an umbrella for me to sit under.


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