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Biking and Flying on the Outer Banks, NC

 Greetings from the East Coast,

Our home for five nights was at the OBX Campground in Kill Devil Hills, NC.  The showers are spacious and clean, there are geese and deer to watch, and our camper was situated with the window at the head of the bed looking directly east.  So each morning, if we woke up in time, we could watch the sunrise while still cozy.  

The first morning I saw the sunrise there were lovely deep oranges shining through a row of trees on the opposite shore of the inlet on the sound.  The water was calm and mirror-like.  So the reflection of the trees on the orange background was reflected on the water.  Lovely.  We were smiling.

The outer banks is a long strip of island off the coast.  I had heard of it, but never been here.  Steve has been here many times with Margaret and their kids.  We drove over a long bridge to get here.

The first day, I would have gone to Anytime if there had been one.  I needed to exercise my bones, (I have osteoporosis.)  I also needed to move.   Instead I did some exercising outside without weights and then we went exploring with our trikes.

Not far our of the campground we came across a snapping turtle in the road.  I was looking at it two seconds, when a woman walked up planning to take it to a wildlife rehab (it had been hit a bit on the road and there was a bit of damage to the shell.) She was hoping we would pick it up for her.  Ahhh, no.  

Just then another couple pulled up in their car.  

"Don't touch that," the woman said as they quickly got out of their car and started walking toward us, "We are from Wisconsin and we have a lot of snapping turtles up there, it takes some know how to pick them up."   

While he grabbed the tip of the tail and slowly lifted it far from his body, I asked the woman where in Wisconsin are they from.  "Lake Geneva," she told me.  

"Cool," I said.

"You know it?"

"Yes, I lived in Waukesha for many years," I told her.

Soon, the turtle was in the woman's trunk and the turtle was off to the wildlife rehab place.

We rode the bike lane less than a mile and found a trail.  We biked probably less than a mile to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk.  We arrived right in time for a Ranger talk. 

It was great!  I learned so much, and she made it interesting and fun.  Thank you, Ranger!

I knew that the Wright Brother's ran a bike shop near Dayton, Ohio.  I didn't know how they ended up doing their first flight in Kitty Hawk.  And to tell your the truth, I didn't know where Kitty Hawk was.  So now I know!

In order to be a real flight, it had to be sustained, controlled, and self-propelled.  They came down and were able to get lift.  They then went back to Ohio and directed the mechanic that helped them in the bike shop to build them a light weight engine.  He did it, using cast aluminum.

In the field where the flight took place, there are four markers.  Each for the distance of the first four flights.  Orville and Wilber flipped a coin to see who would fly the first time.  Orville won.  His flight was short.  Then Wilber went further.  Then Orville went even further.  And then Wilber went a lot longer, now to the end of the field (I don't know if it was the end of the field back then... probably not.)

After the four flights they went inside with their helpers to rehash the flights and while they were in there, the wind caught the light-weight plane and blew it end over end, breaking it into pieces, even the new aluminum engine.

On the 25th anniversary there was a celebration in that spot.  Wilber was there and there is a picture of him standing near Amelia Ehrhart.  Cool!  The ranger said, it only took 66 years for us to reach the moon after that.  Amazing.

After that we found some trails and explored them on our trikes.  The trail we found to follow ended at the dunes on the Atlantic side of the island.

We spent a day exploring the National Seashore.  That was lovely.  It was cool enough to enjoy the beach, but not hot enough to want to jump into the surf.

We saw a loon resting on the beach.  This was the second loon we saw resting on land.  Steve didn't think they do that, but we found out from an animal rescue lady that is normal behavior.  You don't see it often... but we saw it twice in two days!

We visited a light house.  The light houses were electrified in 1939 and no longer needed a keeper living on grounds.  Steve told me each light house has different paint pattern or design so sailors can know where they are along the coast.

Keeping the road between the dunes clear of sand appears to be a constant job.

This fridge on the beach reminded me of the movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey.

At the Wildlife Center on Pea Island, someone must be feeding the turtles.  They all swam toward us as we stood on the bridge.

Rich duck hunters in the late 1920's excavated ponds for the migrating ducks.  This is now part of the National Seashore.

One night Steve took me to one of his favorite restaurants here.  The food was good and we watched the sunset out the window.

We then went to a bar with music.  It was two local women playing pretty good blues.  We didn't get in until late that night.

Steve suggested we ride our bikes to The Whalehead Mansion.  He suggested we might drive a bit closer.   It would be about 60 miles round trip right from the campground.  It sounded like the route would be a lot on the road.  I preferred starting from the campground.   Steve had raised my seat on my e-bike.   I had the e-assist. Let's do this!

And the ride turned out to be on roads with big bike lanes and on trails.  It was great!

We rode next to dunes with multi story houses.  Most of them were available to rent with special names on signs on display.

Dreams Come True
Tidal wave
Crystal Sands
Time Off
As Good As it Gets
Tax D'Ducktion 
Sea Vibrations
Sea Breeze
Shades of Blue

Instead of shoveling snow these property managers were shoveling sand off short driveways.

We stopped at a lovely dockside shopping area in Duck, NC.

We got coffee and shared a lemon yummy thing.

Riding through Duck was fun, we crossed streets named Mallard, Pintail, Wood Duck, and Redhead.

Steve pointed out signs telling us there used to be munitions testing in the area.  The trail went right by it, these signs placed every 10 to 20 feet or so.

We stopped at a visitors center and I inquired about restaurants with vegetarian dishes.

She directed us to Nelly's on the Sand.  The pasta dishes sounded good but too heavy to eat while riding.  Steve said he could make the Greek one for us later.  I took a picture for the ingredients list.

We got to the Whalehead and took the tour.  That roof is covered in copper sheet tiles.  Mucho dinero!

When it was built there was no road to the area.  He had to ship all the materials, guests, and workers.  The couple had 14 servants maintaining the house, grounds, and them.  

On the grounds or next to it was the Currituck Lighthouse.

We were both impressed with the beauty of the construction.  It is clear it was built to show off.

We realized when we got down that we never saw or looked for the light when we were on top.

It appears to be above the floor that has an overlook platform.  It was cold and windy up there, and already 3:30.  We had to start pedaling back "home."

Part of our route to avoid riding on the road was several miles of riding through an upscale neighborhood with bike and golf cart trails between each cluster of homes.

The trails between were at times like going through a tunnel of vegetation.

Even throughout this upper scale neighborhood were lots of rentals.  One yellow one was called the Yellow Brick Road.

We were still riding and it was after six and getting very hungry.  We found a brewery with music but the music was outside and it was getting cold.  

Steve told me we would be three miles short of 70 miles if we went directly back.  So we meandered and I did my age in miles.  That is called "my birthday ride" and is often done near a riders birthday.  It isn't near my birthday, my birthday is in July.  But we did 71 miles so, hey it works for both years!  

A purest will say I am cheating.  Lol.

Thanks to Steve for the adjustments to my bicycle. My ass didn't hurt until the last few miles!  

Our last day in the Outer Banks we were going to try flying, I mean Hang-gliding. But it was really raining a kind of all-day rain.  We decided to drive to the location anyway.  

And by the time our reservation was scheduled the rain stopped.

First we had to read the small print and agree that we won't sue them even if they are negligent.

We got a lesson in how to hold the bar, ease up and pull in and soar right and left.  Then we got helmets and slings.

We walked to the dunes and went by a monument that is the start of the trail that goes across North Carolina.  Mountain to Sea, I think it is called.

We did it!  Click that to see one of Steve's flights.  We each did five assisted flights like that.

Steve took a video of me.

At the same time Kitty Hawk Kites was hosting the 52nd Hang Gliding Competition.

Today we are heading toward our next destination.  Steve is driving and I am writing. 

Here is Steve's picture of the loon on the beach.

So far today we have stopped at the wonderful Powell's Farmers Market.

Peaches are ripe and the strawberries are sweet.

We drove over and through the Chesepeak Bay bridge and tunnels.  I thought there was just one long tunnel under the whole bay, but that bay is very big.  So there are two tunnels and lots of bridge. 

We stopped at the Virginia Welcome Center where there is a walking path into a nature area that houses ruins of  a WWII defense guns and bunkers.

This cute guy was walking on the trail near the wetland overlook.

Now it is time to search for a Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness near our next destination.

Thanks for the comments and emails.  It is nice to connect and stay in touch while our friends and family members are dispersed.  

Remember to give your name when you leave a comment.   Thanks for that.


  1. MaryAnn RadscheidMay 20, 2024 at 6:22 AM

    So interesting, learned more than I expected, Thanks for your time writing.

  2. Louise Patenaude!May 20, 2024 at 6:28 AM

    Enjoyed reading you! What a difference to share your adventures with the man in your life!!

    1. LOUISE! It is so good to hear from you. We were thinking of you yesterday when we were talking about trying sail boarding or kite boarding. Steve told me Richard used to do that lots and might be able to give me a lesson some day. 😆

  3. Susan, Still reading your blog and riding my velomobile that George helped me to design. That was ten years ago. I’m on the sixth iteration and would like to send you a picture. So glad you are enjoying life to the fullest and finding the time to share it with us. Thanks

    1. Alan, thank you for reading along and thanks for.commenting. I have seen you often and wondered many times if George was still able to design well enough when he was working on that CAD design of your velo-mobile.

      I have seen you and waved to you on the Withlacoochee Trail. I would love pictures of your latest velocity. Send them to me via text.

      Two six two 844 eight four 69. Text your name too so I can remember who they are from... though I don't think I will forget.

  4. Velo... dang auto correct gets me all the time.

  5. Love reading this adventure. We would like to do the Otter Banks. We did two biking across North Carolina the first week of October. We ended up wet! Rained four out of seven days. Beautiful state! Ruth

  6. Sue, I really enjoy all your entries and love following your adventures and travels. Outer Banks is someplace I always wanted to visit but never did. Sounds like you two are having a great time together with your exploring. What a pleasure it is to do something like this with a person you enjoy so much! Keep it up! Ride on…Charlotte

  7. This is from Connie T. Such fun and I laughed several times. I loved driving the truck and travel trailer through the two tunnels, beautiful country and so much to see. Sending you love and asking you to dance at least once for me.


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