For the past several years, CORE has made a trek to the beaches of North Carolina on the weekend closest to Halloween for some end of the season fun on the sand.
” We drove out onto the beach and parked for a while for some exploring and just feeling the breezes blow and we also got the best view of the day of the light.”
Joining us for the 2006 run were CORE members:
- Keith & Betty
- Alex & Laura
- Gary & son, Kyle
- and our friends Bruce and Janet from NC.
- Saturday evening, Brent of Atlantic Offroad joined us for dinner and a little time on the beach afterwards.
This year’s trip had us in Buxton NC in the vicinity of the Hatteras lighthouse. Bob, Loc, Alex and Gary met in Tyson’s Corner and drove down together with the others arriving throughout the evening. The drive down wasn’t favorable as the weekend traffic rush was starting and the skies kept the roads at least damp all the way. As this time of year is very popular with the fishermen, we were spread out to 3 different motels this trip.
After dinner Friday night, plans were made to wait for the last stragglers and head out to the point by the light. Waiting just another 10 minutes for them (Keith & Betty) to arrive actually turned out to be several times 10 minutes but at last they arrived and we were on our way. The rain had even miraculously stopped – at least for a while. But the wind just got stronger. We made it out to the point to feel the sand and the surf spray. Everyone’s vehicle now had sand in it if the door or window had been opened for even a minute and I was finding sand in my pockets although I had been standing the whole time. And the rain returned so we all headed back towards pavement and our respective motels with an agreement to meet after breakfast, at 9:30. In what seems to be a recurring theme, slow service at one of the local establishments dashed those plans.
It’s a tough call. If we all go in to eat together, we seem to wait forever for a large enough table. If we go our separate ways, somebody winds up waiting for someone else to show up. Maybe we all just need to shift to (Hatteras) island time while we’re there? Or perhaps it’s a matter of getting the prompt ones to shift to Island time while the remainder shift in the other direction?
Saturday morning the sun had come out and the temps were in the balmy 70s with a soft breeze blowing off the ocean. We retraced our route of Friday night and then headed to the ferry for Ocracoke. The trip to Ocracoke had us all riding backwards on the ferry with a view of the seagulls (being fed by other tourists) through the windshield. You could feel the change in the wave action as we passed from behind the barriers between the islands. Bruce pointed out that a favorite spot from past years was no longer there as the sea had reclaimed the point at the south end of Hatteras Island.
To the accompaniment of various creatures (including a pelican who circled back to give Loc a second chance at a great picture), we made our way through the sound. Upon landing, we headed south to Ocracoke Village where we stopped for lunch at Jason’s. Captain Ben’s (where we had eaten last year) was only open in the evenings. After lunch, we circled around by the lighthouse where we found the parking lot full and then through the houses to head back north towards the beach access road.
We drove out onto the beach and parked for a while for some exploring and just feeling the breezes blow and we also got the best view of the day of the light. After we left there, Bruce and Janet headed back over to Hatteras while the rest of us chose to spend a bit more time on the Ocracoke beaches with visions of making the connection on the 6:00 or 6:30 ferry. (see earlier note about island time).
Our trip included a stop along the highway to help a fellow in a 2wd Expedition that had pulled off the pavement for a picture and managed to get himself buried to the axle. Needless to say there was nothing resembling a tow hook to be found. We finally wrapped a strap around the front cross member and Bob gave a strong but steady pull with his winch to get them on their way. We drove the beach a little more and were making good time to catch the 6:30 when an unusual vibration got Alex pulling into a parking lot. He determined that a leaky tire had, when combined with the reduced pressures for sand, gotten one of them down below highway driving. Handy air compressors had him back to acceptable pressures but not in time to get us on the 6:30 ferry. There’s another at 7:00 though.
We separated for dinner and Brent joined Keith & Betty, Bruce and Janet at the Captain’s Table (formerly the Dunes). We had been wanting to meet up with him about some business dealings he has going on with the S10Extremist.org site. He is co-owner of Atlantic Offroad there in the Manteo area. Once again, precision timing was not in the cards but we were off to enter the beach by the airstrip and then proceed up to the Hatteras light once again. Brent’s large and lifted Tahoe with the solid front axle was the subject of much discussion and looking by all. Someone described it as a “monster truck” and it sort of was but not quite that huge.
We all headed off to our motels with plans to head our separate ways in the morning. That was the Saturday when the clocks get rolled back for the DST to regular time. Betty and I had breakfast with Bruce and Janet and then headed north. As I had Monday off, we had made plans to go up the Delmarva to the Ocean City area for a little exploring.
Our trip included crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which had grown a second set of lanes since we had list visited there in the early 80s. There is now a restaurant and fishing piers with more places to pull over and enjoy the view. We got to Assateague Island just at dusk and saw a few deer (small, about the size of large dogs) and two of the famous ponies. The “wildlife” is pretty tame. They seemed to be approaching the cars looking for handouts and prepared to pose for pictures. We found out a little information about riding the beach there and then headed for OC. We saw the boardwalk and the amusement rides and cruised down the strip and back before deciding we were ready to head on home that night. We arrived in Germantown about 9:30 Sunday night. The others had apparently hit a fair amount of traffic on I-64 and I-95 and only barely got home before us. I’m not sure of the additional mileage but at least at that time of the weekend at this time of year, the Bridge Tunnel seems to be almost as quick a trip and certainly more scenic.
When we mentioned the trip at the annual MAFWDA meeting, there were a few who asked to be notified when we next head “down to the Banks” as they just might join us.
Certainly not a weekend of hardcore wheeling but definitely a great time with a great group. Hopefully you can make it next time.
Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Loc Pham, and Bob Weaver.