North Carolina - First Flight

Published: June 5th 2019
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I was excited to get started today knowing I'd be seeing the home of the first controlled flight at Kitty Hawk ( Kill Devil Hills area). I had nice starting weather once again, albeit a little warmer than yesterday but sunny and very little wind. My route took me down Southwest of Virginia Beach then eventually back to the Southeast toward the outer banks (OBX). The OBX are really just a set of sand dune islands. From the picture you can see just how much of the island is dune and nearly all the soil is silica based dirt. It is hard to imagine how the homes on the island are able to weather the hurricanes that pass by here every few years. I noticed most the homes are unpainted probably because a good stiff wind turns the dunes into a pressure washer and strips the paint away anyway.

Stopping at the Wright Brothers National Park ( I believe this is the only National park specifically named for citizens) is definitely one of the highlights of this trip. While not a licensed pilot, I have flown solo a number of times and have about 30 hours of single engine flight time. I also just finished listening to Wright Brothers Book by Fred Kelly so I was eager to see all that was described in the book. The large hill where the monument is erected is where the flight launched from back in 1903. The hill was mostly sand and I'm sure was tough to traverse with the plane and the launching tracks (both can be seen in my pictures) fortunately they got help from the locals. If you are into flying or history you'll enjoy this book, it is just amazing how long it took for the world to believe that the wright brothers had accomplished controlled flight. It wasn't until about 4 years later that the press and government acknowledged what took place on December 17, 1903. The replica of the flyer I'm standing next to is built of steel so that people can actually get on it and see the craft close up.

After visiting the monument I stopped at the Kill Devil Hills Harley-Davidson store and picked up First Flight Harley shirts for my wife and kids. I hadn't decided where or when I was going to stop so I started riding south by south west. I crossed the Virginia Dare Memorial bridge as I moved on to hwy 64. The VDM was one of many spectacular bridges I crossed on this trip. Do you remember who Virginia Dare was ? She was the first person born in America to English parents as part of the Roanoke colony. The Roanoke colony you may recall was the mysterious colony that disappeared. Virginia's birth was recorded by her grandfather who returned to England before the Colony disappeared. I stopped and gassed up just after the bridge and sat with a local gentry and had a beer with him. He had been a supervisor on the building of the VDM bridge. I was guessing he was probably in his mid 70's but later on we shared ages and he is actually 6 months younger than me -Yikes! Bridge building must be tough on the body. 😊

The stretch of hwy 64 I was on after my gas stop seemed more like the Australia outback then it did NC. I had swamp on both sides that I'm sure were full of the smaller cousins to the Australian Crocks - The American Alligator. Cars using this highway were rare so that also helped give the feeling of the outback. I decided to stop in Williamston, NC which put me about 210 miles from my last night stop in Virginia Beach. All the towns in this area were pretty small so it wasn't likely I'd find an Irish pub. However, I did find a Holiday Inn express and the Ribeye steak house across the street. Checked in an walked over and met some great folks and had an awesome meal. Today I'll be heading to Myrtle Beach South Carolina. SC will be the 8th state I've been in since Friday. I'll probably spend two nights in Myrtle Beach. The last time I was there was in 1981 with my Dad and sister after driving from Wisconsin to CT. to see my new nephew at the time. Dad, Rosi, and I then drove down to Myrtle Beach for a few nights. Can't imagine it has changed much in 38 years --- NOT! After Myrtle Beach - I'll head down to Charleston SC then start my trek toward New Orleans via Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Looks like cloudy and perhaps some holy water sprinkles today- but hey ! I'm not at work 😊


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