Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Quite a day today...

We had a great morning at First Landing state park, waking to a lovely view of the bay and the bridge/tunnel out our front window. Clear, sunny, and relatively warm. We had a nice stroll on the beach with the dog. I did take a couple snaps of the site, which I hope to upload to SmugMug soon. Turns out the site was free! It was the last day open for this state park, and the sign at the entrance said a ranger would come and collect fees ($23.10, if we figured it right). The was no fee collection box for the campground -- apparently ranger collection is SOP after hours. We arrived sometime around 4:30 yesterday and left close to noon today, yet no ranger appeared to collect. We did see one drive by sometime early in the morning, but he or she did not stop. I'm guessing that on the last day of the season, will all of two sites occupied, they just could not be bothered.

After driving south through the touristy and swanky parts of Virginia Beach, we headed for the Currituck Sound Ferry at the souther tip of Knotts Island. Slow going on a twisty narrow road. We stopped for lunch at a little dive that had a bunch of police motors out front -- the Virginia Beach motor unit out for a training ride (so I surmised from the lack of saddle bags and the rubber hoses strapped to the crash bars). Of course, all the cops had to check out the bus, and they were suitably impressed by the "garage" with the two motorcycles in it. We chatted with them for about five minutes after lunch, and they went on their merry way, muttering something about having the special ops unit requisition them a bus just like ours.

Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the ferry landing, just in time so see the ferry outbound about 300 yards from the dock. It would be two and a half hours before the ferry returned for another departure. No matter, because the sign at the landing indicated a weight limit of 36,000 pounds, and we're heavier than that. Rather than wait 2.5 hours to possibly be told we could not embark, we turned around and drove the 45 miles back around the bay. Ironically, we had to drive right past the opposite ferry dock. We made the detour in just over an hour, so we were two hours ahead of the game.

Tonight we are in the outer banks, about half way to Cape Hatteras (map). Our plan had been to continue down the outer banks, but we need to be in Raleigh tomorrow night, and there would be two more ferries on that route, plus highway construction. The ferries and construction delays would add four hours to our trip, not to mention the fact that one of the ferries may have weight issues similar to the Currituck ferry. Rather than leaving at oh-dark-thirty just to chance being turned back in Hatteras, we will turn around here tomorrow morning and take a more inland route.

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