Moving Right Along
While I was at my friend Mike’s house this weekend, I actually had some time to read a little bit, and I found this article in the current (July – August 2014) issue of Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/soul-south-180951861/ It’s a travel story called “The Soul of the South” and provides an interesting perspective on some of the southern states. I recommend it.
Back to the travelogue…
I deliberately chose a scenic route from Richmond, VA, to Fayetteville, NC, today. Instead of driving down I-95, I decided to go southeast to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and then south along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before angling back inland to get to Fayetteville. It was a very pleasant drive and surprisingly informative. Also slow.
I took I-64 from Richmond to Virginia Beach. This road goes through trees, woods, copses, forests, and other green parts and doesn’t let you see much of the countryside. But it’s the fastest way to get to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown if that’s where you’re going, or to Hampton Roads, Norfolk, or Virginia Beach if those are your destinations. I did, unfortunately, see one serious crash on this road; a car had gotten scrunched under a semi-trailer, and a second tractor-trailer rig was also involved. By the time I inched past, the emergency vehicles were on the scene and cleaning up. I hope the car’s passengers weren’t seriously hurt.
After I left Virginia Beach, I headed east on US 158 toward Nags Head, NC. I figured when I ran out of highways headed east, I’d find one headed west and take it. Well, that eventually happened – somewhere around Nags Head, East US 158 becomes West US 64 without any physical change at all. But in the meantime…
As I was tooling along US 158 I noticed a sign for the Wright Brothers Monument. Since I (thought I) had the time, I decided to stop in and see it. Good thing I had my Multi-Agency Senior Pass, too! It let me in for free. I like free. 🙂
The monument encompasses the actual sand dune / hill (Kill Devil Hill) where the Wright Brothers made their flights. It’s obviously different now than it was 110 years ago. For one thing, back then it was all sand (at least, according to the pictures I have seen). Today, it’s all grassy and well-protected from thousands of running / walking / sliding feet. I think that if people didn’t stay on the concrete sidewalks, eventually there wouldn’t *be* a hill.
The first thing you come to is the visitors’ center; I skipped that due to a lack of time. Next is a replica (? – not sure; it could be the originals – I skipped them too) of the sheds the brothers used while at Kitty Hawk. Then comes a walkway to the hill, with a circle around the base and several paths to the top. At ground level, on the side opposite the visitors’ center and the sheds, is a sculpture commemorating the takeoff of the first flight:
I took this photo from directly behind the sculpture of the “official photographer”. It shows a view very close to that in the actual photograph that documents the first flight.
At the top of the hill sits an obelisk:
The inscription around the bottom of the obelisk reads, “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith” (in all caps. of course!).
This photo shows the “takeoff sculpture” as it’s seen from the top of the hill:
After I got back to the truck and ate my lunch, I pressed on south – er, west – on US 64 which had been US 158 East but had to change because there wasn’t any more east to go. I switched to US 264 and promptly got swallowed up by the nothingness of endless marsh / swamp / tidal wetland / whatever. It was interesting for a while, but became rather stressful when I (again) hit the “Low Fuel Light” and there was NOTHING ANYWHERE AROUND FOR MILES – EXCEPT WATER AND DEAD TREES AND GRASS. Fortunately, I again lucked out and found a gas station before running dry. I have better luck in the truck than I do on the Honda, it seems.
After filling up, I drove down 264 and watched it evolve from a 2-lane paved track to a 4-lane, then 6-lane, city-ish road. I eventually found I-95 and finished the drive to Fayetteville.
I had a great dinner with Toni’s brother (Kerry), his wife (Shelley) and their daughter (Stevie). I had called ahead to tell them I wouldn’t make it on time – I ended up arriving just over an hour late! – and they were kind enough to hold dinner for me. Toni’s family knows true Southern hospitality, and I’m very grateful to them for that.
After dinner, Kerry and I talked motorcycles until it was time for me to check in at the motel, and now here I am.
Stay tuned, folks! There’s more to come! I’m into my fourth week (of 5), but only about 55% done with my driving. I still have adventures ahead in NC, TN, SC, FL, and TX on this trip. And I just found out yesterday that it looks like I’ll be making a quick road trip to Sacramento the week after I get home – it’s related to the Jeep project. I’ll fill you in when it happens.