Tag Archive for 'north carolina'

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The Last Of The Vacation

I’m safely back in Ithaca and back at work. My accomplishments thus far are few, aside from the excitement of my advisor wanting to find the funds to bring both me and Stephanie along to the APS conference this November. This means, of course, needing a paper with results to present, but, also, it means I will very likely get a chance to see some of my former profs again in Salt Lake City.

Before I can get that work done, though, I feel the need to finish off my whole vacation story. On Saturday, we took a drive south to visit Ocracoke Island. On the way, we made a brief stop at Cape Hatteras to see the lighthouse there. It’s a 208 ft. brick lighthouse–the tallest of its kind in the U.S.–poised on the coast of Hatteras Island to warn ships at sea in the area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. In 1999, it was moved about 800 ft. from its original position to save the lighthouse from falling into the sea due to the shifting coastlines of the area.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

After that, we caught the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Actually, I was starving and had ducked into a shop to buy something to eat and had to chase my parents’ truck onto the ferry right before it left without me. Oh the excitement!

The island itself is mostly a National Seashore, with the exception of Ocracoke Village, which, though it exists mostly for tourists, is much less touristy than some of the northern islands. We walked around the harbor area a bit and poked around shops mostly. I had some fun taking pictures of people’s houses and yards.

Ocracoke Island Blossoms

More photos of Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island are in the gallery.

On Sunday I got up early and went down to the beach one more time to try flying my kite. The wind just wasn’t there, though; it was the stillest it had been in all my time on the island. I tried all the same, without any luck, and, on my third attempt, the kite crashed into the Atlantic. I had to wrestle the surf to keep from losing the kite altogether. Disappointed, salty, and extremely sweaty, I went back to the campsite and hosed the kite off. We packed up camp and hit the road. My family dropped me off at the Raleigh-Durham airport, and, little by little, I made my way home to Ithaca. I got back to the apartment just a few minutes after 11 p.m., cleaned myself up and unpacked, and went to bed.

So ends my 2007 vacation…

Still More Vacation

Reproduction of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Today’s highlight was a trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk. Truly, the geek in me rejoiced. It’s possible that the woman giving the talk on the Wright brothers and their work may have found it odd when I knew Otto Lilienthal‘s name when she forgot it. But it comes with the job. Like having to take pictures of the reproduction of the Wright brothers’ wind tunnel. Which still isn’t as strange as my father filming me taking those pictures.

It was ridiculously hot and humid outside, so Kelley and I were the only ones to make the walk out to the four flight markers and then up one of the Kill Devil Hills to the big memorial.

Wright Brothers Memorial

I quite enjoyed having a chance to see where it all began, but, unfortunately, I didn’t see a lot of other people who felt the same way. It seemed like there were a lot of people with kids under the age of six there, and the kids just had no interest whatsoever. There was a lot of whining to be heard alongside the explanations of exasperated, arm-waving parents of how “This is where the first flight ever happened. Right here! The very first!” Let us all spend a moment mourning the slow, sad, wheezing death of science and engineering in my country. Okay? All done. Right. Let’s work on fixing that one, shall we?

More photos are up in the gallery.

More Vacation

On our second day of vacation we took my sister to visit The College of William and Mary, which is, I believe, her ultimate dream college. I have been charged with the duty of helping her put together the best possible application. In the meantime, I took pretty pictures.

College of William and Mary

Day Three was spent at Water Country, U.S.A., where I managed to get only a mild sunburn on one spot on my shoulder. Also, I rode waterslides. Lots of waterslides. But, for me, not getting sunburned is probably the most excellent part of any day spent entirely outside.

Yesterday was primarily spent driving down to the Outer Banks. We passed Kill Devil Hills where the Wright brothers flew–I’ve been promised that we’re going back so that I can indulge in some geekiness. We also made a stop at the largest Kitty Hawk Kites store in the area. Damn is that place awesome! It’s where my parents got my Wright flyer kite. My sister had forgotten to pack her kite and my kite was too big to bring on the plane, so my parents ended up buying two kites to fly while we’re down here. I also got myself another kite. Because I’m crazy like that. Although, if I got to be as completely crazy as I’d like to be, I’d be signing up for hang gliding lessons over the 80 foot sand dunes on Jockey’s Ridge!

Our campground is on Hatteras Island, which, at this point, is only about a quarter mile wide, so it’s an easy walk from our campsite to either the Atlantic Ocean or the sound side of the island. After we got the campsite set up, I took a walk over to the ocean side and started having fun taking photos.

Shadow Portrait

After dinner I ran over to the sound side of the island so that I could get a sunset over water picture to add to the collection I started when we lived overseas. I’m really pleased with how they came out, but that probably won’t stop me from continuing to go over there at nightfall to get some more. I may even get up early one morning to get a sunrise photo over the ocean!

Sunset on the Sound Side

Today we got up fairly late and spent most of the afternoon on the beach. The conditions weren’t the best for it, but Kelley and I tried the boogie boards anyway. We got pretty scraped up; my sister’s sworn that she’s not leaving the trailer again. This comes after yesterday’s frolicking. We’ll see how long that lasts. Dad and I got their new box kite out, but the wind was a bit rough for it. Still, some of the other people on the beach said it made for a nice air show while it lasted. I’m sure we’ll have better chances for kite-flying later.