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Week two on the Outer Banks - catlinye_maker [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Week two on the Outer Banks [Aug. 10th, 2011|06:59 pm]
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From Rodanthe we headed south for our second week on the OBX, driving 17 miles to Sands of Time campground in Avon, NC. Sands of Time is a Passport America (discount card) campground, which in their case means the campsite price is 50% of the regular rate, but you pay metered electric on top of that. In a hot weather stay during which the AC pretty much ran non-stop, we averaged 7 dollars per day for electricity. So our total daily rate was $29, which is exceptional for full hookup campsites on the Outer Banks. J’s work was dragging its feet on setting a due date, so we extended our reservation a couple of days. We really liked the campground, too; the water was good, there were plenty of small trees scattered throughout, and nice green grass and good-sized sites for a coastal campground. They had a little apartment complex of well-inhabited martin houses right in the center of the campground and visible from our rig, which seemed to help on the bug front and made the cats very happy indeed when we opened the blinds on the back window. The only downside is that it’s land-locked, so you have to drive to the beach access lots at the national seashore (two miles in either direction on the main road.)

We packed lunches and got out to the beach only two days out of the eight we were there. One day north and one south, to try both beach accesses. I preferred the northern beach, as the water was very shallow on the south side of Avon. Both sites involved a good long walk to the water from the parking area, up and over the dunes. After those two days, though, the wind came up and it blew hard for three days. We tried to go out on the first of those days, and walking down to the water was like walking into a sand blasting booth. The only place it wasn’t painful to stand was in the water, and then the current was trying to move you up the beach at speed. The next day, J told me to stay home and out of the heat and he went to the beach to check it out and reported no improvement so we stayed home, and on day three we looked at the branches waving in the wind and just gave it up. I was really thankful we’d enjoyed great weather the week before, and was able to get out my quilting and do that instead with a glad heart.

We took the wind’s hint and went down to Hatteras to visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which is supposed to be all about the maritime history of the OBX – wrecks and pirates and all that stuff. It’s a free museum (donations suggested) and it sounds like it would be awesome. It badly needs a professional curator. Wrecks and pirates and all that stuff were there, but so scattered and disorganized that the whole museum was tl;dr. The signage for the various exhibits was either boring, wordy stuff I already knew, or tantalizing hints with no follow-up (like the little titles on the video display about “Billy” Mitchell and the aerial bombing tests conducted in the Outer Banks area: “tests”, “outcome”, “court-martial”… Wait, what? There’s no other mention of that in any of the displayed material, and the video is looping the “tests” episode.)

Exhibit information was posted higgledy-piggledy around the space, clustering into general areas but with no organization in those areas. You can read about Blackbeard the pirate – in three separate places. The wreck identified as his ship is in yet another space. There’s an exhibit of shipwreck artifacts in aquarium tanks against one wall; the radiographs of those artifacts are in the museum too; they’re behind you as you look at the tanks, mounted on the far side of a gazebo-like structure. How hard would it have been to put the pictures next to the items?

I’m glad I went. I’m glad it was free. And if I ever win the lottery I’ll go back with a big grant and fund them to hire someone to look over the whole place with a critical eye, because it could be a great museum, it really could.