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Day Four

* Map *

Day Four
"The Longest Day"
(9 hours of drive time, starting at 8am)
Raleigh, North Carolina to Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Highlights of this section include the Swan Quarter Ferry to Ocracoke, the Hatteras Ferry back off the island, a fresh seafood lunch and driving along the Outer Banks.

* Stories from the road *

Today started out on a bad note... Went to the car wash to get rid of the dust and I noticed a small hole in the top... Wish I had a roll of gaffer tape with me. Fortunately that was the only bad part of the day. The weather was absolutely perfect all day long, with steady mild temperatures and barely a cloud in the sky. I may have left a bit early in the morning because I ended up waiting almost two hours at the Swan Quarter Ferry dock. Had a snack and a beer with a fellow traveler during the wait. Three hours after that and I was on the island! Just outside of town, I pulled into a parking area and walked down the wooden ramp over the dunes, and there was the Atlantic Ocean! The last time I ever saw the Atlantic I was a very young child, so this was like my first time again. Hopped the ferry to Hatteras Island and cruised through town admiring the "view" before stopping off to get a photo of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This enduring symbol of North Carolina is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. Moving right along in Clark Griswold-like fashion I continued on until I found a parking area along the beach. I then drove the Miata down onto the beach on the Pamlico Sound side of the island, the first time I've ever driven on a beach. I then parked in the parking lot and ran across the street, over the dunes, down the beach and right into the ocean... COLD! The waves were a bit rough but not too bad, although the undertow and the rip currents were very strong. The sea floor drops off dramatically off this coastline, so the waves can be very decieving. As quick as I got in, I got right back out. After rinsing off and changing clothes I headed back down the road. (and what a straight and flat road it was) After a couple small towns (which are mostly collections of summer houses and rental condos) I arrived in Nags Head. Here I found Sam And Omie's Restaurant, another restaurant at which my roomate told me I should eat... and eat I did! I had the "Whale of a Seafood Platter" which is every type of seafood they have, fried and put on one plate. Fresh, local, and delicious. When I left the restaurant it was dark... already a long day and two hours to go! I finally made it to my next hotel with a total travel time (car and ferry) of FIFTEEN HOURS. Can't slack just yet though, I have more mountains in my future...

* Photos and Links *

Day Four Photos

Day Four Pic One
I was greeted with this in the morning when I washed the car.

Day Four Pic Two
The Gov. Edward Hyde, the ferry that took me to Ocracoke.

Day Four Pic Three
The approach to Ocracoke Island.
*This is the 1000th picture I've ever taken with my camera*

Day Four Pic Four
My first view of the Atlantic Ocean in 25 years.

Day Four Pic Five
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in the nation.

Day Four Pic Six
My companion chillin' on the beach.

Day Four Pic Seven
Straight and flat. This would be very boring if there wasn't ocean on both sides of me!

Day Four Pic Eight
Yet another reccomended restaurant, yet another culinary success.

Day Four Links

Swan Quarter - Ocracoke Ferry
A 2.5 hour ride across Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke Island. ($15 fare)

Ocracoke - Hatteras Ferry
45 minutes connects Ocracoke Island to Hatteras, North Carolina. (it's free!)

The Outer Banks Region
A group of barrier islands off the North Carolina Coast.

Sam And Omie's - 7228 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959
An excellent restaurant/bar with fresh local seafood.