|the view at lunchtime|
|all washed up|
|unloved now, but on a nice plot|
Now the scenery changes, for instead of lush swamp and undergrowth and a forested area, we see just black stumps for mile after mile after mile. We happen by chance to speak to someone about Stumpy Point much later on our travels, and she tells us that there was a forest fire in 2013 on the Nature Reserve that had burned for three months. She had a summer home out on the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk, and you could smell it right over there for all that time. It must have been something to see. Here's a picture of the result, and as you can see the stuff at ground level soon fights back. Nature at it's best.
We continue to drive, and after a while the fire damage disappears, and everything is back to lush green. We pass a huge (by UK standards) lake and studying the map I see the words "Free Ferry". Ooh, we love ferries! This will also save John around 40 miles of driving. We take that road. We know it's there, We've seen the sign, too! The GPS lets us plot to the nearest village, but not to the ferry. We drive in several directions and after about half an hour realise that we are lost. (Not so lost that the GPS will not get us back on the road, but it's the bloomin' ferry that we want!!) Eventually we spot a house just down a lane. John gets out, knocks, knocks again but gets no answer, even though there are vehicles around. "I was just waiting for the click of a rifle" he says. I tell him he has watched too many American films! We drive on down the lane in order to turn, and find two young men, one black, one hispanic, mending a car. They are polite and gracious, call John "sir" and give him exact instructions to the ferry, wishing us to have a good day, and off we go. Ten minutes later we are in the ferry queue, and the crossing takes 30 minutes. Time to let the seats down, lay back, and enjoy the evening breeze. Staff on the ferry have just the same southern good manners - "Y'all enjoy the crossing?" Lovely. When we get to the other side, we have another 40 minutes to drive to our accomodation for the night, a town on the water called New Bern, North Carolina, and our accommodation, a little house in the garden of a bed and breakfast establishment owned by two ex-seafarers. We settle in, have a shower and a rest, and then walk a couple of blocks to a large and very popular restaurant (who queues like this at home?!), where I have a starter - Shrimp something or other (sort of a giant prawn cocktail with a salad, and John has a main course of spaghetti and huge meatballs, which come with ........ three small, hot croissants, drizzled with melted butter and honey - bizarre! But lovely for a dessert. Walk back and sleep well in this tiny little house, which yes, is quite big enough for two double beds, and at the end a bathroom with a shower big enough for about eight people!!