Wednesday, 21 May 2014

American Road Trip - Wild Horses and the Wright Brothers - Part 5

 We are still on the Outer Banks, and today we set out to find the shoreline!  You can be 10 yards from it and not see it.  That's because in the UK we do not build right on the sand.  But here you can build on the dunes in some places and certainly right on the beach, although you may suffer in the hurricane season.  Anyway, it's the day for the Hummer ride to see if we can find some wild horses.  Here's the Hummer.  
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There are only two seats at the front.  The driver's, and one passenger.  John got that passenger seat because of his nose plugs - the driver wanted to keep an eye on him.  So, two Brits, a party of Texan women who whooo-hoo'd at everything they thought exciting, and a mixture of folk from other parts of the US.  We drove from Corolla town, right up to the end of the tarmac road and straight onto the sand. The Hummer, designed for just this kind of job, took the lumps and bumps well, although smoothest if riding inside the tracks of earlier vehicles.  Sandpipers in huge groups all along the water line, and then - yes, there were horses!
These are referred to as "Spanish Horses", but  our guide told us that the horses come from the Barbary Coast of Africa and are referred to as Barbs.  Whatever, they are not native to the North American Continent.  Have a look at what Wikipaedia says.

There are probably a couple of hundred houses up on the sandbanks, reachable only on foot or in 4x4s.  Most are holiday homes.  Anyway, we did a short tour of those houses, and then continued up on the beach to the Virginia border before driving back 11 miles down the beach seeing more horses, sandpipers and gulls and the end of a wedding party leaving the beach for a knees up in one of the bigger houses along the way.  When we talked to Jessie about our day, she told us she had been the wedding organiser for that one!

Recommendations
Book online in advance for your tour, and give yourself a morning or afternoon.  We were out for 2.5 hours.  You will also need some good sunblock as the vehicles are opensided in many cases and it's easy to burn, especially when you are in a vehicle - as you get the breeze and don't realise how much sun you are also getting.  Oh! and a bottle of water.

After Breakfast next day, we are up and out as we have a long drive along a scenic route I found on the map on our way to New Bern, North Carolina.  But we have one place more to see before we leave the Outer Banks.  We have to drive south a couple of miles to Kitty Hawk.  History buffs - come on!  You should know this name.  Put it together with the Wright Brothers and you will probably remember that the Wrights were flying pioneers.  It was on the Outer Banks that they took their home made glider and then their plane with the little engine, and attempted manned flight.  It is so worth the stop, as in the little information building are full size models of both the glider and the plane.  These guys were self-taught engineers.

The family business was initially bicycle repairs and they went to the Outer Banks on a regular basis, without a backer, and of course there was nothing there bar sand at that time.  They sometimes got so lonely for company they would go on up to the nearest Coast Guard post for a chat.  In December 1903, Orville Wright sent this telegram home to their father:

"Success four flights Thursday morning all against twenty-one mile wind started from level with engine power alone average speed through air thirtyone miles longest 57 seconds inform press home Christmas".

And finally, a call at Outer Banks Hospital, where the lovely Doctor McPherson from Syracuse, NY deflated the balloons and took out the plugs!  Did he like it in the Carolinas?  He sure did - upstate New York is cold and grey every day!!!!   Crossing to the mainland again we take a bridge to Manteo, across Roanoke Island, take the bridge off the island and on to Manns Harbour and down through the National Nature Reserve of Alligator River, North Carolina.
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No more blood (for now!), and here is Maccers looking pleased as punch that the job will be done shortly.