North Carolinian Getaway – Part 1

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After a stop to our local Borders for new paperbacks we didn't really need and a trip to Giant for some essentials, Rachel and I embarked on our trip south to the North Carolina seashore.

We're on a 4-wheel drive beach north of Corolla, North Carolina, and the sights are just astounding. Wild ponies frolic among the dunes, and hawks perch on deck rails. The sea is calm and beautiful, and dolphins make passes by our view in search of tasty fish.

There is no doubt all ready that the long trip here (long to me, anyhow – I'm used to driving to Delaware, sometimes without stopping at all) is worth it, and we're good co-travelers.

We started with the license plate game. We spied more than half of the nation's plates, including Washington and California, easily the furthest traveled vehicles, and five – 5! – plates from Canada. Two from Quebec and three from Ontario. We also saw a minivan with no plate at all. Not a one. 

Had we finished that, I was going to challenge Rachel to name the 67 Pennsylvania counties, a feat we once (almost) accomplished two years ago at our favorite watering hole, along with two other participants. Plus, we forgot Monroe, which obviously, we'll never do again.

Now, I think I could live my life happily if to never set tire on I-95 again (the most traversed interstate in the nation, apparently), but we did well to entertain ourselves.

For instance, we found ourselves in front of a red minivan with a big logo on it that said, "Hatebreed" on its hood. Seeing it was clearly carrying some band equipment aboard, we thought we'd check them out (thank you crackberry). What we discovered – aside from the band's clear hardcore sound – was that either Hatebreed was missing their California tour dates because they were still stuck in I-95 traffic – or the band wasn't exactly who we thought they were. We went so far as to try to compare the front seaters to the photo on the site, but we didn't find them to be a match. So, random band with Hatebreed on your hood – what's up?

Once we passed Richmond, our traffic woes dissipated, and we enjoyed a coastal cruise through North Carolina, passing little but closed businesses and shacks labeled as restaruants. Things are a little relaxed in the south, I suppose, though we were puzzled by the "NO OLF" signs we saw dotting the yards along Battlefield Boulevard. We first thought there was not any Golf available here, but again with some quick research on the smartphone, we too, were a little smarter. Read more about "NO OLF" here.

We made another quick stop at Harris Teeter, the best grocery store ever (think Wegmans but better stocked and organized) for wine(!) and milk – the necessities. From there, it was just another 20 miles through the sleepy resort area of Duck to Corolla, where we would have our first beach driving venture.

To traverse the "4×4 beach," you should have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and you must release some air from your tires to handle the terrain. This being our first time, we didn't know how long we could travel with our tire pressure low, so we waited until we got to the dune entrance – a concept that is clearly frowned upon, what with the "No Stopping for Any Reason" signs and the fact that when we stopped, the sheriff came cruising right over. 

"It's our first time," I smiled to her, knowing we were in trouble. Meanwhile, Rachel's busy releasing the air pressure as I chat it up with the Sheriff, getting the skinny on how we should be handling this. So, with half of the Jeep's tires with less air, we were forced to turn around and retreat a quarter of a mile or so to a special turnaround where we completed the task and then returned to try our second pass at the beach.

We had tried to get there before dark but failed. Fortunately, however, we came as the tide was waning and had access to the harder sand closer to the ocean. Rachel revved and confidently guided the Jeep up over small banks and through the soft sand. It was a bumpy, fun ride, even if we bruised a nectarine in the process.

We couldn't see the mile markers that note where to turn to find the house, so I got out and ran up to one to read it. I tried to use air traffic control signals to alert Rachel to start moving the Jeep towards the passway, but it was too dark for her to see me. I raced back to the car, and we made it – we had just a second where I thought we might be stuck – safe and sound.

And while unloading the last items from the car, we saw two wild ponies, just hanging out right next to the house.

The house is just gorgeous as is the aforementioned scenery. One funny thing, however: the water – from the plumbing, not the ocean – reeks of sulfur. Apparently, it's good for your skin, however – and it is safe to drink. Just really strange to have it stink like rotten eggs every time your turn on the faucet or flush the toilet.

Naturally, we concluded the evening with wine and went to bed with the sounds of the ocean in front of us.

This morning, we're ready to kick start this vacation with some hardcore relaxing, reading, drinking, snacking and sunbathing. Until next time …

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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