Outer Banks by Car

Sat, Nov 2, 2013-

Bob’s sister Carol and her husband Bob were at their home in Duck for the weekend, so we spent Saturday night there.  It was amazing to see the beach erosion in front of their home and the amount of dunes that were no longer there.

Sunday we went to the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk.  It is well worth the visit.  Two brothers from Ohio chose the Outer Banks of North Carolina to try to get their plane to fly for two primary reasons:  The winds on the beaches for lift, and the privacy there.  They were in hot competition with several other people to be the first.  They did not want anyone to see their plane design or watch their attempts.  Instead they hired a friend to photo each attempt to fly, with a good shot of their first success to prove they had done it.  They released the photo with the news of their success and the rest is history.   They built their plane from bicycle parts and added the engine.   The plane stayed in the air for only 12 seconds and it only went 120 feet before landing but it was the first powered flight ever.  It was not very high off the ground.   There were no brakes on the first airplanes.  The wind helped the plane lift up as it took off.  The sand made a soft landing for the plane when it came down.  That was 110 years ago.

The strip of land that makes up the Outer Banks also sticks out into the ocean.  It is surrounded by very shallow water and shoals.  In the last 400 years over 600 ships have been wrecked there in storms.   Because of so many wrecks the area is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  Ships need to know where the land is so they do not run aground in the dark or bad weather.   There are three lighthouses along the islands all painted differently so the ship captains can tell them apart.   You can see them from about 20 miles away.   We went to see the Hatteras Lighthouse.

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