24 May 2007

Outer Banxious

We returned this evening from our trip to the Outer Banks. We had such a wonderful time. It was the most precious gift to revisit our favorite vacation islands and to share this in the company of my daughter, Katie, my son, Justin, his girlfriend, Stephanie and our good friend Billie, made it as close to perfect as is imaginable.

It's late and I have a ton of things to take care of, but of course I had to upload my photos before heading off to bed. Tomorrow will find me buying a few last minute necessities, enjoying lunch with Katie and Billie on Wrightsville Beach and repacking my bags because on Saturday, I head to Raleigh where I will overnight and catch a flight bright and early Sunday Morning which will whisk me away to Marsh Harbor in the Abacos.

As for the Outer Banks, we traveled all day on Saturday - Billie and I took turns with the driving, and we caught the ferry at Cedar Island which transported us to picturesque Ocracoke. We had dinner at Howard's Pub and then caught the ferry for Hatteras and arrived at "Sea Stilts" at around 11:00 PM. We were tired, but thrilled to be on the Outer Banks.

Sunday Morning, we enjoyed coffee on the top deck and Billie fried up a pound of bacon my mother had thoughtfully sent with us. I scrambled the eggs and we all sat down to a wonderful breakfast which was a good idea! We had a busy day ahead of us!

First stop was The Wright Brothers Monument and exhibit. We walked to the top, took tons of photos and enjoyed the sun.

Next stop: Jockey's Ridge for dune climbing, kite flying and panoramic views of the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. We spent over three hours atop the dunes and we made our kites soar - with a lot of help from the prevailing winds. We came down tired, thirsty and sun-kissed.

Justin manned the grill and served up a dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs. After that - Justin and Stephanie hit the hot tub, Katie became lost in one of her books and Billie and I took a long walk on an even longer beach. We walked for almost two hours in the dark with the waves lapping at our ankles and the stars twinkling above. It was a beautiful evening.

After our long walk, we sunk ourselves into the hot tub and Katie pried herself away from her reading and joined us for a warm soak and star-searching. I spotted three shooting stars to Billie's one. Of course, I made three wishes.

Monday Morning Justin and Stephanie fetched some bait and we rigged our three surf fishing poles and Katie brought along an ever-present book and of course, we brought some kites just in case the fishing proved unsuccessful which, with the brisk wind blowing just over the dunes separating the beach from the road, was a good idea. We had much more luck getting our kites in the air than enticing fish to take our bait. After about an hour, Justin, Stephanie and Katie headed back to the house because they were more interested in the hot tub and also because they're wimps! Billie and I stuck it out and spent about four hours flying kites and chasing gulls away from our bait. We caught nothing but had a fine time doing it.

Monday Evening, Justin grilled some marinated chicken and we feasted once again - enjoying a sumptuous dinner on the enclosed patio. After dinner, we all settled down and watched "What About Bob" - a movie we hadn't seen in years and enjoyed watching again.

Tuesday Morning dawned bright and sunny, but unfortunately, Justin and Stephanie had to leave as they were expected back at work on Wednesday. We hated to see them go, but we were grateful for the time they were able to spend with us. After they left, Katie, Billie and I headed for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Katie's nose became stuck in the pages of "Bee Season", but Billie and I decided to test our physical mettle and he purchased two tickets for us to climb to the top. Now, I have to tell you I do NOT like heights, but I also don't enjoy self-defeat, so I agreed to take on his challenge. It was a good decision. The view was stunning and my initial apprehension gave way to a sense of inspired awe at the scenery. It was breath-taking and the climb was no big deal. Thank you Billie for laying down the gauntlet and urging me to broaden my horizons. What a wonderful horizon it truly was. After that huge energy expenditure, Billie felt we merited a banana split and so the next stop found us rationalizing the 10,000 calories we consumed and we enjoyed every delectable bite of it.

Again, I can't express what a treat it was to share this time with my kids. These will always be remembered as halcyon days for me and I will forever be grateful for every moment and the accompanying memories - courtesy of the generosity of my good friend Billie.

This morning, Katie, Billie and I loaded up the car and reluctantly set out for home. It's not that we hated returning home, and we were eager to see Granny & Pops, Cassie and the gang, it's simply a testament to the magnetic pull the Outer Banks seems to attach to our souls. They're very difficult to leave, but hopefully, we'll be back up that way before too long.

So say some extra prayers for safe travels as I head for Raleigh and the Abacos on Saturday, as Billie flies back to Florida on Saturday and for Katie as she climbs aboard Amtrack Sunday Night.

We'll all be heading in different directions, but after spending a few unforgettable days together on the Outer Banks, there is a warm connection flowing between us all, including Justin and Stephanie who will be home next week, but feel free to pray for them as well and of course, special prayers for my Mom and Dad who keep the home fires burning and the pets fed and watered as we vagabond "kids" head in all manner of new directions.