Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, NC

Here we are at the Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, NC, catching the gorgeous sunset through the trees. The park is the largest natural sand dune system on the east coast. We had to hike through this beautiful area to get to the dunes.

According to the park's website, the amount of sand making up the 420 acres of Jockey's Ridge is equal to about 6,000,000 dump truck loads!

“I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life.”
~ Albert Einstein

Sunrise, Sea Oats, & Steven

Wonderful way to start each day... walk along shore and sunrise...

I fell in love with the sea oats that grow wild along the dunes and shoreline.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cape Hatteras Motel

Our second floor room has a lanai with a window to the ocean...

Our Cape Hatteras Motel is right on the ocean, with a magnificent view of the horizon. Hurricane Earl made the ocean swell and churned the water. The result was a spectacular display of nature: the sound and feel and smell of crashing waves and white foam.
And a full moon!
Steven is overjoyed.
"Honor the ocean of love."
~ George De Benneville

Cape Hatteras Ferry

With full bellies and light hearts, we caught the free picturesque ferry ride from Ocracoke to Cape Hatteras. It was an enjoyable 40-minute ride.

Ocracoke Island

Delicious Alaskan Opilio Snow Crab Legs...

Great seafood lunch at Howard's Pub, Highway 2, Ocracoke Island. Steven had his raw oysters. I shared my crab legs (of course).

Riding Ferry to Ocracoke Island

Blue sky and even bluer ocean. Seagulls and birds everywhere. Boats. Not a care in the world.

Ocracoke Island, where the pirate Blackbeard roamed, is accessible only by water or air. It is only 16 miles long and anywhere from 3 miles to less than a half-mile wide.

We reserved our ticket for the ferry ahead of time online from the NCDOT website. Our motorcycle was the last to board, along with four other bikes. Steven and I were on top of the world. Enjoying the sun on our 2.5 hour boat ride to the southern village of Ocracoke, the gateway to the Outer Banks.

Waiting for the Ferry

Waiting to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island...

Cedar Island Bay

Waiting to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island, I caught this lovely photo near the Ferry Landing at Cedar Island Bay. We rode via US 70 and NC Highway 12 from Morehead City through brackish marsh and a wildlife refuge to get to this spot.

"Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind
listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody."
~ Eubie Blake

Emerald Isle Sunrise

Ah, once we got past Camp Lejeune, life became lighter. We took Hwy 58 to Emerald Isle and caught a pretty sunrise as we rode over the Causeway.

Camp Lejeune

What in God’s name did we do? Tell me we did not go along the Camp Lejeune Marine Base Main Gate at 7:15 in the morning, joining the hundreds of lined up cars trying to get to work on the base. Hwy 24 goes right along the Main Gate. What a mess. And with a fully-loaded Harley I was so worried that Steven would drop the bike with all the stop and go traffic he had to maneuver.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Surf City, NC

Ugh. Jacksonville, NC was a congested mess of way too many cars. We rode to Surf City at sunset and moved up and down the narrow barrier island through blocks of beach rentals. Near the end of HWY 50, we stopped near Topsail Beach and had dinner at Home Port Restaurant & Pub.

Bland's Restaurant

Here's our meal...
What a great find!

We rode NC 24 through the middle of North Carolina, a direct shot to the ocean. It was very congested in Fayetteville. Hot, hot, hot, miserably hot. We passed through Clinton, then Warsaw. Before Kenansville we found a great southern cooking restaurant called Bland's. We had great service and an authentic and tasty meal.

Uwharrie National Forest

Gorgeous new day. Here we are traveling east on NC 27/24 through the Uwharrie National Forest. Only 50,189 acres, the Uwharrie was first purchased by the federal government in 1931 during the Great Depression. Created from an ancient chain of volcanoes, the 1,000-foot hills of today were once 20,000-foot peaks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Free Falling

Tom Petty Concert

Come on. Let's Go In!

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers!

ZZ Top!

Just a perfect night to see Tom Petty in concert at the Verizon Ampitheater. There's a premium concrete spot for bikes near the box office, so parking was beautiful. Traffic afterwards was a bit hairy, but not the worst. We had excellent seats, about 13 rows from the front. Both ZZ Top, the opening act, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were great.

Tom's Setlist:

Listen To Her Heart
You Don't Know How It Feels
I Won't Back Down
Free Fallin'
Oh Well
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Kings Highway
Jefferson Jericho Blues
Good Enough
Running Man's Bible
I Should Have Known It
Learning To Fly
Don't Come Around Here No More

Runnin' Down A Dream
American Girl

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heading to Albemarle, NC

Heading east on the rolling hills of NC-182 to Albemarle, NC, where historically cotton, then textile manufacturing were the small town's primary businesses.

Albemarle is about 30 miles east of Charlotte and we thought we'd get a good jump on the day if we stayed here after tomorrow's Tom Petty/ZZ Top concert.

Millingport Corn Maze

Gorgeous Highway 73 road. What a great ride!

Along highway 73 East, we passed a Corn Maze in Millingport, about six miles west of Albemarle. Interesting, life-sized "puzzle of paths." That was pretty remarkable to see.

Dirty Dancing

Today we begin our vacation to the Outer Banks! Here we are in Lake Lure, where they are having an inaugural Dirty Dancing Festival. Cars and congestion, but a lovely blue sky day, perfect for a celebration. Event features music, food, and a dance competition. (Did you know that the film was named the “#1 Most-Watched Film by Women” in 2009 by the BBC News?)
"Nobody puts baby in the corner..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rinehart Pipes

We've been talking about getting Rinehart pipes since we bought the bike three and a half years ago. Today we finally got them. What a difference these dual chrome babies make on the ride! Looks great, sounds great, and improves performance. Steven has a big smile, which makes me feel wonderful.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Construction on NC-191

To help with the congestion, they're widening NC Route 191 (Brevard Road) from two to four lanes. The road is an important Asheville artery that connects I-26 and I-40 and leads to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Truck Full of Apples

It's apple harvest time in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Here's a truckload...

Lake Lure, NC

Just a pretty day at Lake Lure. Here's Steven posing with his blue beauty.

Hendersonville, NC

Blue sky, green mountains, and warm weather. Perfect day to ride. Here we are all alone on Bearwallow Road, Hendersonville, NC. Miles and miles of open road and sky.

7eye Sunglasses

The saleswoman at the Harley dealership said the 7eye lenses were bulletproof. I don’t know about that, I do know those new motorcycle sunglasses are a nice gift for Steven: Airshield comfy fit that is removable and replaceable. Cutting-edge Photochromic NXT lens darken and fade in bright sun and low light. Blocking out wind, dust or airborne allergens.
Now if only they could dance... :)

Green Tea Fusion

...then moved across the street for some yummy Japanese food at Green Tea Fusion. (One must have strength on the road!)

Panera Bread

On the road again. Still in Asheville, Hendersonville Road. We stopped at Panera for some good sourdough bread...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010