Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Corolla, North Carolina Trip - Fifth Day - Part 2
Wright Brothers' Memorial
Lost Colony
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

After enjoying the spectacular sunrise, we were out of the house two hours later and stopped for our breakfast/early lunch.  We always enjoy finding a good breakfast restaurant when traveling, and usually look for a local place on Yelp, but as we were driving by we saw "Stack 'Em High Pancakes and So Forth".   

I had pancakes, one egg and 2 sausages with a small dish of strawberries. Gregg had toast, eggs, sausage patties and hash browns.

  You ordered your food and paid at the counter before you sat down.  We enjoyed it, a fun and friendly place. 

We were curious about The Lost Colony and had that in mind for this afternoon, but as it was on the way we stopped at the 
Wright Brothers' Memorial.  We only did half of the site, concentrating on the monument at the top of the hill.  It is quite a large area so if you are ever decide to visit, I suggest carrying your own water, and wearing a pair of very comortable walking shoes.

These old photos are from Pixababy.

The last time we were here was 30 years' ago with my parents.  They were visiting from England, and we had been staying with Gregg's parents who lived in Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is only a couple of hours away, and is north of Corolla, as you can see by looking at the map below.  It wouldn't take long as the crow flies but you can't drive down that strip of land, having to take a route further inland.  Corolla is marked with the red icon.

This gives you an idea where Corolla is on the US map.

Their regular, much larger visitor center is being renovated.  It will be closed to the public until the late summer/early fall of next year.  The temporary one did a good job for the space they had. 

It was a very hot day, and muggy.  I was prepared with my sunhat and sunglasses, but I had not taken any drinking water as I usually do.  We have been relying on the visitor centers to get our cold, refrigerated water, but there was no refrigerator here.  However, room temperature water was better than nothing.   

I did see at least one drinking fountain at the bottom of the hill near the large memorial.  There were probably more but this was the only one I noticed.  Before I beat this subject into the ground, my advice would be, don't forget to take water with you.  I read on Yelp from one person, that the center didn't have any water when they were there, and it may have been that they had run out. 

A few photos taken around the center.  The posters above were on sale.

The Wright Brothers

Orville was the youngest and described as a "practical joker, impulsive, enthusiastic, educated, introverted, optimistic and inventive".  Wilber, his older brother, was "steady, educated, focused, out-going, controlled, confident, a care taker".

It was interesting to read that the brothers got their interest for machines from their mother, who also passed on her knowledge and curiosity to her sons.  Their father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, traveled far and wide, and would bring gifts home like Alphonse Penaud's toy helicopter. These snippets I read on one of the posters.  You can learn more of the brothers here.  Below, from the same poster, are a few of the things that inspired them.

One thing of note is that Charlie Taylor built their engines.  You can read his story here.  Charlie should not be forgotten in the brothers' story, as I feel he was an integral part of it.

This is the information marker located at the bottom of the hill, which we read before we made the climb.  Information reads:

"Friends and Surfmen from the nearby US Life-Saving Station helped the brothers carry their gliders up the dunes."

"Big Kill Devil Hill - When the Wright brothers were here, Big Kill Devil Hill - the hill in front of you - was a massive sand dune.  Thousands of times the brothers trekked up the three nearby dunes to conduct glider experiments.

Climbing the hill was strenuous.  Deep, soft sand caused every step up the slope to slip part way back down.  The Wrights were also burdoned with carrying their heavy gliders up the hill for each flight.  Their tireless efforts paid off as they mastered their flying skills and refined their flight controls."

Underneath the photo at the bottom of the marker next to the writing reads,

"The Wrights mastered flight controls with their 1902 Glider."

Underneath the next photo, 

"Starting in 1929, workers planted grass to stabilize Big Kill Devil Hill so that the Wright Brothers Monument could be built on top."

(If you would like to see a larger view of all photos to get a better look, you can click and enlarge.)

From the Visitor Center there is a road you can drive along, and park closder to the monument.

We walked up a very steep hill to the actual memorial. 

We met a couple with a dog who were talking to two Australians.  Gregg initiated a conversation with one as he was wearing a shirt with the name of his old Royal Navy Captain.  This is going back to when he was on an exchange tour with the Royal Navy, when he and I met in my home town.  An unusual name but no connection.  It was to do with a 200 mile endurance race in Australia, so we learned something new that day.  

The two of them were visiting all the well known race car tracks over here.  They were a lot of fun to talk to, interesting and super friendly.  After a while we said goodbye to our Oz friends and wished them happy traveling.   

The other couple they had been talking to were American and they had a sweet natured dog called Roxie.  She was having a hard time with the heat and we offered her some of our water.  Roxie's Dad cupped his hands so I could pour her a good drink, and she lapped it up.  She had two full 'cups' of water before they left for the walk down.  They left their water in their car, thinking they would not need it for such a short hike.  Well, I've been there before!  Yes, I am still beating that big old drum.  Always remember your water no matter how short the walk.  FYI, for younger people it may be a short hike, but for us it wasn't that short and it was all up hill!

A few more photos of the Memorial, and then we make our way down, stopping at another exhibit we noticed from the top.

Last stop in this area was at a sculpture of the biplane used for their flight, with figures portraying the brothers, and others.  

This following are two markers near the sculptures.

Can't resist a little role playing.

But who is taking a photo of whom?

And with these two last photos we leave for our next destination, The Lost Colony, which will be my next post.

Monday, September 18, 2017


Corolla, North Carolina Trip - Fifth Day - Part 1
Wright Brothers' Memorial
Lost Colony
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

It is now 6.50 p.m. and I am back at the house.  I got up today for the sunrise. Gregg almost had to see it on his own as he left before me, with me mumbling some poor excuse about being too tired.  I mumble things incoherently when I am almost all-the-way asleep.  However, after he left I could not bear the thought of him seeing that sunrise on his own.  I heard the door close and I had immediate regret, so I kicked my lazy butt out of bed and dressed faster than I usually do, literally throwing clothes on, raced down to the beach without any thought of twisted ankles - I have a history - had momentary panic when I couldn't see him, but looked and looked and there he was.  

I snuck up behind him and gave him a big hug, experiencing a few seconds of thought that I might be hugging a complete stranger.  I have been known to rush up to someone - rarely thank the powers - pat them on the back, chatting away for what seems like an eternity,  thinking it was Gregg - that happened not so long ago - only to be greeted by a  strange face in complete shock at being accosted by, whomever he thought I was.  I don't blush too often but when I blush I am my own sunrise, and it was a wee bit dark that morning.  I needn't have worried.  Gregg saw me coming as he had a big smile on his face and he wasn't surprised.  He knows me better than I know myself at times.  A few minutes later here comes the sun.  Surreal!  

"Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion."

~George Grey~

These are all Gregg's sunrise photos.  I have some of my own which I will share at a later date.

It was a lovely time at the beach in that very special light. There were a few other sun worshippers.   

As it got lighter we could see a familiar figure approaching.  It was Gregg's sister.

We had a nice time chatting for a while....

and watched as these two cute dogs trotted by. 

They were certainly enjoying their walk.

Gregg and his sister took a walk further up the beach and I meandered back to the house, taking lots of photos along the way,

 finding a few shells,

I thought this was some kind of seaweed and was very surprised to find that it was an egg casing for a skate.  I would like to spend more time at the beach to improve my knowledge of such things.

I came across the following here and here which gives more information.

I came across the remains of a horseshoe crab earlier.  I look forward to the day when I can see a live one.

I see traces of those ghost crabs again...

and occasionally see them scurrying down into burrows as I walk along the path back to the house.  

The dunes are high and you can't see the ocean when you reach the bottom level.  It is very private and incredibly pretty.  

There is a row of sea oats on the top of the dunes, and I believe this pink flower, quite tiny, is a perennial sand bean.  These and the other fauna keep me well occupied.  I am not sure what the spiky plant is.

I believe these are pokeweed berries.  There is an interesting article at this link.

We have a private entrance and there is no one else to disturb my thoughts, and no one awake in the house yet.  Once I had finished searching for wildflowers and ghost crabs, I found a comfortable chair and sat outside for a while enjoying the peacefulness of it all, looking up at the dunes and the pretty glow that still filled the sky.  It was a perfect time of the day to do this.  I stayed there for a half hour or so, before going in and getting ready for another day of sight-seeing.