Hank – I woke at 3:20 am to the wind pushing the tent into my face. Lightning flashed like crazy but there was no thunder. And the rain was falling–big time. I felt a couple drops of water on my face so I grabbed my headlamp and looked around. Water was getting through the rain fly on both sides of the top. I unrolled my sheet of tyvek and worked it across the top of the tent under the fly. That stopped the leaks. After about an hour the storm stopped. I checked the weather radar and saw we had a nice gap of quiet so I went back to sleep.
At 5:20 my phone woke me to inform me there was a tornado warning. The wind and rain we’re really punishing the tent now. Kathy and I got dressed, donned our rain jackets, buttoned up the tent, and made a dash for the bathroom building. Then I saw how flooded the campground was. Wow!
We hung out at the bathroom for a couple of hours as the rain just kept coming in torrents. The campground was flooded enough when we left the tent and the tent was fine when we left it. But two hours of monsoon has a way of building up. After the storm passed we checked our campsite. The water was high but it didn’t make it over the wall. There was some water in the tent but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. We packed up our stuff and rode into Ocracoke on a flooded road.
Once in town the only place that normally is open for breakfast wasn’t. So we sat on a picnic table at the resturaunt and made oatmeal. After breakfast I mailed some stuff back home that we didn’t need anymore.
There’s a resort/hotel on Cedar Island right where we get off the ferry. I called and they had rooms available so we’re set for this evening. And they have laundry facilities. Another plus!
We went to the ferry terminal to hang out in relative comfort while we waited for the ride that was almost three hours out. I broke out the tent and my sleeping bag and draped them on the rails to dry while we waited. I wanted to make the most of our time. And if they dried out good enough we wouldn’t have to spread the all around the room this evening. Kathy went exploring and saw a lot of Ocracoke. Come 1:00 pm we got on the ferry and made for Cedar Island.
Once off the ferry we rode a couple hundred feet to the resort and got our room. We are the only people staying there tonight. Laundry, dinner, and a good night’s sleep tonight.
Kathy – What a morning! When we checked the weather last night they said a thunderstorm was predicted for early morning, but we experienced much more than a thunderstorm. No doubt about it, if we knew what was coming we would have been in a hotel. At 5:00 am I awoke to torrential rain, tons of thunder and lightning, and some severely wicked winds. I literally thought we and the tent were going to get blown away. I saw that we have a tornado warning in effect from 5:00-8:00 am. We had no protection. We were in our tent and other than a bathroom elevated on wooden sticks there was nothing in this campground to help us. The campground is four miles from the small town of Ocracoke. It is just a small stretch of island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was very scary to say the least. Hank and I held hands and I prayed a tornado would not hit us. The weather was so severe that I really thought it was going to happen. After about 15 minutes we decided it was too bad to stay in the tent and we need to seek better shelter so we ran though the flooded campground to the only structure around, the bathrooms. We stayed there for 2.5 hours as the rain, thunder, lightning and wind roared with an incredible force.
I grew up in the Midwest and have seen the effects of tornadoes. They frighten me to the dickens, and I am so pleased we hardly ever have them in Spokane, Washington. Happy no tornadoes touched down today. I did not mind the flooded area or stuff in the tent getting wet. I was counting my blessings that we made it out of that storm intact. Later in the day I was talking to a local gal in the Forestry Services. She said this morning’s storm was like hurricane weather for them. She said they seen the wind and rain churning in different directions and wouldn’t doubt if a small tornado touched down. We also found out that boats tipped over and one small one sank. It was by far the worst storm we have been in during our travels and I never want to be exposed to those elements again in a tent.
A little after 8:00 am the storm passed over the island and the sun came out. A few of the RV campers in the campground came to check up on us as we were packing up. We were the only tent in the campsite. That was very kind of them to offer us coffee and a dry place in their RV if needed. We decided to head to town ASAP in case more severe weather moved in again. Flooding surrounded us in the campground, on the road during our four mile ride to town, and in town on most streets. Hank made us a nice oatmeal breakfast with hot tea as we sat outside a closed restaurant on their picnic benches. It was quite charming after our morning.
Since we had a few hours before the ferry ride back to the mainland – Cedar Island, North Carolina, I decided to explore this quaint little town. First I headed over the the Ocracoke (just say, Okra and Coke together and you have the pronunciation correct) history museum. I learned about the island people and history. I also met Sally who works at the museum. What a great gal! I really enjoyed our conversation and before I left Sally gave me an oyster shell that she painted a Santa Claus on. She collects the shells, paints them and sells them in the gift shop. I will think of her kindness every Christmas when I hang the ornament on the tree.
They raffle away a lighthouse quilt every year to raise money for the museum so maybe one of my 14 tickets will be the lucky winner. Sally said they will mail it to me if I’m the ticket winner. Before I left Sally gave me some informational reading material on the town, a copy of their once-a-month newspaper, and directions on seeing the best sights. She was pretty awesome, I’m so happy I met her!
As I traveled around town I didn’t care about the flooded streets. I just rode my bike right though them. My shoes were soaked because the water was so high in some areas. All is good, no storms and the sun was now shinning. I wanted to remember this town for its people and beautiful sights, not that crazy storm this morning. So, I rode eleven miles all over town stopping as I pleased. The lighthouse was shorter and wider than the ones we have seen over the past few days, but none the less very pretty.
I tried to get back into Springers Point – the location where the pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) was beheaded back in 1718. I walked on the flooded trail for awhile but the surface was uneven because of lots of tree roots. I didn’t want to fall with the uneven surface and all the water. Also I started thinking there could be snakes in this water…😳 I was by myself and didn’t want to die 😱, so I turned around. Happy with my decision. 😉😄
As I moseyed around I checked out a few shops but didn’t buy anything. I don’t need more weight on my bike. I also found the British War Cemetery. It is dedicated to British shoulders who died when their ship was hit by the Germans near the Ocracoke coast back in 1942. The British shoulders and their ship were on loan by Winston Churchill to the U.S. to help protect the U.S. coast line. Only four bodies were recovered and they are buried in Ocracoke.
As I explored I saw many homes with small family cemetery’ next to their homes. It was very common here to bury family members in the yard. It is also common here (as in most of the Outer Banks) to have your home built on stilts. Many of the homes are built high off the ground due to the flooding with severe weather systems. I met a nice gal at the tourist information center too. There are so many nice people here that I was a little sad getting on the ferry to Cedar Island. We really enjoyed our week traveling down the Outer Banks of North Carolina. So thankful we chose this route.
On a fun note, the accents are getting stronger as we head south. We have met a few people that we just could not understand because their accents were just so thick. It sounded like a lot of gibberish mumbled together. It wasn’t our hearing. Hank and I really could not understand them. We just followed their lead and shook our heads in agreement or disagreement as they did. It is a little embarrassing that we didn’t understand them. We would ask them to repeat sentences 3-4 times and still not get it. It doesn’t sound nice, but I was wanting some closed captioning to help me along. 😬
And with that our day is over. We had a horrendous start of the day but it got better as it went on. Our just over two hour ferry ride was smooth and uneventful. More storms are expected tonight so happy for this hotel room. I’m counting my blessings tonight and looking forward to meeting more wonderful North Carolina people and seeing more of this beautiful state tomorrow. 💗
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