Our boot-scraped door mat announces that “home is where the welcome mat is!”. Wherever we are parked, Betty & I have our living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. with us. This is our home, and wherever we find ourselves becomes our home community for a while. Missing of course, and sorely missed, are our family and friends. But with the marvels of modern technology, we can share some of our adventures with them, while they share their lives the same way with us.
There are places on our travels where we feel very much apart, like fish out of water. There are also those special spots that allow us to relax, unwind, breath deeply. For a variety of reasons, coming to Cape Hatteras feels like coming home. The fresh, salty sea air, the rolling waves and the pounding surf on the fine-grained sand, the fresh-caught seafood, the blue skies and warm sun – all the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and emotions embrace us and welcome us back.
It has been over 40 years since Betty & I last camped on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and 60 years since my parents, brother & I made it a regular summer destination. Two weeks ago, when hurricane Florence was threatening the coast, Betty & I feared that this portion of our overlandish odyssey would be lost. We watched with sadness and grief as the high winds and water took their toll on coastal communities, wondering about the fate of this memorable spit of land, jutting out into the Atlantic.
While hurricane Florence apparently caused tremendous damage to South Carolina, and parts of southern North Carolina, we were surprised to find no evidence that such a ferocious storm had passed this way only a couple of weeks ago. Kitty Hawk – home of the Wright Brothers’ first flight – Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and all the other coastal
communities that lead to and make up the Outer Banks, have grown in size significantly since our last visit, and are all active, bustling communities, with all of their windows and signage intact. Either they were quick to fully restore everything, or the storm was merciful in missing this magical place.
Yesterday we took a drive down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and guided our Smart car onto a free ferry to Ocracoke Island, at the southern end of the Seashore. We expected a quick, maybe 10 minute ride, as the islands are not that far apart. But after an hour at sea, we began to wonder if the Minnow would be lost, and we would be stranded again with Gilligan and his
crew. LOL. In the end, the ship arrived and we had a chance to visit the Ocracoke campground (for future reference) and grab an ice cream cone before heading back across Hatteras Inlet at Pamlico Sound. Today is a beach day, and mighty waves are calling our names.
The sign on the wall of our bedroom challenges us to love to the beach and back, and as I write this, Betty is texting me from said beach, reminding me that it’s a beautiful day to be alive in this part of paradise. It’s time to accept the welcome home!