North Carolina Days 6-8: The Outer Banks

We have now moved on to Raleigh, North Carolina.  We visited a fantastic free museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  As usual, the gift shop was one of our favorite stops. The boys found hand puppets and goofed around, and luckily we weren’t asked to leave 🙂

Erik is about to be attacked by a shark!

 Paul finds a finger puppet clam whose eyes can individually move.  He’s really cute!

We have been bugging Joe about never giving us a funny pose.  This was one of his first ever attempts!  What do you think?

We’ve now made it to the Outer Banks.  We took the two hour ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke.  Then a short 30 min ferry to Hatteras.  In Hatteras, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum was a very interesting and free museum.  Erik gives you his best pirate face:

 Joe, with much encouragement, gives you his best pose.

Lighthouses are fun to see.  The Hatteras lighthouse is the tallest brick structure in the United States at 208 feet.  We didn’t climb the 268 steps to the top because the balcony was closed due to high winds.  We didn’t want to get to the top only to look out a little window in the door 🙁

An official, “we were there,” picture!

In 1999, the lighthouse was moved 2900 feet.  Joe is standing at the old site. The land is eroding and it was in danger of being swept into the sea.  It is now the same distance from the sea that it originally was when it was built in 1870.

The Bodie lighthouse.  This picture makes it look like the house has a really big chimney!

Pretty place.

Sunset at Nags Head on Bodie Island.

Joe, Erik, and Mom go to play in the waves.  It was cold at first, but we had fun, and we surfed the waves for quite a while.

Ocracoke lighthouse.

Joe and Erik play keep away with the waves!

The Outer Banks shoreline.   Mom’s try at an artsy photo!

Our last stop of the day was to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.  The original plane is in the Smithsonian, but this is a replica.

 We walk the course of the flights.

 Paul rests his shoulder on Wilbur, as he lets go of the plane on take off.

Erik touches finger tips with the on lookers.

Mom takes her picture along with the photographer who did remember to squeeze the bulb to capture the first ever successful motorized flight picture!

And of course, Joe catches a ride on the first flight!

Tomorrow we take a Rover Tall Ship Cruise of the Norfolk Naval base area, and then head home.

Another fun vacation!!!  We wish David could have joined us for the entire trip, but next trip, which will be to Death Valley in March!

North Carolina Day 5: Zip-Lines & Rafting

We’re half way through our trip and time for some zip-line time!

Mom zipping through the forest!  It wasn’t scary at all.

Paul relaxing away.

Joe is ready to take the leap.

Joe bounces this board back and forth, making it hard to walk without hanging on.

David joins us for the day. He’s at a music camp in Brevard for 7 weeks. He comments at the end of the day that he hadn’t thought about bassoon or practicing at all.  I guess mom’s activities were a hit today!

David and Erik have a zip-line race, and I think they tied.

Part two of our day was white water rafting down class II and III rapids on the Nantahala River.  The family owned tour company we used was very nice and the price was so reasonable.  I’d do it often if I lived around here.  A nice way to spend an afternoon.  We lucked out with the weather and had a blast!  Joe was the first to get to the last rapids of the run.  He got caught up in the current around a rock.

I think he got sideways in the current and current won 🙁  Watch as it plays out.

Between the rock and the current, he loses.

Man overboard!

Luckily we had just bought him a strap for his sunglasses before heading down the river.  A wise investment.

He manages to hold on to his paddle and raft.  Life vest is helpful too 🙂  He is pulled to safety by crew standing by.

Paul and Bethany head for the final rapids.  We go straight through the rapids.

We splashed our way through.  It is great fun!

Erik takes his turn at the final rapids.  This was his first time solo in a raft down any rapids.  He did great!

He’s just riding it out and having a great time!

Time for the pro in our family.  He’s got on his “beast” look!

Nothing to this.

Okay, this requires a bit of paddling.

Riding out the waves.

And he paddles to a strong finish!  A great day for all!

North Carolina Days 3-4: Brevard & Waterfalls

Joe and mom made cornhusk dolls at the Great Smokey Mountains Visitor Center.  It  was one of the Junior Ranger activities Joe could to do to get his badge.  Mom was more than happy to help.  She hadn’t made or played with a doll in years!

Mom is still tweaking her doll, and Joe has moved on to his favorite toy, the Droid, with doll cast to the side 🙁

Joe and Erik explored off trail further up Mingo Falls, and brought back this picture.

Looking Glass Falls, one of the most photographed falls, so they say.

Sliding Rock:  click to view Erik and Joe in action at Sliding Rock.

Moore Cove was fun, and Erik was brave enough to stand under the falls and get pelted with 50 degree water!

Joe took this pretty picture.  Pink and white rhododendrons are in bloom along the rivers.

Joe, David, Erik, and mom ventured off the path to view these spectacular falls called Connestee Falls, where two rivers converge into one.

We made it to the bottom of the Falls.

Connestee Falls

Dad has now officially been to all 50 states!!!

While in NC, we visited David, who will be at the Brevard Music Center for most of the summer playing bassoon in the orchestras.  As part of a scholarship, he gets work study pay of about $220 for “working” (which includes eating a couple bananas and pointing cars where to go).  Tonight the hardest part of the job was pointing cars around a stopped bus that was dropping off people.  This is his idea of “hard work”.