Thursday, June 19, 2014

Journey to Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Ocracoke Harbor and Lighthouse

When we left Tybee Island our original plan was to take 2 days to drive to Cedar Island and catch the Sunday Ferry to Ocracoke Island.  Jim decided that he wanted to drive all day and not break the trip down into a 2 day journey , so we did. We did a little reroute to check out Beaufort SC and in the middle of the reroute we stumbled into a wonderful Farmers Market in Port Royal.  I was amazed at the stands , 95% organic and again the folks in the South are so friendly.  We chatted and bought and nibbled our way through the market .  Then we headed back to Ruby with our bounty.

Port Royal Farmer's Market

   From the market we drove into Beaufort SC just to check it out since we had heard it was a beautiful little town.  And we weren't disappointed.  The streets were lined with the classic Southern home,huge white columns,big wrap around porches and oak trees dripping with moss.  I expected to see Scarlett and Rhett on the next front porch.  We both decided we were going to come back to Beaufort and spend a week or so at Hunting Island State Park and explore the city.
Scenes from Beaufort, SC:

This was a section of the National Cemetary in Beaufort, SC

It was an amazing drive from Tybee to Cedar Island; we avoided I95 and took State Route 17.  We saw one other camper along that highway, headed south as we were headed north.  I still can't understand why more RV travelers didn't use 17.  It was a wonderful road , through all the little communites and waterfront towns.  And taking it only added 30 minutes to our journey.

Site 124 at Lanier Campgrounds, Surf City NC

The view from our campsite at Lanier's

We stopped at Surf City, NC and found Lanier's Campground-a huge predominately Class A and Class C campground but when you want to plug in and sleep you take what you can get ! As it turned out we lucked into one of the best sites in the campground-on a quiet corner and on the water with a great view.  Such a nice breeze too, we kept the back and side doors open all night to take advantage of the breeze. We left early in the morning, even though we were only 130 miles from the ferry we wanted to take our time

After a supply and diesel stop we arrived at the Cedar Island Ferry about noon and our reservation was for 1pm.  This is a toll ferry but I thought it was very reasonable for an RV-we paid $30 for the crossing.  It's a 2hour crossing and we were fortunate to get a front row parking spot so that we could open all the doors and enjoy the cool breezes with Hailey.  Dogs are allowed on the lower car deck but not on the upper passenger deck.

There is a free ferry that runs between Hatteras and Ocracoke but it would have meant driving further north and then driving south on Hatteras to get to Ocracoke.  We decided we would enter from the south and then drive north for departure to see the entire Cape.  We also had an open week until the Smokies so we thought we might camp somewhere on the north end for a few days and explore.

While waiting for the ferry Jim and Hailey went for a little dip in the ocean.  We can't keep Hailey away from the water-she loves it !

Solar, solar and more solar, we love the sun !

The Roadtrek serves so many purposes-one being the dashboard is a great spot for ripening tomatoes.

This gentleman (ahem) seemed to think it was fun buzzing around the ferry.

Ocracoke Harbor

The beach at Ocracoke Campground, just steps from our campsite.  And the dunes really worked our glutes each day as we climbed them !

Being part of the National Park System there are no hook ups (of the electrical, water type). And not much privacy either.  But we have found most National Park campgrounds are very quiet, people seem to be very considerate of each other and respect boundaries.  No music blasting, no tvs blaring and even the folks who needed to run generators were very mellow.

Jim found a mermaid on the beach - I think her booty was modeled after Jennifer Lopez's ! 

Humans and their stupid pet tricks..

We plan on bicycling back to this place-it was jammed packed when we drove by off the ferry.

Mermaids and pirates are all over the Island

Have a seat and enjoy-life really is good !

The Kitty Hawk Kite Shop, we wanted to buy a couple kites but a full tour bus had just pulled into the parking lot so we kept on traveling down the road.

I spotted this sweet house on our mini tour of the Island-it just looked perfect,beautiful flower gardens, the ocean out the back door,nice shade out front-my kind of house.

Sweet condos that don't even look like condos-love it

Fat Boys is a Fish Market and ASS is Albert Styron's Store !

The Ocracoke Lighthouse

We stopped here for lunch on Wednesday and they had the best chicken tacos and beef carnitas.  We will be back-Eduardo's Taco Stand

I have fallen in love with Ocracoke-didn't expect that to happen. I was looking forward to the beach but even after reading reviews of the campground I wasn't certain how far we would be from the beach.  I was certain that bugs were a problem-when you Google the campground all you see are comments about no  seeums and mosquitoes.  Our new Clam shelter did it's job-we had no problems with bugs as long as we were in the shelter or inside Ruby.  When we walked to the beach, we walked quickly so the yellow flies didn't get a chance to land and bite.  The family next to us spent one night,went to a hotel in town the 2nd night and then came back and left.  They couldn't handle the bugs in their tent-the screening wasn't doing such a good job with the no seeums.

The Island is a sweet little spot on the Outer Banks.  Small and quiet even with the influx of tourists-it just has a really nice vibe to it.  The breezes off the ocean keep it cool and people are so friendly here. I would love to see some of the wild horses that still roam the north end-descendants of Spanish horses that landed here hundreds of years ago. Jim and I are talking about extending our stay for 3 more days since we are happy and contented campers here. Put this place on bucket list-it definitely is worth the journey-but invest in a good bug screen or you won't be a happy camper.

I'm going to brew up a batch of Voodoo juice and sit quitely and enjoy the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze.  Happy Trails my Island Friends...

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