7/4 Virginia Beach, VA ???? Miles

Up very early. Very, very early. And this is a little town. So little that Starbucks has not yet invaded, so I do not get my usual 3 shots of espresso masked in milk, ice, and hazelnut syrup. Everyone we asked told us that it would take 90 minutes to go 40 miles. In the rest of the world this would seem absurd, but since we were in the time -travel twilight zone, we decided to trust them. Fools we are. It takes about 40 minutes to go 40 miles, even here. The drive was very pretty, right along the shore for most of it. We even had a nature moment as we drove around a bend and came upon a black bear loping across the road, very exciting for two city girls. We also saw many rabbits, and I wondered if the bear ever ate a rabbit, and if he liked it.
We got to the Cedar Island ferry with about an hour to spare, so we occupied ourselves exploring the beach. I found beetle tracks and bird tracks and pointed them out to Jen who expressed the appropriate amount of interest. Our next nature moment happened with the attack of the kamikaze beach bees. These are some sort of mutant bees that desperately search the beach in vain for flowering plants with nectar. They are so diligent in this fruitless search that they thoroughly investigate everything, even the people. And though bees have a special dance to tell other bees of the lack of food found, this group had not yet been taught. Each and every bee had to come over and angrily buzz all over me, inducing a standard panic response. I fought my instinct to cover my head and fall to the ground whimpering, as I figured that would only alarm the other ferry passengers waiting up at the gift shop. I did not scream, swipe or blow at the bee, as I know these are all ways to make a bee want to kill you hard with his poky ass. Bored with the beach, we returned to our car and waited to board the ferry.
I’ve never been on a car ferry, and this was pretty damned cool. First of all, everyone who worked on the Cedar Island Ferry was exceptionally pleasant and ‘Enrique’ stood out for being both pleasant and hot. Thanks for the entertainment, Enrique. We sat outside for a long time and watched the ocean go by and when the sun got too hot we went in and wrote postcards. Some of you got these nifty postcards, the rest of you will learn to suffer in silence. We mistakenly assumed that the ferry would feed us, but it did not. So we were left with trying to entertain ourselves without having eaten breakfast. Outside to watch the ocean, inside to watch the people, repeat as necessary.
We landed at Ocracoke Island (which is a lot of fun to say, Ocracoke, Ocracoke) and marvelled at its utter cuteness and headed up to the Hatteras Ferry. The Hatteras Ferry was staffed completely by people who hated other people and had no reason to hide this hatred. Luckily, it only takes 30 minutes to get from Ocracoke (Ocracoke, Ocracoke) to Hatteras. We found a little place on the beach and ate lunch (mmm, shrimp) and watch the ocean and made fun of most people. Afterwards, we saw the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, which has a long and colorful history which I am sure fills people with an excitement I can only pretend to understand. I took a picture and left.
We drove up the Outer Banks and marvelled at its beauty and at its narrowness and continued northward. We saw houses on stilts and wondered what people did with their cars during storms so bad that stilts are necessary to protect your house.
The northern part of the Outer Banks are more touristy and commercial, but Kitty Hawk is there and if you are not tired or bored, you can go see the place where the Wright Brothers learned to fly. Woo.
At this point, my late bedtime and my early rise and my lack of caffeine kicked in and I was too tired to drive anymore. Jen took over, we popped in a Tool CD, and I took a nap. She woke me in time to visit the most redneck gift shop ever put together. You could purchase any item imaginable with the confederate flag (provided, of course, that it was not so technologically advanced that it confused the poor bubbas. I’m not kidding here, they had confederate flags on everything, and you would think that mouse pads would seem like a natural idea, but no, there were no mouse pads available). I spent about 10 minutes in this shop but could no longer maintain my sanity and had to leave.
We headed into Virginia Beach and back to civilization. Virginia Beach was crazy busy and it took us forever to get down Atlantic Avenue to our hotel. It did not help that the AAA guide was incorrectly marked and it took us longer to get to our hotel than it should have. Feh. Our hotel room was located on the ground floor and you could open the back door in the room and step directly onto the beachfront. At first we were slightly disappointed that we did not have a balcony, but a few minutes out on the lawn next to the beach and were were happier with our situation than we would have been with a balcony. Had sushi for dinner and came back to explore the giant jacuzzi in the room. Then we stepped outside, sat on our patio and watched fireworks. I have not seen fireworks in 10 years, and I felt like a kid all over again.
A long but fun day, and it is time for bed.