one year ago…….
So last year we were well in process with the adoption, expecting to travel by the end of the year, afraid to spend any of the little money we had and afraid to use any of the vacation due to me. So we decided to tour the outer banks and see all the lighthouses for our anniversary. I would pack up the bike with everything we would need to camp for one night and we would camp at one of the many outer banks camp sites.
So we took the bike and headed out to the southern ferry to go over to Ocracoke, we would get a 3 hour “cruise” on the free ferry (if it wasn’t free it was next to it, you hardly ever pay anything for a motorcycle, you even get free VIP parking at the Alltel pavilion if you go on a bike) The ferry landed around lunch, and we planned on camping at Ocracoke Island. The brochures said there were over 300 camps sites on the island, and we never assumed they would all be full. Of course we also never assumed 250 of those camp sites would be covered by brand new condos either. For an island that had no contact with the outside world until the 70’s and where you can still find old timers in the village who still have a British accent, they have really built a vacation city in a huge hurry. And lost so very, very much if you ask me.
So we jaunted over to see the lighthouse and then decided to head north, knowing there was a huge camp site in Manteo if we made it that far. another “cruise” on the northern ferry, and we met another nice biker couple and a adoptive family on the boat. His boy loved the bikes. We took our time and stopped at each of the lighthouses on our way.
But after about the 4th campsite we pulled into to find out they were FULL we had this fear that we were going to have to sleep in the swamp camp with the geese in Manteo. Oh we had stayed there before all right, and we swore we would never sleep there again, the camp is in the middle of a swamp and they have geese that walk all over the place, and yep, crap all over the camp too. Campground after campground was GONE. And they were building new Condos in their stead, and the few camps that were left were full. When we made it all the way to the Boddie Knoll Lighthouse we asked one of the workers for a phone book so we could start calling ahead.
This is where we found out our anniversary falls on the official “opening weekend” to the outer banks.
I had already decided we would wait till it was dark and pitch our tent in one of the half built condos at Kitty Hawk, the worst they could do would be to arrest us, and at least then we would have a place to sleep for the night. But this was our anniversary, and I had a secret stash of cash to take my wife to be best restaurant in the OuterBanks, Argyle’s Piano bar and Grill. We had discovered this place when we were on a free condo tour and found out that on a Friday night in Kitty Hawk they are the only place still open serving food at 10pm. When we walked in the door the first time several years ago, he saw our state of affairs, saw the kids and took care of us, he told us to give him $5 for each of the kids and to order off the menu for us, and he would cook some tator tots and chicken nuggets he had for his grand kids in the kitchen. You can’t beat his food either. So this time we walk in in full biker regalia, yes even Heather wears her leathers when we ride, and the owner comes up to us because he remembers us… don’t ask me how. I tell him when we were there before and he honestly does remember us, and he congratulates us on 6 years, and gives us each a free glass of champagne. I ask for a phone book, which leads to me telling the story of the day, with an explanation that if we could find a legal place to stay we were going to crash in the horse reserve in Duck. He tells us he knows most of the owners of the camps and a lot of the hotels and he will be back in a few. He spent over 30 minutes making phone calls for us to come back and tell us there wasn’t a place anywhere in the OuterBanks with a single vacancy. He then proceeds to tell us how because he didn’t know the Daytona 500 was going on the same weekend his wife and he were traveling to see his brother in Florida that he had to spend the night 100 feet out in the wood at a truck stop in Daytona, and his wife was none too happy with him either. But Argyle came to the rescue again for us, he told us to pitch our tent in the grassy area next to his parking lot. I’ll never forget that dinner. Heather had the pistachio crusted chicken and I had the antelope medallions. We sat there all night listening the piano man play his piano and laughing at how our tent was set up next to this 4 star restaurant.
You might be a redneck if you go out to eat at a 4 star restaurant and wind up pitching a tent in the parking lot.
The next morning Argyle came in early to open the place just for us to have a place to brush our teeth and get ready for the day. He even brewed some coffee for us and let us graze on some of the stuff from the kitchen. This guy was just too awesome! So I packed up the bike and it started drizzling. We had seen every lighthouse except for the one in Duck, we were going to be wet anyways, so we set north.
We saw the lighthouse, and then headed south to 64 to head home. Half way through Duck the bottom let out. The water got to the point that it was over my boots and we were soaked to the bone. We pulled over to try to wait it out, but there was no letting up on this monsoon. Heather wrapped herself in a garbage bag, well several, and a couple of blankets and we headed towards home. The rain continued in this down poured for the next 2 hours. The just as suddenly we drove out of the rain and were in sunny blue skies and 40 minutes from home. By the time we pulled into our driveway we were DRY!
It’s an anniversary we will never forget. And to my surprise, Heather suggested that we do it again this year, of course this time we are leaving the tent at home and she wants to go somewhere to the WEST of us that we can actually be home on the same day!