Washington D.C. – Day One

Except for the strong head wind, our drive out of North Carolina was pretty uneventful. We had planned on driving through Washington D.C. and into Maryland that first day, but we ended up spending the night in Ruther Glen, Virginia instead. We filled up with fuel and propane at the Flying J, and figured it was a good place to stay. The problem was that we were used to the darkness and the gentle roar of the ocean, and the parking lot was bright and loud as trucks came and went all night. It didn’t make for the best night sleep, but it was free, so we didn’t complain.

We got up in the morning and went the remaining 90 miles to Greenbelt, Maryland where we set up Waldo for a few night’s stay. We arrived early enough that we had plenty of time to drive into D.C. for a little exploration. Our first day was spent walking through all the monuments and memorials. By the end of the day, the Capital Region of our National Parks Passport was almost full.

The Cherry Festival was going on so we had hoped the blossoms would be in bloom, but it had been such a cold winter that they were about a week late. I was hoping they would burst open while we were there, but it was simply not meant to be. I read that there are over 2,000 trees, and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when they are all in bloom.

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It was an absolutely beautiful day and we could not have asked for more perfect weather. There were a lot of tour buses and school field trips, but it was actually very quiet compared to the summer months, allowing us to enjoy the monuments and memorials at our own pace. Washington D.C. is one of those special places that you can see a million times in pictures and films, but none of it compares with seeing it in person.

After almost 10 miles of strolling around downtown, we were ready to go home. The traffic was insane and it took us much longer to get home than we would have thought. We quickly learned that it does no matter what time of day you are cruising the streets of D.C., the traffic never goes away. Luckily Rob was driving so I just kept my foot pressed down on my imaginary brake pedal and tried not to look as people wove in and out and dodged oncoming cars as they tried to get around people. I felt bad for the semi’s, but apparently they are used to it because they were not a whole lot better than the cars. I think most people drive with one hand on the wheel, and the other on the horn, because there was a lot of honking going on…

Life, Love and the Big Blue Sea

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.” ~Isak Dinesen

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It is hard to believe that our time here on the Outer Banks is over, but come tomorrow morning, we will be hitting the road. The last couple of days have been spent cleaning things up and getting ready to roll. The house is clean, bikes are loaded, laundry is done, Waldo is washed. A few things will need to be stowed in the morning, but we are pretty much ready to go, and tomorrow night we will be sleeping in Maryland.

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Living alongside the ocean has been truly amazing. I quickly learned that she has as many moods as the rest of us. Sunny days found her happy, waves crashing playfully upon the shore. Other days she was meditative, hardly a wave to speak of. She apparently did not like the wind any more than I did, because on the days where the wind was the strongest, she appeared very angry, waves roaring as far out as the eye could see. But no matter what her mood seemed to be, she was always beautiful.

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I am going to miss my morning beach walks with Charbie. And hunting for seashells. And watching the kids run wildly in the waves. Sand in my shoes, daily conversations with the ocean, countless pelicans flying overhead and the beautiful sound of waves crashing upon the shore.

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I will not, however, miss the wind that has been sand blasting Waldo for the last few months. (I don’t think he is going to miss it either.) Even with the unbearable wind, though, our time here has been exceptional, and we are taking with us countless unforgettable memories. And perhaps a seashell or two.

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Something about leaving the ocean feels like leaving behind an old friend. But she will always be there, waiting patiently, no matter how long it takes us to return. And when we finally make our way back, we will pick up right where we left off. Just like the best of friends…

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“Seashells are love letters in the sand.”

Guiding Lights

“He slept that night thinking of loves and lighthouses. That one love might shine to bring all loves home.”
~Jamie O’Neill

Rob has to work both Saturday and Sunday and we are pulling out on Monday, so today was our last official day to enjoy the Outer Banks. There are many places we still would like to see, but we decided to head south so we could snap a few pictures of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The last time we drove by it was dark so we figured seeing it in the daylight was a must. At 198 feet, Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in America. Its main purpose was to warn southbound ships to head east in order to miss the Diamond Shoals.

We were able to visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse when we took the ferry to Ocracoke last month. There was an orange tabby cat from one of the neighboring houses who accompanied us along the walkway. He was even kind enough to pose on the sidewalk for me. Ocracoke is not as easy to get to so we only visited the one time. We had planned a second visit because we had heard about some amazing shells on the beach, we just ran out of time.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is just down the road from us so we drive by it all the time. We can see it from our RV pad and watch as it lights the night sky with its beacon. I became obsessed with trying to get a picture of this lighthouse with the sunset because it was always so beautiful. Unfortunately I never managed to get it right. I have never been good at low-light shots, and this just proves it. I still tried, though, and my failed attempts at capturing its beauty will simply remind me of how amazing it truly was.

When we arrived here at the beginning of the year we felt like we had so much time to explore the area, and while I do think we experienced much more than we would have had we only come for a short vacation, I know that there is so much we missed. Time goes by so fast, even when it does not feel like it, and here we are just a few short days from our departure and I find myself wondering where all the time has gone. I do know that we have all thoroughly enjoyed our time here, and the memories we made will not soon be forgotten…

She’s Here!

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~Kahlil Gibran

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Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I have always been hopelessly in love with spring, so when she returns after a long winter, it always makes my heart smile. And today just so happened to be one of the most beautiful starts to spring I have ever seen. From a morning walk to an afternoon on the beach to a sunset stroll around Pea Island, most of the day was spent outside enjoying the warm sunshine. If today had decided to continue on forever, I don’t think I would have complained one bit… Happy Spring my friends.

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It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
~Irish Blessing

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I suppose that most normal people are gathered around their dining tables this evening enjoying a feast of corned beef and cabbage. I, however, failed to buy any fixings for a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal, so we found ourselves chowing down on green pancakes instead. Perhaps next year I will have my act together and will actually make corned beef. I better keep green food coloring in the cupboard, though, just in case. At least we remembered to wear our green! Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

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May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing