CLICK HERE for this trip's route map.
I had originally planned this weekend to be the beginning of my Whalebone to Wolfcreek trip...but a little family emergency in Florida and plenty of work in the business kept me from having that much time off. I made some adjustments in my reservations and turned it into an Outer Banks trip with friends Jay and Susan - you may remember them from my Sturgis trip last year.
Kim took that first pic (#01) from the back seat just as we were going around Washington, NC on our way to our first nights stay in Bath, NC - North Carolina's first incorporated city. We got a late-day start as Kim had to work today, so we didn't even get out of town til 4pm, rode over to Raleigh to pick up Jay and Susan, and worked our way around the back roads of Raleigh to the east side of town, and hooked up with Hwy 64 heading east. I must mention that Pic #02 of our riding buds is a little misleading - making susan look a little hefty - thats all wind I assure you!
Pics #03 - #06 are of the place we stayed at in Bath - The Bath Harbor Motel and marina - really nice place. There are several motel rooms right near the docks with a hottub right outside our back porch.
We had dinner across the street from the motel at the Old Schoolhouse Restaurant - wonderful meal overlooking the bay and an phenominal sunset on their back porch, served by a real personable waitress... a great start to an odd trip! Keep reading!
We spent the night out either in or near the tub overlooking the harbor and the incredible display of stars, shooting the bull til midnight. Thats one of the best parts of bike rides with friends - finding a place to sit out and visit with old buds.
Next morning we packed up and intended to visit the old historic district a bit - not 2-3 blocks away. It consists of maybe a dozen old structures built in the early 1700's and described a bit in my Spring Outer Banks trip. Trouble began before the pipes even heated up (good thing as you'll see)... In attempting to turn around and catch up with Kim and I - who turned in a half block back at the Bath Visitor Center, Jay and Susan made a tight, slow-speed turn in what turned out to be loose pea-gravel and...yup.... went down.
The front wheel went out in front of him on an angle, dropping the engine and pipes on his right ankle. Susan managed to get her leg out in front of her but sustained a good-sized patch of road rash on her elbow and palms. Jay wasn't so lucky - wedged under the bike for a few moments, he managed to get his foot out somehow - still doesn't know how - but by the time Kim and I turned the corner - saw his scooter on its side - and them sprawled out on the road (damned near popped a wheelie in my acceleration to get over there!) there were a few bystanders running over to help and had them away from the bike...
Kim was getting off before the bike even stopped and I dropped it over on the kickstand, hopped off and found Jay trying to get up - unsuccesfully... Susan was crawling over to the curb and I helped Jay to his foot...the good foot. He wasn't having anything to do with putting weight on the right foot at all...not a good sign.
With him alive and well, and laying on the curb, I turned to the bike and with the help of another guy got his bike up off its side, examined the damages (Scraped front fender, dented tank, scraped levers and mirrors but nothing critical) and picked up all the loose gear (camera, batteries, glasses, etc.)
After about 30 minutes, with the help of some very helpful residents nearby who tended to the road rash, we all walked back to the bikes still sitting in the intersection (Bath has very little traffic!) and took stock of the options... Jays ankle was very painful but he managed to hop on it fairly well. He straddled the bike - took it for a little spin and pronounced he was OK and ready to get the hell out of this town (too bad, too, 'cause it really is a cute town.)
We slowed down a bit, rode through the back roads and in 25 miles hit the little 'burg of Bellhaven. We stopped at the gas station to see how he was doing and by the look on his face when he put his foot down the first time since being on the bike again, it was obvious we were going to start looking for a clinic...fortune was with us - there was a regional hospital three blocks away and we went straight there for a look-see. Pic #07 was outside the hospital while we waited for the X-Rays... bad news - he broke his ankle and from the look at the X-Rays it was very obvious! Before we knew it he had a modified cast on and contemplating our options.
Jay made that real easy - no way he was gonna quit the trip. Hmmmm.... lets think about this - right foot (Rear Brake) in a cast and not likely gonna be able to depress the pedal, prescriptions for codeine pain relievers and four more days of riding... but he'd have nothing to do with thinking about turning back or trailering home... we all helped him on the Dyna Wide, propped his cast up on the pegs and headed straight for the drug store. Balsy dude. Pic #08 shows the result - notice Susan isn't smiling quite as much now! LOL
Pic #09 and 10 are in Manteo after another hour and a half of riding from the hospital... we went a bit slower knowing he was riding the front brake only from now on - I rode out front warning him about tight turns and blocking traffic where needed. He did real well and made it into Manteo without mishap. Here we're seen at the Weeping Radish MicroBrewery for late lunch (Great Reuban Sandwich with a Dark Beer!) and Kim on the curb waiting for us all to saddle up....ok, well, she's waiting for Jay to hobble over from the restaurant!
You'll find that from here out we didn't take too many pictures and didn't side-trip to many places. It was kinda dangerous riding with just the front brake and Jay was beginning to feel the pain - looking forward to the evening motel and those nice little white pills. Once we left Manteo, we headed south from Nags Head and the Whalebone Junction, down the Hatteras National Seashore and into the community of Avon for the night. Nice little motel with parking out front can be had at the Avon Motel, right across from the grocery store - whose hours are proudly proclaimed on the front door as: Open at 6:30 sometimes, definately by 7am and closes at 10ish....my kinda place!
The next morning, we get up at a leisurely pace, pack the bikes and interrogated Jay on how many pills he took, then rode maybe 8 miles to the Cape Hattaras Lighthouse, newly moved away from the Atlantic about 1500 feet back from the shoreline - was a pretty massive operation. About 6 miles further is the town of Hattaras where we rode up to, and were the last ones on, the short free ferry to Ocracoke Island. (Pic #13)
Once on Ocracoke Island, there's a 10+ mile ride down the dune-lined road to the little town of Ocracoke, where we (surprised?) found a bar (#14 & 15) near the ferry entrance to cool off from the 90 degree muggy day. Half an hour before the ferry reservation (Make sure you get a reservation!) we belly-up, get the ticket and get sent to the front of the line to wait for boarding - they send bikes on first to tuck into the bow of the ship. Pic #16 is Ocracoke light from the sound side on the ferry. Pic #17 is on the 2-1/4 hour ferry crossing...a couple of kids were feeding the seagulls off the stern of the ship which made for a great close-up pic.
Pics #19-22 is after we got off the ferry at Cedar Island, actually it's back on the mainland. For the first time on the trip the skys were threatening and we had to stop once at a convenience store to wait out a squall. We made the town of Beaufort by 6pm and settled into the Inlet Inn - highly recommended. Ask for the thrird floor bayside - the rooms have a great bay window with bench seats that let ya lean out the window and watch the boats. The first and second floor have balconies...and at first I was pissed we didn't have one, but the bench seat bay windows turned out to be the better choice.
The evening was rainy but we had a great seafood dinner at the Dockhouse - a waterfront Cafe on a balcony overlooking the marina. Jay was still crutchless at this point so we meander back to the Inlet Inn and hang out in the room for the night.
Early the next morning, I hop on the Ultra and make the rounds of Pharmacies - 3 of 'em - before I find a used rental pair...strap 'em to the tour pack and ride back in the rain... hey - what are bro's for? Then we arrange for a rental U-Haul truck, rode into Morehead City to get it and loaded up the scooter... and Susan drove it back to the Inn..slowly. Kim and I then took a trip out to Cape Lookout Point, but opted not to take the passenger ferry out to the Island where the Cape Lookout Lighthouse was - water was choppy, a squall threatened and we didn't have much time before the last return ferry was to pick us back up...besides - just another lighthouse!
Pic #25 and 26 were out on Harker's Island, the approach to Cape Lookout Point, and found Willie G Lane...those of you not into Harleys may not understand the connection there....also saw a proud display of the southern heritage.
Pic #27 is a shot of the Beaufort waterfront from the opposite shore - the site of the Duke University Oceanographic Research Center. Before we went back to the hotel, we also walked through the Old Burial Grounds - you can see graves dating back to the revolutionary war and plenty of soldiers from the Civil War here...very spooky place at night I imagine.
Naturally, we found a nearby pub a block off the waterfront to pass a few brews (no pun intended)...and back to the room... the next day was pretty much an uneventful ride back home up Hwy 70 following the U-Haul... despite the broken ankle thing...even Jay would say it was a good trip- a little unusual perhaps but fun...besides, whats better than a bike ride with good friends? Well, one without a broken ankle perhaps!