Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Outer Banks Ride #1 - Cape Lookout

Last July I took a job in Clayton, NC which is located just outside of Raleigh. I found myself a nice apartment with a garage about 15 miles from work and I have settled in quite nicely. Raleigh is a fun city with an excellent night life and with the help of some friends I have come to like the area. However, the main downfall to Raleigh is that I am roughly 3 hours from the mountains now. It is still possible to get out that way for a day ride, though my time is limited once I am there. With the mountains further off, I started looking for riding to the east.

I have never been real fond of the beach, though I have come to know the Myrtle Beach area rather well in the last few years. The Outer Banks and the light houses in particular have always caught my interest, but I have never made it out that way due to the distance from Lexington. Now that I am a couple hours away from them, I see no excuse to avoid them anymore.

After I got settled in to my new apartment I decided that I wanted to make it to each of the light houses and take a picture of the bike with each one. From there I would frame the nice pictures and hang them on the wall in my dining room. I informed Jon Mock of this idea of mine and asked if he would be interested in joining me for this multipart adventure once he started riding again. Again, this plan was not difficult to sell to him and a month after he purchased his Harley; we set date and headed off to Cape Lookout.

The plan was to ride on Saturday, however Call of Duty – Black Ops had just been release and Jon was un able to put the controller down Friday night. In addition I was out all night Friday with some friends and didn’t make it home till the early morning hours Saturday. I regretted texting Jon on Saturday morning to inform him that I was just too tired to ride, but after he told me about his late night of gaming, I didn’t feel so bad. So we went back to sleep and decided to try again on Sunday.

Sunday morning, I loaded up the bike and took Zeus for a walk before heading out to New Bern. It was a 2 hour ride down 70 from Garner to get to Jon’s place just outside of down town New Bern. After I pulled in Jon showed me the new ride and around his house. His place is nice and it looks as though he is doing well for himself. We talked for a minute then headed out for some lunch and fuel.

Jon played road captain this trip since he had been out this way before and knew where he was going. As we made our way east he pointed out where he worked, Cherry Point, and let me know where the best places to eat in the area where. Roughly an hour later we made our way through Morehead city to Harkers Island. We stopped at the roads end and took some pictures and discussed the beautiful scenery we passed on the way in.

Jon's new ride. Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight. Note the riding boots.. Still a sport bike rider at heart! However, with those low forward controls, hes needs them..

Road Ends Here...

Haven't had to many ocean back grounds...

Started getting artsy again.

One of my favorites.

"Heres Your Sign" Apparently it was low tide and judging by the water marks, at high tide it might be difficult to see the rocks.

From Harkers Island you could barely see the light house on Cape Lookout and the only way to get to the light house was via boat. Unfortunately for us, there are no roads on the island so there is no way for us to get the bikes near the light house. This meant I wouldn’t be able to take a picture of the bike with the light house. I really wanted to go see the light house so we went to the closest ferry and paid 15 bucks to catch a ride across the sound to Cape Lookout. It was worth every penny!

We sped across the sound to the lighthouse on what amounted to a fishing boat with bench seats. The ride over was spectacular and only took about 10 minutes to get from the shore to the light house. We were told we had roughly an hour on this island before the ferry would return to make the last pick up of the day. Jon and I walked around the island going from the shore on the sound to ocean side in a matter of minutes. We stopped and took lots of pictures as went and reading up on the history of the lighthouse. It was amazing to see just how tall this thing was and how much work went into maintaining the lighthouse before electricity was ran out to the island. The museum on the island, which was once the living quarters for the workers, was rather small but had lots of interesting information.

Our hour was almost up so we made our way back to the dock and waited on the ferry to come pick us up. The boat ride back was quick, but amazingly beautiful. I would really enjoy taking a boat ride out through the sounds sometime just to see all the shoals and islands. It is so beautiful out there, I could have taken 1000 pictures while on the boat had the water not been so choppy and rough.

The view while riding the boat across the sound to the light house.

The sun made for some dramatic shots of the light house.

Again, I was getting carried away with the camera.

Dunes on the island.

That's one very big light!

I found this very interesting.

A long ways up!

The diamonds are actually serve a purpose. The black diamonds are facing North and South, the white diamonds are facing East and West.

Back on the mainland we geared up and headed back to New Bern. We stopped for dinner in Morehead City at a place called the Ruddy Duck. Oh man was that good! I had a PittsBurger which was a large hamburger patty, cheese, bacon and French fries. YUM! The interior of the restaurant was very nice, they even had several old outboard motors mounted to the rails separating the bar area from the restaurant. Very neat! I’m thinking this place would make an excellent RTE location….

Back on the road we made our way back by Cherry Point and into downtown New Bern. Jon gave me the quick and dirty tour of New Bern since it was starting to get late and I still had a two hour ride ahead of me to get home. New Bern is a neat old port city with a lot of history. New Bern is actually the birth place of Pepsi! We stopped by the corner store where it was invented, so I made like a typical tourist and pulled out the camera for a few shots. In Lexington, we have these large pig statues that are decorated for the BBQ festival for various businesses down town. I am thinking they got this idea from New Bern… as they have large bear statues that are elaborately decorated for various business all over the area. I didn’t get any pictures of these statues but I imagine I will be back to New Bern soon, so I will be sure to get some pictures to post later.

The outboards were running along this banister. (Phone Pictures)

Where Pepsi was started.

Inside the corner store.

The Spanish moss at night is creepy, but pretty at the same time.

Back at Jon’s house we talked for a few minutes before I got back on 70 and made my way back to Raleigh. It was good to see Jon again and to be riding with him again was a real treat. Glad to see him back on a bike and enjoying the open road and adventures.

It was another great day on the bike. 342 miles added to the mileage log for the year. Hopefully we can get in another ride before the cold weather really sets in.

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