Friday, January 22, 2010

Wright Flyers & Beach Loafers

I was out to dinner with some old friends this evening
(not old as in years, but old as in length of friendship),

and I was reminded, rather bluntly, that I have neglected my blog of late.
I haven't posted in a while.
I didn't write about what I did last weekend,
and it was good stuff, so here it is.

Remember this young man?

Remember how I took him to Blacksburg in the fall of 2007 & 2008 (scroll to Nov. 13th)
to go to a football game and root for the Hokies?

Remember how that trip got the kobosh this year because of Swine Flu?

We had to think of something fun to do instead.
Something that wouldn't involve large germy crowds.
So, we gathered Team Brandon together to ponder our options.
One of us says,
"Oh wait, my brother-in-law owns a house on the beach in Nags Head.
Maybe he'll let us use it. Would Brandon like to do that?"
Brandon (and the rest of us) give her that unique "DUH!" look
followed by Brandon's emphatic "Yes!"

Much scurrying & planning & calling ensued, and, after a setback or two,
we set off for Nags Head (on the Outer Banks) bright & early
on Saturday morning with a caravan of 3 vehicles.
Brandon, his family, and his invited guests - 10 people in all.

Oh my.
Beachfront house indeed!
3 stories, hardwood floors throughout, TV's in every room,
marble counters in the huge kitchen,
more bedrooms & bathrooms than we could use,
and an ever-so-comfy yellow sofa that was the perfect size.

He pronounced it more comfortable than his own bed.
Can we just live here, please?

Porches overlooked the ferocious winter Atlantic Ocean.


This IS winter, right?

What the heck?

I have never, EVER, in the decades I have lived at the coast,
seen the Atlantic look like a bathtub.

Never, ever seen it this calm.
It was like the Chesapeake Bay on a still day.
In an alternate universe.

Good thing the East Coast Surfing Championships weren't that weekend.
Can you imagine?
Rows of surfers, boards under their arms,
waiting for a wave, staring in disbelief, wondering,
"Can I ride that in?"

Look at this next one.

Those little shapes in front of the boat are a pod of dolphins.
(Click on the picture to enlarge.)
And I love the dog standing as a sentinel in the front of the boat.

As it turns out, another co-worker has a mother-in-law who is the Executive Director
of the First Flight Foundation at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
Whoo-hoo! She gave Brandon & his entourage special VIP treatment.
Thank you, Lola, for a very special afternoon.

One thing he got to do was touch the flier.
With a gloved hand, of course.
I was totally jealous, and let him know it, so he had to rub it in.

You should know that this is not the original flyer,
but an exact replica that was built, with painstaking detail,
at a cost of 1.2 million dollars.
Hence the white gloves.

This is our very nice Park Ranger Tom White
who gave a very informative & interesting presentation
(and arranged for the white glove touch).
You should really read about it.
You'll learn something.

Here is Brandon & his family in front of the museum.
The Teddy Bear is another story for another day.

In this next picture, I just wanted to capture the serendipitous juxtaposition
(I love big words)
of the stones marking the first 3 attempts at controlled, manned flight
with a controlled, manned airplane waiting to take off from the Kitty Hawk Airport.

One of the Wright Brothers' assistants lived into the 1980's.
He was there at the dawn of flight.
He lived to see man walk on the moon and the launch of the space shuttle.
Makes you go "wow" at the history he witnessed.

We didn't spend a long time at the memorial.
It was cold outside,
and no one felt like pushing Brandon's chair up this hill.

Yeah, we were all a big bunch of wusses.
But the chair is *whiny voice* heavy *whiny voice*.

Also, a brief history lesson here.
The Wright brothers came to Kitty Hawk to fly their plane,
but Kitty Hawk encompassed a much larger area back then.
The memorial is in the present town of Kill Devil Hills, which became a separate town in 1953.
It's NOT in Kitty Hawk any more.
Kill Devil Hills is named after Kill Devil Hill, the large sand dune upon which the memorial sits.
And how did the dune get its name?
There are some good guesses, but no one really knows.

We went back to the house to hang out, waste time, lounge, play games,
and generally be useless human beings for the rest of the day.
I made dinner, which included homemade spaghetti & meatballs.
I never made meatballs before.
Just never got around to it, I guess.
But I was pleased with the results.
And I guess everyone else was too.
It all got eaten. They said nice things.
And I didn't take a single picture of my food preparation.

We played "Cranium" well into the night.

Fun game.

Later - the trip home. An adventure in of itself.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a wonderful way to spend a weekend. The Outer Banks is beautiful year round, but especially peaceful in winter. So often we forget to appreciate the little things in life. Your blog helps to remind me, and I thank you.

Sista G said...

What a wonderful trip!! I remember the Outer Banks one Christmastime when the Sound was ice, and we walked out about 100 feet from Pop's dock. That was really neat!