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Chapter 2 - Motorcycle Camping - Liz Travels

Chapter 2 - Motorcycle Camping - Liz Travels


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Published by Sal Page
From roach motels to camping for the first time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Camping wins!
From roach motels to camping for the first time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Camping wins!

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Published by: Sal Page on Aug 07, 2010
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Chapter 2: Getting the Hang of It

Oregon Inlet was pretty raw camping. You picked a place in the dunes and called it home. The picture shows our campfire dug into the dune and decorated with sea shells. I'll admit I got over decorating in a hurry. Far more important was knowing what you had and stowing it in the same place every time you packed it away.

The Outer Banks were a beautiful place to begin camping. The sound on one side and the ocean on the other. At two, Liz was easily able to adjust to our new lifestyle. She was completely healthy now, and was curious about everything. We saw sand crabs basking in the sun on the entrance to their holes in the dunes. They looked like they were walking sideways when they moved, and they were nearly the same color as the sand they lived in. There were several surf fisherman casting lines in the water as we walked the shoreline. One of them was removing a skate that had taken his bait. It was interesting to note that we saw many school age children, obviously not in school. We learned that North Carolina, at the time, had no compulsory school law, so there was no such thing as playing “hooky.” All in all, our first camping experience was a good one. No bad weather, beautiful scenery, and we were learning camping by doing.

Liz in the tall grass

Inside the tent, reading before nap time Oregon Inlet, South Carolina

Beach walk after nap, Oregon Inlet We left Oregon Inlet, drove over the William Bonner Memorial Bridge (nine miles long) and headed for Cape Hatteras. Same routine. Will headed for the nearest store, while Liz and I began setting up camp. By the time he got back two hours later everything was done. I asked what took so long, and he told me he had to go all the way back to the marina at Oregon Inlet because we were now in a dry county where you couldn't even find a beer, let alone buy one.

While Liz and I were setting up camp, a lady camper from close by stopped to marvel at what we were doing. She told me that she didn't much like camping really. Not really into roughing it. She pointed out her campsite. Air Stream trailer (top of the line in the 60s) with a TV antenna sticking out of the top of it. Well, I held my tongue and didn't even enlist her to assist me in blowing up my air mattresses. After all, everything is relative. I truly loved that we had no bills to pay, except immediate expenses. We didn't even have to check the mailbox, because we didn't have one. We didn't even plot our course until after each leg we traveled. More to keep track of where we'd been than where we were going. Because of the late start in actual camping, we knew we would probably have to settle somewhere for the winter to get jobs and replenish our traveling funds, so for all of November we were headed south, via Cape Hatteras, Okracoke, the red clay country of North Carolina, Hunting Island and Beaufort, South Carolina, Jekyll Island, Georgia and into Florida, along the Tamiami Trail, St. Augustine, the Everglades, and eventually settling in St. Petersburg for the winter. St. Pete was locally referred to as the land of the newlywed and nearly dead. We had a flat tire on the rear of the bike on the Tamiami Trail. No problem. Will kept the bike under control while we pulled over to the side to replace it with the spare. The ditches on either side of the trail were sloughs and had all kinds of wild life in them, including alligators. So glad we didn't end up in the ditch. The Everglades were amazing in November. The water levels were way down, so the birds, fish, alligators, insects and every other form of wildlife were concentrated in smaller areas, so you saw more. Will, Liz and I were standing on one of the wooden, railed walkways, looking down into the water, and saw an alligator pick up a garfish, toss it in the air, and “whomp” – no more garfish We arrived in St. Pete close to Thanksgiving time, and we began looking for jobs and a place to stay.

Okracoke, Outer Banks

Atop the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Another nice beach with some great driftwood. No room to take any driftwood souvenirs with us

On the ferry boat back to the mainland, the seagulls feeding on the chum created by the boat's propeller.

Liz in red clay country near Cornelius, North Carolina. We camped at Pinehurst, and the owner/operator of the campground was also the local newspaper editor/photographer and took a picture and wrote us up in the local paper.

That's cotton growing. Never saw anything like that before. We were on our way to Love Valley where we learned their was a short track motorcycle race taking place that day.

Love Valley, North Carolina location of the short track races

When the officials saw our license plate from Michigan, we were offered a trophy for traveling the furthest distance to the race. But since we really didn't have room to cart a trophy around with us, we told them we had actually driven about 20 miles and politely declined the trophy.

Hunting Island, South Carolina One of our favorite campgrounds. We arrived and set up camp after dark, so we were not aware of the drastic change in landscape until morning. My first view of palm trees and palmettos in their natural habitat.

`Sitting by the campfire early in the morning. A chill in the air.

Will took this picture of me modeling our sleepwear, stylish gray sweats, with turtle neck added if it was chilly.

Preparing dinner. Give me primitive conditions, and I can cook. Give me an actual kitchen, and I know how to cook two things, pasties and pot roast. Otherwise, I'm lost in that room with the appliances.

Hunting Island Lighthouse. When we were there in the 60s the lighthouse had been abandoned, but a kind ranger let us go up in it anyway.

From the top. I went back to Hunting Island about 15 years ago and discovered that the lighthouse had been restored. I was happy to see that.

Collier Seminole State Park on the Tamiami Trail in Florida. Liz not to happy about having to help gather squaw wood.

Castillo de San Marco St. Augustine, Florida November 1966 (Not pictured) Liz falling off the cannon, but her helmet protected her well. Reality strikes. Time to find living quarters and jobs for the winter. To replenish our seriously depleted traveling money.

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