The Great East Coast Adventure, Day Nine.

We apologize for the interruption in our documentary. It seems Michelle reserved a few campgrounds without WiFi.

“The nerve,” Greg lamented. “I’ve been without internet for way too long.”

But now we resume.

CHIPPOKES PLANTATION STATE PARK, SURRY, VA – The Family awoke bright and early this morning for a busy day.

“After all the complaints about me going by myself to see the sunrise yesterday I figured the WHOLE DAMN FAMILY would go and see it this morning,” Michelle said. “Okay, actually there was only one person complaining, but still.”

So off they went.

Waiting on sunrise Atop a dune, waiting for sunrise


Here she comes More sun Thankful for another day

Michelle reports: “The breeze on the Outer Banks is nearly constant…just perfect for flying kites, and we felt the kids ought to have a chance to fly their kites. Ethan and I had tried to fly before in St. Louis but had only fair luck, and I wanted him to see what it was really like with good conditions….so while Greg walked the beach with the camera, I taught the kids to fly sport kites.”

So how did they do?

Guiding Ethan's hands Just after sunrise, instructing the kids on sport kites

Doing well

Didn't take long for him to fly solo ChampLaunching for Laurel

They did well. Really well.

Soon though, it was time to go back to camp for breakfast and loading up.

“We could have stayed on the Outer Banks a lot longer,” Greg said, “but it’s hard to know these things until you’ve been. I think we’ll return someday.”

On the way out of town Michelle took a few photos of the homes.

“Yeah, true, I took several,” she said, “but I’m not so good with those from-the-truck photos, so only about, oh, ONE of them kinda sorta turned out.”

Hatteras homes...taken from the truck

“I looked up the cost of renting one of those,” Greg noted. “It was something in the neighborhood of $2400 per week. That’s when a travel trailer and a $35/night RV park is really valuable.”


So on they went, north from the Outer Banks to Kill Devil Hills where they visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

“It was hot,” Michelle said. “It was SO hot, it was hot, hot, hot, and Ethan was restless, so he and I went on by ourselves so Greg and Laurel could actually, oh, I don’t know, READ the exhibits. Now mind you, I’d have liked to do that too, but at least I was able to sort of skim them.”

Visitors Center, Wright Brothers National Memorial Replica  Replica info

After a few minutes, Ethan had enough of that inside business, so he and Michelle went outdoors to sweat and work off some four-year-old energy. He was amazed to see planes landing just a few feet from where he stood…

One of several planes that landed at Wright Brothers while we were there

…and he had a good time pretending he was standing with Wilbur and Orville Wright:

He would only allow his photo to be taken if he could stand in profile as Wilbur and Orville did

He even liked it when Michelle read to him from plaques and pointed out where each flight landed.

Fun to imagine

After whiling away a few more minutes, Michelle and Ethan were joined by the other two members of the family and journeyed to the top of Kill Devil Hill itself to the monument at the top.

“The kids were especially fascinated by a) the cactii along the walk, and b) the fact that orange flags marked fire ant hills. We didn’t actually see any orange flags, but the idea that we might was just as appealing,” Michelle said.

View from the monument  At Wright Brothers Not exactly on my game that day Standing before the Wright Brothers Monument

The Family has rarely been more grateful to return to the truck for air conditioning as they were that day, despite grumbling about all the little cars taking up the RV parking spaces.

“It’s a good thing we went when we did,” Michelle observed, “or all these little cars would have taken up all the trailer spots. And mind you, I don’t have a problem with it if they double up in a spot. Two cars to a spot, no problem, if there are no more parking spaces available to the little guys. But to hog a whole space and deprive the RVs of a place to park is dirty business. So there.”

See? This reporter told you it was hot, and when it’s hot, Michelle’s a little cranky.

“What the hell are you writing about over there?” Michelle interjected.


Anyway, so on they went, driving driving driving, to Smithfield, VA.

“I wanted to see St. Luke’s Church,” Michelle said. “I remembered studying it in a college archite
cture course, and seeing as how it was right along the way, I thought we should go. So we did, and THIS parking lot was empty. Our guide, though, she was a trip. Very animated. And she liked my shoes.”

St. Luke's Church rafters


The middle one is original organ

Pulpit with original sounding board Bridger's grave marker

“Old.” Michelle said. “Really old. It was mind-boggling to even think of how many people had stood in that church.”

After a quick stint through the cemetery to admire the stones, the travelers moved just a little north to the home of the Smithfield Ham.

And true to form, they bought one.

Smithfield hams

Meanwhile, the kids had fun eating all the little candy samples in the store and hanging with their friend Ben.

Chillin' with Ben in Smithfield, VA

“Mostly it was a reason to get out of the truck,” Greg said.

“Yeah, he says that because he was freaking out a little about where to park as we were dragging that trailer down the itty-bitty streets there in Smithfield,” Michelle teased.

“Just a little. And don’t forget, it was hot.” Greg reminded her.

“Yeah, true, and I’m not the only one whose temper gets a little short in that situation…” said Michelle.

Finally, after a long, hot, exhausting day, the family arrived at Chippokes Plantation State Park.

“SWELTERING,” Laurel cried.

It’s true. It was. So the first order of business was to find somewhere to eat.

“Okay, here we go,” Michelle said. “We went to the Surrey House Restaurant over in Surry, VA. Well, we got our little waitress Britney….eventually…after she finished visiting about her new Mustang to some locals…and we’d been sitting there for a good ten minutes, crabby as hell.”

But how was the food?

“Edible. That’s about it,” said Greg.

“True,” Michelle replied, “it was quite the, um, adventure, but here’s the thing. We don’t like chain restaurants and that’s why. You win some, you lose some, and yes of course you can go to a chain and it will be the same thing no matter where you are, but what fun is that? It’s the adventure of the thing. Oh, well.”

So after that bust, the family returned to the camper, more than ready for the air-conditioning and a nice, long rest.