2011 Road Trip Day 3 Cape Lookout National Seashore (almost)

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Heath was at the wheel and drove until she was fading then woke me up after I got a pretty good nap. I was feeling sleepy at first but got some music going and once on the road felt great and excited. I stopped once for gas and had quite a bit of tea on the way. Once on Harpers Island I found the National Park Visitor Center but it was only 6am and the park did not open till 9am. I parked across the street facing the ocean and sort of watched the sun rise around the clouds while looking at the island and lighthouse where we were headed.

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I fell asleep for a while but eventually it got hot and I woke up. I drove around town a bit and checked various things and found the Ferry also leaves at 9. Then I parked the van in front of the island again and let the family sleep as I got caught up on my post. In a few minutes I’ll start packing us bags to take on the ferry in an hour when they open….

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…I got busy packing and it turned out to take a lot longer than I had expected and be harder to get what we needed packed into a few small bags. I got hot and sweaty but eventually got the perfect amount of food, bedding and gear for a night on the island squeezed in.

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We left for the ferry and Heath called to see if we could still get on the first one even though we were late. They put her on hold and we got there before she got her answer. As we pulled into the parking lot they told her the wind was too strong and a storm was coming and they would not be taking any one out at all, all day long. This was disappointing and scary but we rushed to the next ferry and asked them. They said they were not expecting to be able to take anyone out for the next 3 days. They had taken someone out the day before and the wind was so strong their tent would not stand up. He told us that another ferry farther down was also not going.

So it was time for a new plan. We were tired and hungry and disappointed and decided to stop in the visitor center to find out more about what we could not get to and see if Peanut could still earn his badge.

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He could and started working on it and we poked around and made a new plan. Once he had his badge we messed around outside a bit and it was windy but hot and sunny. We hopped in the car and planned to get breakfast. We drove for a while and didn’t find anything good looking and Pumpkin got sleepy so we all ate pop tarts and breakfast bars and fruit while driving and Pumpkin napped. We had a 4 hour drive to Cape Hatterhas National Seashore our planned 4th day. We drove and drove and worked on a new plan. We picked up McDonalds on the way and arrived after 2. I was nervous about getting a campsite so we did that first. We picked a campground near a beach and reserved a spot. The site was surrounded by sand dunes and everything was sandy and over 90F with a strong hot wind blowing us.

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We found a spot that was pretty flat and then headed to the beach to cool off.

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The water was cold and felt great. The kids had a blast in the waves and sand.

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We played a bunch then went for a bit walk/exploration mission. Then we cleaned up and headed back to camp.

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Camp was rough it was really hot and windy and kinda miserable. We got cleaned up from the beach and decided to cook a quick dinner then take our pot and bowls in the car and check out the rest of the island while eating. I cooked up some noodle cheese packet and added black beans and lots of lemon tuna. We hopped in the van cranked the ac and hit the road. There was a big pot of food and everyone got more and more helpings until it was gone. Pumpkin fell asleep and the rest of us watched out the windows at the wildlife refuge and the other islands in the park. This park was sort of weird to me because it had a lot of national park spots but also some really commercial touristy spots mixed in. We drove down pretty far and saw a bunch of deer and found another campsite that was all flat but was a pretty boring open field with nothing but grass and camp site markers. On the way back up the islands Peanut made up a song about Dairy Queen. “You got the ‘D’ and the ‘Q’ and the lips, (kiss smack, kiss smack) Repeat a few times and then something about and “That makes a Dairy Queen”. So we stopped for ice cream and Pumpkin woke up and shared mine.

When we got back to camp it was getting dark fast. Not only was it late but a storm was rolling in. We had a kid tent and an adult tent and put the kids down in theirs to bed. I took a shower and watched the lighting light up the otherwise dark shower house. It was still like 90F out but we laid down and went to sleep. A few drops of rain fell and I closed down the tent flaps but then nothing else ever came. Everyone fell asleep and slept hard. At like 4am Heath woke me up for some coyote scare that was just the wind and highway but we both had to pee and then got back to sleep. There was little to block the sun but we slept till 8 pretty good before being baked alive in the tent. The kids made it till 8:15.

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