Life and Times

Life and Times from 2017

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Life and Times from 2015

Life and Times from 2014

Life and Times from 2013

Life and Times from 2012

Life and Times from 2011

Life and Times from 2010

Life and Times from 2009

Life and Times from 2008

Life and Times from 2007

Life and Times from 2006

Life and Times from 2005

Life and Times from 2004

Life and Times from 2003

Life and Times from 2002

Life and Times from 2000

Outer Banks

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

Part 3

After this, we continued south on Route 12, through Frisco and towards Hatteras Village to meet the ferry to Ocracoke.  For those not familiar with the area, Ocracoke is the next island south from Hatteras, separated by Hatteras Inlet, which was created during a violent gale on September 7, 1846, separating Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.  There is no highway access to Ocracoke Island, and therefore access to the island is accomplished by ferryboat, operated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division.  We arrived just as a ferryboat was leaving, and therefore we had to wait for the next one.


The gates to the ferries.

The gates to the ferries.


My car, while waiting to board the ferry.  Pete is in the passenger seat.

My car, while waiting to board the ferry.  Pete is in the passenger seat.


Cars drive off of the Floyd J. Lupton.

Cars drive off of the Floyd J. Lupton.


Eventually, it was time to board, and so I drove the car onto the deck of the W. Stanford White, a River Class ferry built in 2003.  Vehicles line up in four rows.  Three are to one side of the superstructure, while one is partially enclosed, on the other side of the superstructure.  We were in the fourth, partially enclosed row.  Riding in the 1990s on the Alpheus W. Drinkwater and the Frisco, I remember the ferry crew’s using chocks on all of the vehicles.  Either my memory is incorrect on this point, or the policy changed since 1997, because this time, they only chocked the wheels of the vehicles at the ends of the deck.

Once we got the car parked, we were free to wander around the ferry.  While Pete decided to stay in the car, I wandered around with my real camera and my phone, taking photos of the ferry and the waters of Hatteras Inlet.


The Soul on the deck of the W. Stanford White.  I was parked at the forward end of a partially-enclosed part of the deck.  The Soul on the deck of the W. Stanford White.  I was parked at the forward end of a partially-enclosed part of the deck.

The Soul on the deck of the W. Stanford White.  I was parked at the forward end of a partially-enclosed part of the deck.


The final stages of boarding prior to departure.

The final stages of boarding prior to departure.


Sailing out of Hatteras, past the Coast Guard station.

Sailing out of Hatteras, past the Coast Guard station.

Sailing out of Hatteras, past the Coast Guard station.


Upper deck outside the passenger lounge.

Upper deck outside the passenger lounge.


A Hose-McCann bell, used as the general alarm.

A Hose-McCann bell, used as the general alarm.


Passenger lounge, one deck above the cars.  Passenger lounge, one deck above the cars.

Passenger lounge, one deck above the cars.


My glasses, messed up from the salt spray.  I ended up cleaning them using stuff on a nearby custodial cart.

My glasses, messed up from the salt spray.  I ended up cleaning them using stuff on a nearby custodial cart.


Navigation lights on the superstructure.

Navigation lights on the superstructure.


Door open to the engine room below decks, marked with a handmade restricted area sign. I assume that this door is normally kept closed.  I can only speculate as to why, and I'd guess most likely it's to provide additional ventilation for this space.  Door open to the engine room below decks, marked with a handmade restricted area sign. I assume that this door is normally kept closed.  I can only speculate as to why, and I'd guess most likely it's to provide additional ventilation for this space.

Door open to the engine room below decks, marked with a handmade restricted area sign. I assume that this door is normally kept closed.  I can only speculate as to why, and I’d guess most likely it’s to provide additional ventilation for this space.


Escape hatch for below decks.

Escape hatch for below decks.


Bogen horn-style speaker.

Bogen horn-style speaker.


North Carolina flag flying from the mast.

North Carolina flag flying from the mast.


Cars lined up on the open part of the deck.  Cars lined up on the open part of the deck.

Cars lined up on the open part of the deck.

Cars lined up on the open part of the deck.


Life rafts in round "cans" (my term) above the uppermost passenger deck.

Life rafts in round “cans” (my term) above the uppermost passenger deck.


Fire station and fire axe aboard the W. Stanford White.  Fire station and fire axe aboard the W. Stanford White.

Fire station and fire axe aboard the W. Stanford White.


Coin-operated viewer on the upper deck.

Coin-operated viewer on the upper deck.


The ferry ride itself felt longer than I remembered from the 1990s.  Turned out that there was a very good reason for this: it was.  Since December 2013, ferries on the Hatteras-Ocracoke service have been running on an alternate route due to insufficient water depths on the regular route.  The NCDOT Ferry Division conducted test runs through the area during the week prior to our arrival, and found that the regular route was still not safe for regular ferry operations.


The waters of Hatteras Inlet.  The waters of Hatteras Inlet.

The waters of Hatteras Inlet.

The waters of Hatteras Inlet.

The waters of Hatteras Inlet.

The waters of Hatteras Inlet.


Note the storm clouds gathering in the distance.

Note the storm clouds gathering in the distance.


Passing another ferryboat, the Croatoan.

Passing another ferryboat, the Croatoan.

Passing another ferryboat, the Croatoan.


Sea gulls trailing our boat.

Sea gulls trailing our boat.


A family feeds the sea gulls from the stern.

A family feeds the sea gulls from the stern.


Passing another ferryboat, this time the Roanoke.

Passing another ferryboat, this time the Roanoke.

Passing another ferryboat, this time the Roanoke.


The ferry ride was also a little wetter than I remember from the 1990s as well.  I don’t recall getting much salt spray back as a teen, but I definitely got some this time around.  I also found out that it’s a bad idea to leave the windows of the car open if you’re next to the side of the boat, as I got some minor salt spray in the car.  I also managed to get salt spray on my glasses and on the lens of my camera, which required some cleaning.


Salt spray in the car.

Salt spray in the car.


Arriving at Ocracoke.

Arriving at Ocracoke.


Arriving at the Ocracoke terminal around 2:20 in the afternoon, we got off the ferry and continued south on Route 12 towards the village of Ocracoke, at the south end of the island.  There, we finally felt the presence of the clouds that we had seen building on the ferry, as we encountered a downpour as we headed down the island.


Heading south on Route 12 on Ocracoke Island, after getting through the rain.

Heading south on Route 12 on Ocracoke Island, after getting through the rain.


Arriving in the village of Ocracoke, our first goal was to find Oinc’s.  We knew approximately where it was, but due to the lack of reliable mobile service, we couldn’t GPS it.  We initially overshot it, and then, after realizing that we’d gone too far, backtracked and found it.

Oinc’s was not quite what I expected, but it was still awesome.  I believe that one of the reasons that we missed it on our first pass was that we were looking for a building.  Oinc’s foodservice operation is based out of a small trailer on the property, it has all outdoor seating, and is somewhat set back from the road, with only a sign visible from Route 12.  The food was excellent.  Pete and I each got a barbecued pork sandwich and red potato salad.


The trailer out of which Oinc's is operated.

The trailer out of which Oinc’s is operated.


Tiki bar located on the same property as Oinc's.

Tiki bar located on the same property as Oinc’s.


Seating area at Oinc's.

Seating area at Oinc’s.


My meal at Oinc's.

My meal at Oinc’s.

My meal at Oinc's.  My meal at Oinc's.


Route 12, also known as Irvin Garrish Highway through Ocracoke, in front of Oinc's.  The road was less busy than on Hatteras Island, and contained a large number of cyclists.

Route 12, also known as Irvin Garrish Highway through Ocracoke, in front of Oinc’s.  The road was less busy than on Hatteras Island, and contained a large number of cyclists.

Route 12, also known as Irvin Garrish Highway through Ocracoke, in front of Oinc's.  The road was less busy than on Hatteras Island, and contained a large number of cyclists.


From there, we headed over to Village Craftsmen.  It’s located down a very bumpy dirt road.  Owing to the rain that had fallen earlier, it was also a very muddy dirt road with some big puddles.  Going down that road, I figured that I had nothing to lose, because the car had already been slimed by the salt on the ferry.  Thus since it already needed to be washed, what’s a little mud, right?


"Drive Real, Real SLOW" as seen on a sign on the narrow dirt road leading to Village Craftsmen.

“Drive Real, Real SLOW” as seen on a sign on the narrow dirt road leading to Village Craftsmen.


This sign (above), indicating how to park at the store's small parking lot, indicated that we were to park facing the green house (below), using a swatch of color to indicate which house.  I found this to be less than intuitive, because I read it as "Please park cars facing house" and figured that the green swatch was something that was marked out on the sign, and the arrow was pointing at the Village Craftsmen building.  So I ended up being a bit confused, as I assumed that they meant parking cars to the right in the lot, facing their building (which looked houselike).  Pete eventually set me straight on this matter, and I got pointed the right way.

This sign (above), indicating how to park at the store’s small parking lot, indicated that we were to park facing the green house (below), using a swatch of color to indicate which house.  I found this to be less than intuitive, because I read it as “Please park cars facing house” and figured that the green swatch was something that was marked out on the sign, and the arrow was pointing at the Village Craftsmen building.  So I ended up being a bit confused, as I assumed that they meant parking cars to the right in the lot, facing their building (which looked houselike).  Pete eventually set me straight on this matter, and I got pointed the right way.

If there had been a car in the lot, this confusion would have never occurred, as I would have parked next to that car.  However, the lot was empty at the time of our arrival, thus the confusion on my part.

This sign (above), indicating how to park at the store's small parking lot, indicated that we were to park facing the green house (below), using a swatch of color to indicate which house.  I found this to be less than intuitive, because I read it as "Please park cars facing house" and figured that the green swatch was something that was marked out on the sign, and the arrow was pointing at the Village Craftsmen building.  So I ended up being a bit confused, as I assumed that they meant parking cars to the right in the lot, facing their building (which looked houselike).  Pete eventually set me straight on this matter, and I got pointed the right way.


Signs marking the high tide line for various hurricanes that have struck Ocracoke over the years.  Apparently 2004's Hurricane Alex has the record at Village Craftsmen thus far.

Signs marking the high tide line for various hurricanes that have struck Ocracoke over the years.  Apparently 2004’s Hurricane Alex has the record at Village Craftsmen thus far.


The store itself was pretty neat.  Lots of handmade crafts throughout the store, along with handmade soap and other consumables.


This jar, labeled for "Ashes of difficult bosses," amused me, as I started thinking of past bosses that I've had that were difficult to work with.  Mecca Marsh from Potomac Hall and Lane Brooks from Food & Water Watch came to mind as people that would be quite at home in this jar.

This jar, labeled for “Ashes of difficult bosses,” amused me, as I started thinking of past bosses that I’ve had that were difficult to work with.  Mecca Marsh from Potomac Hall and Lane Brooks from Food & Water Watch came to mind as people that would be quite at home in this jar.


The Soul, parked next to the green house, just before we departed.  Yes, the Soul was pretty messy by this point, having gotten slimed in and out (but nothing that a little cleaning couldn't fix).  No one said that a trip to the Outer Banks was a clean experience, I suppose.  The Soul, parked next to the green house, just before we departed.  Yes, the Soul was pretty messy by this point, having gotten slimed in and out (but nothing that a little cleaning couldn't fix).  No one said that a trip to the Outer Banks was a clean experience, I suppose.

The Soul, parked next to the green house, just before we departed.  Yes, the Soul was pretty messy by this point, having gotten slimed in and out (but nothing that a little cleaning couldn’t fix).  No one said that a trip to the Outer Banks was a clean experience, I suppose.


Leaving the Village Craftsmen, we headed over to Ocracoke Lighthouse.  This stop wasn’t really in the plan for the day, but since it was right there, we stopped over.  I was a little disappointed about what there was to see at Ocracoke Lighthouse, but not too surprised about it.  It’s a relatively short lighthouse (Cape Hatteras is 2½ times taller), and the lighthouse itself is not open to the public, as it lacks a substantial staircase.  The visit involves taking a raised walkway from the small parking area across a lawn to the door of the lighthouse, where the path ends at a locked door.  It’s definitely worth a few minutes while you’re already in Ocracoke, but it’s not worth making a special trip out just to see it.



A vintage Volkswagen bus parked outside Ocracoke Lighthouse.

A vintage Volkswagen bus parked outside Ocracoke Lighthouse.


Ocracoke Lighthouse in the distance, with the lighthouse keeper's house in front.  The keeper's house is now a private residence.  The raised walkway is visible at far left, beyond the white fence.

Ocracoke Lighthouse in the distance, with the lighthouse keeper’s house in front.  The keeper’s house is now a private residence.  The raised walkway is visible at far left, beyond the white fence.


Ocracoke Lighthouse.  If you ask me, it looks like a giant salt shaker.

Ocracoke Lighthouse.  If you ask me, it looks like a giant salt shaker.


"USLHE" on a gate next to the lighthouse.  USLHE stands for "United States Lighthouse Establishment", which originally operated the lighthouse.  The lighthouse is now operated by the United States Coast Guard, as is also the case with Cape Hatteras.

“USLHE” on a gate next to the lighthouse.  USLHE stands for “United States Lighthouse Establishment“, which originally operated the lighthouse.  The lighthouse is now operated by the United States Coast Guard, as is also the case with Cape Hatteras.


We then went to the end of Ocracoke Island, where the island’s other ferry services operate.  Those operate to Cedar Island and Swan Quarter.  Unlike the ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, these are toll ferries, each costing $15 to ride and requiring reservations.  We weren’t interested in riding those ferries (too far afield and too much time commitment), but we can at least say that we drove the whole length of the island.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

Part 3