inicio mail me! sindicaci;ón

Cedar Island-Ocracoke-Hatteras

We set the alarm for 6 a.m. so we’d be ready to get on the 7:00 a.m. ferry if it were running. I was thinking this was a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to sleep in, since the forecast was for continued strong winds all day, but for whatever reason we did it anyway.

At 6 a.m. the alarm rang, and I gave serious consideration to the idea of getting up, but decided the bed was too warm and the trailer was too cold. (It dropped into the mid-50s last night and we have not been using the furnace.) Eleanor got up and dressed, apparently feeling industrious, and she went out to the toll booth to have a talk with the ticket-seller.

ocracoke-ferry-front.jpgThe 7 a.m. ferry did leave, but we stayed to consider our options. I didn’t want a wild ride on the waves even if the ferry captain was willing to go. The waves looked every bit as menacing as they did the day before, and the wind was scarcely less. Officially, the forecast was for 20-25 knot winds and seas 2-3 feet, but that seemed optimistic. The ferry is scheduled to take 2.25 hours, which is a long time to be holding onto one’s stomach.

Finally we decided to take a chance and go, so we shoehorned the Airstream onto the ferry. That was an interesting process in itself, since I don’t have much faith in strangers who want to guide me forward or backward. I was busily watching in all directions as we crept on board and into the narrow lane, but the crew didn’t want me to watch the side mirror. They wanted me to look only at them and trust them to get me past protruding corners and curbs.

ocracoke-ferry-airstream.jpgNot a chance. I had already read the ticket they gave me which says very clearly: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR VEHICLE DAMAGE ON BOARD. The guy waving to me to come forward and go more to the right wasn’t going to pay to have my aluminum fixed if it turned out he had miscalculated, so I double-checked in the side mirror. He got annoyed that I wasn’t solely focused on him and came over to fold my side-view mirror in! The mirror was nowhere near any object it might hit, so I’m pretty sure this was done to prevent me from using it. Now I was annoyed, and I went even more slowly to compensate for the loss of a perfectly useful safety device.

When it was over, the Airstream was parked so close to the curb that the sidewalls rubbed on the way out (bad for the tires), and we could open the entry door only about a foot. But it was enough to squeeze in, which was all we wanted.

Having an RV on an ferry like this is definitely the way to go. Bigger ocean-going ferries tend to lock the vehicles below deck and you can’t get to them, but in this case we had access to the Airstream, which is like having a first-class cabin on a cruise. For two hours we had all the comforts, privacy, and more space than anyone else. Outside it was far too windy to be enjoyable, and on the upper deck there were hordes of high-school aged children, who had been released from two tour buses to ransack the ship. Every car owner was subject to sporadic sneak attacks from kids chasing each other around and being generally as obnoxious as high schoolers are capable of being, but inside the Airstream we were completely at home, enjoying a quiet view of the turbulent sea going by.

ocracoke-ferry-side.jpgApparently the Bonine worked because I felt fine for the entire ride, and it was very wavy. Seas were running 4-5 feet with occasionally larger swells. We’d know we hit one of those when the ferry made a huge BANG sound. The high schoolers stood up in front and screamed whenever they got drenched by the spray.

Our criteria for a campground on the Outer Banks was simple: someplace with good cellular service (so that you dear blog readers would not be deprived, and so I can get some work done), chosen from the four primitive National Seashore campgrounds. I wanted the Cape Hatteras National Seashore campgrounds because they had a reputation for beauty (well deserved, I can now see), and they provided a very affordable alternative to the commercial campgrounds which are currently running up to $80 per night.

Ocracoke Campground, the southernmost of the four National Seashore campgrounds, looks great but there’s not a spec of cell phone signal there, so we passed it by. This meant a second ferry to Hatteras, which is free and takes about 40 minutes. Once again we struck the fierce waves and the winds seemed even stronger than before.


Just a few miles north of the ferry landing we found the second campground, called Frisco, and determined that the cell phone does work in about half the sites. We picked a site in the highest part of the campground (for best possible coverage) and settled in.

We have a magnificent view. It’s one of those ten-million-dollar views that you can get one of two ways: (1) Buy a ten-million-dollar piece of property; (2) Buy an RV and stay at one of many magnificent public lands for $20 per night. We chose Option 2.


It is a short walk to the National Seashore from here, but today the beach is uninhabitable due to the high winds. The fine sand will pelt you mercilessly and flay the flesh from your skeleton. We had this experience yesterday at the ferry dock, although we still have some flesh left.

Tomorrow is forecast to be much nicer: warmer and with only 10-15 knot winds. This is after all near where the Wright brothers chose to work on heavier-than-air flying machines because of the constant breeze. It seems the wind never really stops, and the mosquitoes have learned to make aircraft carrier landings as a result. Fortunately we have not yet seen any mosquitoes and I hope that this is their week for vacation.

Our coordinates:   35 °14’11.17″N     75 °36’27.01″W

4 Responses to “Cedar Island-Ocracoke-Hatteras”

  1. abe & Melissa Says:

    If you like bb-q I think you will like bubba’s. Don’t be afraid of the outside.

  2. Zach Woods Says:

    Hi Rich –

    You answered a question I had – my 11 foot tall Airstream Sprinter Westfalia will fit on the Outer Banks ferrys as it is shorter than 13 feet 6 inches!



  3. terry Says:

    I would probably have gotten in trouble, as I would have immediately put the truck in park, gotten out, walked around the truck, and folded the mirror back out.