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We’ve finally moved on from Frisco campground, to a site about 50 miles north called Oregon Inlet. The Outer Banks are really too big to explore from a single base, unless you are willing to spend a lot of time in the car. We got a good look at the southern end, and now we are going to take a couple of days to check out things at the northern end. Zach, Deb, and Zane moved along with us, so we are parked directly across from each other in the campground.


As with Frisco, Oregon Inlet is a no-reservations “first come first served” campground. This time of year strikes me as ideal to come here, because the campgrounds are virtually empty (well, those campgrounds in the National Seashore, because they have no hookups), the mosquitoes are hardly noticeable, and the weather is fine. I’m told that in the summer the mosquito situation is quite different, and I’m sure even the primitive campgrounds get busy. Right now we are two of about 15 rigs camped here, so we had our pick of sites.

We chose a site far from the beach. The wind is back to the gale-force level, which it seems to be a lot here. It is a palpable and constant presence, thundering in the ears, rocking the trailer, and causing the little Honda to wander on the roads. It blows salt water from the Sound over the roads, leaving corrosive floods by the roadsides. Conversation outside is difficult at times, and fine sand blows across the roads and beaches with stinging force. I can’t remember being in a place where sand was constantly airborne in tan waves, other than here.

It is finally starting to affect me. This morning, practicing on the ukulele, I found I could no longer sing the high notes in most of the songs. I’ve begun to cough. The airborne salt and sand is aggravating my throat, I think. We’ll be leaving Tuesday, and I hope that by then I haven’t lost my voice entirely.

Since we were towing the trailer north this morning, we took the opportunity to take care of a few things it needed. We emptied the holding tanks and filled the fresh water tank at the unmarked (and unmentioned on the national parks website) dump station near the Hatteras Lighthouse. Go past the lighthouse about 1 mile and it is on the left side of the road. I don’t know why the location of this dump station is treated as such a secret since it is clearly there for the benefit of people staying at the Frisco or Cape Point national seashore campgrounds. Maybe signs go up when Cape Point campground opens later this month.

Another well-kept secret: in the town of Salvo is a BP gas station with an outdoor car wash large enough for easy entry and exit of a truck with 30-foot trailer. We found this and took the opportunity to rinse off the outside and underbelly of the Airstream, which had gradually become coated with a thin film of dried salt.

Also, on the way in through Ocracoke, we had splashed through a few of those roadside puddles. You can imagine the grimace on my face when that happened. The Airstream is in no way rustproofed, so I was eager to get it rinsed. We stuffed $2.50 worth of quarters in the machine and managed to get the job mostly done. A small amount of salt seems to have stuck despite the rinse, so we’ll have to stop for a better wash later.


Just south of Oregon Inlet is the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a huge area maintained specifically to create an ideal environment for migratory birds. There’s a visitor’s center and a “boardwalk” trail 3/4 miles long, plus another 3 miles or so of good trail in a loop.

obx-pea-island-boardwalk.jpgI had visions of hiding in one of the bird blinds and getting some amazing photos, but my 200mm lens is not really up to the task. The serious bird photographers were toting 300 lenses at a bare minimum. The wind was also a detriment, so strong at times that it was hard to hold the camera steady.

Although the wind has been a nuisance at times, in another way it is comforting. We expected constant rain and we got it when we went to the Hoh rain forest of Olympic National Park.   We expected scorching heat when we camped in Death Valley two Junes ago, and we got it. The wind and blowing sand here is exactly what I expected, along with a parade of dramatic clouds and salty air. It will be the signature memory of the Outer Banks when we think of it later, the ever-present warm breeze that rocked our trailer and kept us comfortable despite humidity all night long.

3 Responses to “Wind”

  1. terry Says:

    Rich, don’t forget to rinse the salt off the Honda, too. It is almost as well rustproofed as the Airstream, and I’d hate for it to dissolve in a cloud of rust on I-95.

  2. jd Says:

    Hiya Rich, with all the conditions you’ve towed through, I wonder if you’ve experienced any corrosion issues with the Aluminum skin? or wheels, for that matter?


  3. Rich Says:

    jd, we’ve seen some of the usual white snakelike corrosion on the door handle, taillight casting, and a little along some of the edges of aluminum panels where they were trimmed during assembly. Not much on the wheels. It hasn’t been bad enough to get concerned.