Start of a week in the Outer Banks
26.11.2004 - 29.11.2004 9 °C
After Checking In on Saturday 27 November
About 6, we went back down to Duck to Fishbones Sunset Grille and Raw Bar for dinner. This place is on the water on the sound side.
Sometimes they have music, and there are a number of TVs around the room.
Bob had a nice
and I had
My tooth which started to hurt last night now makes it painful to chew on that side, so I didn't eat dessert. My whole jaw aches even though it is a top tooth.
I try to use the number that I have for the internet and can't get it to work and all the other numbers are apparently long distance. It is supposed to rain tomorrow too, so I try to figure out something to do indoors.
Sunday, 28 November, 2004
Bob was tired and slept in. My tooth really hurts now - I drank a glass of juice but the cold makes my tooth ache. So I got up and tried to call my ISP mindspring. They gave me some more numbers but they didn't work either. The phones here are under Starlink and I can't get through to them. I called the Barrier Sales office and they said they didn't know of any dentists.
I unpacked and panicked when I couldn't find the box with my prescriptions, but when I was consolidating it ended up in a bag of stuff that I didn't bring into the unit. I find that I've only got two pair of trousers and one pair of Bermudas. Plenty of tops though. I panicked (again) when I couldn't find any of the 700 pictures I took in Bermuda, but the folder had just been moved. So I formatted a CD and copied them all to it.
Eventually Bob got up and made himself breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast). Then we went up towards Corolla to the Food Lion. He got Reynolds wrap, peanut butter, tuna fish, dish washing detergent, turkey bacon, cream cheese, scrapple, trash bags, pepper, mustard, salt, and Pam. All the essentials. He also got Ambesol for me. While he shopped, and I was sitting in the car trying not to think about my tooth hurting, I took some pictures of stores.
I also got the messages from my cell phone and find that I don't have dental insurance with Dental Benefit Providers - it is with United Concordia instead. There was also two wrong number calls from the Fairfax traffic division to a Mr. Singh.
Then we drove all the way up to the end as far as we could go.
These signs are apparently for the 4WD vehicles that go on the beach. There is no charge for driving on the beach like there is in some other locations like Daytona Beach. We drove up to this point and then turned around because our Mercedes is NOT a 4WD. We took seriously the warning signs against driving farther without one.
The closest sign says "State Maintenance Ends"
The next one says: "No Parking Next to Dune Line or Ocean". I'm not sure what that means about where you can park.
The last sign says: "No Parking for Next 1/2 Mile. Towing Enforced"
Although this sign warns that you cannot launch PWCs (personal water craft) from the beach into the Atlantic, I can't find that there is any prohibition on PWCs except in the Hatteras National Seashore and at Oregon Inlet
Corolla is the northernmost town on the Outer Banks that is accessible by road. Until 1984, Corolla was a sleepy little village, with wild ponies roaming through the streets. There is also a bird sanctuary (the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary) which is between Duck (the next village south) and Corolla. But for me Corolla is really about the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
The Currituck Lighthouse pokes its top up above the surrounding vegetation and sand dunes. But if you look at the foreground of the picture you can see bike trails along the sides of the road. There are also off-road trails, and sometimes you can ride on the packed sand at low tide.
We walked around the Currituck Light but neither of us felt like climbing it. The historic light station at Corolla village is known as the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Technically it is NOT the Corolla Lighthouse even though it is in the village of Corolla.
It is one of eight lighthouses positioned along the Outer Banks and was built after the Civil War to fill in the remaining darkness between Bodie Island and Cape Henry, Virginia. Construction was begun in 1873, at the Whaleshead settlement adjacent to Currituck Sound and was completed in 1875. It stands 163 feet high and is constructed of more than one million bricks. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was left unpainted in order to distinguish it from the other lighthouses along the Outer Banks. The lighthouse grounds provide many opportunities for photos, even if you do not want to climb the tower.
The 158 foot lighthouse was automated in 1939 and still flashes at 20-second intervals. According to the NPS, "The lighthouse remains today an active aid to navigation and for a number of years was the only lighthouse along the Outer Banks open to the public. It is the only lighthouse in North Carolina still housed in its original structure. It is one of only a dozen lighthouses nationwide with an original Fresnel lens still in use.
In 1973, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places." The non-profit Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. had a 20 year lease on the lighthouse, and has now been awarded ownership of the historic structure for education, park, recreation, cultural, or historic preservation purposes from 2003
The Lighthouse Keepers' House, a Victorian "stick style" dwelling, was pre-cut and labeled, shipped by barge and then assembled on site. In 1876, when the Keepers' House was completed, two keepers and their families shared the duplex. The house was abandoned in 1939 when the lighthouse was automated, and served for a time as storage for hay. After the Lighthouse was automated the attendants were no longer needed to clean the lenses, trim the wicks, fuel the lamp, and wind the clockwork mechanism which rotated the beacon, so by the late 1970s, the Lighthouse Keepers' House stood open to the elements with no windows or doors; porches had decayed and vines invaded the north side. Much of the interior millwork had been vandalized. Restoration of the Keeper's house is an on-going project
The smaller (and possibly older) little keepers' house was probably moved to the site around 1920 as a residence for a third keeper and his family. In 1995 this house on the north side of the complex was returned to service as a Museum Shop
offering visitors models of lighthouses, books and other lighthouse and wild horse-related items.
Other historic structures located within the lighthouse compound include an outhouse and a storage building. The two-hole privy has been repaired and the storage building with its four sharp finials has been restored and now serves as the lighthouse staff office. The two louvered structures flanking the Keepers' House are cisterns which store rain water. I talked to the lady at the gift shop. She said the wild horses had been corralled and taken up towards the Virginia end because the home owners kept shooting and killing them.
We drove around the Whalehead Club which was built by northern millionaires as a 'hunting lodge' in the 1920s - a big art deco house that was built for 30 of their dearest friends to come and hunt during the season. It is now being restored as a waterfowl museum. Most things say they are closed after Thanksgiving, but since Thanksgiving was so early this year, some of them are still open. I don't think the Whalehead Club is one of them - I called them this morning and they said they would not be open until December 12th.
Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Knight, Jr., a socially prominent couple residing on Newport, Philadelphia, and Manhattan, completed construction of their winter retreat in 1925 (near the end of America's "Gilded Age") and originally named it Corolla Island. The Knights enjoyed winters on Corolla Island until 1934. They both died in 1936.
Their magnificent 21,000 square foot residence featured an outdoor swimming pool, two elevators, a 6,000 foot square basement, hot and cold running fresh and salt water baths and was accented with elegant Tiffany lighting. The estate originally stretched from ocean to sound and southward 4 1/2 miles.
In 1940, new owner Ray Adams, a meat packer from Washington, renamed the property the Whalehead Club and used it primarily to entertain hunting guests.
During its history, the club/retreat/property has been used for a variety of purposes such as a United States Coast Guard base during World War II, a hunting lodge for the wealthy, a static rocket testing site and a boy's school. Currituck County purchased the Whalehead Club in 1992. The restoration is being directed by the volunteers who make up the Whalehead Preservation Trust and is made possible through a combination of generous private donations and public funding.
The Currituck Heritage Park, located at the Whalehead Club, has the original boathouse and pedestrian footbridge, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is also the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
There is a new designated parking area for visitors with over 200 parking spaces at the picnic shelter and public restroom areas in the Northeast corner of the park. Park visitors can now park their vehicles in the new areas and walk within the park by sidewalks and boardwalks. The old parking area behind the Whalehead Club has been removed; however, the boat ramp remains open to the public.
Currituck Heritage Park is a popular destination for weddings, family reunions, or just a day of leisurely fun on Currituck Sound. Whether you enjoy crabbing, picnicking with family and friends or enjoying a quiet sunset over the Sound, Currituck Heritage Park is the place to be! Learn local history and heritage along self-guided walkways or signup for an educational program that will be offered daily. Currituck Heritage Park is open from sunrise to dusk
We also drove around Old Corella Village. Technically Corolla is the small village center on the unpaved road behind the lighthouse, while the area around this village (including the lighthouse) is Currituck.
The village of Corolla was a thriving community that began to grow in 1875 after the lighthouse was built. The area was popular for waterfowl hunts (Duck is just down the road), and in 1890, at the peak of the market, 200 residents lived in the village.
After WWII, the population declined until the 1980s when a paved public road was opened to the area. Then, the development of the Currituck Outer Banks began.
You can still get a sense of the old village by walking in the shade of the oaks and pines on the dirt road on the west side of NC 12 behind the lighthouse.
A few of the historic buildings from the old village remain and have been restored to look as they did when they were built. Several restored historic homes that have been converted into shops, so you can go inside, including the Lewark and Parker residences. A new building was built to look like Callie Parker's store.
A walking-tour map is available at many of the shops in the area or at Twiddy & Company Realtors, whose owners took charge of restoring the buildings.
Island Bookstore at Historic Village: According to the Twiddy & Company website: "Island Bookstore is your friendly village bookshop with the knowledge and resources of your favorite university bookstore. Full service, all subjects. It was built in the footprint of what was the general store."
Corolla Schoolhouse c 1890
I took this picture of the schoolhouse through the window across Bob, but when I saw it after the trip I thought it looked like a church. That's a hazard of taking a lot of pictures and not being able to label them right away.
At the time of the schoolhouse construction (the mid- to late 1890s), there was no public school. The children of government employees went to the privateGovernment School whose teachers were paid by their parents. This school was originally built on land donated by Edward Knight (who built the building now known as the Whalehead Club).
In 1999, retired Corolla postmaster, Norris Austin, was the only surviving Corolla resident who is a former student. Norris was the fourth member of his family to attend the school, when he entered it in 1944. By 1955, when he graduated, the enrollment had dwindled to fifteen and finally just five students, according to records. It finally closed in 1958. The school was moved to its current location in 1999. With the underpinnings of the old school exposed, it was revealed that the 19th century watermen who originally built the school, apparently used everything they could find - including large timbers from shipwrecks that were plentiful along the shores at that time.
"You can see the old wooden pegs, and there's no mistaking these support beams were once part of a ship," said Contractor Jim Andrews of Kitty Hawk. "They even used old iron nails that were obviously salvaged off of the beach." Other exciting finds have been an old chalkboard and the original beadboard, dating back to the late 1800's. "We've found old doors in recesses behind walls and some of the original shingles," said Andrews. The schoolhouse was returned to its original white color with cedar shingles.
This structure is listed on the walking tour of the old village, but it is a private office and not open to the public. "The walking tour will also take you past the 1878 U.S. Lifesaving Station that was moved to the village, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Lightkeeper's Residence, and the historic Whalehead Club."
Spry Creek Dry Goods is named after the deep water creek just north of the village center. It looked like an interesting place but, we didn't go shopping in there. The building used to be the owner's father's auto repair shop.
We got back to the unit about 4:00 pm
Someone was sitting in a lawn chair on the beach out front flying a kite.
There were also people fishing in the surf and walking on the beach.
Bob was totally not interested in any of those things. We watched TV and then he cooked dinner (complaining that there was no kitchen fan). The Ambesol has taken some of the pain out but I think I'm going to try to see a dentist tomorrow. I guess this is one way to lose weight.
November 29, 2004 - Monday
I got up and took a photo of the sunrise over the still restless ocean, and then worked on editing my photos until I thought people would be in their offices. I looked at the dentists in the phone book and picked the local one that was last in the alphabet. They said they could see me at 2:30 pm, and gave me directions to get there. I also called the HMO and they said emergency care would only have $50 authorized, and gave me the directions for putting in a claim. They also confirmed that there are no providers down here.
I took one of the pills Dr. J gave me for pain from shingles, and also put some more amubusol on my gum and my tooth doesn't hurt except if I forget and bite on it. When I was flossing this morning, I did notice that the tooth has turned black and I don't remember it being black before.. Sometimes that means that the tooth is dead.
About 10:20, I finally got myself together, and we started going south on highway 12 (the island is too narrow here in Duck to have more than one north-south road). My intention was to visit the Wright Brother's National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, but I looked at the map and saw that it was just a little farther to Bodie Island, so we went there.
The name Bodie was originally spelled Body and is still pronounced "body" (as in "a body of water"). No one really knows the origin of the name. Maybe it was because so many bodies washed ashore from shipwrecks. Others believe it was the name of someone who helped build the light or was stationed there.
The building of the lighthouse was supervised by Dexter Stetson, who supervised the construction of Cape Hatteras. He used many of the same construction techniques that made the Hatteras lighthouse so strong. The method of "Stacking" was used where timber pilings below the ground were placed and granite blocks were built above the base. After the construction of Hatteras, there were many unused materials. Many of these were used during the construction of Bodie Island Lighthouse
The first keeper of Bodie Island Lighthouse was paid an annual salary of $400. Bodie Island was really an island and the only access to schools for the keeper's children was by boat. There are extensive nature trails in the park which cover a great distance. Most of the area around the lighthouse is marsh, so there are plenty of biting insects to make you uncomfortable during the summer and fall.
The area in general hosts thousands of wintering snow geese, tundra swans, and shore birds during both spring and fall migrations.
This is a another lighthouse where I have a post card from my grandfather from 1903 (I also have one of Hatteras)
Bodie Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 150 ft tall Bodie Island Light is 4 miles north of Oregon Inlet, and is encircled by two black and three white bands. It is an active lighthouse which is equipped with the original first-order Fresnel lens (which is treated as a separate property from the tower itself). The 160,000 candlepower beacon flashes 19 miles over the ocean in the on for 2.5 seconds and then off for the same period pattern.
Originally built on Pea Island in 1847, and rebuilt with improvements in 1859, the 80 foot tower was blown up in 1862 by Confederate troops to prevent its use as a position marker by the Union forces.
On October 1, 1872, the present tower was put into operation and is the third lighthouse built here. According to a lightkeeper on duty at the time, shortly after this light was activated, a flock of wild geese flew into the lantern, causing severe damage to the lens. It was quickly repaired, and a wire screen was placed around the light to prevent further mishap. It was also necessary to put a lightening rod on the tower.
Bodie Island was completely undeveloped, and the closest school was in Manteo on neighboring Roanoke Island (accessible only by boat). This meant that the keeper’s wife and children lived away from the lighthouse except during the summer month.
Eventually, school buses were able to reach the island, and the families were able to live with the keepers. The light was electrified in 1932, which ended the need for an on-site keeper. Finally, all of the light station’s property except the tower itself were transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. Still a functioning U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid, the tower is closed to the public.
One of the attractions of this lighthouse is that it isn't open to be climbed, so I don't have to feel guilty about not climbing it. Although the tower is not open for climbing, the lighthouse keeper cottage is now a museum, and there are accessible restrooms,
a visitor center, walking paths, and a unique bookstore. As with a number of other stations, the keeper's quarters was built as a duplex and was home to as many as three families (head keeper and two assistants) during its use. The back view is the same as the front, except that the handicapped accessible ramp is not at the back
Since 1953, the Keeper’s duplex has since undergone two historic restorations, the last having been completed in May 1992. The building now serves as a ranger office and visitor center for Cape Hatteras National Seashore
The bottom floor of the double keeper's quarters is open to the public as a 2 room visitors' center. One room is a museum
Under the top lighthouse picture "Routine heavy weather for the sea-swept lighthouse at St. George Reef, California one of the most exposed stations in the country" Under the photo of the man: "Establishing this full dress keeper's uniform was one measure taken by the U.S. Lighthouse Board to help professionalize the service."
Right photo: "Though designed in the days of oil lamps and lighthouse keepers, this small order Fresnel Lens now magnifies and electric light tended by the U.S. Coast Guard.The US Congress assigned control of the nation's lighthouses to the Treasury Department in 1789. As coastal shipping increased in the 19th century, mariners began to protest that the light from most American lighthouses was poor, if visible at all. Though the revolutionary Fresnel Lense was invented in France in 1822, this expensive "foreign device" was shunned by the Treasury's miserly administration for years. Loss of property and lives continued along America's coast."
"In response to this and other concerns, the U.S. Lighthouse Board was created in 1852. The Board improved equipment distribution and maintenance, replaced ineffective workers with experienced ones, and installed Fresnel Lens in as many lighthouses as possible. Under the Board's guidance the U.S. Lighthouse Service soon rose to international prominence. The U.S. Coast Guard continues that legacy today, having absorbed the Lighthouse Service in 1939."
Under this is the photo of Thomas Point. Bob is looking at another display. This picture is labeled as a Sombrero Light. It is not. It is Thomas Point Light. It IS a screwpile lighthouse like the caption says - the only problem is that Sombrero Light is NOT a screwpile lighthouse.
This box which is somewhat like the Bodie Island lighthouse. The sign behind it says
"Your donations support the preservation and protection of the unique and fragile natural and cultural resources of Cape Hatteras National Seashore"
Apparently the NPS cannot raise enough money to really preserve and protect the lighthouse against the ravages of weather and time. "U.S. General Services Administration officially transferred the Bodie Island Lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to the National Park Service (NPS) on July 13, 2000. The USCG will maintain the lighting apparatus, as Bodie Island remains an active aid to navigation."
This lighthouse is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (which is a bit confusing because Cape Hatteras also has a very famous lighthouse.)
The tower is in need of complete restoration. The orange fence was there when we visited in November 2004.
One of the websites says:
"At a passing glance, one would think that the lighthouse is in good condition, but that is not the case. In June of 2004, the lighthouse and oil house received a new paint job after a lead abatement project was completed to remove old lead paint from the interior... The lighthouse is in such need of restoration, that on August 9, 2004, several chuncks of the exterior ironwork fell from the tower. Some of these pieces, weighting as much as 40 lbs, forced the closing of the oil house and base as a safety precaution until inspections are completed."
Up until August 2004, volunteers could open the lower portion of the lighthouse for visitors to step inside and look up the magnificent 214 stairs that wind their way to the top of the tower. The old oil house now houses a generator.
We drove all the way back from Bodie Island to Southern Shores looking for a place which had soft food so I could eat something. I finally decided on Chilli Peppers in Kill Devil Hills. There was a fiberglass Pegasus out front (like London had cows, and Calvert County had sea horses, and Norfolk has mermaids and D.C. has pandas). This one was red. We've also seen one that is painted like a zebra These fiberglass statues are painted and then used for fundraising in the local area (Pegasus was chosen to represent both the OBX wild ponies and the connection with aviation)
I had the $6.95 pasta special (bowties with chicken) and Bob had 2 chicken tacos for $7.00. We both got enormous plates of food. The total bill was $18.85 which is more than we usually spend for lunch, but Bob could only eat one of his tacos (the taco was dinner plate size) and I didn't eat all mine either. So we got the rest boxed up to go. Bob had the foresight to put the cooler in the trunk in case we got some food.
There were interesting metal sculptures outside, so while Bob was paying, I went out and photographed them.
Then we drove back to the Wright Bros Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Kill Devil Hills is the actual site where the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight. It is the location of the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the original Visitor's Center.
We circled the 60-foot granite monument atop 90-foot tall Kill Devil Hill
The Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association, a national and local support group was founded August 27, 1927 to approving the design of a monument that was called for under the Wright Brothers Memorial Act.
The Coast Guard and local citizens partially stabilized the large hill at Kill Devil Hills to help prepare it for the monument. The War Department (now called the Department of Defense) planted shrubs and trees, and sodded the ground, preventing the continued southwest migration of Big Kill Devil Hill and altered the once barren scene of the first flight.
After a lot of disagreement about the design (Should it be a beacon? Should it be a Greek temple?), finally on February 14, 1930, the firm of Rodgers and Poor were awarded the $10,000 prize for their design and told that they were to proceed as architects for the construction of the monument.
The Rodgers and Poor design had strong ties to the then popular Art Deco movement — a movement traced to the 1925 Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels in Paris and the design gave expression to the "aesthetics of the machine." Essentially a masonry shaft, about 60 feet high, the monument was embellished with highly stylized sculpted wings on each side to symbolize the ideas of flight and motion. The design implied ancient Egyptian motifs, an important source for Art Deco designs, which also drew upon Native-American and Asian precedents.
Dedication day (November 19, 1932) arrived with heavy rains and high winds which cut down on attendance and partcipitation. Orville later confided that he felt the monument was "distinctive, without being freakish." At the end of the ceremony, aviator Ruth Nichols pulled a cord to officially mark the dedication of the monument. The cord released a well-drenched American flag concealing the word GENIUS in the inscription along the base of the monument:
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE CONQUEST OF THE AIR
BY THE BROTHERS WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT
CONCEIVED BY GENIUS
ACHIEVED BY DAUNTLESS RESOLUTION AND UNCONQUERABLE FAITH
Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine. Each year, one or more individuals who have been pioneers of aviation are honored by having their portraits hung in the Visitor's Center. These portraits are added annually by the First FLight Society to the Paul E. Garber First Flight gallery. However, they are not added in any kind of sequence which would enable someone to walk down a kind of timeline.
1) Amelia Earhart 1898 - 1937 First Woman To Fly Solo Across The Atlantic, 1932 First Pilot To Fly Solo Hawaii To California, 1935 Inducted in 1968
2) General James H. Doolittle 1896 - 1993 First To Make An All-Blind Instrument Flight From Take Off to Landing, 1929. Inducted in 1969
3) Jacqueline Cochran 1906 - 1980 First Woman To Pilot An Aircraft Supersonically, 1953 Inducted in 1968
4) Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd 1888 - 1957 First To Fly Over The North Pole, 1926 First To Fly Over The South Pole, 1929. Inducted in 1968
5) General Charles E. Yeager 1923 -First Person To Pilot An Aircraft At Supersonic Speed, 1947 Inducted in 1968
6) Captain Henry T. Merrill 1894 - 1982 First Pilot To Make A Commercial Round-trip Flight Over The Atlantic, 1937 Inducted in 1976
7) Grover C. Loening 1888 - 1976 Army’s First Civilian Aeronautical Engineer, 1914 Inducted in 1972
1) Alberto Santos-Dumont (in the funny white hat) 1873 - 1932 First To Fly A Heavier-Than-Air Machine In Europe, 1906 Inducted in 1981
2) Bessie Coleman 1893-1926 First Black Woman Licensed Pilot Inducted in 1989
3) Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge 1882 - 1908 First Military Officer To Pilot An Airplane, 1908 First Fatality In Powered Aviation, 1908 Inducted in1971
4) Major General Benjamin D. Foulois 1879 - 1967 First United States Military Aviator Inducted in 1980
Top right inducted in 1971 Robert White First astronaut designee in a winged aircraft.Bottom left inducted in 1976 is Alford Williams the Navy's first chief test pilot; father of dive bombingThe top left picture was a 1991 inductee Hans Von Ohain who developed the engine powering the world’s first jet plane Bottom right inducted in 1997 is Tom Davis Pioneer in commercial aviation
We went out to see the flight path
The national park service warns that there are sand spurs and prickly pear cactus off the path that you will want to avoid. They also want to avoid having people damaging the plantings by tramping around off the paths.
I intend to be comfortable while I am here
The park services has reconstructed the buildings of the Wright Brother's camp so visitors can see what life was like for them.
When the Wright brothers first came to the Outer Banks in the autumn of 1900, they stayed with local resident William Tate and his family. In 1901, they pitched a tent about 1,000 feet east of the higher hill and building a rudimentary shed to use as a workshop. But during their initial time living in a tent, they would have to hold the tent down during the night to keep it from blowing away. They sent home letters that described the conditions they faced. In particular, they hated the mosquitoes. In a letter from Orville to his sister Katharine, he wrote, “Lumps began swelling up all over my body like hen’s eggs.” They would cover themselves with blankets, but when they got too hot, they had to unwrap for a minute, exposing themselves to the ubiquitous mosquito swarms
They again returned to the workshop for the 1902 season and, rebuilt the dilapidated shed, adding an additional 10 feet to use as a quarters, the brothers being tired of tent living. Orville penned, “Trying to camp down here reminds me constantly of those poor arctic explorers.”
When they wanted to identify the exact place where the first flight took place, "Houston we have a problem" .. dunes of sand shift - that is their job.
How did they pinpoint the place? On November 4, 1928, under the direction of the NAA, Captain William Tate, three of the four surviving witnesses (Will Dough, Adam Etheridge, and Johnny Moore) to the first flight met to determine the point of takeoff.
"Dough, Etheridge, Moore, and I assembled here and I explained to them the importance of arriving at a definite conclusion with respect to the spot where the Wright brothers' airplane, in making its first successful flight, first began to move along the ground. We located the four corners of the building in which the machine was housed…. We took into consideration what Mr. Orville Wright said about it in his article How We Made Our First Flight. We had a compass with us and we were sure of our compass course. After considering all these things and talking it over these other three men proceeded by themselves to come out here on this point and select the spot on which this magnificent boulder stands and said that this was the spot where the Wright airplane started its first successful flight…. After agreeing upon this exact spot we signed a paper to that effect…. "
The 4 x 6 granite boulder which cost $2500.00 was dedicated on December 17, 1928 and has a plaque on it which reads:
THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT
- OF AN AIRPLANE -
WAS MADE FROM THIS SPOT BY
+ ORVILLE WRIGHT +
DECEMBER 17,1903 IN A MACHINE DESIGNED AND BUILT BY
WILBUR AND ORVILLE WRIGHT.
THIS TABLET WAS ERECTED BY THE
NATIONAL AERONAUTIC ASSOCIATON
OF THE USA DECEMBER 17, 1928
TO COMMEMORATE THE 25TH
ANNIVERSARY OF THIS EVENT.
We went out to the place where the first flight took place and walked along the fight path as it is marked out on the sand.
At 10:35am, he released the restraining wire. The flyer moved down the rail as Wilbur steadied the wings. Just as Orville left the ground, John Daniels, a member of the lifesaving station, snapped the shutter on a preset camera, capturing the iconic image of the airborne aircraft with Wilbur running alongside. Again the flyer was unruly, pitching up and down as Orville overcompensated with the controls. But he kept it aloft until it hit the sand about 120 feet from the rail. Into the 27-mph wind, the groundspeed had been 6.8 mph, for a total airspeed of 34 mph. The flight lasted only 12 seconds, and the distance covered was less than the total length of a modern passenger airliner. But for the first time, a manned, heavier-than-air machine left the ground by its own power, moved forward under control without losing speed, and landed on a point as high as that from which it started. The brothers took turns flying three more times that day, getting a feel for the controls and increasing their distance with each flight. Wilbur's second flight - the fourth and last of the day – was an impressive 852 feet in 59 seconds.
Last year (2003) was the 100th anniversary of the first flight so they had a whole exhibit including recreation of those original photos
After an interesting visit at the Wright Bros. Memorial,
I went for my dentist appointment. He took an X-ray and told me that there was an infection of the nerve and I would need a root canal. He gave me a prescription for antibiotic and said to take Motrin if I needed additional pain relief (although he said I was taking quite a bit already). He charged me $100 for this.
Bob got the prescription filled at Kmart (they take the Tricare card) and then we came on home.
Bob is trying to find landmarks that will let him know where he is - of course when he gets that organized, it will be time to move on. I called our daughter in Miami and asked her to make me an appointment to have a root canal done down there - hopefully with someone who is under United Concordia.
There was to be a ranger talk at the main auditorium at 4. So we drove back over for that. It was totally worth it. The Wrights thought that the information on lift had already been documented; that they could use a rudder like a boat rudder; and a propeller like a boat propeller. All wrong. The lift data was flawed, the boat rudder won't work on a plane, and all the work on props had been trial and error.
Bob had said that he didn't understand the way that the Wrights controlled their airplane, and the ranger at the visitor's center explained it. Pitch was controlled with the left hand (the engine throttle was in the right hand), and there was a hip cradle which controlled the yaw and roll. One of the Wright's breakthrough's was to link the roll and yaw into one control.He said that the Wright Bros only patented one item and that was the control system for flying, and that all airplanes today use that system. They didn't bother to patent the prop design which is 81% efficient - modern ones are only 85% efficient. Wilbur died in NYC in 1912 of typhoid, but Orville lived until 1948, and became wealthy
We also visited the Centennial of Flight exhibits.
At the time of the Centennial of Flight celebration, the original visitor's center at the Wright Brother's National Monument was judged as "inadequate". So funds were raised by commericial firms and the Centennial Pavilion was built. Content partners (which means organizations who have exhibits here) include NASA, the United States Air Force, The Wright Experience, Outer Banks History Center, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and others.
The Pavilion houses interpretive and educational exhibits. It will continue for five years or more, as part of a long-term improvement plan for the park, serving at least 5 million visitors in total.
There was a 70 minute presentation about the Wright's experience on the island - including the first boat trip from Elizabeth City where the dinghy to get out to the big boat was leaking and the big boat was leaking and the sails were worn and the lines were frayed. Wilbur was afraid to eat any of the food on the ship. He got to Kitty Hawk 36 hours later - hungry.
We ate our leftover lunch for dinner.