...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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August 03, 2005 || 10:47 pm
Road trip, day three

I was rather tired when I finally found an affordable motel with internet tonight. So much so that I forgot to look at my odometer and see how far I went today. But I would estimate around 350 miles in the car, plus 27 by ferry.

Took the ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracroke first thing in the morning. Ocracoke is really incredible - wild and beautiful sandy beaches stretching all along the island, with no people on them And this is August! If this place were in Europe it would be heaving and horrible. Yet somehow, here it still feels untouched, despite the tacky resort and condo-towns either side of it and well within an hours driving distance. I pulled over and dipped myself into the Atlantic (which is warm here!), and sunbathed for half and hour before hitting the road again, making a mental note that if I ever want to be a total beach bum, this is definitely a good place to do it.

On from there northwards along the Outer Banks, things gradually get less romantic and more tacky. The gaps between villages of beach condominiums get smaller, until eventually there are not gaps at all and the traffic slows to a frustrating grumbling speed. The site of the Wright brothers' first flight is subsumed into this strip of malls and general crap. But in my mind I see them taking off on somewhere as deserted as Ocracoke.

Onwards and northwards, I passed around the huge industrial port of Norfolk, through a somewhat scary tunnel, around Richmond, through some more crawling traffic (necessitating me pulling over and checking my engine for overheating...) and into Fredericksburg in time for dinner. Americans claim that oh, we have nothing old here, not like in Europe - but F'burg is old, totally picturesque and well-preserved - like an English Georgian town, except more perfect (at least in its downtown) than anything that really exists today in England. It has that self-satisfied air of an old county seat, with a healthy tourist industry by the looks of things, and obviously considers itself very classy.

After a decent enough dinner (I have got so far north that things like falafel start appearing on menus) I found myself a room and now am quite ready for bed, before attacking Washington DC tomorrow...

Today's pictures (click on them for bigger versions and descriptions)

The Driftwood Motel

Ocracoke beach

Ocracoke, Hwy 12

Roadscape, Norfolk VA

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