Off the grid in the Outer Banks

Off the grid in the Outer Banks

A day after the aforedescribed Ragnar adventures, the fam and I boarded a bus, then a train, then two planes, then met up with my folks in Norfolk, VA, to drive four hours and take a 45-minute ferry to Ocracoke Island, NC.

Talk about planes, trains, and automobiles.  We took ’em all–and a boat!

My family met up with my parents, my sister and her family, my sister’s neighbor and her two kids, plus my sister’s mother-in-law and her mom, for a week-long vacation in Ocracoke, an island that’s only half a mile wide and about sixteen miles long.  People love going there because you can get off the grid pretty easily if you want to–which was more obligatory for me than voluntary, seeing as how I had zero cell reception.  There’s not a whole lot there besides some local shops and restaurants (and pristine, protected beaches), and unfortunately, when we were there, it was hotter here in Chicago.  However, it was still plenty warm and humid for some mid-morning runs.

Here are some pics I snapped during my 10-miler on Saturday, before we came back.  I ran almost every day on vacation, in part to recover from Ragnar and also in part to prepare for the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon I was planning to run on 6/24, in advance of my training for the NYC marathon, but I only ran with my camera (read: phone) on Saturday.


About a mile and change into my run, I came upon the Ocracoke helipad. The nearest hospital is about 90 minutes away, so I'm guessing this is for that... and for the folks who can fly their private planes to the island. It'd sure beat taking the ferry and state-route 19.
Here's the beach access area (for ATVs) off the helipad area. This is also right around the area where my sister got married (on the beach) in 2007.
Signage at the helipad
More signage... apparently, I wanted to remember this
This is SR-19 that runs the length of the island. This was my scenery for most of my 10-miler. There were some bikers and walkers out, but it was mostly me, myself, and I... and the same scenery on both sides of the road.
The parking lot leading up to the public access point at the beach. All the beaches are protected in the OBX, and there are very few public access areas. Like here, you have to take some stairs over the dunes to actually make it out onto the beach where the lifeguard is.
View of the beach from the stairs. All protected stuff- no hotels, no businesses, no condos or high-rises, just sand. And ocean.
Not many people out swimming on a Saturday morning.. and it was even late! (probably around 9:45a)
View looking north onto the beach. Very serene.
The random, solo beach-goer
The pier/boardwalk leading up to the beach, over the dunes, from the parking lot. I like this picture because it reminds me of a maze.
Sweaty me, standing on the boardwalk at the beach. Proof I was actually there, ha.
Yup, still at the boardwalk, this time staring directly into the sun to take this picture. More proof I was there, ha.
The beach on my way back, after I had hit my turn-around mark. More people were awake, apparently.
Sand dunes
Beach signage
Another view of the access path at the helipad


Good ol' Howard's Pub, where my sis and I karaoked the night before. Apparently, Howard's stays open during the hurricanes. Crazy!

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