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North Carolina and Thanksgiving

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Wednesday 22nd November

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Thursday 23rd November - Thanksgiving Day

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Wednesday 22nd November

We woke to a view over the sea with two fishermen out there trying their luck.   It was another lovely day - where was that snow?   Everywhere else!    We had brekkie at the "American Embassy" once again.  This was what one of our drivers in Canada called MacDonalds.    We drove to the Orville and Wilbur Wright Memorial once again.  This is set on the field where they made their first flight on 17th December, 1903.   The main building was almost 'afloat' as they had big troubles with water leaking from the ceiling.   In fact Tracy emailed me after we arrived back home to show that the centre was closed indefinitely and we were probably one of the last to see through it for quite a while.  It was very interesting walking where the Wright Brothers walked and seeing their hangar and living quarters.   However, it was absolutely freezing out on the field - the coldest I'd ever been.   Tracy and I walked up to the memorial on the hill - it was freezing!  We set out for further south to Cape Hatteras.   On our way we called in to the Bodie Island Lighthouse - I just love these lighthouses.   They are so beautiful - very different from the ones I've seen in Australia.  This light house was the third one to be built on this site.   The first one collapsed, the second was blown up in the Civil War but this one is still standing.   We learned that Blackbeard was once in this area and he was hanged somewhere nearby.    We crossed Bodie Island Bridge across the Oregon Inlet to Pea Island Wild Life Refuge, where we saw lots of birds - black ducks, white swans, snow geese - and eventually came on to Hatteras Island.  Tracy tried to tell us that the people in the village of Salvo, which we passed through, saved the people from other villages from a hurricane and that's where the saying "Thank God for the Salvos" was based.  Meanwhile, according to Tracy, people from the nearby town of Avon sent through messages of support and that's where the saying "Avon calling" originated.   My comment was "Crap!"    We came to Hatteras Lighthouse (see pic above), which was another beauty - diagonally striped this time.   It is the tallest one in Northern America.  They actually moved this lighthouse and its residences in 1999 because of worry about high tides washing away the foundations.   Amazingly, they put the lighthouse on a platform and moved it on rails to its present position, 2,900 feet away.  Quite a feat.    It is a very impressive structure.   We continued on to the end of Hatteras Island but we had to turn back as we were running out of time. (As usual)   There were huge three storey houses on stilts everywhere in this area and they look as though they are made of match-sticks.   A good wind would blow them over I am sure.      At Hatteras Landing David watched the ferry leave but it was absolutely freezing so we girls had to take shelter in another souvenir shop.   We bought baguettes for lunch in a little coffee shop and as we ate, we were entertained by a dear little boy at the next table.    It was then time to diove back up the Outer Banks, where we saw snow geese flying in formation as we drove through the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge.   There were heaps of fishermen on the shores here.   We crossed the bridge back over to Bodie Island before crossing over to Roanoke Island, the birthplace of America's first English child in 1587.  So the sign told us - it could only happen in America!   Then we crossed over to the mainland.   I've never seen so many ute/trucks as there are in that country.  The higher, the wider, the better.  Big boys with big toys, and the noisier the better too.   Probably all voted for Dubya too!   We  crossed on a drawbridge over the Alligator River, which is part of the Intercontinental Coastal Waterway, and had to wait as the bridge had just opened for a yacht to go through.   And meanwhile...the counting for the election still went ever, ever on.     Once again we were in a cotton growing area.   It was a very pretty area with absolutely gorgeous autumn leaves.    Oh, Oh!    We were pulled over by a State Trooper for speeding and because Tracy has an Australian drivers licence we had to follow him to a magistrate's office in Cresswell - a small town we'd gone through a short time before before.    We were in trouble for time now as we were supposed to have dinner with Tracy's netball coach, Crystal that night.   Oh well, s..t happens!    We had to wait for a magistrate to come and it cost Tracy $115 - $25 for the fine and $90 for court costs.    The magistrate took a while to come as she was cooking soup for Thanksgiving next day.   When we finally left Cresswell, it was absolutely beautiful as we crossed Albemarle Sound - the sunset was magnificent and the sky all around was a lovely colour.  This was a big cotton growing area and there were large bales of picked cotton alongside the fields waiting for pick-up.   We saw quite a few farmers harvesting their cotton as we drove through.   We drove through Dismal Swamp in the dark and Tracy assured us that it was better in the dark than in the daylight.   After we had gone through Norfolk once again, we passed through the Monitor-Merriman Bridge/Tunnel.   We drove home in a hurry as we thought Crystal would have phoned and we were running late, but she had obviously forgotten and I think were all a bit relieved as we were very tired.  I cooked dinner and we TV'd once again.

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Thursday 23rd November - Thanksgiving Day

It was sleep in time but I was up early as usual and set to typing this diary.   I then started to pack for home!!!   When everyone had surfaced I cooked a 'Jenny Special' brunch - we didn't have a 1lb of bacon each!   Then it was time to watch the Macy's Parade from New York and we all agreed that it was not a patch on our own Christmas Pageant.     It was then time to get ready to go to Kurt's and Lisa's for Thanksgiving Turkey 2.jpg (67767 bytes) dinner.  Kurt is Tracy's boss and they had kindly invited us to share Thanksgiving with  them.   Kurt and Lisa have a lovely two storey home in a really classy neighbourhood, Yorktown.   They have two children, David 10 and Megan 8, who are now both Crows fans, since seeing the '97 Grand Final at Tracy's on 4th July.   Also there for dinner were Lisa's brother Mark, his wife Jackie, and daughters Mara and Caroline.  They had driven from Ohio a couple of days previously.   A friend Mical, who also works at Langley, shared dinner with us as well.   While they were still preparing dinner, we got started with the delicious nibbles they had served up.   It would have been rude not to eat them after all.   I had nothing to do with the fact that they were so yummy.   The tradition is to have Thanksgiving Dinner  at 3 or 4 p.m.  It is also a tradition to watch football during the day - quite acceptable to have the TV on during the Thanksgiving table.jpg (91841 bytes) day.   What a great idea - watching footy!   Young David was barracking for the vikings and everyone else the Dallas Cowboys so I helped him out, even though I  like the Dallas Cowboys' colours better.    Our dinner was served at about 4 o'clock and it was the most delicious meal - perfectly cooked turkey, mashed potato, yams, green bean casserole, sweet corn, sage stuffing, dressing, gravy, hot rolls and sweet corn muffins.  It was wonderful and they wouldn't let us do a thing, which made it even better.   This was all followed by fruit compotes.   Everyone left the table for a while, and as guests, we watched the football while the others cleaned up.  They insisted. Then it was time for desserts - the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever tasted, pumpkin pie and bourbon pecan chocolate pie.   Yum!    After dinner I sat and chatted with Jackie about all sorts of things.   Then David joined us while Tracy played a ball game with Mark, Mara and young David.  It was a great afternoon and evening and we were so grateful that Kurt and Lisa made us part of their Thanksgiving celebrations.   We drove home and finished packing as we had a very early start the next morning.   Tracy and I watched E.R., which was not a nice one, then off to bed.

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