Harry and I left our not so posh digs of last night, and drove off the beaten path on a very dreary, drizzly day in North Carolina. Basically, we found the location of "Bum-feck" N.C. in a short period of time.
There wasn't a lot of beauty out here in the backwoods (except for the beautiful pine trees that grow abundantly). No, here there was poverty, economic hardship and folks lived to survive.
We got LOST for about a 1/2 hour....there were NO SIGNS on the road anywhere. We had directions and a shredded map (which is starting to resemble an old quilt with holes) and...no GPS. We ended up asking for directions at a mini-mart. The local boys there were happy to send us back in the right direction. While there we grabbed lunch of greens, hushpuppies (I gave Harry mine :) and I had some awesome fried chicken while he had some pork chops. Basically, it took us about 4 hours to go about 175 miles on these secondary roads....all the while, trying to find our way to Beaufort, N. C. (yes...Beaufort! :)
As we get closer, it's starting to look more like a coastal area as we head towards the Maritime Museum/Blackbeard's Museum.
We see some great business signs:
"Christian Family Radio and Transmission Shop"
"Open Door Baptist Church" (we liked this one :)
"The Crystal Coast" and best of all was the Welcome Sign to:
Beaufort claims to be the "3rd oldest town in America".
It is the site where Blackbeard's ships the "Queen Anne's Revenge" and "Adventure" ran aground and were lost in Topsail (now Beaufort).
We found the museum and were happy indeed to go in. There was free admission/donation and the cape cod style building housed some really amazing things!
Invertebrate fossils from the Eocene epoch (55-35 million years ago!)
Vertebrate fossils and bones:
Porpoise teeth, Extinct tiger shark teeth, walrus foot bones, seal bones, elephant toe bones....
ALL FOUND IN NORTH CAROLINA....(many thousands of years ago....)
Onward to the Blackbeard exhibit!
We saw lots of relics from the ship they believe to be the "Queen Anne's Revenge".
We read information about his supposed 14 wives (documents support at least 2)..
His name "Edward Teach" or "Thatch" was his original moniker...he died on Nov. 22, 1718 after a receiving 5 musket blasts and 20 sword gashes...
Many stories abound about him being beheaded and "swimming round the ship several times w/o his head" also that his head swung by the bowsprite as a warning to others by his capturers...
.there is also a rumor that his head was made into a silver punchbowl!
He wore 3 brace of pistols, hanging in holsters like bandoliers. He wore his beard up to his eyes and as long as possible He twisted his beard up into ribbons and twirled cannon fuses into it and draped them over his ears and lit them to give him the look of a "devil from the fires of hell!"
We saw eel traps, clam rakes, fish baskets, crab pots. Noted that the fish called a Mullet, was the original "Chicken of the Sea". Saw fresnel lamps from lighthouses with the saying "and the sea shall not have them" over the bright beaming light.
Read about whaling and saw the unfortunate and humongous ribs, bones and skulls of whales in an exhibit called "Chasing the Leviathan".
Saw 4 pounder English cannons...
Here is a picI found of one dislodged from the bottom of the sea. There is 4 feet of sand covering the Queen Anne's Revenge...can you imagine that?
They are basically "vacuuming" (dredging) the sea from the wreck to find these treasures!
Finished our day at a pub called "Clawsons" where we felt the need to wash down our day with pints and oysters and shrimp as we sat on the barstools so close to the ocean.
Meandering our way back to the main drag, we saw another sign: "Military Christian Center for Children" (which we found pretty disturbing.
I also found the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnels very unnerving....miles and miles of bridge or traveling under tunnels with tons of water over top was sort of claustraphobic....but interesting. The bridge is 23 miles long, 17 of which are over water. There are 2 one mile long tunnels with 25-100 feet of water over your head at any time. They call it one of the 7 engineering wonders of the world. They are right!
We are now resting in a much nicer place tonight, just outside of Delaware (trying to miss the oncoming storm AND bypassing Washington D.C. traffic).
We will adventure more on the morrow!
Fair Winds Mateys!!