Atlantic Beach NC to Carolina Beach NC (1850 miles so far)

We woke this morning after our first luxurious night’s sleep of the trip — thanks to the king size bed — and headed off to the boardwalk in Atlantic Beach. We played in the sand, watched the birds, and headed to the Four Corners Restaurant for a nice breakfast. These people were the friendliest we’d encountered, and really served up a mean breakfast — I had waffles with strawberries!

We started talking about our journey to see the Cape Lookout Lighthouse yesterday, and decided we could see about getting a ferry over to the island. Being Sunday, we weren’t too sure if the ferries were running. We called, and found someone who was running, so back to Harkers Island we went.

We found Calico Jacks, and talked to them about a ride to the island. They told us it was a 10-15 minute ferry ride, so we paid, and caught the boat over. The seas were choppy, and the boat really pounded the waves, but we got there safe and sound, and began to explore. We walked to the old lighthousekeeper’s quarters, and walked around the displays and talked with the Park Service attendant. She said that on Friday, they’d had well over 200 visitors out to the island, but only a handful yesterday due to the weather, and only four today (including us). We couldn’t go up in the lighthouse, but learned that in about two years, it would be opened up for climbing. That’ll be nice.

We caught our boat back, and a few minutes into the return trip we stopped to let some rain squalls get past our destination. A few minutes later, we were off again, only to stop off Shackleford Banks to let rain stop at the main dock. Shackleford is home to another herd of wild horses, and we could see them from the boat. There are ferries to that island, too — we got a pretty good look at it from our rain impeded return journey, though.

When we got back to shore, we thanked the crew for a safe trip, and backtracked again toward Morehead City. After the cold and rain on the ferry, we were ready for lunch, and stopped in at the Sanitary Restaurant. They serve fresh fish, and some wonderful sweet tea. I had fresh bluefish, and Beck had fresh mullet. I really liked the consistency of the bluefish over the mullet. I’m sure I’ve had mullet before — I can remember hearing about it at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Bokeelia FL — but I didn’t so much care for it this time.

We continued our drive toward Carolina Beach, and travelled through Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. Highway 172 runs right through it. At the entrance, I had a nice chat with the MP about GPS equipment — he saw mine in the truck. I tell ya, there’s probably nothing more boring than standing guard over a small highway guard stand at the entrance to the base, but I, for one, am glad they’re there!

We arrived at Carolina Beach just before dinner, and checked in to the Courtyard Marriott. This was by far the nicest place we stayed, and afforded us another king size bed. In this hotel, every room has an oceanfront view with a balcony. The hotel is one room thick, and towers over everything else at a height of ten stories. The room was great, and was the first place since Lexington KY a week ago that had connectivity.

We asked the desk staff about someplace for dinner, and they pointed us to The Deck House, just a few blocks away. We walked over, and had a great dinner — filet mignon and lobster tails. Yum! We talked over dinner about staying two nights in Carolina Beach, and kinda having a down day to get some relaxation.

When we walked back to the hotel, we told them to extend us a day, and we went upstairs to relax and look at our photos from the trip.