Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Outer Banks...

What a great 4 days! RealLady and I headed east this weekend, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, specifically to Nags Head, NC. I had a couple of small business related things to take care of out there so we decided to make an 'outing' of it. I worked part of Friday from home, headed in to Cary for a meeting at my current gig and we got on the road a little before noon on Friday.

The trip in was pretty uneventful, we just cruised on out here, no real traffic problems and arrived late Friday afternoon in a light rainstorm.

Friday evening we had dinner at Mulligan’s, a nice little place that's very popular with the locals. I had the softshell crab, RL had the steamed spiced shrimp and we split a dozen steamed oysters. The food was off the hook, I had a cup of their Jambalya as an appetizer, I swear it was the best I've had outside of New Orleans! We were so impressed with the experience we even bought a couple t-shirts. The bill, including the t-shirts and a couple of beers each was under $90... considering the quality of the food and that the t-shirts were $15 each, I thought it was very reasonable!

We didn't do much on Saturday, it was very, very, foggy, cool and breezy... so we sat on the balcony, relaxing, enjoying the ocean sounds, watching the birds and just talking... oh, and we also made good use of the jacuzzi in the room. It was a welcome break from the pace we've been running at. I finished up a couple little things I had to do while we were on the balcony and phoned it in to the customer's system. (I know, I didn't really need to make the trip, but it seemed like the perfect excuse!)

On Sunday, we drove North to Collola, to the site of the Currituck Lighthouse, checked out the lighthouse and the grounds and then headed over to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers memorial. It's pretty amazing actually, these two brothers, who's main claim to fame previously was building and repairing bicycles, build, and fly, the first powered and manned aircraft in 1903. Sixty six years later, John Glenn is stepping on to the moon, and carrying with him a piece of the original airplane!

An interesting 'factoid' is that the Wright Brothers didn't think the automobile would ever 'catch on', that's why they set their sights on flying machines. At one point they'd had so many problems that one of the brothers stated he didn't believe man would ever fly in the next 1000 years. Later that same year he revised his estimate to 50 years. The very next year, they actually flew!

On Sunday evening we had dinner at another restaurant that’s a favorite of the locals in Nags Head, “Sam & Omies”. It’s another seafood restaurant and bar, we had some steamed clams, a soft shell crab appetizer and a couple of great seafood entrees. The folks there were friendly, the service excellent and the food was very good!

Monday brought the actual ‘reason’ for the trip.

An old friend and business associate of mine, Mark Montgomery now lives in Edenton, NC. Mark worked for me for a few years, and is, hands down, one of, if not the best, hardware techs I've ever worked with. Shortly after I came to North Carolina on my first contract here, Mark took a job at Hobbs Implement (a John Deere Dealer) in Edenton. (Edenton by the way was the first capitol of North Carolina). He also has an Internet Service provider business Net-Change also based in Edenton. We’ve stayed in touch and exchanged technical information over the years, but unfortunately it’s at least a four hour trip to get together face to face.

We got together a few times in those early years but our contact has slipped some the over the past 7-8 years. We’d mostly email one another and make the occasional phone call to stay in touch. I was looking at Outer Banks fishing one day, on the internet, and came across a picture of Mark, another old employee/associate Rich Jeran, and Rich's son Devin. Seems they'd all been out on a charter fishing trip, and the boat captain had posted a picture of the fisherman and their catch.

I couldn't resist dropping Mark an email, congratulating him on the catch, and in general to say "Hi". We talked soon after and he told me he had plans to go out again on the 6th, so I got the time off and we made plans.

On Monday, We headed out deep sea fishing from Oregon-Inlet. The boat we chartered was the Qualifier a nearly new 60 foot boat. When we left from the inlet Monday morning the fog was extremely heavy which made our trip to the fishing waters a bit longer than normal, a little over 2 hours in all.

We had a great time on the ride though. Mark and I got caught up on personal and business experiences, and talked some about the ‘old days’ and even discussed moving my domains to his company. We also talked about web development, all the new .Net possibilities and what I saw there. He filled me in on Linux and why he prefers it for his internet servers.

In general we talked a little business because we’re both still passionate about what we do. I think the interesting thing to me, is that we both also remarked we had no idea what we’d do if we couldn’t do what we do now.

Once we hit the fishing waters though, all the talk became ‘fish talk’. Almost as soon as we put the lines out and started trolling we got our first strike! We had one or two fish on for the next couple of hours as we put 14 Yellow Fin tuna in the boat, along with one Albacore and a couple of Bonitas. We hit a slow spell again for about 45 minutes and then we had another series of strikes. We ended up the day with 17 Yellow Fin ‘in the box’ before we headed for the docks again.

The fish averaged a little less than 26 pounds each and I now have a year’s supply of Tuna steaks in the freezer!

Captain Fin got us on the fish, and his Mate Chris kept the lines baited and all of us busy for most of the day. They did a great job and I'd recommend them to anyone who asked!

This was my first off shore fishing experience, and I can tell you for sure I’ll be going again! Mark and I even talked about getting Rich to come along and the possibility of making it an annual event for the three of us (and three others as well)!

I have a number of pictures I want to post and I’m experimenting with the best way to do that, as soon as I figure it out I’ll post them all!

Now, as for the article (I know, I made you read all the way down to here!), the magazine is ‘Alamance County Magazine’, and the first article will appear in their September issue. That piece reflects on why I enjoy living in North Carolina, and specifically in Alamance County.

The article I’m working on for their October issue highlights our local regional medical facility. I often hear folks put the place down, but when I did the research before both my wife, and I, had to have surgery over the past couple of years I discovered it’s rated at the top of the charts both medically and from a management perspective as well. I’m writing an article about how great it is to have a highly ranked facility close by.

I’m very excited about becoming published. It’s been a dream of mine for more years than I can remember. My next challenge is to actually finish some short stories, and that book I’ve been trying to write and submit those as well. I’ve decided I’ll never reach my dream of ‘writing from retirement’ if I don’t at least get started!!

For those of you who might be headed to Nag’s Head, should you want to try either of the restaurants I mentioned here’s their info (I couldn’t find a web address for either of them)

Mulligan's Oceanfront Grille
2519 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959

Sam & Omie's Restaurant
7228 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959
(252) 441-7366
(252) 480-2000

Oh, one last thing. I’m not receiving, nor have I received, anything from any of these folks for mentioning their operations. The restaurants were truly great, the fishing trip was incredible and the other links I posted in case you were curious.

I have to say, I’m very much NOT looking forward to returning to work tomorrow, I could have stayed at the beach another, week (month?) or so!!

Once again, thank you all for stopping by, it was wonderful to see all of your comments on returning!!

The pics... (These are fairly large, give them time to load)

Mark - reeling one in
Matt - with a fish on
Mike - working on the big one that got away!
and one of Tom bring one in
Headed Back - to the inlet after a great day of fishing
The group with our catch of the day
The mate laying out our catch on the dock
A pic of one of the other boats on our way back in.


Trevor Record said...

Good to see you back, Bill.

I actually saw the wright brother's flyer in Washington, once upon a time. It looked so frail.

I feel really sorry for those fish. I'm such a wimp.

Firehawk said...


Sounds like you had a great long weekend. Ah...talking seafood to someone landlocked...it's cruel, man!

Quite a good fishing day, it loooked like. I enjoyed your pictures.

The way I see it, the only downside to the whole fishing think is the sunburn you know you'll get...

Bill said...

Trevor: You're exactly right, it was frail! Strips of wood with cloth coverings for the airfoil... amazing.

Honestly.. I sorta felt sorry for them too... they are so beautiful in the water... we also caught some 'Bonitas' which happens to be spanish for beautiful... they're not a 'tasty' fish so we didn't keep them... also all the big fish, Marlin, Sailfish etc. are all catch and release now... I'm going to enjoy the tuna steaks, but I would have been just as happy with a catch and release charter!

Bill said...

Firehawk: You do know you can get fresh seafood via overnight delivery... a little expensive, but if you're havin that cravin... it'll do the trick!

I'm glad you enjoyed the pics.. and.. thanks to the modern wonders of sunscreen... no burn at all!!

I got a little pink/red, but no pain!!

RealLady said...

and you didn't mention that great "t-shirt!" - too bad, guess we'll have to take off again and go buy it! lol

Bill said...

The one that said: "Please tell your boobs to quit staring at my eyes" ?? :)

You know me darlin... any excuse for a road trip!

erin said...

There used to be herds of wild horses in Corolla... I think they moved them when they extended the highway and the coast got so populated...

to Shackleford Banks?

Bill said...

The horses are still up there, but they have moved them as the area gets more and more congested...

You maybe right about where they moved them too as that area is still fairly 'sparse'

Thanks for stopping by!

Jay said...

Wow, now that's quite an adventure.

Bill said...

Jay, that was just the highlights... I barely did it justice! Thanks for stopping by!

Stranger Ken said...

... and there I am, watching it rain and writing poems ... it sounds as if you had a wonderful time and the wild horses Erin mentioned must be quite a sight. I sometimes start to dream of the kinds of food I used to eat when I lived in Asia. We have equivalents here, but they just don't hit the spot the way the real thing does.

Karyn Lyndon said...

Glad you're back! There's nothing like an ocean view to make you feel like you've been on vacation. And great "fish" story and pics, too.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Welcome back from a great (and therefore logically insubstantial) break, Bill!

Your "not looking forward to the work" line is unconvincing. I feel you champing at the bit for work...

Unfortunately, at the moment the work you want to do is not the work that you have to do. Mwauh. But, that work on the stories, the shorts, the novels, that's your horizon. I can't wait for you to get there.

Bill said...

Ken: We did have a great time, just over all too soon and back to the realities of life! The Outer Banks os definitely one of North Carolina's best kept secrets. (I often go insearch of authentic Thai or Vietnamese food... find some good, but never exactly right!

Karyn: Thanks... I could have gone on and on about the "one that got away" and it wasn't even me who was trying to reel it in... but it was easily 50% bigger than anything else!

Spirit: You've hit that one directly on the head!! If I could get paid to write stories, anywhere near what they pay me to write code, I'd be writing stories for sure!! I'll get there either way, and thanks for the vote of confidence!

Braleigh said...

14 comments!? How could I possibly bring anything fresh and new to this comment page? Anything I say would be redundant. I AM A REDUNDANCY.

Most excellent to have you back in Blogtham City- honestly, that was the best I could come up with.

Spirit Of Owl said...

Bill, fire braleigh.

Bill said...

Most excellent to be back Braleigh.. glad to know ya missed me :)

Spirit: Ya know, that's always been the cheif complaint about me as a manager... I rarely fire anyone... seems I always see their potential!

Bill said...

Oh.. and one other thing... she's worth at least twice what I pay her!

Spirit Of Owl said...

Damn, I was hoping to hire her... :)

Bill said...

Ha! I *knew* there was a plot afoot!!

Hey... Just because I'm not paranoid, doesn't mean their not out to get me!!

Kim said...

I just LOVE the outer banks! We go for ten days every summer, usually up by Corolla and Pine Island. It's our favorite vacation.

Bill said...

Thanks Kim... the 'OBX' is really one of the reasons I'd like to spend the rest of my days living in NC :)

jenbeauty said...

My family has vacationed in OBX for over 22 years now! We love the place, however, I declined to go back this year.

We are headed for Florida tomorrow and I am ready for that change.

Glad to hear about your trip.

Anonymous said...

My name is Sarah and I'm with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about the Outer Banks to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)