Normally this time of year, I am pumping up my tires, lubing my chain and slipping in to some lycra in preparation for the Pisgah Stage Race. Not this year. I've done that race 10 years in a row, the first 10 editions. I love that race, but it was time for a change.
I found a windsurf race on the Outer Banks and signed up for that. Windsurfing is in my blood. I made plans, made campground reservations and finally headed out. My plan was simple. Drive to Cedar Island, camp. Catch the ferry to Ocracoke, spend the afternoon there and camp. Then drive to Avon for the next 2-3 days camping there.
I was impressed that I actually made a plan and was going to stick to it. I usually make plans and then try to make better plans, which results in a lot of stress. Self induced stress. This time was different. I was determined to stick to the plan...... until I arrived at Cedar Island at 4:10pm.
When I pulled up to the Cedar Island Campground, there was a line of cars and a ferry waiting. I didn't realize there was a 4:30pm ferry to Ocracoke. I confirmed with the ticket lady, paid my dues and got in line. So much for sticking to my plan.
Then I called Teeter's Campground to find out if they had a spot for me. They did and I reserved it.
The following night, I was planning to camp at the NPS campground that is a couple of miles out of town. But, Teeter's is right in town, and after a full day of windsurfing, I decided to stay put. I could get my camp set up and then ride my bike to get dinner and the local brewery. Then for breakfast, I would ride my bike to Graceful Bakery for some delicious baked goods and coffee. Perfect.
Friday dawned, and the inner struggle began. I was in a perfect location, with the perfect set up, why bother driving north 2 hrs, when I could spend the time on the water? Do I really want to race? Stand around in the parking lot with everyone eyeballing each other's gear, racing and challenging before the race even started? Is that why I was here? No, I just wanted to have fun. Did I really want to share the water with 300 other sailors? While that would be cool to see...... not really. The struggle raged on all day and into Saturday morning. But after eating a fresh scone and drinking some coffee, I knew the answer.
I went back to the camp ground and paid for two more nights. Seriously a no brainer. It turned out to be one of the best, most satisfying decisions I have made for myself in a long time.
The wind was great for four days in a row. I spent time building my confidence. Gradually working my way from my longboard, which offers more stability, down to my little short wave board, which is less stable but way more maneuverable and fun to jump and carve. Each day, I spent as my time on the water as I could.
I spent the time soaking up every moment. I sailed all over the sound around Ocracoke. On one day the wind shifted, which allowed me to sail back and forth on a 4 mile reach.
Each day started with a bike ride to the bakery. I ate my breakfast by the harbor, Silver Lake before heading back to camp. I then packed up the roof top tent (which now takes about 5 minutes) and then head to Teaches Hole, where Blackbeard enjoyed anchoring his ship after raids. Morning session lasted a couple of hours before heading back to the truck for some good old fashioned PB & J. Then a leisurely drive on the beach to watch fishermen.
Back to Teaches Hole for a couple more hours of the fun stuff. I usually stayed out until I got really hungry, or until something started cramping. One time my index finger cramped, not all curled up, but stuck straight out. odd.
After getting loaded up each evening, I headed back to camp, set up the roof top tent, (another 5 minutes) showered using the amazing outdoor shower, then head of to dinner. Taco truck, Dajio's woodfired pizza, Howard's pub became favorites.
After dinner, I rode my bike to watch the sunset. After sunset, I headed over to 1718 Brewey for a beer and a tasty snack from the kitchen. Chatting with other folks and people watching. Often more entertaining that tv.
When the time felt right, I headed back to camp and went to bed of hung out chatting with neighbors for a bit.
There are so many amazing places to go and see in the country, and world. But at this point, I'm content using my resources to visit this island and enjoy the simplicity it has to offer.
I have spent the first quarter of 2019 trying to simplify my life and I'm on the right track. This trip has definitely helped give me new insight and desire to continue simplifying!
Until next time, Ocracoke!