When I think of vacation, I think of laying on the beach somewhere with a drink in my hand, probably not spending a majority of the time sitting on the back of a motorcycle in the blistering August sun. But that’s what we did on our vacation this year; a total of about 1,981 miles.
Since Jake and I just recently purchased a 2015 Superior Blue Harley Davidson Road Glide, it was clearly time for another road trip on the bike. So we packed about five days worth of clothes into the tour pack and saddle bags, and hit the road. First stop Swansboro, North Carolina.
To get to Swansboro from Northern Virginia, you can take the normal route down I-95, to I-795, to US-70, with a combination of a few other roads, and BAAMM! You are in Swansboro in about six hours. But what kind of road trip vacation would this be if we didn’t go some
crazy unique route that would double the time?
Outer Banks National Scenic Byway
142.5 miles along the North Carolina coast is the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, or otherwise known as NC-12. Most of you know a good majority of this stretch of road as OBX or the Outer Banks, known for its family atmosphere and quiet beaches. However, the 21 coastal villages are what make this byway so spectacular. This route takes six and a half hours, and includes two ferries, which alone take three and a half hours.
We started out in Farnham, Virginia, as it gave us a little bit of a head start, and allowed us to miss the fuster cluck that is Northern Virginia Traffic. We hit the bridge to Duck and Kitty Hawk at about 11am, maybe a little before, and it was HOT! Mid August, on a bridge, sitting on a hot bike, with no shade for about an hour was pretty terribe, but thankfully we were able to keep the bike cool enough until we started moving again.
We traveled down through:
- Kitty Hawk
- Kill Devil Hills (the home of the Wright Brothers Memorial)
- Nags Head
- Cape Hatteras
At the end of Hatteras we came to our first ferry, a 40 minute ride across the Hatteras Inlet to Ocracoke Island. We learned here that motorcycles have priority on the ferries, so we went straight to the front of the line and waited all of 20 minutes. If you have ever waited in the line for this ferry, it is easy to sit and wait for up to an hour, depending on the weather and the season. But 20 minutes in the direct sunlight sitting on pavement is also quite hot if you’re not sitting in a car, out of the sun with the AC on high.
Once on Ocracoke, we stopped to have some lunch at a road side/waterfront restaurant called SmacNally’s Waterfront Bar & Grill before our ferry across the Ocracoke Inlet to the southern islands (picture right was our view). The food was on point! And you knew it was on point when you entered the place, because it was packed. The view was great, the drinks were delicious, and the food was oh so yummy. We have some “okay” seafood back home, but nothing beats the straight from the water, to the pot, to your mouth deliciousness that is the local seafood of a waterfront town restaurant.
Our ferry was in the afternoon, and once again motorcycles have priority on the ferries, so we didn’t have to make a reservation. But if you do decide you would like to take this two and a half hour long ferry, be sure to make your reservation well in advance or you could be out of luck.
Two hours and 45 minutes later, we landed on Cedar Island. For the last hour and a half of our drive to Swansboro, we drove down through Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, which was absolutely beautiful; on the coast for a bit where you can see Cape Lookout across the water; and through Morehead City (near Atlantic Beach).
Then FINALLY, we arrived at our first destination…
Here are more pictures from our ride down the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway…