First Flight at Kill Devil Hill, and broken toes

Before we left Kinston, Randy made some wonderful date nut bread to share with our new neighbors, and for a change, he decided to share his recipe, right here! Neuseway Nature Park turned out to be a great place to stay while we waited for it to get a little warmer up North. That didn't happen - it's still cold up there - but it's time to get moving again so yesterday we started North. Along the way we drove over a river with an unusual foam pattern of long stripes. They weren't following the waves, so we don't know what caused them.
Randy drove us to the North River Campground, which offers full-hookup and a beautiful catch-and-release lake. There is a wildlife preserve nearby so we have been looking for black bears, but haven't seen any yet. After we checked in, we drove into Elizabeth City, which is the nearest sizable town, and got lunch at Famous Franks. They had a Monday special of $1 for a chili dog, so we had a great lunch! So far, so good. But around 5:30 when Randy took Shorty out, Shorty sort of twisted on his right front leg and started yelping, loud and long. He quit yelping soon but he wouldn't put any weight on his leg, and his foot seemed to be particularly sensitive. I checked on the internet but could not find a vet open, so we gave him half of a low-dose aspirin and Randy held an ice pack on his foot. And then, just as it started to get dark outside, our power went off. Randy did some checking but it's hard to see everything important by flashlight, so finally he just ran an extension cord from the outside 110 power to our refrigerator, and we spent the night without heat.

Today we needed a better day, and we got one. I found a vet that could get us in by 8:30, and we learned that Shorty has a hair-line fracture across a couple of his toes. They do not cast or wrap broken toes, so the vet, who we liked very much, gave us some pain medication for Shorty. We have to curtail his activity level for 6 weeks, which isn't too hard right hard but as soon as he starts feeling better, it will be a challenge!

Next Randy took our big outside power cord apart, found the problem, and fixed it. Our radio clock and small fan got fried last night, but everything else works fine.

Finally we were ready to relax a bit. We gave Shorty his pain meds, put him in his kennel, left Julienne in charge (Missy was napping), and took off. I always associated the first flight with Kitty Hawk, but it actually took place at nearby Kill Devil Hill on the Outer Banks. The Wright brothers needed to do a lot of glider tests first, and this area offered them slopes without trees or bushes, plus soft landings. 

In 1928 a big monument was dedicated to these first flights. It sits high up on a hill, with an attractive design that looks like a sun-burst or wingspan.

Something that made an impression on me is a photo of Orville Wright with Amelia Earhart (plus Senator Bingham), at the ceremony to unveil the monument. It amazes me, how many changes occurred in this one man's lifetime - from the first 12 second flight, to flying around the world! And even more - Orville was alive when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947!

Behind the monument, down the hill, is a life-size sculpture of the plane with Orville Wright on it, Wilbur Wright cheering him on, plus three workers and the photographer. It's an amazing, detailed sculpture, and so accessible that children can touch it.
And on this flight, Orville had a passenger!
There is a good museum on the grounds, too. It holds an exact reproduction of their 1902 glider and 1903 plane, plus a lot of their original equipment. I learned a lot here. I have seen so many goofy films of other early efforts at flight that I missed the point. The Wrights didn't get lucky and they weren't just in the right place at the right time. They did an ton of research and development. They tested existing theories and developed new ones. They made models of almost everything and tested them in a model wind tunnel they built. They made about 1,000 glider flights to found what materials worked and what didn't. So at the end of it, it didn't just work; they knew exactly why it worked. And they knew they were making history. They kept detailed notes on everything and took photographs, not just of the flight, but of their daily life as they worked there. They made four flights that day; the first 3 went from 120 feet to 175 feet. But the 4th flight went over 4 times that, to 852 feet. There are markers now at the end of each flight; the first three are grouped together, but the last one is waaaay out there.We enjoyed this visit a lot, and then topped it off with an early dinner at BK Schuckers - oysters and nachos. 

Four years ago: Yosemite is always beautiful

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