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Monday, June 10, 2013

Traveller's Tales 2013: Why We Do What We Do

Another year and another trip to the Outer Banks has come and gone.  

As part of my YouTube experiment, I planned on doing some vlogging for the trip, but part of me shied away from it.  Mainly, because I’m not comfortable putting my big ole ugly mug up on YouTube.  It’s bad enough you get to hear my voice.  But, also, it’s still not something I am doing around people.  I get a little self conscious around my family doing YouTube stuff.  I usually slink down into the man cave/office to do my recording because I fear the eyerolls from my wife as I do or say something goofy.   Being around 10 other people on vacation and trying to record stuff made it 10 times more embarrassing.  So, I did some quick stuff and hope to put enough together to pull it off.

That being said, I thought about my usual, post vacation, entry and came up with blanks.   I’ve already done the whole travelogue about planning and what to do when you go to the Outer Banks.   But, I never really gave the reasons for why we do what we do.  Why do we go on vacation to the Outer Banks?  Why do we go to the four wheel drive section?  Why do we do any of this?  It can be a real pain in the ass.    This set the tone for my post.

Why do we go on vacation?
Let’s face it.  The economy is what it is and money is always tight.  If it wasn’t for the merch money (shirts), I couldn’t do it.  A real helper has been the inclusion of one of my mug designs in Facebook gifts.  That boosted my profit levels to better than average summer numbers. 

Still, we usually end up spending at least $1000 on our share of a beach house.  Then there’s gas and travel money.   We spend a good deal at the grocery store for our supplies (this year’s total was around $800 for the week).  And lastly, we do the tourist trap stuff buying OBX branded stuff.  So, why spend all that money?

Well, because we are helping the economy.   That’s the bullshit answer, but it’s true.   We, the middle class, are the ones stimulating the economy.    The gas we buy, the tolls we pay, the food we eat, the rent we pay all goes towards companies that employ other middle class workers.   And when you think about it, we outnumber the higher classes.  More people means more money being pumped into the economy.  

In the end, we need the time off, from life.   Yeah, the world doesn’t go away when you do, but recharging the batteries is essential to not wanting to climb a tower with a high powered rifle.    Work is still there, more bills show up, but the memories you make on vacation are eternal and priceless.

Why do we go to the Outer Banks?
Believe me, I had the history of not ever wanting to go back to the OBX, but the good has outweighed the bad over time.   I’ve been to the city.  I’ve been to the mountains.  I’ve been to various beaches, but nothing compares to the awesomeness of raw, in your face, nature.   And, it doesn’t hurt that you’re in a beach house, ocean front.    I know that sounds a bit of a hypocrisy, but I like having the creature comforts while battling all the OBX has to offer.

Where else can you go for this much adventure?  Mother Nature actually gave the finger to the Hatteras Light, forcing them to move it further down the beach.   The ocean can be rough, but the four wheel drive section is unadulterated.  No paved roads, no commercial areas, just houses and nature and woods and beach.

Yeah, it’s a 12 hour drive but we’ve almost got it down to a science.   Coming from Pittsburgh, we’ve found ways to avoid the worst parts, like the Beltway around D.C. or the cluster that is I-95 and I-64 around Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia.   We’ve have our departure time nearly optimized to avoid the bulk of the traffic.   We leave home around 1:30 AM, get everything we need, and are ready to arrive right around 4:00 PM.   At the end of the week, we leave around 9:00 AM, avoiding a lot of the departing traffic that backs up Route 12, and 158 across the bridge.

Why the four wheel drive section?
It would be easier on us to stay in Corolla or even Nagshead, I guess.  We don’t have to travel the whole way up Route 12, stuck behind yahoos who can’t figure out where they are going.   We could avoid having to deflate our tires in order to drive onto the beach.  We could avoid getting stuck and the obligatory half hour to forty-five minute drive we face once we get out onto the beach at the end of Route 12.   We could easily stay down in the Southern Shores or somewhere else with paved roads.  We could avoid mandatory evacuation worries in the case of storms, like Tropical Storm Andrea, this past week.  Granted, we were never in any danger, but the surf did get high.  We could go to the store or out to dinner anytime we wanted.

However,  you have to walk to the beach, carrying everything you need.   You have to find a place to park, usually far from a point of entry.  You have houses right up against you.  You don’t get share your property with the beautiful wild mustangs and foxes and deer that live in the four wheel drive section.   You don’t get to drive your vehicle onto the beach and take in the view of the ocean, right outside your window.  You don’t get to pack a cooler and a chair, hop in your 4X4, drive right out to the beach, and just relax with hardly anyone around you for hundreds of feet. 

OH…That’s why!
The names have changed.  Some, gone forever.  We miss those who can’t be with us,  but with each year, something new happens and it makes for a great story.  There are new quotes we get from each other and our kids.  There are photos that just don’t happen anywhere else.    To sit and listen to the sound of the surf.  To feel your heart beat in time with the waves.  To wake up and see the sunrise off the deck of your house while drinking a cup of coffee in the morning is just enough to make me do it each year.

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