2/10 of my discoveries in the US
A 4 wheel drive on the beach — Outer Banks, North Carolina
Some of my German Friends will throw up their hands in horror and some of them will be delighted. I never thought that this would exist or even would be possible. “A 4 wheel drive on the beach”. Not just for some minutes. No. This drive can take you easily more than one hour. And where do you find this scenic drive on the beach? On “The Outer Banks”, briefly OBX. You can find a lot of off road areas throughout the US by the way. Which I hadn’t known. This one on the Outer Banks had been my very first experience. Lucky us, that we had our VW Touareg with us. This is definitely an area for SuV’s. The Outer Banks (OBX) is a 200-mile-long (320 km) string of narrow peninsulas off the coast of North Carolina on the east coast of the United States. The most impressive of the Outer Banks is the wide expanse of the open beach fronts which gives you the feeling of endless beach. Fantastic, high quality sand and water. A total different ball game compared to most of the european beaches that are packed with tents and people.
You find the 4 wheel drive area at Currituc Wildlife Refuge which is located at the North end of the Corolla Island, a few miles from the Currituc Beach Lighthouse. Here Corolla’s famous wild horses have a safe 1,800 acre haven. You can only enter the refuge on foot or via 4 wheel drive vehicles over a cattle guard. Before you enter the area big signs tell you that you are not allowed to park anywhere and that you should keep a minimum 50 meter distance to the horses.
Shortly after the guard we had been scared by huge sand pits and deep tire marks. Would we be capable to pass them or would we get stuck? We had reduced the tire pressure from 38 pounds per inch down to 25 to achieve more stability on the ground. There exists a very small parking lot shortly before the area where you find all people doing the same. Deflating power of the tire pressure.
Germans love to avoid any uncertainty, so we had been prepared. I collected the telephone number of a towing service that picks up stucked people even at 2 am in the morning. We had a shovel and a board. Just in case. We did not need anything of it at all, of course.
After we had passed the area of sand pits we could easily drive on the beach. A never ending horizon in front of us was opening up, giving us the feeling that this beach would never end. Directly to our right we found the sea with it’s waves a throw apart. And looking on the left we had a fantastic view over the dunes. Far away we could see some houses. When we came closer we recognized that this had been vacation houses. No streets, only sand. But power supply lines and swimingpools. And signs telling visitors that horses are welcome but not you with the idea of parking your car. No infrastructure, no shops, no grocery stores, no gas station, just nothing. Only houses and horses.
According to Dr. Beach the Outer Banks are offering some of the best beaches of the whole country. He is the Beach Doctor of the US, evaluating the beaches of the country in his lab and publishing his recommendations every year before summer vacation.
Beside the beaches, great restaurants, and offering almost all watersport opportunities there is one important additional add on. The brothers Wright. They wrote history and changed the world . Wind, sand, and a dream of flight brought Wilbur and Orville Wright to Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks where, after four years of scientific experimentation, they achieved the first successful airplane flights on December 17, 1903. You can visit this historic place and you can try it out how it felt to fly at this time.