Forty years ago today I was on Ocracoke Island watching Neil Armstrong step on the moon. I had been camping down the island, and just in time to catch the lunar landing, I checked into Ocracoke's only motel.
It was a neat spot to be for the first step on the moon. I have this great picture of the Outer Banks taken from space hanging in our home. It reminds me of where I was for Apollo 11 each time that I see it.
Now when I look back on it, I amazed at how much freedom I had as a college student. I was a sophomore in college. I had just missed a semester from illness and given myself a recovery plan of alternating camping trips to the mountains and the beach.
I suspect that I made five or six treks to Ocracoke that summer. Each time I spent a week enjoying the sun and surf. I would haul back some fresh fish and shrimp for the family, and everyone would be happy.
Then I would head down the Blueridge Parkway and find a nice cool mountain lake to camp beside. I often would catch enough trout to eat. It was a magical summer that will always have a special place in my memories.
At the time Ocracoke was an almost undiscovered beach paradise. Even the Route 12 down the Outer Banks had very homes compared today. The beach has changed a lot in forty years.
Another of my trips down to the coast was with my Uncle Austin. We took my four wheel drive Bronco down the beaches to fish at the Point. In 1969 that was the only way to get there.
There was no bridge on which to get stuck in traffic so I could take pictures.
The Cameron Langston Bridge to Emerald Isle was not even dedicated until 1971.
I wonder how many of the large sandcastle homes will still be standing forty years from now?
Building a real sandcastle like the one at the Pine Knoll Shore Aquarium is an impressive feat.
Taking a man to the moon and back is something for the ages.