This will be short and sweet, PechaKucha style (*just a bit longer :).
So last week I took vacation, bordered by the weekends on both ends in DC. Monday, Tiera and I headed down to the Outer Banks, long roads with the radio on, until we crossed the bridge into Kitty Hawk. We stopped for the first time (5.5 hours!) for a bathroom break and the infamous Duck Donuts (I got the special, "Beach" - vanilla icing with cinnamon sugar sand - she got maple bacon), and then turned onto NC 12, the much narrower road down the middle of the Outer Banks. About then it started to rain, just drippy, but still rain. We camped in Rodanthe that night, right on the water.
Hanging out in the tent until the rain stopped.
Front row view to watch a local guy unfurl the sails on this cutie and take an evening sail.
Just beautiful, and still. A great evening. A taste of island life ... all the local men had blonde hair to their shoulders, board shorts, and no shoes. A fifteen year old of the same style was trying to catch crabs in the shallows while his older brothers took the boats out. Is this what summer nights look like if you live here?
Time to disconnect. Also, I dearly love showering outside ... it just makes you feel so alive! Stars overhead, cold water coming down. Brings back great memories from months in South Caicos.
The next morning, all packed up and ready to go on our bikes. Had to check out of the campsite so didn't get on the road until 9, and unfortunately already pretty hot.
Through the towns of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo, then an open stretch .... just miles and miles of pavement, grass, and water on both sides.
It was hot! We stopped for a swim.
Then decided with the heat and our packs, we didn't want to be without a car for the next two days. So I biked back (packless) to get the car, and we continued on to Avon. With some smoothies and about 10 minutes of AC, we decided to get on the water.
Got some stand up paddleboards, were assured they wouldn't ruin my car, and headed to Canadian Hole to try them out. The water was GREAT, refreshing and with shallow spots so you could see the sea grass right beneath the boards.
Caught the last rays of sunset at the bay and watched the moon come out.
Picked up burgers from a local favorite and took them to the pier to eat dinner. Which was a real treat. The stars were so clear, could see bonfires glowing across the sand, could hear laughing and music and see tiki torches of a luau just up the beach.
More fires glow on this side of the pier, the archetypal Outer Banks stilt houses bordering the ocean stretch.
The pier became a hive of activity at nightfall, when all the locals (and some tourists) came out to fish. That night someone caught a shark, and later a stingray that we saw them gingerly unhook and throw back - a twenty-five foot slap back into the dark water. After a few moments of confusion, the gray body glided back out to sea.
We made the next morning an early one, rising to see the sunrise from the pier.
Quiet light over a sandy strip that sees so many footprints during the day.
Then we took off on our bikes for Hatteras, the southern tip of OBX, to see the Cape Hatteras lighthouse before it got too hot.
It was still hot. Even though it was only about 7:30 by the time we got there.
After a return bike trip and quick shower, we treated ourselves to breakfast at Cafe Pamlico - an adorable place on the Pamlico Sound.
This is vacation at its finest.
Then headed out on the ferry to Ocracoke, the island south of Hatteras. An hour ferry ride, a drive to the center of town - about 10 miles in, a used bookstore, a wander through town, some milkshakes, and a few hours later we were heading back.
Outer Banks houses: three or four story beauties, built so every room gets a view of the ocean or the sound or both. Surrounded by waving beach grass and water, just water, on both sides.
That night we camped in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which was BEAUTIFUL. We pitched the tent against a wood clearing and a few yards away was a boardwalk out to the sand.
The views were stunning and the ocean was mostly deserted, just a few others enjoying some peace.
A campfire on the beach, some hot dogs and s'mores and stargazing.
Also, a hatching turtle nest just a few hundred yards down the beach. We put the fire out before it got too late so we wouldn't confuse any baby turtles which way the light was.
Under the wide open sky. Photos just cannot do justice to God's work in the stars.
The next morning, exploring one more pier along NC 12 on our way back up to Nag's Head.
Had a great stop in Kill Devil Hills to see the Wright Brothers museum and hear an inspiring park ranger talk about doing what we feel called to do, even when others tell us its impossible. It's people who are crazy and believe that move the world forward.
Then some fish tacos for lunch, a must, and kept driving the beautiful ocean road north. We went as far as Duck, so we could get some Duck Donuts for the road at the original, and then headed back to the bridge crossing into North Carolina mainland.
Duck Donuts are delicious, made fresh for you and in any combination of flavors imaginable.
This is one of the roads you must take before you die. (Google it -- I'm not the only one who thinks so.)
And we did it. A (hot) adventure, but adventure for sure, was a ton of fun and a beautiful week.
Last week I flew into Chicago early on Monday morning and then worked from the city for the day (with a lunch break at the Bean of course). At 6, I met Tiera on the train back to her apartment and we set off for Missouri ... a 5 hour drive.
Here we have just stopped for dinner and are doing pretty good. A few hours later and I could not even keep my eyes open, Tiera was gracious enough to tell me it was ok to sleep. I fail at co-piloting.
Welcome to Sikeston ... where the Unilever plant is (below) that I'll be working in
That night, Tiera and I met Victoria Stoll for pork/bacon/apple/feta flatbread. God, as always, knows what He's doing and Victoria is a single sister from Winthrop that just moved to St. Louis as well. We are excited to form the St. Louis SG at least from the sisters perspective, and to have fellow adventure-buddies to explore this new state. I am beyond thankful to have her even though we don't know each other at all yet, besides the stories of how we both felt led to end up here.
The next morning, Tori and I went out for brunch in St. Louis and did a bit of exploring -- finding many new things we plan to see and do when I move to MO in a month. It is a little unsettling to have my now-familiar CT moved from under me and be faced with building new relationships and getting to know a new church family, but I know God will walk me through it - just like last time. My last night at Tori's (for now!), I had an overwhelming peace from God to just be what others need right now, and He will provide what I need. So that is what my prayer and aim will be.
Fast forward to July 4th and my parents and Kyla came out for a visit. The way holidays worked this year, I only had to take a three days off to get the entire week to bum around the east coast with my family. We headed down to Philly to be with Ben's for the fourth, had a blast doing "Wiegand" things like play word games, go on walks, have outside competitions, and drink Cokes. The west-coasters were initiated to an east-coast fourth-of-July favorite of going to parades ... Monday we went to not one, but TWO town parades and cheered on quite a few marching bands and hot firefighters ... it was pretty warm to be in full gear.
We left on Tuesday to drive up to the Cape for the evening and get ready for our ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard the next morning. And then we had the week in MV for vacation, read: to be lazy. We stayed in an adorable lofted airBnB called appropriately the "Brick Barn" and did some exploring of Menemsha and the fish market, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs. One day we did a hike in Chilmark and then Dad and I took an afternoon bike ride between the towns.
My dear sis and I
Cute center of Oak Bluffs
the Brick Barn
various evening sunsets
Hiking out to the Chilmark coast
Fishermen in Menemsha unload their lobsters
Biking across the island
a cloudy farewell to MV as we boarded the ferry back
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.