top of page

Our trip to the Outer Banks

Over Labor Day weekend Brandon and I decided to take a *little* trip to the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina. By little, I mean a 9 hour drive there, and then a 9 hour drive back. And to be honest, I was very apprehensive about the trip and very pessimistic, which is 100% not like me. I've never been camping before, and that made me nervous. I don't like the beach on a normal day because I'm a very fair skinned person. If I don't apply sunscreen every hour, I'll turn into a lobster. So the thought of camping on a beach for three days kinda terrified me. But after people at work basically told me to stop being so negative, I finally started seeing the positive. I don't understand why I was so negative about it, but I started thinking more and more about it and got excited. I was excited to take pictures of the ocean and wide open beaches.

We left Knoxville around 7pm, and drove to North Carolina. We found a campground around midnight and set up camp. Night 1 of camping for Sarah: success.

We awoke to a child running around screaming and hollering, so we got up and went to Chick-fil-a. Yup, that's right. We went to Chick-fil-a on a camping trip. We ate our chicken minis, drank our coffee, and went on our way.

To get to the OBX, you had to take a Ferry from the mainland over to the islands. We were supposed to take the 3pm ferry, but got there at 12:30. Luckily, they had an open slot for the 1pm ride and we were able to load up the truck and go! We used Morris Marina Kabin Kamps & Ferry Service Inc with Rick and Kari, and they were wonderful. We go in and start talking to Kari and she stops us to say, "Wait, where are you two from? I need her to keep talking!" (looking at me) Apparently I had an accent to her, which is new to me. I don't have a very strong southern accent, and I didn't think North Carolina was north enough for there to be an accent. Kari said her and her sister were wanting to take a trip to Nashville and told me text her a list of the best restaurants. That would be a very long list, and I still need to do that. But if she thought I had an accent... she'll love Nashville.

So now begins our very fun, stressful, relaxing, and terrifying vacation.

(I apologize for all the scrolling you will have to do. My web host hasn't added a gallery option for blogs. Once they do, that's what I'll be updating this post to. All images were shot with my Canon 5DMarkII + 50mm 1.8 lens unless otherwise stated)

(Above: shot with iPhone 6s - nothin fancy just showing you the truck on the ferry!)

Brandon doesn't understand why I took pictures of the tall grass stuffs or the birds. But he doesn't see the beauty in it like I do. Like in the image above. Look at the top bit that's in focus and look at the detail that makes up that grass. Normal people doesn't see these type of things — but I do. I try and see beauty in it all. As for the birds? Well, JUST LOOK AT THEM! So cute and fat.

So, Brandon really needs a haircut and we meant to get him one before the trip... but we forgot. So he went to the windy beach with a head full of thick, fluffy hair. The result? See below.

What I started getting nervous about were the storms. We had storms on both sides of us, but not actually towards us. It's like we were in a bubble. I enjoyed watching the rain fall close by, and on both sides. We also saw a beautiful rainbow and it looks like you're sitting right next to the pot of gold! Unfortunately, though, the storm eventually hit us. At 2 am while we were sleeping. The wind was so hard and it sounded like multiple people kept dumping huge buckets of water on our tent. It honestly scared me. Maybe I'm just a wimp... but when I'm trapped in a small tent and it's shaking violently with a heavy downpour... yeah, my heart was racing and I have no shame admitting that.

Right side of our campsite:

So that was the right side of our camp. The left side started out looking like this:

But then, a quick rain storm came and went over there. The next time we looked over, there was this majestic, beautiful rainbow. None like you've ever seen before.

AND THEN, when we looked back over to the right (where it had been raining) WE SEE THIS BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE:

The next day, we attempted to take a trip to the Village on Portsmouth Island. Key word here is attempted. Back at the ferry, they asked Brandon if he was planning on taking us to the village, and Brandon said yes. Their next question was "are y'all married?" And when we responded that we were engaged, they both went "You ain't gonna be engaged much longer. She's gonna leave you if you take her to that village." Apparently there are a ton of mosquitos that live out near the village because of all the standing water. And for those of you who don't know me, I always get eaten alive by mosquitos. So far this summer I've had 46 bites, while Brandon has an astonishing bite count of 0. So I wasn't looking forward to that. The road to get to the village typically has about 4-8 inches of water, but they said this past week with all the rain it would have been higher. And it was. It started out fine, and it was beautiful. But then the water got so deep that it as going over the doors, the tires were completely submerged, and the bumper was pushing water. We decided to turn around and go back to prevent getting stuck or flooded. If we had a bigger lift, we probably could have made it. I took a picture of the water-road before we got in too deep, but didn't bother taking one while we were in the deep water because I was too busy praying to God that we didn't get stuck. I was a nervous wreck. Here's a picture taken with my iPhone:

That night was our last night, and it was a stressful one. I'll explain more on that at the end of the post. Before going to bed I wanted to play with some night photography. It wasn't as clear as I was hoping, and the moon was full and bright. But I still got some cool shots. I've never attempted this kind of stuff before, so I hope you enjoy it.

Canon 5DMarkII + 50mm 1.8 lens. My ISO was about 3200 for all of these shots, my f-stop ranged from 6.3-14 depending on the shot, and the shutter was open for about 25-30 seconds.

So, during our last night of camping, Brandon wakes me up saying "I can't sleep. I'm so itchy. There's a ton of small bugs in here and they're all over me..."

Wait, what? WHAT?! I have a phobia of bugs, y'all. Any bug, every bug. This is not what I wanted to hear. I debated between just ignoring him and thinking he was paranoid and turning on my flashlight to investigate. But then I got "paranoid" and started feeling bugs, so I turned out my flashlight.

And I lost my shit.

Small. Little. Bugs. EVERYWHERE! Most of them looked like gnats. Tiny and black with wings. I also think there were some fleas in there because because I now have over 20 bites on my arms and bites all over my legs that resemble flea bites. They didn't look like sand fleas and they were too small to be sand fleas. They were small enough to come in through the mesh screen! I don't really know what they heck they were but I did not sleep that night. We both jumped out of the tent and tried to air it out. We sprayed ourselves with a can of bug spray and drove to another location. There will still some in the tent, but I think the bug spray kept them away from us for the rest of the night...

As I'm writing this, it's been two weeks since that trip, and I still get sick to my stomach and my heart starts racing when I think about that night and all those bugs. It was bad. So bad. And Brandon does not have a single freakin' bite on him! I just counted 22 on only my left arm.

Speaking of bugs, there were also a lot of greenhead biting flies over there. And those suckers HUUURT when they bite. Bug spray didn't keep them off of us. The black flies also bite, but those greenhead flies hurt soooo bad.

So my tip for anyone who plans on camping at the OBX: take lots and lots and lots of bug spray. And if you're like me where all the bugs only want your blood... might as well put yourself in a bubble for the trip.