Once upon a time we lived in Raleigh. Many a Sunday we drove to Atlantic beaches near Kitty Hawk, Wilmington, or Topsail to stroll and beach comb (I once found a dollar), and then enjoy a waterside lunch. After the drive back you’d have enough daylight left to mow the lawn, given the will. Topsail is considerably closer than the Cape Hatteras Seashore, which begins just south of Nag’s Head, NC, and we only got that far once. On that trip we slept at a B&B owned by a retired New York cop who, in addition to being bored with his property, wouldn’t tell us any police stories. Four days at the National Park Service’s Oregon Inlet campground felt like a fine idea. Kat booked our reservations, and off a-drivin’ we went.
Some parks advise their visitors to bring lots of insect repellent. Others warn you about extreme winter or summer weather. Hatteras Seashore does none of that, but what the hey, we used to be Tarheels. We know that country. You don’t need to tell us nothin’.
Wrong-o, buffalo! Kat shoe-horned our 28’ Airstream into a 10’ by 45’ strip of asphalt and I leashed up Pink for a comfort walk. About four steps into that walk she was limping. Could it be a piece of glass? I felt around her foot and got stuck by a hateful cocklebur. Once it was out of her foot she was fine for a couple more steps when she found another one, once again the hard way. I kept her on the pavement long enough to transact her business, then carried her to the trailer over the grass. We unhitched the Sled and meticulously parked it completely on asphalt. I locked up the bicycles, set the stabilizer jacks, and put out an all-weather carpet to block the burrs closest to our door. This took maybe fifteen minutes, and after our three hour drive, it dang well felt like Miller Time.
That’s when I noticed my sandals walked funny. There were 60 burrs imbedded in the soft rubber soles. You can’t ignore them – they will come off on your carpet and lie in wait for a bite of instep or toe meat. I used pliers to extract them from my Tevas. We tried to protect Pinkie’s feet with socks and duct tape, then just duct tape, both with limited success. We bought her two pairs of PetSmart dog shoes, but they fit worse than Army underwear and kept slipping off. A neighbor whom The Mayor had befriended on the subject of burrs gave us a set of doggy balloon shoes that worked like a charm. Hoo-ray for The Mayor!
We found a wide selection of fresh fish at Austin Seafood in Nag’s Head, and fried a nice batch of grouper fingers and hush puppies. Food Lion had a sale on shrimp and they made a green curry so good I licked the cold skillet. Aside from the local seafood, we cannot recommend the Oregon Inlet campground. The burrs are just that nasty.