Today was the day I planned to walk to 6-Mile Bridge. Twice before I tried and failed.
All the trash has been removed from SR 12. DOT crews have built new "berms" (high piles of sand intended to be a wall against Atlantic Ocean waters from entering and flooding RODANTHE) along SR 12.
The lake in front of this home use to be a front yard and parking lot - before Hurricane IRENE sent walls of PAMLICO waters crashing their way through the above neighborhood, eroding away concrete driveways and sand all the way through SR 12 and on to the ATLANTIC OCEAN.
On the ATLANTIC OCEAN side of SR 12, DOT has built a new berm BEHIND the row of beach homes. All four of these homes recently had a long way to walk to the beach...because of IRENE and years of erosion, culminating in IRENE, ocean waters have taken massive amounts of sand away leaving all four homes sitting well off shore...
Karen's previous Summer Home was swept off this same beach a few years ago by the Atlantic Ocean...the waters simply gobbled up her entire home; i.e., the name of her present Summer Home "DEJA VU".
Meanwhile, back on the PAMLICO SOUND side of SR 12, the flood waters are receding, leaving nearly a dozen homes inaccessible...all the "land" once surrounding these homes having been washed out to sea...this section was cut completely through to the ocean, causing SR 12 to be rebuilt. The rebuilding was completed before I arrived on the scene.
How, one may ask, can so much destruction happen so far inland...so, I will explain:
Looking at a map of the area, one sees the OUTER BANKS are a good 20 miles off shore from the mainland. When Hurricane IRENE arrived, the "EYE" travelled along the shore of the mainland (20 miles West of the OUTER BANKS).
Karen's "Family" home - the one I visited last week - is in COLUMBIA, which took a near direct hit from the EYE of IRENE...everyone in COLUMBIA was evacuated...many properties, including Karen's, were flooded.
As the EYE moved North, it's winds spinning COUNTER CLOCKWISE (see Wikipedia "Coriolis Effect"), the waters were sucked out of shallow PAMLICO SOUND... driven far inland over the mainland. As the EYE churned past, the winds changed direction, sucking the waters from the flooded mainland, sending a wall of water...not unlike a Tsunami...crashing ashore on the OUTER BANKS 20 miles to the East.
The OUTER BANKS, about a foot or two above the normal water level of PAMLICO SOUND, have NO DEFENCES ON THE PAMLICO SOUND SIDE. The Tsunami-like waves broke over the entire island, cutting through to the ATLANTIC OCEAN at RODANTHE and at 6-MILE BRIDGE, leaving standing water at DEJA VU 5 feet deep.
The RODANTHE "Cut" was, unfortunately directly under the above homes.
I took the above photographs as I made my THIRD attempt to walk to 6 MILE BRIDGE.
The morning was calm (no wind) and clear (no clouds). I made good time the first two miles. Then disaster struck.
Up from roadside ditches rose clouds of mosquitoes. My clothing covered every part of me except my face and part of my neck. I fought them for another 2.5 miles, and was losing. They attacked in squadrons...6 or 7 at a time, biting my face time and time again.
1.5 miles short of 6-MILE BRIDGE, I surrendered and turned around, heading back to RODANTHE. Under constant attack, I finally put out my thumb. The third vehicle stopped...I jumped in and slammed the door...even so, three or four critters followed me in.
Allen, my rescuer, said there is only ONE Insect Repellent effective on the 1/2 inch mosquitoes of the OUTER BANKS..."JUNGLE FORMULA", which was available only at the ICE HOUSE in BUXTON. I knew the ICE HOUSE from my walk to BUXTON two days ago.
I thanked Allen...a DOT employee, as he let me out at WIMBLE SHOALS, DEJA VU's street. I immediatele drove SPIA the 22 miles to BUXTON...only to be told>>>...
by the Owner, Steve Groves, that he was totally sold out.
Please say HELLO to Steve.
Steve agreed with Allen; only JUNGLE SPRAY was effective on local mosquitoes, which is the only spray used by local Linemen - guys who work up on those telephone poles.
Explaining to Steve my dire need for an effective mosquito spray, Steve said, "Perhaps I can come up with an overlooked a can "...as he got out of his store side chair and disappeared into his store. A minute or two later, Steve returned with the can in the above photo, explaining..."...several guys know I have this one can, but I was saving it for myself. You need it more than I do, so it's yours"...handing me the treasured can of JUNGLE SPRAY.
Having made one more friend, I eagerly paid the $10.00, thanked Steve, took his picture, jumped into SPIA, rushed back to HAPPY CLAM, parked, dressed, applied a liberal amount of JUNGLE SPRAY to my face and clothing, and set out once again for 6-MILE BRIDGE.
An hour and half later, having moved along at better than 4 mph, I walked into the above scene...6-MILE BRIDGE.
As I under stand it, before Hurricane IRENE, this was a narrow stretch of island, but without any water passing from the ATLANTIC OCEAN to PAMLICO SOUND. The following photos tell a different story.
As with RODANTHE, the break was in more than one spot. The Southern portion of the break was back-filled., with a new section of SR 12 paved over to form the approach to the new bridge.
The main break is large with a swift current flowing back and forth as the Ocean Tides change.
The bridge appears to be a "Bailey" - or similar bridge, which is only temporary.
The bridge is NARROW, decked with 3 by 6-foot steel plates securely bolted down.
The sides are lattice construction using treated (galvanized ?) steel beams. The construction is good. I walked across the bridge two times. Passing vehicles did not make the bridge move.
Not visible to vehicles, the view is quite nice.
Looking at the bridge from the North side. The sand on the left is a back-fill behind steel plates interlocked together in Coffer Dam type construction...GOOGLE "Coffer Dam".
Not much room between lanes.
I had a kick walking across facing oncoming traffic.
Please note the aluminum CARRIER on the front of the above vehicle.
Every third vehicle on the OUTER BANKS has such a carrier, which are manufactured locally. A number of designs are available costing from $100 to $300, Trailer Hitch not included.
I would dearly love such a carrier for SPIA to carry a spare Propane Tank and can of Gasoline for the up-coming crossing of America on US 2, where it is desolate and will be COLD.
On my tippy toes, got this shot over the bridge side girders. The view clearly shows both banks of 6-MILE INLET and folks out on the ATLANTIC OCEAN beaches.
Trying his luck under the bridge, I asked:..."hows the fishing?"...to which he replied..."Fishing is great...catch'n is not so hot, tho...".
And, so it goes.
The South side of 6-MILE INLET washed away great swaths of sand and paved areas.
I walked nearly 14 miles out and back with nary a mosquito bite. Arriving in RODANTHE, I removed one glove and was instantly bitten by two of the critters. One - or perhaps two - mosquitoes sneaked into SPIA. Creating this blog, I have received bites on my neck, shoulder, back and left foot...and I must sleep with those vampires lurking...waiting for my exposed nose, foot or hand.
OUTER BANKS are nice, but . . . . .