Turns out they were and they did -- in North Carolina.
Pam and I took another druve from our campgrounds just inside the southern Virginia border. Google maps said were only 47 miles from Kill Devil Hills and we took a drive down there. We not only saw the National Memorial site at Kitty Hawk, but also had a nice lunch and did some shopping. It made for a very nice middle-of-the-week day trip.
We drove up to the memorial site and found the visitor's center to be under renovation.
I found this tidbit particularly interesting since I was born at Chanute AFB, in Rantoul, Illinois. I don't know why, but I never looked up the significance of that name or why the AFB was named after him. Now I know.
They picked the Kill Devils Hills area for their research and tests based on information from the U.S. Weather Bureau that described the high hills and good winds. They visited Kill Devil Hills, NC from their home in Dayton Ohio in 1900.
From that point they regularly returned during the next four years. They conducted months of testing and learning about glider flying as they developed their thinking on wing design and mechanics.
Finally, in December 1903, they were ready to fly the plane. Their first attempt on December 14 did not go too well and some repairs were necessary. Then, three days later, they got the results they hope for. They produced powered flight four times. Adjustments were made after each flight and they knew they were on their way.
The National Memorial grounds are laid out to show the high point of the area where they launched over a thousand glider flights leading up to their first four powered flights.
- First flight: lasted 12 seconds, went 120 feet
- Second flight: 12 seconds, 175 feet
- Third flight: 15 seconds, 200 feet
- Fourth flight: 59 seconds, 852 feet
At the other end of the grounds was a memorial on top of the high dune in the area. Since the Wright Brother's arrival in 1900, the whole area was planted with grass to preserve dunes. The site was designated for commemoration in 1927 by Calvin Coolidge and it was dedicated in 1932.
After seeing the memorial, we found a great place to have lunch:
Though it was a bit of an overcast day, we enjoyed it. Our server, Hristina, added to our time there.
We arrived before the lunch crowd rush and had a few minutes to chat with her. She's a summer worker from Macedonia with a very friendly way and told about her home country and life back there. She's a graduate student and is in law school and has been coming to the Outer Banks for the last three summers.
Next on the agenda was a stop at the Outlet Stores. We don't often find bargins or things that we can't do with out but we did manage to get a new wallet and handbag.
We also made stops at Starbucks and Walmart before the drive back and it was another great day trip.
Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!