Kayla felt herself being shaken awake in the front seat of the Viper.
“Cheap, non-scary, we’re all checked in,” Danny said. “You just need to go in and walk down the hall.”
When she woke up there was a cappuccino and a croissant on the table next to her. “Morning. There’s a pretty good bakery down the street,” Danny said, maneuvering on his iPhone. “How do you feel about lighthouses?”
She sat up and sipped her cappuccino. “Um, OK in general, I guess. Beats having the ships crash.”
He rolled his eyes. “There’s a really cool lighthouse tour called the Outer Banks. We can drive down the coast and see like seven of them.”
“What about the quarter?”
“Who rules, people or little bits of metal?”
She had to agree, and insisted on her turn at the wheel.
Most of the ride was uneventful, but Danny briefly reverted to boyhood. “Ooh! Gravedigger!” he shouted as they neared Currituck.
He wasn’t kidding. It was the home of the legendary monster truck. “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!” he boomed in his best announcer voice. “Ten minutes. Please?”
“It’s not open until Memorial Day,” she read off the billboard. “You’ll have to come back with some other way indulgent friend.”
He eyed her carefully and said, “Maybe you’ll still be around.”
She snorted. “One: Unlikely. Or perhaps you’d like to read my huge pile of charts again. Two: If I am, the Diggers Dungeon gift shop isn’t high on my list.”
“You never did like shopping,” he said. “But I really need a Gravedigger T-shirt.”
They stopped at Currituck BBQ Company for takeout lunches to eat on the beach. They weren’t planning to swim, but politely listened to the warnings about rip current and backwash currents anyway.
Those warnings were repeated when they got to Currituck Beach Light Station, where they ate lunch then prowled through the lighthouse and other buildings. One of the guides recommended a more scenic drive to the next stop, Bodie Island, using the old Highway 12 at a slower pace along the ocean.
“It’s like I imagine driving in southern California would be, except on the wrong coast,” Kayla said. “I really want to go to California and do this.”
Bodie Island had great bird observation decks, so they picked up an Audubon guide in the bookstore at the keepers’ quarters. “Binoculars might have helped,” Danny said, squinting at something brown hopping on the sand.
“Are we going to see all these lighthouses?” Kayla asked, poking at the iPhone. “We’re burning daylight, and how different can seven lighthouses look?”
“Different enough they make calendars of them,” he pointed out.
The next chapter was guided by these answers:
Should they see all the lighthouses on the Outer Banks tour?
72 votes went like this:
Yes: 26.39 percent (19 votes)
Yes, except the one that’s just ruins: 9.72 percent (7 votes)
No: 63.89 percent (46 votes)
Should they stay in North Carolina tonight?
66 votes went like this:
Yes: 43.94 percent (29 votes)
No; drive through: 56.06 percent (37 votes)
Which state is next?
64 votes went like this:
South Carolina: 31.25 percent (20 votes)
Georgia: 35.94 percent (23 votes)
Tennessee: 32.81 percent (21 votes)
Should someone else join them in the next few days?
65 votes went like this:
Yes, her mother: 21.54 percent (14 votes)
Yes, one or more of her friends: 9.23 percent (6 votes)
Yes, someone Danny knows: 7.69 percent (5 votes)
Yes, someone they meet on the way: 21.54 percent (14 votes)
No: 40 percent (26 votes)
This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.