Sunday, February 26, 2012

Permit & Model A

On Saturday morning I gathered together the registration certificate for my 1994 Ford pickup truck, my driver's license, and my checkbook, and headed to the National Park Service building to get my beach driving permit. All of the rangers there were pleasant and cordial. I asked about responses to the new regulations. I was told that the Park Service has issued about 100 permits so far, almost all of them annual permits. Of course, some people complained about the fees, but apparently everyone has been civil.

With my permit affixed to the windshield, I got David and Lachlan, and we went for a scud down to South Point. It was a perfectly beautiful winter day with colors that seem to appear only on chilly, windy days. We saw only two other vehicles -- one neighbor, and a couple from Virginia, bundled up for protection from the wind, doing some surf fishing.

Back in the village we stopped at the Post Office to check our mail. That's where we met Tom Wright who has restored a 1929 Model A Ford, and who drives it around the village. He offered to take us for a ride. What a fun time we had. Tom showed us how to advance the spark, choke the carburetor, turn the key, then press the starter button. The engine jumped to life and we toured the village. Tom blew the horn for us, showed us the gauges, and propped open the windshield (1929 air conditioning, he called it). On the way to the air strip we managed to accelerate to 45 mph, but we could hardly hear each other talk because the engine was so loud.

Back at the Post Office Lachlan thanked Tom and pronounced the adventure "awesome."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Civil War on the Outer Banks, Josephus Daniels, Jr, Secretary of the Navy during WWI, and his connection to Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Aaahhh-ooohhh-gaaahhh.

    Love that horn.

  2. Debbie Leonard8:22 AM

    How much is a temporary permit to drive on the beach?

  3. Anonymous9:11 AM

    When a public entity seeks to charge users for the access/ service there is a hue and cry. it seems to me that no doubt a portion of the fees is allocated to maintain the beach;in that a fund --to clear items from storm damage exists in the budget... no doubt there are published reports to indicate the exact allocation and disbursement of the monies. Private clubs- golf country,swim,hunt,etc charge a membership fee. a Non profit org such a ymca is considered non profit as it does not have shareholders to which dividends are paid --- money left over after operating expenses are paid then go to say expansion or salary pay raises!! What a country.

  4. Debbie, the NPS issues two types of permits. 7 day permits cost $50. Annual permits (for the calendar year) cost $120.

  5. I've got a 1973 Cj5 I drive regularly. With the top on I can barely hear myself think, but its worth it. I plan on driving it to Ocracoke this summer but dread the gas bill. 400 miles at 12 MPG...

  6. Tom Wright told me he is planning to drive his Model A to Alabama sometime. I didn't have the heart to ask him what his gas mileage is.

  7. Anonymous10:58 AM

    for anonymous @ 9:11 Actually none of the fee is for beach maintenace. The fee only covers the costs of implememnting the fee. In other words, the fee provides no actual benefit to protection of birds, turtles, or humans.

  8. If he is going in the summer, I'm not sure how well that "Air Condition" is going to work in bumper to bumper traffic in Atlanta.

  9. Anonymous8:23 PM

    Government social engineering at it's worst

  10. Anonymous9:16 PM

    PLEASE anon.10:58 am-- state your source . Please credit your white horse apologies to ted baxter lol. no benefit to wildlife au contraire,-- said portions are in deed off limits-- I do believe they will benefit from off limits ---and thus money needed to ENFORCE the OFF LIMITS if PEOPLE would follow the rules and say this is the right thing to do === monies would acrcue and other things could be done with the extra money!!!!!! Certainly there is documentation as to what wil be done with the fees. i love proving i am NOT A ROBOT too.

  11. Anonymous7:07 AM

    Ya'll could just walk the beach.

  12. Anonymous7:11 AM

    How do tourists get a 7 day pass? Can we get one when we're down there or do we have to have it before? Thanks!

  13. From the official NPS web site(

    4. Where do I get my ORV permit? Starting Feb 15, 2012, you can get your permit at any of the NPS ORV permit offices located at:

    • Bodie Island at the north end of the Coquina Beach parking lot (8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, NC);

    • Hatteras Island by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC); and

    • Ocracoke Island by the NPS visitor center (40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC).

    Permit offi ces are open year-round, 7 days a week, 8 am–4:30 pm (closed Christmas Day). Hours will be extended on weekends and holidays during the summer season.

  14. Anonymous9:43 AM

    @anon 9;16: NPS issued a statement that the fees collected for the permits would be used to pay for the costs of the permits. The permitting process is expensive and requires extra employees. NPS set the fees at the amounts they did so that they could cover the cost of operating the system.

    The permits don't affect the regular seasonal beach closures to protect birds and turtles. Those will still be in place. The permits came into effect because the law required an ORV policy. It could have been a different policy, but it's not.

    @anon 7:07: I wish more people would.

  15. Wesley9:05 AM

    Philip - is this the 1929 Ford you took a ride in?

    I saw it parked in a driveway near a house we rented while staying in Ocracoke back in August. What a beautiful car and pleasant surprise to be able to photograph it.

    More photos I took during the trip with a 1950's model Argus C3 film camera can be found at if anyone is interested...

  16. Wesley, that is the 1929 Model A. Thanks for the photo...and for your gallery of photos. Very nice.