When the Bonner Bridge was closed unexpectedly earlier this week, it shocked many Outer Banks residents and tourists. The bridge links the Outer Banks with the mainland. Suddenly it seemed everyone was wondering... How will I do my shopping and my banking? When will the bridge re-open? What will happen next?
Many locals are going to a rather unlikely place to get their news: a Facebook page called Oregon Inlet Idiots. The page was started in 2011 as a place to poke fun at the tourists.
The "About" section to the page reads like this: Ever wonder what happens when you give complete idiots the keys to a car and send them out onto the beach? Wonder no more. Tired of digging people out? Like watching idiots try to pull other idiots out of the sand? Love the sound of other people's axles breaking out of stupidity? Then this is the page for you!"
Here's a typical post from the early days:
"How's this for an idiot we saw at Carova a couple weeks ago? By the time we came up on him, a Jeep had already pulled him out once and was coming up to do it again A Prius....REALLY?!? -"
LESS LAUGHS, MORE NEWS
Then Hurricane Irene hit in the summer of 2011. Where people once browsed online to get a chuckle, they now gathered to exchange information. Today, the site has more than 30,000 fans.
Oregon Inlet Idiots has two founders, both locals, one native born. Both choose to run the site anonymously. One recalls the day things changed: "When Hurricane Irene hit in August, we became the go-to place for local info (since the mainstream media tends to neglect important details like: is Bay Drive flooded? How are the S-Curves? Who has power?) And we've been posting away ever since! As for our names, we don't give them out. It's nothing personal, it's just a lot easier to get work done if you remain anonymous."
This week, with the closing of the Bonner Bridge, the 30,000 users of the site are again snapping photos, taking video, asking questions and contributing local information.
- Who should you call to get priority ferry seating? (Dare County Emergency Management ,Sandy Sanderson at 252-475-5897)
- Why did a Coast Guard boat just go screaming by? (Woman unconscious and another in labor)
- Why was the ferry delayed this morning? (fog)
The news cycle will ebb and flow of course. Perhaps soon, the site users will be back to posting pictures of the beauty of the region. Like this one, taken just this morning and posted by the Outer Banks North Carolina Local Artists Page: