A Travellerspoint blog

Day 83 (11.23.07) - Chincoteague to Gloucester (Photo's Add)

We drove down the Eastern Shore of Virginia, met a rude local, some nice people, then crossed the 17.6 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and made it to the Campground (finally)

overcast 53 °F

Logistics:

Miles driven - 197
Weather - Sunny, but very cold and windy (high no more than 50F)
Camped at - Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails Campground

Confessions:

I haven't been paying enough attention to maps. I was vaguely aware that we would have to cross a bridge to the mainland if I took the coastal route, but had no idea what I was in for! (In addition to thinking I could make it to Gloucester, VA by Wednesday night...)

Narrative:

We drove hard today and finally made it to the fancy campground I'd had reservations for two days ago. On the way, we took a little time out to stop for things, but not too much.

The first place we stopped was in Onancock, VA - I'd seen signs for the Kerr Place, which looked like it might be interesting. It was closed (it was the day after Thanksgiving afterall), but they had an outdoor display with a 1904 Chesapeak Bay work boat that was interesting. This was built without plans, the builder started with five logs, then built up the sides from there. It was large enough for the crew to 'camp' in for several days if needed (45' long).

Day_83_-_Log_Boat.jpg

I also took a picture of the downtown area. So much of the coastal area's are built up and filled with expensive condo's, this one was more basic, like a midwest farming town. This area of Virginia is referred to as the eastern shore. Because of it's isolation and the distance from the big cities, it seems to be more rural, quiet and less affluent.

Day_83_-_E..es_Town.jpg

A few miles down the road from this Mom saw a sign for 'Silver Beach'. She was itching to get some sand from the Chesapeak Bay, so even though the sign said it was 10 miles, I turned off. After a long drive, we got to Silver Beach. At high tide, this is misnamed, no beach is visible. In addition, there is no public access to the shore. There is a public road that goes along it, but it has no outlet (a stub) and no public parking along it. Since we were exploring a bit, I went ahead and tried it, thinking I'd be able to turn around somewhere, then got out to take a picture. One of the local's promptly came out and let me know that we needed to leave, couldn't stop there, and generally made sure we weren't welcome. I suggested they should have a sign 10 miles back at the highway saying there wasn't any public access, but he didn't care. Well, I guess it wouldn't be realistic to expect everyone to be friendly? (We have also encountered some very rude drivers in VA, so must be some of that east coast charm I suppose).

So here is my pic of the run down eastern shore house we saw enroute, and the illigit pic of silver beach - then let's move on, shall we?

Day_83_-_Cheap_House.jpgDay_83_-_Silver_Beach.jpg

As Mom described the bridge a bit more, I decided I definitely wanted to pull over before having to drive across this thing. It was also getting close to lunch town so we pulled off in the last town before the bridge, Cape Charles. On the way into town, we passed a small museum and it was open! There wasn't anybody there except the lady at the front desk, Mary, so we had the place to ourselves for the most part. They had an interesting mix of exhibits, including mostly stuff from the local town and history. The room was dwarfed by a giant diesel engine that had been used as the towns backup generator for many years (it looked like the building originally housed it as well), so that's probably why it was the main exhibit. They have this set up so it appears to run (an electric motor I'm sure) and Mary was kind enough to demonstrate this. I also threw in this shot of an ancient telephone switchboard on display since I worked on one once (briefly).

Day_83_-_C..chboard.jpgDay_83_-_C..nerator.jpgDay_83_-_C..___Mary.jpg

The museum also had some information about an ancient crater at the south end of Chesapeake Bay some 25 miles across. Scientists think this was caused by an asteroid about 2 miles across that hit the earth about 35 million years ago. The crater is still causing problems with the groundwater around the region. Later I saw another sign about this event near the beach, so I guess it's a pretty big deal in this area.

Day_83_-_C.._Crater.jpg

After touring the museum briefly, I drove out to the coast where Mom could get some sand (the town is on the Chesapeake Bay side of the Eastern Shore, not the Atlantic side). It was too cold to get out and do very much, but we could eat lunch in the nice warm RV and still enjoy the seashore! Not being one to be too daunted by a cold wind, I bundled up and walked across the dune to check out the beach. Then I saw a most unusual sight - very colorful kite like things in the low sky. After watching these for some time, they came nearer then right up onto the beach. Attached to each kite was a man (in wet suit) and a board - these are Kite Boarders - they love high wind days like this! These guys had put in 10 miles to the north and boarded (surfed) down to Cape Charles for sport, very aerobic. (I tried taking some video but don't know how usable it is, will try to edit & upload if any can be salvaged, it was very windy).

Day_83_-_Cape_Charles.jpgDay_83_-_C..oarders.jpg

I had run out of excuses and was well rested, so decided to go ahead and tackle the bridge. We were somewhat afraid (or is that hopeful?) that the bridge folks would not allow us to cross, but they didn't consider RV's to be unacceptable. They simply required us to turn off the propane (Boston tunnel folks - take note). So over we went.

The Chesapeake Bridge - Tunnel is 17.6 miles long. Most of this is bridge that crosses Chesapeake Bay from Cape Charles to Norfolk. But it also includes two sections of tunnels, each about one mile long. While it was quite windy for such a long bridge crossing, it wasn't too bad since there wasn't anytying to break the wind (like tree's). A steady wind is easier to adjust to than gusts. I had a little trouble keeping my speed up to the posted minimum, but the traffic was light and nobody seemed too upset (they must not live on Silver Beach I guess). Just before we got to the southern side was a pullout with a gift shop. I pretty much bought out the store as I felt I needed an award (or souviner) for making it across.

It was actually quite an experience - the highlight of the day. With the wind, many seagulls were just hovering above the side of the bridge waiting for fish to crash into the pilings. A couple of seagulls almost drifted into our lane but we didn't hit any and just enjoyed watching them hover. The sea was beautiful, with the wind a bit specticular crashing into the bridge pilings and blowing up waves.

Day_83_-_B..nel_Map.jpg
Day_83_-_B.._Tunnel.jpgDay_83_-_T..ntrance.jpgDay_83_-_B..el_Stub.jpg

Posted by jl98584 15:42 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

Rest is good. Wind can be tiring. I am enjoying Orlando. really havent' left the resort. Gaylord has 4 indoor acreas of gardens with 4 different areas. The everglade, with real alligators, key west with boats and fish and an area that has an old Spanish fort. Been soo busy in meetings and classes and eating way too much.
I go back to San Antonio tomorrow. The weather is nice, comfortable. Showers in the evening.
Lots to see and do. Take care. I'll send pictures when I get home.

by rllomas

Yes, I think we both kind of wanted to keep sightseeing but both really needed some down time (especially me). Am behind on the blog, but did start the touristing stuff again this week. Glad you enjoyed Orlando, maybe you should do a little travel blog? These don't just have to be for big trips.

by jl98584

I just have to pipe in because I'm from The Eastern Shore and am very dissapointed that you had such an unpleasant experience in Silver Beach.
When I was a kid, and I'm 40, I used to spend summers there. There is a beach and always has been, it further down. Thanks to a jerk you didn't get to find that out. There is also a beach just below that turn, but at high tide you don't know that. High tide in the Bay is pretty big. Our cottage is just across from that dock where I spent many summer evenings crabbin'. It was a great childhood. That was the kind of place you could trun your kids out and not see them all day. They were surrounded by people all day and they knew those people and their kids. Everybody was safe. If you didn't go home for lunch somebody fed you. I had a maternal aunt who had a cabin a ways down so I had family around. I went back and forth between the two small but awsome beaches weekend after weekend until I moved to the the beaches of LA. I never got to go back to Silver Beach. It's about the silvery glints on the Bay in the sunshine.
Erosion manages the beaches of the Chesapeake. It's done it for millenia. For the brief time people have occupied the area, the bay has changed many times. Humans have affected the way it happens to a great degree, but in the end the Bay is in control.
Please come back and take more time to explore the area more thoroughly. I can't say why some guy was mean to you because he certainly should have been nicer to you. But that's the winter view of the Bay and I do hope you'll try it all over again.
Go back to Onancock, try the Exxmore Diner. Seriously, the place is a bit run down and could use a little spiffing up, but it's a good place to get a good meal. They will even fry your catch. There are museums and points of intrest in Accomack and during the summer there are festivals. Don't forget to go to Chincoteague in July for the ponies, Assateague Beach, the wildlife sanctuary in between.

by dana42

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