Virginia: Eastern Shore
After Williamsburg we popped over to the across the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Like Michigan’s UP, this is a disjointed section of the state the most people forget exists. It sure looks like it ought to be Maryland. Unlike the UP, you have to take a tune under the bay to get there — and pay a $61 toll if you have an RV and tow car. It’s a pretty amazing feat of engineering. Instead of building a bridge high enough for big ships to go up the bay, Virginia decided to go part of the way with an average height bridge and then dip the road down to the sea floor in a tunnel underneath the shipping channel. I checked the clearances and stopped at the mandatory RV inspection station where they made me close the valve on my propane tank.
Once we emerged on the Eastern Shore, it was pretty deserted. We stayed at another Thousand Trails campground, so our stay was free. It’s a good thing it was free because of the toll to get through the tunnel. With the exception of Rehobeth in Delaware, much of the beach towns this far north had shut down for the winter.
We were at the the campground on it’s last three days of the season and it was a ghost town. We were camping on the edge of a large field of empty campsites and felt alone enough to take the dogs off the leash. Wrigley ran and ran like crazy, she was so happy to be free of the leash.
At the empty rec center, Braden had his first experience trying air hockey, pool and ping pong. He had fun at each, but seemed to enjoy air hockey the most.
Being in Virginia, a “battleground” state, a couple of weeks before the election was interesting. The TV and radio commercials were full of candidates asking for votes. Most of Virginia we went through was covered in Trump signs. After going through the tunnel the Eastern Shore was covered in Hillary signs. I’m not sure what the demographic shift is between the two areas, but I noticed the area’s preference in signs were reflected in the electoral map on election night.
Luckily we were close enough to cities to pick up the World Series over the antenna.
Delaware: Rehobeth Beach State Park
Our destination north of Virginia was Assateague National Seashore but when I looked at the map and realized how close we would be to Delaware I decided we should visit. Purely and simply, it was a state none of us had ever been to and I wasn’t sure when we would. When I called the state park on Rehobeth Beach, just across the line from Ocean City, Maryland, they asked if I was in town for the Sea Witch Festival — and that changed everything.
While Delaware drivers are the most horn happy drivers of anywhere we’ve been, we really enjoyed our time in The First State. The Seawitch Festival included downtown trick-or-treating at local businesses on Friday night, the best parade any of us had ever been to on Saturday, a bonfire on the beach and then Halloween fireworks. I’ll post a ton of parade photos, but our favorite costumes were Jaws eating the wagon, the Pac Man Family and the people who dressed up like they were in roller coaster cars and choreographed a ride down the road with ups, downs and turns. Honorable mention goes to the “Rehobeth or Bust” team painted and posed like they were the bust statues of famous composers and artists. We stayed at the parade for two hours and left while it was still going on because we had to check out. I can’t recommend the festival highly enough for something different on Halloween.
Maryland: Assateague Island National Seashore
Jess had put Assateague Island National Seashore based on a book she read in grade school: Misty of Chincoteague. The book is about wild horses that live on the islands off the Maryland and Virginia coast. Since Chincoteague has very limited access, we stayed at Assateague Island which is the next island north. We had been in camp for about 30 minutes before a wild horse wandered up to the campsite. The campsites were part of Assateague State Park, but the state park is surrounded by the national seashore.
We arrived during the campsites Trick or Treating time so Braden donned his Robin suit, Jess put on her Wonderwoman shirt and I put on a Batman shirt. While most of the campers either weren’t there, or didn’t have candy those who did (marked by little red flags from the park office) loaded Braden up. The funniest moment came when the guy told Braden to “give this candy to your sister” and pointed to Jess. I’m not sure who I was in that scenario, but at least we got some extra candy.
While trick or treating, we noticed two guys grilling out while one played the guitar. I mentioned that I brought my ukulele and they invited me over to jam that night. After Braden went to bed, I headed over to play. While the guitar sounded pretty good that afternoon, I quickly found out they had been drinking Tito’s vodka and cranberry juice ever since the afternoon and they guy couldn’t really play any more. Or even remember the words to any songs. I ran through “Rocky Top,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe.” He butchered “Layla,” we met his German neighbors (who he kept referring to as Russians) and mercifully, the ranger came by and told us it was quiet hours. The German neighbor did stay long enough to supply the guys with Coronas (which they did not need) and say that if he had been born earlier, Germany might have won the war. It was an interesting night, even before I returned to my RV for another exciting World Series game.
During the day, we rode bikes all over the park, including across the Intracoastal Waterway to the visitor center. Assateague is the only place I’ve ever been where mosquitoes have been able to run me down and catch me on my bike. These guys are fast and vicious.
We hiked a couple of short trails and walked on the beach. The campsite was just on the other side of the dunes from the water so we had our best campfire of the trip staying warm with the fire while listening to the waves crash.
Virginia: Kiptopeke State Park
On the way out, we went back through the tunnel (another $61) and stayed at Kiptopeke State Park. It was a quick one-night stay, and the most remarkable thing was the concrete boats from World War II that had been intentionally sunk offshore to make a breakwater. It was a neat stop as we headed back south to North Carolina.
I am a lover of regional expressions and accents. I think they are part of what makes our country great and makes travel fun. I hope they stay around for a thousand more generations. That being said, the Maryland accent (pronounced Mur-a-lin) is just not a great accent. Very turns into “vury.” Sorry folks.
After seeing quite a few massive piles of horse droppings I finally had to ask a ranger if the horses really poop that much. It doesn’t seem possible. As it turns out, stallions will poop on top of each other’s poop in order to stake out territory. Rangers are full of great information.
It was in Maryland where O’Malley snapped at and caught a fly for the first time. We know he had been trying to do this for at least 8 years. He seemed as shocked as we were when he actually caught it.