Richmond to Cape Charles, Virginia Day:1 by Bill Pike

A bit after 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 17 the journey started. My wife, the Commander Supreme, had orchestrated this deployment to Cape Charles, Virginia. In truth, this excursion had significant other commanders, our oldest daughter, her almost two-year old daughter, my mother-in-law, and our youngest daughter. Our son-in-law and I were clearly outnumbered, but we had endured such road trips in the past, and we knew how to mind our manners and pick our moments.

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So far, July had given notice that summer was officially here.  With a Bermuda high anchored off the mid-Atlantic generating 90 plus degree temperatures combined with high humidity and dew points, your were guaranteed the following:  if you ventured outside at anytime of the day, if you moved you were going to perspire, and if you really put your body in motion the sweat from your body would drench your clothes and puddles would form from the runoff where ever you stood or sat.  We were hopeful that breezes from the Chesapeake and the Atlantic might make Virginia’s Eastern Shore a tad cooler.

The brief drive down I-95 south, connecting us to I-64 east was uneventful.  A couple of slow pockets of traffic appeared in the Williamsburg to the Hampton Roads tunnel entrance section, but we kept moving. Eventually, we saw the sign for Exit 282 that would connect us with US 13 north and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

We worked our way onto US 13, and soon the traffic thinned and stop lights became more sparse.  Before long, we were in an EZ pass lane paying the toll. The first segment of bridge showed water in every direction.

Our convoy of two cars had agreed to meet at Fisherman’s Island to stretch our legs and check out the view. While there, we caught a glimpse of a huge tanker ship heading west toward port. Once we were back on the road, that tanker probably skimmed right over us in the first section of the tunnel.

Much has been written about this engineering and construction fete of linking the mainland of Virginia to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. As our son-in-law, Doug, and I drove, we wondered out loud about how all of this came together.

The logistics for staging the equipment, materials, and all of the construction workers must have been incredible, and then toss in the whims of mother nature to make the project even more interesting. Doug wondered about posting the depth of the water where the tunnel sections are placed, and then reasoned that maybe travelers would not like to know how many feet down they were.

Before we knew it, the bridge spans and underwater tunnels were behind us. Sandy shore line and green vegetation filled our field of vision as we entered into the National Seashore. That lush green was interrupted by stately deep pink colored crepe myrtles sporadically appearing along the roadside. We continued to push north along US 13 looking for our next connector state route 184 that would take us into Cape Charles.

Since our Vacation Rental By Owner house could not be accessed until 4 p.m., we drove into the town of Cape Charles, parked, and started our walk to the Brown Dog. This local ice cream place was active with locals and tourists buying an assortment of handmade flavors on a hot Monday afternoon.

The ice cream revived us as we headed toward the house and unpacking the cars. Located off 184, this development probably in its previous life had been farm fields. Flat with very few trees, an assortment of houses and a swimming pool for the neighborhood now dotted these acres.

Laziness hit us, and a carry out dinner was ordered from a local seafood restaurant. Might have been the best fish tacos I have ever eaten with thick grilled pieces of Mahi-mahi garnished with a perfectly mixed coleslaw, tomatoes, and lime wedges.

Just before an after dinner walk,  I spotted a couple of lightly tanned deer, munching on grass in an open field down past our house.

By 9, I was ready for some sleep, and headed up to try to read. I might have read a couple of pages before the Commander Supreme saw me dosing off. She recommended that I give up on the book, and I did.

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