Virginia – Saturday, March 9
I headed back to Williamsburg after getting a little taste of it last night, and was surprised to see how many people there were for early March. The whole town of Williamsburg is basically an outdoor museum, and all the shopkeepers and other employees were dressed in period clothes. There was a farmer’s market going on down at one end of town, and horse drawn cart rides, and musket-firing, and people working in a garden. Tula and I walked nearly 5 miles all over the place, and even walked through part of the William and Mary College campus, which was nearby. The college also fits in with all the colonial era buildings – it’s a beautiful campus. I’m glad I was able to enjoy Williamsburg before peak tourist time when thousands of people are roaming around!
Then I had a short drive to the USO at Fort Eustis, which was going to be my final donation place for Virginia. Since I didn’t have any military ID at the checkpoint, I has to circle around to a different entry, where cars were searched. They took all the stuff out of the car ahead of me, and I thought if they were going to unload my whole van, this could take a while. I explained where I was going, and that I was on the road for a year so I was kind of loaded down, and that didn’t seem to bother them – he told me I’d be surprised at what they see in cars! I had to open all the doors and the back, and they kind of poked around, and then said I was clear to go in. The base is big – pretty much a self-contained town – and it was interesting to drive around. I found the USO building and soldiers were in there, and I met the volunteer at the front desk, and the new director Sarah, who had recently taken over. She told me a bit about the local USOs and some of what she hopes to accomplish, including getting some more computers for the troops to use, especially since they have some computer requirements – it sounds like there’s frequently a line of troops waiting to use them. I got a little turned around leaving the base, and exited out of a different gate, but was soon on my way again.
My time in Virginia was winding down – I only had a couple more miles to walk, and for those I was going to head across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel onto the little peninsula of land that is part of Virginia across the Chesapeake Bay. I was intrigued by the fact that a bridge turns into a tunnel and back again – one of my nephews, Sam, and girlfriend Sydney told me about it when they had taken a trip to this area. And it’s an interesting bridge – 20 miles long, mostly across a trestle sort of causeway, and then it descends into a tunnel 2 different times when it goes under 2 of the navigation channels, and then it goes up and over 2 other navigation channels like a normal bridge. If there wasn’t a $12 toll I would have driven across and back again! There were about a dozen freighters anchored off the east side of the bridge and it made me curious why they’re all sitting there – waiting for their turn to unload cargo? weather-related? break for crew? I’ve never seen so many freighters in one place and it makes me wonder how all that sort of stuff is scheduled.
Then I was in the quiet east shore side of Virginia – part of the Delmarva Peninsula because there’s part of Virginina, Maryland and Delaware there – geopgraphically it looks like it should be its own separate state, but I imagine each of the states wants to claim as much Chesapeake Bay shoreline as they can! After all the traffic in the cities and all the historical parks, this part of Virginia seemed very quiet and a little forgotten. I stopped in Cape Charles to finish my walking along the bay, and then enjoyed a pretty drive through the little peninsula. Since I was now done with Virginia, I was simply going to cross the border into Maryland, but I couldn’t resist stopping for the night on Chincoteague Island, right by the border.