Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 33

by Kathy 22. August 2009 16:32

<< Day 32: Cape Hatteras  | Day 34: Virginia Beach to Outskirts of Washington, D.C. >>

Cape Hatteras to Virginia Beach


We enjoyed a leisurely morning. I caught up on writing notes about our activities and experiences in the Outer Banks. Ben helped Sebastian build a small airplane from a kit that Sebastian had purchased yesterday at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

The wind was gusting as we left Cape Hatteras.

Beyond the dunes we could see the kites from kite surfers who were no doubt enjoying the speed generated by the powerful winds.

I love the design of this building, with the dark shingles and the high tower--it looks like something that the Munsters or Adams Family might rent on a beach holiday.

Maintenance workers must have a never-ending job in keeping the road swept clean of blowing sand.

The bridge connecting the islands of Hatteras and Bodie crossed over Oregon Inlet. The strong currents, narrow channel, and constantly changing bottom requires continual dredging to keep the inlet open. The U.S. Corp of Engineering vessel was hard at work:

The Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, with its unpopulated stretches of sand and white-capped waves, is so amazingly beautiful.

As we passed these two men fishing, I wondered how many people fall overboard each year while standing in a boat.

Today we would be driving to Virginia Beach, the city where I had lived for over half of my childhood. I have always loved that long, wide beach. The soft sand stretches for miles, and the waves are perfect for body surfing—not too big, and not too small. I hadn’t been back in 14 years, and my heart beat a little faster at the anticipation of being there again.

Genevieve has been experiencing a growing spurt, and her toes were rubbing against the end of her tennis shoes. Also, all of the rock climbing and hard playing had rubbed away some of the critical stitching in Sebastian’s shoes. While driving through Nags Head, we spied a shoe store—better yet, it had a big “SALE” sign waving in the breeze.

New shoes:

We crossed a bridge leaving the Outer Banks. The expansion joints in the roadway caused our RV to bounce rhythmically up and down. Genevieve commented that it felt like we were riding a horse.

Driving north along Route 158 toward the Virginia border, we were surprised to see a big “monster truck” in a field, with a family climbing on board. What?! Seconds later we passed a huge “Graveyard Digger” truck in front of the “Digger Garage.”

We had to turn around and come back! We were definitely stopping here!  This was the home of the famous “Graveyard Digger” monster truck, as well as the garage that serviced all of the Monster Jam trucks.

There is just something magnetic to me about the combination of jacked-up pickup trucks, huge tires, and the throaty growl of a powerful engine. Sigh. I had screamed and “woo-hooed” my way through a Monster Jam performance in Oakland many years ago. (I guess that you can take a girl out of the country BUT you definitely can’t take all of the country out of THIS girl—no way!)

The trucks were “ginormous” (Genevieve’s word).

We then beelined our way to the far end of the field, where a small course had been set up for monster truck rides. The children climbed aboard first.

Morgan was our driver.

The track had a buried bus, some hills, mud, and water squirters. Ready, set, GO!

Up in the air!

There were many squeals and shrieks!

Afterwards, we decided to have lunch at “Diggers Diner”.

During this trip, we have rarely eaten lunch at restaurants; however, we wanted to have the “full” Graveyard Digger experience. To be honest, I was expecting “average” (perhaps “mediocre”) food. Boy, was I wrong! The food was freshly prepared and really delicious. And the service was exceptional!

Molly took our order and scooped out huge chunks of ice cream for the best milk shakes ever! She has lived here for 2 ½ years, moving from a tiny town in western Virginia.

Steven cooked up hamburgers and made fresh sandwiches for us.

He was raised about 5 miles up the road from here. He told us that the Grave Digger started in Kill Devil Hills (near the Wright Brothers Memorial in the Outer Banks) and then moved to this location. The Digger Garage works on 35 trucks, and currently has Superman and Medusa inside for repairs.


The inside of the Digger Diner had autographed body panels from various Grave Digger trucks.

After lunch, we investigated the offerings of the Digger gift shop.

Sebastian purchased a soft, stuffed Graveyard Digger.

Out front, I kept the Grave Digger from falling over forward with my supersonic strength!

We continued north, along Currituck Sound. We passed this dilapidated house with what appeared to be an old family graveyard in front.

There were many agricultural fields.

My eyes feasted on the quaint country homes that we passed.

I learned as a child in Kentucky that just because a house appears to be abandoned doesn’t mean that there aren’t people living inside.

Currituck seemed to be a popular hunting area, as there were many clay geese for sale, and the water tower was painted with a pair of geese heads.

Welcome to Virginia!

Shortly after the Virginia border, we turned off onto a series of small 2-lane roads.

The width of the road gradually decreased. Sometimes we would pass a semi-truck coming the other way. The road was so skinny that we both couldn’t fit without one of us driving off of the edge. The semis didn’t budge on their side, so we had to move over a bit. Eeek! Ben said that this portion of this road was the “sketchiest” so far on the entire trip—extremely narrow with a slope toward the outer edges, and a drop-off into a ditch on either side. (I was relishing the adventure of it all—although glad not to be the one behind the wheel of our RV.)

Ben was relieved when we turned a corner, and the road engineers had added an extra foot or so to both sides.

Entering the “city” of Virginia Beach, which included huge portions of farmland.

We passed a lot of corn fields.

The road meandered over some waterways.

Here is the Southern Baptist church in the rural area of Black Water:

What can I say . . . I have a weakness for old farm houses . . .

. . . and for old buildings in general.

We arrived at our campground, which was huge and packed with campers yet still had a “rustic” feel to it with all of the trees and green areas.

A 2-mile bike path connected our campground to the beach resort area. We unloaded the bikes, and off we went!

We crossed over Rudee Inlet, where we got our first glimpse of the beach.

The essence of the beach was just like I had remembered . . . wide and beautiful.

I recently found out that Virginia Beach is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest "pleasure beach" in the world. The resort strip here is lined with hotels for miles. A view south:

Genevieve and I had to run down to the water’s edge and feel the coolness of the water. The sand was silky. The memories came flooding back, along with fleeting thoughts of moving back here to live. Is the saying, “You can’t go home again” really true? Ahhh, but I am now a California girl at heart—California is not just a “place” for me; it is a “feeling”, mostly of freedom . . . an essence that is hard to convey in words.

A view north:

The boardwalk had been widened considerably, and a separate bike path had been added along the side.


We pedaled past the Old Coast Guard Station, which was built in 1903 and decommissioned in 1969. The building now houses a museum and gift shop.

The boardwalk was scattered with vibrant and fun sculpture and other artwork.

Ben got a flat tire around 28th Avenue. He learned that there was a bike shop a few blocks inland, so we walked our bikes there, getting lost along the way, but eventually finding the North End Cyclery. The sign on the door said that they closed at 6 p.m., and the time was 6:12 p.m. Our hearts sank. However, the staff was still working, putting bikes away; they were SO nice and helpful, selling us a new tube and loaning us a tool so that we could install the tube ourselves.

The children found a tetherball nearby, and Genevieve taught Sebastian how to play the game.

The ride back to the campground was smooth, and the kids were real dynamos of perseverance.

They still had plenty of energy when we returned. They ran off to the playground and were engaged in a game of “freeze tag” with some other kids when I went to collect them for dinner.

Later, Ben took Genevieve and Sebastian to frolic in the large heated pool. A DJ started playing loud music, so Genevieve enthusiastically joined in some of the poolside group dances. Sebastian discovered the arcade, and came back to the RV to get some quarters. We gave them each a dollar, and they had a bit of fun with the games.

The night air was cool, and we wanted to sleep with the windows open to get the refreshing breeze. However, the DJ’s loud music continued until 11:00 p.m., and then the shrill whine of a vacuum cleaner drowned out all other night sounds. We shut the windows, turned on the air conditioner, and dropped quickly off to sleep.

<< Day 32: Cape Hatteras  | Day 34: Virginia Beach to Outskirts of Washington, D.C. >>

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin