<< 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.
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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