A Travellerspoint blog

October 2004

October is for Oysters

Southern Bay Trip and return to Great Bridge by car


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda & 2004 Peripetic Summer on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

October 2004

October 6-9 Boat trip to the Southern Bay after which we hauled the boat.
October 16 - Oyster Festival
October 19 - Trip to Great Bridge

Bob wanted to put the boat up in the yard before the Oyster Festival the third weekend in October. But on the 1st of October I had the last dental appointment (periodontal) for this fall, and it looked like we'd have a bit of good weather to go out before we put the boat up for the winter and head south by car.

5 October 2004

We moved onto the boat and started to get ready to leave, but the winds (20-25 knots) had the boat heeling in the slip, and it made me very nervous. I convinced Bob to wait until tomorrow to go. We ate lunch at Courtneys since Schiebles is closed M-W in the off season. I had a grilled cheese sandwich ($2) and the soup and salad bar ($6.95 - the soup was vegetable or clam chowder). Bob had a hamburger and cole slaw from the salad bar. They don't take credit cards. There was a group of 4 women and 2 men that came in after us and wanted to sit together. But a group of 3 had taken the table for 8 (you seat yourself), so they had to make do with a smaller table with not quite as much room.

Matties

Matties


We watched TV in the afternoon, and then went to Mattie's for dinner. Bob had the special (meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy and corn for $6.95), and I had Alaskan king crab legs, baked potato and cole slaw $12.95. The same group of 6 that we'd seen at Courtneys also came in to eat.

I got the heater out because it was going to be cold at night, and was glad of it.

6 October 2004 Deltaville

Started the engine and cast off a little after 8. Bob started to back out before I had really undone the last line to the pier, and consequently, when I went to throw it on the pier, I missed and it went into the water (which meant that when we got back, it was wet). The marina is very calm.

By 9:30, the wind had picked up to 11-14 knots in the Potomac - we were past Point Lookout and are doing about 6 knots. We have decided to go to Jackson Creek off the Piankatank. We've never been there. So I called and made a reservation at the Deltaville Marina. Bob had the sails up. We motor sailed around Smith Point at 10:30 doing 7 knots.
Smith Point behind us with our wind generator

Smith Point behind us with our wind generator


We hear a lot of chatter on the radio from the rescue boat out of the Little Wicomico/Smith Point. The wind has dropped a bit, but we are still doing 7 knots - I guess the tide is pushing us. By noon, we've done 25.6 nm (nautical miles). We see lots of menhaden boats when we pass the Great Wicomico,
Menhaden boat with little boat on side davits

Menhaden boat with little boat on side davits

Bridge over the Rappahannock

Bridge over the Rappahannock

Spider off the point

Spider off the point


and hear on the radio about a fishing boat that has collided with another boat.
Jackson Creek

Jackson Creek


We get to the Deltaville Marina after 44 nm at an average of 6.4 knots (which took us about 7 hours).
marina from the creek

marina from the creek


The entrance to Jackson Creek is very interesting. You run almost up onto the shore and then run alongside the shore until you get into the creek.
photo of photo on marina wall showing entrance

photo of photo on marina wall showing entrance

Map of the marinas -#10 is Deltaville Marina

Map of the marinas -#10 is Deltaville Marina


RosalieAnn at the dock

RosalieAnn at the dock


There are several anchorages in the creek (heard one cruiser talking to another one and he said that the anchorages were in Skipper Bob's book)
Anchorage from our dock

Anchorage from our dock


and it is much easier to get here than to get into Fishing Bay as it is closer to the Bay. I went up to pay - 95 cents/ft and $3 for electricity. They have very nice bathrooms,
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and a cruiser's lounge. I got a key for the lounge with a $10 deposit.

At 5 pm, the dock master took us up into town, and we walked around a bit
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Philippi Christian Church

Philippi Christian Church


The dominent building on the Deltaville main street is the Philippi Christian Church (17276 General Puller Highway, P.O. Box 555, Deltaville VA 23043) so naturally I took a picture of it. The sign on the front says it was founded in 1871. The church is apparently a center of community affairs, but I couldn't find anything out about the building itself.
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PWC on a stick

PWC on a stick

Library

Library


I walked by the library and tried to take a photo, but it was difficult because it was almost completely in shadow. The library was having a book sale. It is at 35 Lover's Lane.

The public library in Middlesex County, Virginia traces its beginning to 1915 when fifteen ladies formed a book club for the purpose of exchanging and enjoying the pleasures of reading together. The books were signed on the fly leaf when borrowed and returned, and some of these original books are still on the shelves of the Middlesex County Public Library today. The formal establishment of the Library took place in 1927. It was housed in the Middlesex County Bank building in the town of Urbanna. A library funded by the U.S. Works ProgressvAdministration (WPA) was formed in Deltaville during the 1930's but was discontinued in the 1940's. The Deltaville Library was reorganized by volunteers in the 1950's and was incorporated in 1985. The two libraries were merged in 1987 as the Middlesex County Public Library, Inc. (MCPL) and is one of eleven independent public libraries in Virginia.
Sno Shack

Sno Shack


They advertise 32 flavors of shaved ice, pickles and chili cheese hot dogs.
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Bob walking by sign for Yates Gallery

Bob walking by sign for Yates Gallery


McWillie's entrance and sign

McWillie's entrance and sign


before we went to Taylor's to eat. Taylor's Restaurant and McWillie's are run by the same people and they are next door to each other. Actually you enter the door for Taylors and you have a choice - go left into the restaurant or right into McWillie's.
Taylor's Restaurant

Taylor's Restaurant


It seemed like this would be a perfect fit for us - a down home basic restaurant. The restaurant is a long low building on the street. Inside there is green oilcloth on the tables.
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We each had iced tea ($1.25 and they put a pitcher on the table for us) and they brought fresh yeast rolls and hushpuppies to start with. We passed up the specials which were Early Bird 4p-6:30p Spaghetti with Meatballs and Garlic Bread for $6.95 and Dinner Feature Spicy Seafood AuGratin with 2 sides for $12.95.
Fresh yeast rolls and hushpuppies

Fresh yeast rolls and hushpuppies


Bob had chicken,
Bob's fried chicken and 2 sides $8.95

Bob's fried chicken and 2 sides $8.95


and I had the fried crabcakes ($14.95) and there were two of them. I had broccoli with cheese (sharpish cheese and not the blander stuff, but soggy broccoli) and mashed red potatoes as my sides.
Fried crabcake dinner ($14.95)

Fried crabcake dinner ($14.95)


We each had piece of apple pie ($3.50). Bob brought home two pieces of chicken and I brought home a crab cake for lunch the next day.
Apple pie ($3.50)

Apple pie ($3.50)


Then the old lady that was there (Miss Marie) took us back to the boat. I gathered she wasn't usually a driver (She missed the turn and had to turn around), but one of their waitresses was off with a sick baby and the usual driver was filling in for her. Taylor's is one of four local restaurants that will come and pick you up.
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After she dropped us off, we walked around in the dockyard next to the marina and saw ZIG ZAG (another CSY walkover like ours) there again (or still from when we saw her in 1999), and also a new walk-over (to me) called FAITH.
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I took the computer up to the lounge, but it was open, so I didn't need a key. I logged on via the phone line and did email, and while I was there a guy came in and said there was a wireless network. So I logged off, and used that for the rest of the night. I found later that I could use it at the boat.

October 7, 2004

Going to Mobjack Bay

Bob was impatient to take off this morning. He tried to use the men's bathrooms and the combination wouldn't open it, but the dockmaster told him that the door sticks - it wasn't someone with it locked from the inside. The dockmaster came down to the dock and gave me my $10 back from the key deposit.

All the lines on the pilings had to be untied as there were no cleats on the dock, so Bob got off the boat and untied them while I held onto one of the pilings so he'd be able to get back on. That was pretty easy as there was no wind or current. We cast off about 0830. I stood on the deck and took photos of the entrance channel. We followed another sailboat out. By 0925 we'd been 6 nm.
Sailboat leaving ahead of us

Sailboat leaving ahead of us


large_n100_1236.JPGFollowing the other sailboat around the corner

Following the other sailboat around the corner


There isn't much wind, but the anemometer at the top of the mast seems to be stuck. Bob gets out of the cockpit to go look at it, and it immediately unsticks itself and starts to go. We do have some wind, so we motorsail.

The new side curtains that Bob made are really nice and clear (the old ones had gotten cracked and moldy and scratched). A Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Vehicle passes making a lot of noise. When it stops, we can see the big fans on the back
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Bob in the cockpit

Bob in the cockpit

large_n1032Image001.jpgWolf Trap

Wolf Trap

When we pass Wolf Trap Light [which was an active lighthouse in 2004], I get a good photo of it. The light marks the Wolf Trap Spit Shoal where once, in 1690, the 350 ton English merchantman HMS Wolfe ran aground. Wolf Trap is also the name of a concert venue near D.C. We have last night's dinner (crab cake and fried chicken) for lunch. It's still mostly a north wind, so we are still going south. We pass New Point Comfort, and go into Mobjack Bay. I don't have the narrative for this section of the trip. Mobjack Bay has four rivers that feed into it. From the north going counter clockwise, they are the East River, the North River, the Ware River and the Severn River.
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There are not many marinas in this section.
Shores of the Severn River

Shores of the Severn River


I remember we went down to the Severn River Marina and it was not a marina that got many transients.
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From our boat

From our boat

Severn River Marina

Severn River Marina


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walking down the pier

walking down the pier


We went to Dolphin Cove for dinner.
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I do not know how we got there. Someone must have given us a ride.
Sunset

Sunset

October 8, 2004 Back to Deltaville

Mobjack Bay in the morning

Mobjack Bay in the morning


French boat anchored at Severn entrance

French boat anchored at Severn entrance


We left the marina about 8 and I spent some time with the two cameras (the repaired Toshiba and the new Kodak) taking photos of the New Point Comfort lighthouse so I can see the difference between them.
Toshiba photo

Toshiba photo

Kodak photo taken from the same place at the same time

Kodak photo taken from the same place at the same time


The new camera is much better.
Old lighthouse at New Point Comfort

Old lighthouse at New Point Comfort


New Point Comfort is the tenth oldest lighthouse still standing in the United States. It is just north of the entrance to Mobjack Bay. It is not an active lighthouse.
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We are passing a LOT of fishermen out by the points of land, like out by Gwynn Island. There's no wind - the water is glassy - and no waves. Perfect power boat weather. I can hear the Gwynn Island bridge opening for someone (that was another place I considered going)

We eat lunch. I try to take a picture of a sailboat going south, but miss it, and just get this picture of Bob in the cockpit.
Bob in the cockpit

Bob in the cockpit


Compare this picture with the bimini up with the next to bottom picture after we stowed it. The boom which is in the bottom picture is not visible in this shot, as the boom is above the bimini.

Because we'd gone the safe way on the way down, today when I plotted the route, I cut some corners, so we were at Broad Creek more quickly that I had estimated that we would be.

When we enter Broad Creek, I call on the radio, and the marina doesn't answer so I call on the phone. She said she'd gone to the bank and she'd be there by the time we were to help us tie up.

She didn't realize that when I said we were entering Broad Creek we actually WERE entering Broad Creek (she says people usually call from farther out and say they are entering the creek when really they are still out in the river).

She said she saw our mast coming in from her car and she had to run down the dock to get there before we did. She could have relaxed a little because I suggested that Bob turn around and tie up facing out so it will be quicker to get out tomorrow and that takes a couple of minutes.
RosalieAnn in the marina

RosalieAnn in the marina


It's very shallow and we are stirring up mud. We've learned to hand the midships spring line to the dock person first. We tied up by 1456 after a trip of 32.2 nm at an average speed of 5.1 knots (because there was no wind).

After I check in, I log on with the computer, and then find that they have a wireless network which I can access from the boat. We call and the Boathouse Cafe comes and picks us up for dinner.
Boathouse Cafe

Boathouse Cafe


That's right on Broad Creek, and would be a short dinghy ride, but it is a long way around by car.
condiments

condiments


I failed to write down what we had to eat, but I can see from the photos that Bob has scallops and wild rice,
Bob's scallops

Bob's scallops


and I had a pasta dish
Pasta

Pasta

Blueberry pie

Blueberry pie


. We also had blueberry pie
Sunset from the marina

Sunset from the marina

October 9, 2004

Sometime during the night a big catamaran came in and tied up in front of us.
RosalieAnn at the dock

RosalieAnn at the dock


I heard the marina lady talking to him on the phone yesterday afternoon. He got stuck in Norfolk when the Gilmerton Bridge got stuck and then there was a train.

Because we want to get all the way home today and Bob thinks it will be calm enough to take the sails off (which we have to do before we haul the boat on Wednesday) and it won't be calm enough any other day, we want to leave early.

So we pushed off about 0730 (with no problem) and motored out of Broad Creek into the Rappahanock
Crabbing in Rappahannock

Crabbing in Rappahannock


We see lots of fisherman in the river (including the crab pot boat above).

There is a lot of dew and condensation on the bimini, and again lots of fishermen out around the points like Windmill Point and Smith Point.
Spider

Spider

Fishing boats around the spider

Fishing boats around the spider

Smith Point

Smith Point

Fishing boats

Fishing boats


By noon, we are turning into the Potomac around Smith Point. But Smith Point is about a hour from Point Lookout, and Point Lookout Marina is not right at Point Lookout.

Bob decides that we can take down the bimini while we are motoring, and then that will be done so we do that. We are motoring a bit faster (higher rpms) than we normally do.

To take the bimini off, we have to untied it from the boom crutch, and then unzip the pockets for the frame. To collapse the frame, the boom first has to be moved all the way to one side.
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Then the boom is brought back to the center, and the bows of the bimini frame are lashed together so they lie flat on the cabin top forward of the cockpit.
Bob at the wheel without the bimini

Bob at the wheel without the bimini


It feels funny to be out in the sun in the cockpit. Bob puts a hat on to protect the skin on his head.
Pound nets in Smith Creek

Pound nets in Smith Creek

Chart of Smith Creek

Chart of Smith Creek


When we arrive at the marina, we get fuel to fill up the tank and then tie up - today we went 4.14 nm at an average speed of 5.5 knots. The total trip was 154 nm.

We do take the sails off the boat and stow them, but then I am too tired to unload the boat (I have to go down Tuesday and do that). Bob suggests going to the newly opened Spinnakers for dinner, but I'm too tired for that too. We stop in Callaway and get A&W hamburgers and root beer floats.

13 October 2004

We hauled the boat for the winter.
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16 October 2004 - Oyster Festival

Welcome to the Festival

Welcome to the Festival


When you come through the entrance gate (admission this year is $5.00 a person with children under 12 for free), you walk down between a booth selling t-shirts and sweat shirts advertising the Oyster Festival on one side, and on the other side raw oysters in jars. Then you come to the cross street. A booth, which sells beer is on the far right corner. Beer is normally a large part of the beverages drunk at the Oyster Festival although wine, soft drinks, spiced cider and water are also available.

Most of the family converges on Leonardtown for the Oyster Festival which is the third weekend in October. Unfortunately this year, one of my daughters had a minor operation the night before the festival, so her family couldn't come, and daughter #3 couldn't drive in from TX in the time available. So only one of my children (on the extreme right in the expanded picture with the crab earrings) and two of her children (her two sons) and her husband could attend the Oyster Festival with us. The guy on the left with the beard and baseball hat is my oldest grandson. My granddaughter (my daughter's daughter) is in college in upstate NY.

Daughter #3's in-laws came and ate with us even though she wasn't there (her MIL is on the left, and her FIL is shaking hands with my grandson). They also brought with them their third son (my daughters BIL) and his new wife (not pictured). The middle person in the picture is a friend of my grandson, and the guy in back in the white jacket is my daughter's husband (my SIL).
Grandson and daughter (in expanded picture)

Grandson and daughter (in expanded picture)

The first thing I usually get though is not beer, but is seafood chowder. Then we walk through behind the bandstand (which had the St. Mary's College Jazz Band playing on Saturday morning) and secure a couple of picnic tables for our group. At various times, you could also hear the blues, and bluegrass music.
Bandstand

Bandstand

musicians

musicians


This was a quite windy day, and much colder than expected, so almost no one was dressed appropriately.
Daugher's inlaws

Daugher's inlaws


One of the first things that happened was my SILs beer blew over, soaking my grandson's friend's jacket.

I loved our local stuffed ham, and I normally get at least two stuffed ham sandwiches because this is about the only time that I get to have stuffed ham because my husband doesn't like ham at the best of times.
Stuffed ham sandwich

Stuffed ham sandwich


Southern Maryland stuffed ham is difficult to make - you take the bone out of a ham shank and stuff the cavity with kale and other greens and spices, and the bake the ham. Then when sliced, each slice has some of the greens in it.

This year you could get them on white (pictured), wheat or potato rolls. I ate the white bread one, and took the potato roll one home for dinner. My husband got a bbq sandwich from the Jolly Gents booth for his dinner. (The Jolly Gents is a black social organization in the county, and I always get their bbq at the fair and/or the Oyster Festival. They have beef, pork and chicken sandwiches and also half chickens and the like.)
Pit beef booth

Pit beef booth

Crab soup, popcorn shrimp and french fries

Crab soup, popcorn shrimp and french fries

Soups at the end of the fairway

Soups at the end of the fairway

Grandson eating oyster stew

Grandson eating oyster stew

Eating oyster stew

Eating oyster stew


My grandson went through the crafts buildings with his mom and he was interested in the paintings that one of the ladies was doing. He started asking her questions, and she showed him how she was doing it - she painted a rose on a paper bag with his name on it and gave it to him. His mom said it was too bad that she didn't like any of the items she was painting enough to buy them.
Big bounce house and train

Big bounce house and train


My daughter also gave my grandson some money to spend, and he went with his dad to the games and rides section where he won (or bought) this inflatable dragon. His mom deflated it and put it into the paper bag for the ride home.
Prize and grandson

Prize and grandson


He also went with me to buy a funnel cake. That's one of my favorite things to eat at any fair or carnival.

I think I've found a new favorite though - my daughter got carmel apple, which wasn't the usual candy apple type thing. Instead it was slices of apple in a cup with carmel drizzled over them making them a crisp sweet-tart finger food that is easy to eat.

There is an oyster cookoff each year. There are awards for 4 different categories, and then a grand prize is awarded. This year the grand prize went to something called Creamy Oyster Jalapeno Soup cooked by Tom Forman, 79 of Carrollton TX. He is the man in the hat with the brim whose head is behind King Oyster's oyster shell encrusted septre. The Grand Prize includes a big silver platter and $1000.00

The cooking used to be across the street in the home ec. rooms in the middle school. But it's gotten too big for that now. While the contest is going on, you can go and sample the dishes and vote on which one you like best. In addition to awards in the 4 categories, there is also a People's Choice award. The first place Main Dish was Candy McMenamin's Pecan-Encrusted Oysters with Asiago Grits.

The among the other winners were Shirley De Santis in the Hors D'oevres category for Oyster with Pancetta and Gorgonzola Cheese. She came from Bethlehem PA for the contest with her husband Alex who got third place in Soups with Oyster 'n Red Pepper Soup. Shirley has been competing off and on since the first contest 25 years ago.
Cookoff Awards

Cookoff Awards


After the Cook-off Awards is the shucking contest. First there are two amateur heats - you can sign up on the day. These two people were complete amateurs and they stopped them after 10 minutes.
Amateur shuckers

Amateur shuckers


The heat is started with each person with their hands in the air. Then a horn is blown, and they start shucking. When they finish, they put their hands back in the air and their timer stops the stopwatch and records the time.

After each heat, the oysters are inspected for cleanliness and to see whether the oyster has been cut and time penalties are assessed for faults. Then the shucker takes his oysters and goes up to the fence around the ring and hands them out to the crowd for free. The prime place to be during the oyster shucking is the bottom row in the grandstands so you can get to the fence to get your oysters.
Plate of raw oysters

Plate of raw oysters


Because the bottom row of the stands is low to the ground, you have to look through the railings to see the stage. Therefore, it is strictly enforced that no one is allowed to stand at the fence (blocking the view of the people in the stands) during the shucking.
King Oyster and a timer for the shucking

King Oyster and a timer for the shucking


King Oyster (This year's King is Patti Willenbourg, past president of the Lexington Park Rotary Club) wanders around the fare talking to people and giving out awards. The festival began as a way for the Lexington Park Rotary Club to honor the life and work of the watermen. This year it raised about $50,000 to support various charities. Here King Oyster is on the shucking stand before the shucking contest starts with one of the timers.

Sometimes it's really too hot to wear this robe, but not today. The extra warmth is welcome.
2002 King Oyster on the main road

2002 King Oyster on the main road


We left about half way though the preliminary heats which are held on Saturday because it was so cold and windy, and my SIL was concerned about an approaching storm for the drive back to their house in Ellicott City.

The top shucker this year was Scott Styles, the owner of a direct mail business in San Antonio. His corrected time for opening 24 oysters was 2 minutes 48 seconds. He beat Cathy Miliken, a NC nurse, who was the women's champion in a 'shuck-off'.

This was Scott's fourth national title, and for winning he gets a trip to Galway Ireland for the international championship. He placed third the last time he went to the Irish contest, and hopes to do better this time. I understand that the oysters that are shucked in Ireland are a bit smaller and require a different technique than ours.

19 October 2004

Someone with a sailboat like ours is repowering, while docked at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge. They were selling some of their used engine parts. Bob wanted to buy the heat exchanger, but he did not trust a shipper to get it to him undamaged (plus it would be expensive because it is heavy), so he said we'd come down and get it.

I plotted the route and figured it would take about 4 hours each way - it is a little less than 200 miles.

I did the route two ways - one the quickest way which I thought would be down 301 and then I-95 to I-64, and the other via US 17.

Because we had a total of about 400 miles to go, we had to leave early. We got underway at around 0800,
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and by 0832, we were paying our toll to go across the Potomac River at the Governor Nice Bridge in Morgantown MD. The toll, which is only collected going south, is now up to $3.00.
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As we went over the bridge, I looked down at the Aqualand Marina on the north side for the first time. I didn't take any pictures though.

Getting Lost in Virginia

The first part of the trip in Virginia was quite straightforward. Follow US 301 past Dahlgren Proving Grounds and through King George until you cross the Rappahannock and come to Port Royal. At Port Royal, you have to decide whether to go on down 301 or get onto US Route 17.

Since I wanted to go by different routes (even though it was rainy and overcast, and hard to take photos while underway in the car), we continued on US 301. Soon we were traveling through the US Army Military Reservation Fort A. P. Hill. The highway at this point is a dual divided highway but is not limited access. Still, there wasn't too much cross traffic while we were going through the base.
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Around Bowling Green, there is a bypass. Again you have to make the decision whether to continue on US 301 or to cut across on VA 207 to I-95. We don't like I-95, which Bob says is an excuse for Virginia drivers to go 70 mph. OTOH, 301 from this point is narrower and goes through some small towns. But I thought that it would be more relaxing and shorter to go on 301 (even if we had to go a bit slower), so that's what we did.

We went past tiny hamlets like Doggett's Fork, Dawn, and Frog Level and everything was going fine until we came to Crosses Corner. There we saw a sign which seemed to point to a road on the right and said "301". So Bob turned on it. The road got narrower and narrower, and crossed railroad tracks. We hadn't seen a 301 sign (or any sign) for some time and we were proceeding slowly behind a garbage truck.

I had (and I hope it is temporary) lost the connector to attach the laptop to the car battery, so I was not using the GPS tracking system. When I fired it up, I discovered we were actually on VA Route 657 coming into Browns Grove. It seemed easier at this point just to cut over onto I-95, and it wasn't too long after that before we were on the Richmond Bypass I-295 and then I-64.

We made pretty good time except for that unexpected detour. At 10:02, Bob made bathroom stop at the interestate rest stop near where VA 33 comes in from West Point (Virginia). By then we'd been on the road 2 hours and had traveled 112 miles. After I put the computer away and wrote the mileages down, and he had been to the restroom, and gotten back to the car, I went in.

The leaves were turning, but the skies were dark and it was rainy and misty the whole day. Also I-295 and I-64 are concrete roads and riding over the joints was very jarring.

Crossing Hampton Roads

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As we got into the Hampton Roads area ("Hampton Roads" is the historic name for the five-mile wide, and ten miles long part of the James River before it empties into Chesapeake Bay, plus the Elizabeth River and the Nansemond River where they empty into the James River. The Peninsula cities of Newport News and Hampton are linked to the South Hampton Roads cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach by two separate four-lane Interstate highway bridge-tunnels), we saw signs which indicated that there were construction delays on the I-64 bridge tunnel crossing into Norfolk. We had already entered a construction zone.

So instead of going around Norfolk on the east via I-64 as we had intended, we took I-664. This is a 20.7-mile-long north-south freeway from the city of Hampton near the Hampton Coliseum to I-64 in the city of Chesapeake and it includes the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel which is free.

Then we rejoined I-64 (I-64 and I-664 together are designated and signed as the Hampton Roads Beltway) and went down VA Route 168 like I had planned except for coming from the other direction.

Doing it this way meant we crossed the big high draw bridge (which requires 24 hours advance request to open) across the Elizabeth River which is just before the turnoff to the Dismal Swamp Canal.

We could see the first marina on Deep Creek from the bridge. We saw some boats going down to the Virginia Cut, but none doing the alternate Dismal Swamp route.
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On the banks of the Elizabeth River at this point are numerous coal yards which I have previously photographed from the river.

We got to Great bridge after 193 miles at 11:28 which meant that it took us 3.5 hours including the one rest stop.

Lunch and a Visit in Great Bridge

We told our friends we'd be there by 1300, so we had time to eat lunch before we tried to find their boat in the yard. Traffic was frenetic in Great Bridge, and I had a hard time seeing where the restaurants were in time to decide to get into the correct lane to turn into one so we went back to El Toro Loco Restaurante Mexicano and Cantina which we had liked when we ate there in the spring.
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They seated us immediately and the waitress had the chips and two kinds of salsa dip on the table before we were even seated. Bob took off immediately for the bathroom so I ordered iced tea for both of us.
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When I looked up, I noticed that I could see our reflection in the glass overhead. It was backed with something red, which I initially thought was glass that was cracked, and then thought might be fabric with cracked glass underneath. But I eventually decided it was film overlay which had cracked on glass. I took a photo. What do you think?
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Bob had lunch #3 which was a burrito, taco and Spanish rice for $3.85. I had a chicken quesadilla with rice and guacamole salad for $4.75. Then I had a Helando Frito for dessert, which was a flower tortilla shell filled with fried ice cream (with coconut) and whipped cream and chocolate on top ($2.95). Total lunch including tip was $18.67.

We were finished our lunch by 12:35 and then went down and talked to our friends and picked up the heat exchanger.

We left the marina at about 2 pm. As we came out onto the road, Bob commented that it was about time for the bridge to go up, and sure enough - there went the warning horns. We stopped behind a police car and watched a southbound sailboat and several power boats go through the bridge. No one was coming north.
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After the bridge went back down, we retraced our route back across the Elizabeth River (photo below).

Rainy days can be good for pictures, but not while someone else is driving you in the car as fast as possible over bumps and with wipers that don't wipe well on the passenger's side. On the way back it was even more nasty.
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We turned off onto Rt 17 from I-64, but apparently the bridge over the York River at Yorktown was stuck open. At least after we'd been sitting there for half an hour (from 3:07 to 3:30 pm) and listening to the recorded message on AM channel 0530 which kept repeating that the bridge was going to open at 2 and to expect about a 20 minute delay that was my conclusion. So we went up the shoulder to a cross street, and went back to I-64.

I still wanted to go up US 17, although I had given up on getting to either Killmarnock or Gwynn's Island. So I figured that the shortest way would be to take VA route 33 through West Point. We turned into Rte 33 at about 4 pm.
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I did get some reasonably good pictures of the paper mill in West Point from the car
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At about 5 pm, we got fuel (diesel) south of Tappahannock (Bob says as we go north it gets more expensive). We also used the rest room.
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We also stopped 5:30 for dinner at Riverbank Cafe and Seafood. Oysters in the shell were 25 cents a piece.
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I had a shrimp basket for $4.95 and an a la carte side and
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Bob had a steamed shrimp dinner with two sides, we drank tea and then I had a bread pudding for dessert and the whole thing cost $25.06 including a $4 tip. We walked in at 5:35 and were finished dinner (which the lady cooked fresh to order) by 5:55. (They closed at 6 and so we ate fast and I got the bread pudding to go)
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We got home at 1946 (7:46 pm) after a trip from Great Bridge of 5.5 hours. That includes waiting for the Great Bridge bridge, a half an hour stuck in traffic near Yorktown, a 10 minute gas and rest stop, and a 20 minute dinner stop. It was too dark for me to see the mileage.

After our cruise to Bermuda, we again started south for the winter.

Migrating by Mercedes

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)