I’ve crossed a lot of bridges in my time, big ones, little ones, high ones, and low ones. This trip we crossed, what I would consider, the mother of all bridges – the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The bridge-tunnel connects Norfolk and Virginia Beach with the Eastern Shore of Virginia. There is even a rest area with a restaurant and gift shop on the bridge, on Island One. The Bridge-Tunnel is the largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world. It was opened for traffic on April 15, 1964 at a cost of $450 million dollars, but not a dime of local, state, or federal tax money was used. The bridge drops into a tunnel under the Thimble Shoal Channel and the Chesapeake Channel to allow ocean-going vessels into Chesapeake Bay. Vessels with a more shallow draft can use the North Channel under the bridge.
We started early that morning as there was a forecast of heavy rain. As we approached the bridge we heard warnings of a tornado in the North Carolina Outer Banks that was moving north. Just another good reason for our early start. We were in rain through most of the drive. When we got to Bethany Beach, we checked in and just gotten into our site at the Army National Guard Training Site when the rain started up again. We sat it out until it broke for a short time, then quickly unhooked the trailer and finished the minimum we needed to do to set up.
This training site hosts the Officer Candidate School for the Delaware National Guard. When we started our exercise walk the next morning, we saw them doing the exercise on the running track next to the RV park.
Later in the morning we drove down to Ocean City for SpringFest. We had seen a story about it on the news and were looking forward to it. Unfortunately it seemed like everyone else in northern Virginia and southern Maryland and Delaware were looking forward to it too. After driving around for the better part of an hour searching for a place to park, we called it quits and went back to spend the afternoon relaxing and writing blog posts.
Early May is not considered to be the “tourist” season for this area, they don’t even charge for parking until May 15th! We continued to experience strong winds, the effects of the weather front that brought all the rain. The mornings were generally clear, but cool – perfect weather for exercise. On our fitness walks in the morning we explored the beach and the town of Bethany Beach. One morning Pat even spotted a whale off the beach but, unfortunately, didn’t have a camera with her. I found the town to be your typical beachfront tourist community with seasonal homes and rental properties, along with coffee shops, small restaurants, and souvenir shops. Maybe it’s because it is off season, but I felt it was more quaint and less “touristy” than most. The residences were interesting, attractive, and typical of a seaside village with their multiple decks for viewing the ocean.
Our campground was on the shore of a salt pond, or estuary and we took an afternoon to explore it with our kayaks. We admired many of the homes that lined the shore, commenting on which ones we would like to own. I loved the wrap-around decks and screened in porches that make it easy to enjoy being outdoors. I could picture myself sitting on one of the upper story decks, enjoying an early morning coffee, while watching the sunrise. We saw plenty of wildlife on the pond and canals – egrets, heron, and geese. We chatted with one resident while she fed a heron that had been coming to her house for years. In the campground, there are geese everywhere and even a rabbit or two.
On our last day I decided to go for a bike ride instead of walking. I mapped out a route that connected a number of geocaches, so I’d ride hard until I got to a cache, then look for it, then on to the next one. It’s a great way to explore a community. I would have never known that Ocean View, DE was the birthplace of the commercial broiler industry. We spent the rest of the day doing packing, laundry, and loading our kayaks and bikes for our departure the next day.
That evening we treated ourselves to dinner at Matt’s Fish Camp. It is a nice, casual restaurant – very typical for this area. The food was good and the service was great. I would recommend this place to anyone visiting the area.
On Thursday, May 11th we headed up north for Timberlane Campground in New Jersey and visiting Philadelphia.
Thank you for sharing about your experience in Delaware. We have not made it there yet…what an experience to cross that bridge with a fifth wheel!
The bridge wasn’t bad, but it was a bit unnerving to enter the tunnel. However the lanes are plenty wide. It was more of a mental thing, than physical.