Virginia Beach, VA

Betty’n’Earl arrived in Virginia Beach one day late thanks to a recurring problem with Kevin’s passenger window. The dealership in Maryland bent over backwards, giving them a loaner vehicle to use, letting them boondock in their parking lot overnight, and replacing┬áthe window parts.

One thing Earl was looking forward to was to drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel. Although a spectacular crossing, with two separate two-lane bridges, the tunnel has only one lane each way. Earl found it terrifying pulling Mabel through the tunnel with transport trucks coming toward Betty and him.

chesapeake_bay

Chesapeake Bay is huge! You can’t even see the other side of the bay. The bridge is located at the mouth where it opens into the Atlantic. There are many fully-loaded container ships going back and forth. There is also a lot of military traffic, with Fort Story right next to the state park Betty’n’Earl stayed at, and Norkfolk, the world’s largest naval station, also nearby. There are also many pelicans.

Speaking of Fort Story, there were two historical sites Earl wanted to see located on the base. The first was the Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792. The second was the site of the first landing of the British in North America in 1607, who were then able to establish a permanent settlement. There had previously been an English expedition under the command of Sir Walter Raleigh (without him present) which landed on Roanoke Island, NC, in 1584, and started a settlement shortly thereafter, but that settlement had mysteriously disappeared.

To get on the Fort Story base, Earl went through a thorough security check, complete with military personnel opening and searching every compartment in the vehicle. Betty had stayed with Bubbles back at the park as they don’t allow dogs. Earl received many warnings about where he could and couldn’t go, what he could and could not photograph, etc. He was uneasy about making a mistake, but while the military personnel were very serious and intimidating, they were also very helpful and polite. Earl took a minimum of photos and then returned to the state park.

Betty’n’Earl met many engaging, interesting people along the way. Since leaving Canada, they couldn’t think of a time where they had heard a car horn honking or a word spoken in anger. They were also acutely aware of one thing that an American friend (now living in Canada for many years) once observed. He said that Canadians swear much more than Americans. Earl could vouch that he hadn’t heard a single swear word since traveling (except from Betty).

With the forecast calling for rain, Betty’n’Earl decided to stay for an extra day and relax, do laundry, etc. Their plan for the next day was to head for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including Roanoke Island. Earl was looking forward to seeing Kitty Hawk, of Wright Brothers fame. Their plan was to stay at the outer banks for two days, then head inland to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, and eventually make their way to Nashville.

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