August 2018 Vaca!
If you wanted to see this Chronologically, Read our Snohomish to Roanoke trip report.
About a week or so after finalizing everything for our living situation here in Roanoke, Virginia Katrin and I decided to get back on the road. Since we moved here from the West coast, we had a lot to go see and explore. Some of the things here close to our new home would be overlooked for a later date when we wanted a weekend trip. We had a few more weeks before Katrin started school again and I (Cody) didn’t have a new job yet. It was a perfect time to get out again.
We were not ready to move in to our new home yet because it wasn’t done being repainted and whatnot. Therefore, we had been camping at the Dixie Caverns campground. Where we enjoyed a fantastic tour of the caverns. It’s worth doing if you’re nearby.
With that out of the way, we couldn’t resist getting over to the National D-Day Memorial. There is so much to do and see, we spent a few hours wondering around and reading through the history. There is a small fee to enter and once you see it you’ll want to donate a few extra bucks to keep it open. Being there is an amazing experience and I recommend it to everyone.
Virginia is rich in history, but it can’t compare to the nation’s capital. Our plan brought us to Washington D.C. We would be heading North before turning back South and then completing the loop back to Roanoke.
D.C. is great. We parked outside the busy areas and took the train into downtown. Originally, we tried to fit into a parking garage, but the attendant stopped us and told us the truck was too tall. Oh well.
Once we were downtown we downloaded both Bird and Lime Bike apps onto our phones. The scooters aren’t allowed into every part of downtown, but you can always go up a block to travel laterally. The food trucks are legit too if you get hungry. There is so much to do and see we are definitely going back. There was also an albino squirrel running around that we snapped a few photos of.
After spending the whole day in D.C. we camped at Hillwood Camping Park. Where we were able to shower. I took some video and photos as we settled for the night with a few beers and dinner.
New Jersey and Delaware were going to be the starting point of where we would get to the coast and then turn South, following the beaches until turning towards the Great Smokey Mountains and traveling the national forests back home.
On our way to Wildwood NJ we found a very random M18 tank sitting on the side of the road. I pulled over and we decided to get some food out while we looked at the tank and tried to figure out why it was there.
Arriving at Wildwood, we started by paying one of the hotels that offered parking near the boardwalk. We’ve never been to a boardwalk like this before, so we strolled to both ends and had lunch before leaving. In my opinion this is more of a family based activity for the little ones.
After leaving we took the ferry across to Chincoteague Island. This is truly paradise. Main street kept us busy for a few hours while we looked through the shops. Which there are tons of. Maddox Boulevard too. Plus, handmade ice cream!
Once we had our fill of the front end of the island we ate lunch at the Ropewalk Restaurant and sat outside. There were seagulls that we’ve never seen before on the west coast and they watched the food like hawks. I highly recommend Ropewalk if you’re nearby.
Full and ready to nap, we headed out to the seashore. We drove around and took some photos of the wild horses in the park area before enjoying some sun and sand. On our route out of the park, it was tempting to go to the lighthouse, until a billion mosquitos changed our mind.
That night we stayed at Toms Cove Park. Which we enjoyed very much. The sites were well maintained, and the showers were welcoming.
The next day we returned to main street to grab some last-minute gifts and then departed the island heading South through the Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge-Tunnel.
According to CBBT.com the bridge is approximately 23 miles long with 2 underwater tunnels that are approximately 1 mile long each. The depth of the water along the route is 25 – 100 feet deep.
We were both impressed by how long it was and the fact that out of nowhere we dove down into the tunnels. Being that we had no idea, it was really a fun drive.
Arriving downtown Virginia Beach we paid to park near the Neptune statue. There aren’t any electric scooters to ride around like D.C. which was unfortunate, because it would be fun to zoom down the beach with one. It didn’t stop us from checking out some local shops and walking up and down the beach as well as Atlantic Ave.
We at lunch at one of the seaside restaurants but weren’t very impressed. I can’t even remember the name of the place. Wish I could write it here as a warning.
There are parks on every other street adorned with statues of sea life and the occasional historical markers. Events appear to happen on the sand all summer long. If you’re there during a weekend, likely something is happening. In the least there are some good open-air bars with cornhole. The crowds are friendly.
That night we camped in a nearby campground getting there, in the dark. The next day we drove into the outer banks, or as it’s locally referred to, OBX. Getting onto the island via the 158 bridge we turned back North. Visiting the cities of Duck, and Corolla. Making sure to stop and get some Big Buck’s homemade ice-cream along the way. Also driving through the Brew Thru. Which is “The coolest convenience store in the world”. According to their sign. We really wasted the day being tourists.
That day we wanted to get into camp at a decent time. Oregon Inlet Campground was one of my favorite spots during the whole trip. The sites are amazing! The showers were decent, just lacking a place to put clean dry clothes.
Night there is a perfect opportunity to play with the camera and the stars. Or try your hand at light painting.
Getting an early start in the morning was imperative to our plan for the day. We had no idea that the Write Brothers National Memorial was nearby until we passed signs for it on the way to the campground the previous day. That was where we went first. Getting acquainted with the history and memorials on and off of the hill took about 2 hours of worth while time.
From there we returned to Corolla. Getting our vehicle pass figured out and then heading out onto the sand to drive on the beach. We drove the whole beach from end to end parking at the state line where there is a barrier to prevent you from crossing over. Magically, 2 wild horses came down onto the beach and Katrin freaked out! She loves horses and has been riding them since she was little. Both of us took photos and video. I made us lunch after the pair of horses laid down in the sand.
A few hours into loving the awesome beach and wildlife, a storm warning was put out on the radio and dark evil looking clouds were coming in rapidly from the South. Packing up only took a few minutes even though cooking lunch made a mess.
Wind started picking up as we turned back to follow the crowds of fleeing vehicles down the beach. As we pressed on the rain picked up hard followed by lightning. Loose sand was blowing all over. An SUV with road tires was stuck going the other direction. A combination of street tires and part time all wheel drive dug them in a bit. I threw down a set of traction boards and they were free. I got back in the truck as fast as possible while being pelted with sand. The rest of the drive down the beach was quite the show as the thunderstorm pounded away.
With this, it was time to change directions. Getting off the sand and going sea to summit was the plan. We charged towards our next destination, the Great Smokey Mountains. Notably this is just about where the story ends.
We pushed hard to get inland. Getting laundry washed along the way at a laundromat and camping in a sketchy place before our final campground. Just short of the mountains we started having an issue with the truck. Enough noise was coming from the front end that we had it put on a lift the next morning but to no avail. Uncertain of the issue, we turned home instead of pushing it and seeing the mountains as intended. We arrived home a few days early with a heavy sigh.