July 13: I made it to the other ocean!

But first I crossed a bridge. Although calling this thing a bridge is like calling what Crocodile Dundee had a knife [wry g]. Twenty-three miles long, with two, count ‘em two tunnels. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is an amazing feat of engineering, IMHO. It was so cool.

That ship's going to hit the bridge!  Well, no.  See that building way up there?  That's a restaurant.  On the bridge, at the southern entrance of the first tunnel.  Bizarre.
That ship’s going to hit the bridge! Well, no. See that building way up there? That’s a restaurant. On the bridge, at the southern entrance of the first tunnel. Bizarre.
Taken from the restaurant parking lot with *lots* of zoom.  Pretty cool, huh?
Taken from the restaurant parking lot with *lots* of zoom. Pretty cool, huh?
More bridge.  The water was so calm, but I couldn't help but think that it's a good thing they get lots of warning about hurricanes to get people off that thing before it hits.
More bridge. The water was so calm, but I couldn’t help but think that it’s a good thing they get lots of warning about hurricanes to get people off that thing before it hits.
This is an extremely disconcerting picture.  That's the second tunnel in that gap.
This is an extremely disconcerting picture. That’s the second tunnel in that gap.
The entrance to the second tunnel.
The entrance to the second tunnel.
And the exit.  The tunnel is two lanes, but the bridge (actually a pair of bridges) is four lanes.
And the exit. The tunnel is two lanes, but the bridge (actually a pair of bridges) is four lanes.
Looking back at the northern end of the bridge from a viewpoint on the Eastern Shore.
Looking back at the northern end of the bridge from a viewpoint on the Eastern Shore.

I liked Virginia’s Eastern Shore, too, although it was more bucolic than photogenic. I did make a “that looks interesting” stop at a place called Almshouse Farm, just off U.S. 13, which runs up the backbone of the Eastern Shore. Turns out it was a museum in an old poorhouse, first built in 1804 (although the existing building is newer than that). Part of the exhibits were about the almshouse, but most of them were about the people who lived along the shore of the bay and the islands. It was definitely worth a stop.

The Almshouse Farm museum.
The Almshouse Farm museum.
The Almshouse Farm Museum had some really wonderful bird carvings.
The Almshouse Farm Museum had some really wonderful bird carvings.

The main reason I’d wanted to come to the Eastern Shore (besides an excuse to drive the bridge-tunnel) was Chincoteague Island. Like every kid of my generation, I’d read the books about Misty of Chincoteague, and I’ve always sorta wanted to see it ever since. Plus it looked like a good place to find a beach. And it has a lighthouse.

I didn’t see any ponies, alas, but I did get to walk on the beach (with a few hundred of my new best friends – there were a lot of people out sunbathing and swimming, but I’ve never been a big fan of swimming in the ocean), and to visit the lighthouse. Assateague Lighthouse was built just before the Civil War, and it’s taller than Gray’s Harbor Lighthouse, which is the tallest one in Washington. Anyway, it was about 100 degrees inside (it was in the 80sF outside and incredibly humid) and there were a lot of stairs and I didn’t make it all the way to the top. I was getting dizzy from the circular staircase, and my bifocals didn’t like it at all, but I think I’d have persisted if it weren’t for the stifling heat. I did get a picture from one of the windows that was at the highest level I reached.

The only photo I have of the ocean at Assateague National Seashore that isn't full of people [g].
The only photo I have of the ocean at Assateague National Seashore that isn’t full of people [g].
Assateague Lighthouse.
Assateague Lighthouse.
A view from near the top of Assateague Lighthouse, taken through a 150-year-old window.
A view from near the top of Assateague Lighthouse, taken through a 150-year-old window.
If this was on the west coast, I'd say it was salal, but apparently salal doesn't grow on the east coast.  The lady at the visitor center didn't know what it was, either, and I can't find anything online.  Anyone know?
If this was on the west coast, I’d say it was salal, but apparently salal doesn’t grow on the east coast. The lady at the visitor center didn’t know what it was, either, and I can’t find anything online. Anyone know?

On the way back from Chincoteague Island (which is divided into three parts – a Seaside-like tourist town (Seaside’s on the Oregon coast), Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, and Assateague National Seashore), I drove over a causeway to get back to the mainland, and watched the really ominous clouds come closer and closer.

Some seriously ominous clouds on the causeway leaving Chincoteague Island.
Some seriously ominous clouds on the causeway leaving Chincoteague Island.

It rained on me once I got back on the highway, but fortunately the thunderstorm didn’t start until after I found a motel here in Salisbury, Maryland. Which was a real trick because they’re having some sort of national sporting event here in town this week. If it hadn’t been for the nice couple at the tourist center, I’m not sure what I’d have done. It’s still booming and crashing and flashing out there. Fortunately, so far there’s been at least seven alligators between flash and boom.

Tomorrow I’m going to duck up into Delaware briefly (so that I can knock it off of my states-I-haven’t-been-to-yet list), then back over to Chesapeake Bay, where I will make my way up to the Bay Bridge and across to Annapolis and Baltimore, where I will be spending a few days with my friend Katrina and her sister Teri, then picking my best friend Loralee up at the Baltimore airport. She and I are going to explore DC together for a few days before I head north again.

So if my blogging is a bit thin on the ground for the next week or so, that’s why. I will catch it all up once I’m on my own again – or I may have time to blog after all. Who knows?