Day 3
April 10th 2002
Chesapeake, Virginia

The front that had been chasing me for 2 days finally caught up with me.  A big time storm blew in over the night, and dumped a inch of rain over the Tidewater Area.  In fact, it is still raining when I get up at 7am.
This is kind of a free day.  I finished my agenda in Norfolk yesterday, and I was due to leave out today for the Eastern Shore, to start the trip to Pennsylvania.  My aunt's broken hip will mean I won't go to West Chester, so I will ride to Emmitsburg, Maryland instead.  Neal Mixon is attending class at the National Fire Academy there.  Neal is a good friend of mine in the fire department back home, and it will be fun to see him, and hang out for a day.

My only real objective for today is to see old family friends in Virginia Beach, then ride north as far as I can.  It will be a low mileage day.

I hung around Murray's house all morning waiting for the rain to clear out.  It was already moving out of Richmond, and the Tidewater Area should start drying out soon according to the Weather Channel.

The front finally moved through around 10am, so I strapped my gear down.  I was anxious to get underway.
A fine mist was still falling as I hit the wet streets of Chesapeake.  Low on gas I stopped at the Exxon station at Taylor Road and topped off the tank.  My receipt reads 4.7 gallons of gas at 10:38 am.

I got back on I-64 and rode into Norfolk for lunch at Tony's.  What can I say? They are the best, and I had no idea when I would ever be this way again, so I indulged myself one last time.

Mrs. Tony was glad I came back one last time for lunch.  Tony's is one of the last places you can still get a glass bottle coke with your hot dog.  She says she has to order them out of Baltimore.

After lunch, I returned to I-64 and landed in Virginia Beach, to visit Ralph and Helen Mussleman.  They are old family friends of Boutin's.  The lived across the street from us in the days before Robin Hood Road.  They were friends of my parents before I was even BORN.  I always stop to say hello when I am in the area, and they do the same when they are down my way.

I have no problem finding their street, and I soon roll in their driveway.

I knock on the door, and a surprised Ralph greets me.  I get lots of hugs and best wishes from Helen, who was upstairs on the computer when I knocked on the door.

I spend 2 hours visiting and catching up on the news.  I give them my mothers best wishes.  Helen and Ralph are both in good health and looking good.  Ralph still manages a couple of rounds of golf each week. For 50 years he has had a golf passion.  There must be something very addictive about that sport.  I am awed something can keep his interest for so long.  

It is still cloudy, as I make my way out onto Independence Blvd and back to I-64 to connect with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  In the early days a ferry transported guys from the Tidewater Area to the Eastern Shore.  I recall the ferry ride took about 2-3 hours, depending on how long a wait you had at the ports.  With the bridge it takes about 20 minutes.

Traffic is light as I pull into the toll booths for the bridge.  The attendant asks where I am from and I reply, " Alabama."  I am pleasantly surprised to learn my fee is only 10 dollars, compared to the 25 dollar fee they snag from the cages.

I clear the toll area, and begin the 15 mile trek across the bridge. It is cloudy, cold, and windy.  I fight a stiff headwind and try to keep my head down in the quiet zone.  The wind off the bay is blowing me all over the place.  Its terrible.  Visibility out into the Bay is only a few miles.  


​A windy and cool Chesapeake Bridge and Tunnel, about
6 miles north in the Bay from Virginia Beach.

 reach the first tunnel and a rest area, and pull off to take a few pictures.  The Bay Bridge is a engineering marvel.  It was built in just 42 months, under budget, no taxpayer money. A like project today would take years to build, I believe the work ethic back then was superior to  today's.  I give as evidence, the interstate project going on back home.  Adding a lane each way to I-65 for 6 miles, has taken 4 years so far, and is still going, and already over budget.

It was a fun ride across the bridge despite the cold and wind.

I finally reach the Eastern Shore and push on.  I follow U.S. 13 North and just ride.  As of yet, I have no idea where I am going to spend the night.

The sun begins to break out, but for the 3rd consecutive day I battle a stiff, gusty wind.

The Eastern Shore is a quiet peaceful ride.  I ride past old white churches with cemeteries to the side.  Flags flying in school yards are full out in the high winds.

The sun does little to warm things up.  The wind is just too much.

In Accomac I stop at a K Mart for some supplies.  I forget my frying pan and will have to pick up a new one.  The shopping center is also home to a grocery store, so I can pick up supper items too.

In K Mart I find a cheap frying pan, batteries, then check out.  A lady and her mother are at the front of the line.  Each has a big basket full of stuff, and are writing checks from who knows where. Each has to be approved by someone, and it takes forever to get checked out.  You mean people still write checks this day and time?  The store advertises a 3rd in line policy, meaning if you are the 3rd guy in line, they open another register.  Well I am number 3, but there are 5 guys behind ME, and still no one makes a move to open another register.  No wonder K Mart is in chapter 13.

I finished K Mart and walked over to the grocery store and picked up a T bone and potatoes for supper.  I also bought a box of Famous Amos Oatmeal cookies.  After all, they say oatmeal is good for your cholesterol.

With the ST idling in the parking lot, I get out my atlas and look for a place to spend the night.  It is only 4pm, but I see no campgrounds north of Pocomoke City.  I am sure there are some private campgrounds, but I have no idea where, so Pocomoke State Park will be my choice.

I get back on U.S. 13 and have a nice ride to the park.  I love afternoon rides, and it felt good to have such a easy day mileage wise.  A day to just meander and not rush.

I arrive at the park about about 5 pm after covering 177 miles.

The park looks empty except for a lone pick up with a camper on the rear.  I go by the office and a sign says the Rangers have gone home for the day, and to use the night register.  It is then I am taken aback-18 bucks to pitch a tent.  The most I have EVER seen for a state park.  I reach in and all I have is a 20.  I am going to skip registering, and go set up camp.  I will be out of here before they come to work, and noway they are leaving home to see if everyone is registered.  The State of Maryland is just going to have do without my 18 bucks.

I ride back to the camp sites and pick out a nice quiet, dark place.  I tend to avoid areas near the bathroom and showers.  Too much noise and light.  Nothing like having someone walk through your camp site on his way to the bathroom.  At a busy campground that can be quite annoying.

I change into sweat clothes to ward off the chilly Maryland air, and snacked on oatmeal cookies as I set up my tent.

With my tent and bed ready, I cook up my t bone on my trusty Coleman stove.  I am still using the same bottle I took to California last year. This stove has been the best 15 bucks I ever spent.
​  My home away from home.
With the sun going down, I eat steak and potatoes, and enjoy the solitude of a empty campground on the banks of the Pocomoke River.

I called Neal but failed to get an answer.  I called my brother in law in Lorton, Va. and advised him I was on schedule, and should arrive in the DC area Friday afternoon.

After supper I took a walk on the fishing piers.  The water here is a brackish, dark color.  I then strolled the camp sites and chatted with the pick up/camper folks.  They lived not far from here, and was just looking for some peace and quiet.  I told them they found the place.

Back at the camp table, I plotted out the course across Maryland for the next day.  My plan is to ride north into southern Pennsylvania.  I know its shorter to cut between DC and Baltimore, but who cares, I am on tour and want to see rural Maryland.  I write the routes down, and stick it in my map case, and on my left sleeve.

It was getting cold so I took refuge in my tent.  I listened to my headphones.  The temp was going down in the low 40s tonight.  Brrrrrr. To pass the time, I called home and spoke with my wife and son, spending 1 hour of my 3500 night and weekend minutes to anywhere U.S.A.  Modern technology is great.  Here I am in the Maryland woods, and I can carry on a conversation, as if I was just across the street.

Sleepy, I went to sleep in my warm sleeping bag about 10pm.