Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fun in the Sun, Part 6 (Virginia to Quebec)

 From Waves we headed back north along 12 to Kitty Hawk. It was near here the Wright brothers made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903. Turning on Route 158 we crossed over into Norfolk, Virginia, looking for the "Follow the Gulls" signs for the Chesapeake Bridge - Tunnel to Maryland. After a rather convoluted zig zagging through Norfolk we finally saw the familiar blue signs pointing the way to the Bridge. It was drizzling and much cooler as we crossed the 17-mile link between the Virginia Beach/Norfolk and the eastern shore, one of the "Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World" and the largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world. We followed Route 13 and 113 through Maryland to the 50 east which went back to the coast at Ocean City where we caught Route 1 to Delaware. It seemed to take forever to drive through Ocean City, one of the east coasts most popular tourist destinations in the summer. Thankfully the 8 million annual visitors hadn't started arriving yet but we still took almost an hour to crawl through this seaside resort.

Delaware was cool and cloudy when we decided to stop and camp one last time on the beach at Delaware Shores State Park. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth and Indian River Bays the park has six miles of shoreline but few people were exploring when we set out for our usual walk with Ben. The sand was course with an occasional horseshoe crab shell and the water was uncomfortably cold. Yes we were back north. Again we had a choice of sites because of the dirth of campers and the few fishermen along the river side were bundled up like Eskimos. But the sun came out as it lowered in the sky and it felt surprisingly warm.

Indian River Inlet Bridge, straddling the State Park



Delaware Seashore State Park, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The next morning we continued on Route 1 through Delaware till we hit the I-95, then followed the I-295 to the I-287, skirting Philadelphia and New York City. The I-87 would eventually take us straight north into Quebec and Montreal. But we had one more stop overnight before getting home, in the small village of Florida, New York. Florida is in a farming area known for the vast onion fields (it calls itself the Onion Capital of the World) in the nearby Black Dirt Region. It was a fitting end and place to stay to our Florida trip and one of the nicest camping sites we had stayed in - the Black Bear Campground. It was quite hot again, now that we were away from the coast, and we enjoyed the beautiful setting of the campground on a sloping hill full of maple and birch trees well in leaf. The next morning we were up early and back on the road, the New York scenery through the Adirondacks spectacular and the traffic almost non-existent, especially the closer we got to the Canadian border. In Plattsburgh we did some last minute shopping, crossed the border in Champlain, and were in Montreal for supper with the kids. Our three plus week trip was over, and we hoped winter as well. Lets do it again next April!   gws

Black Bear Campground, Florida, New York

last stop in the Adirondacks, High Peaks North, North Hudson, NY

Quebec border, now on Highway 15, 12th May, 2016

welcome back!

Fun in the Sun, Part 5 (North Carolina)


Leaving Myrtle Beach we continued on Route 17 to Wilmington, North Carolina. Here we stopped to take some pictures at the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. I had passed through the city before but never visited the site. It was yet another beautiful spring day as we parked beside the old lady. At the time of her commissioning in 1941 she was considered the world's greatest sea weapon, armed with nine 16-inch/45 calibre guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 calibre guns in ten twin mounts! The North Carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific war and earned 15 battle stars. In the battle of the Eastern Solomon's in August of 1942 her anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier Enterprise, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. North Carolina was decommissioned in 1947 and saved from the scrapper's torches by a campaign of the State's citizens, arriving in Wilmington in 1961. She is now the State's memorial to its WWII veterans, an imposing site on the Cape Fear River. After leaving Wilmington we passed through the thick pine forests of Camp Lejeune Marine Base, having lunch at a small river park in Pollocksville. An hour later we turned onto Route 64, east to the Outer Banks. At Route 12 to Hatteras Island it was another 24 miles south, following the dunes to the town of Waves.

Trent River, Pollocksville, NC

lunch in Pollocksville, North Carolina
 Our campground, Camp Hatteras, had a 1000 foot frontage on both the Atlantic and Pamlico Sound and we basically had the place to ourselves. It was certainly cooler here and off the beaten path but still warm enough to walk the beach to the nearest pier in Rodanthe. There were a few fishermen on the sand, none having any luck that we could see, and very few people about. We cooked our supper outside on our little campstove as it was still warm enough, and there were no bugs about. We finished the Swiss chard Lyn had given us before leaving Brooksville, eating it with pork medallions and mashed sweet potatoes, a real seaside feast! It would be our last day of shorts and swimming suits as we were going further north to Virginia tomorrow and the forecast looked abysmal for the Chesapeake Bay.    gws

Camp Hatteras, Waves, North Carolina

Fun in the Sun, Part 4 (South Carolina)

The next day we stopped early just south of Charleston, South Carolina, having kept to the coast as much as possible. Lake Aire RV Park was a clean and quiet spot on a 32 acre park like setting and we hooked up beside a peaceful swimming pond, home to a mother Muscovy duck and her dozen goslings. We spent a relaxing evening in the pool, talking to some other RVers, in no hurry to leave and drive further north! Staying on highway 17 the next morning and passing just through the north part of Charleston, the French Quarter, we crossed  the bridge over the Cooper River and could see signs for the USS Yorktown Naval Museum. Off to the right at Patriots Point the aircraft carrier itself was visible, tied up next to another ship, the Sumner-class destroyer USS Laffey. Marie agreed it would be a great idea to stop and visit the Museum!

Marie relaxing on the other side of the pond

Lake Aire RV Park, Hollywood, South Carolina

USS Laffey (DD-724)
The Laffey supported the D-Day landings at Normandy in 1944 and later transferred to the Pacific Theatre to join the US offensive against Japan. While operating off Okinawa on April 16, 1945 she was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and kamikaze killing 31 of her 336-man crew, earning the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die" The USS Laffey was also present at the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1946 and also earned two more battle stars during the Korean War. She is the only surviving Sumner-class destroyer in North America and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. She was overshadowed in size by the aircraft carrier but not by glory and as we walked down the pier to these two great warriors I felt proud to be able to appreciate the sacrifices of those who served in them.
USS Laffey and USS Yorktown, Charleston, South Carolina

The USS Yorktown ( CV-10) was named for the Yorktown (CV-5) lost while repelling the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway in 1945. The new Yorktown was commissioned in 1943, an Essex-class carrier and played a significant role in the Pacific offensive which began in late 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. Yorktown earned 11 battle stars for WWII service, served in the Vietnam War in the 60's as an antisubmarine carrier and in 1968 recovered the Apollo 8 astronauts, the first men to orbit the moon.  More than two dozen historic aircraft are located in the hangar and on the flight deck. On the flight deck we saw a Skyhawk, Crusader, Sea King, Intruder, Viking, Hornet, Tomcat, Corsair, Phantom II, Tracker, Tracer and a Skywarrior. In the Hanger, protected from the sun the older airplanes - a Mitchell, Cougar, Avenger, Hellcat, Corsair, Skyraider, Stearman, Wildcat and a Dauntless. It is the only carrier museum to display all 10 of the most significant aircraft in US carrier aviation history.

Corsair (WWII and Korean War)

F9F Grumman Cougar (1959)

F4F Wildcat

Marie in cafeteria and galley, USS Yorktown

view of diesel-powered USS Clamagore from flight deck

me in the Ready Room, USS Yorktown

F-18A Hornet

Sea King
USS Yorktown Flight Deck

Leaving the Charlestown area we continued on the 17, stopping at a seafood market in Murrells Inlet for some fish for supper, fresh flounder and shrimp. When we decided to call it quits for the day we found what turned out to be one of the most impressive RV camps we have ever seen in all our travelling in the USA - Ocean Lakes family campground, just south of Myrtle Beach. A new water park, outdoor Olympic size swimming pool, heated indoor pool, mini golf, games center, ocean front, lakes, pizza delivery, grocery store, laundry, bike rentals and more. We had no reservations but they were kind enough to give us an ocean view site and made us very welcome. I would recommend this campground to everyone who needs to have some fun and relaxation close to Myrtle Beach. Cabins and oceanfront houses are also available here for rent. Just bring your electric golf cart to get around! Marie cooked up a delicious grilled fish supper and later, strolling on the beach we watched another sunset to end a perfect day. Next stop for us, Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks!  gws

Seven Seas Seafood Market, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

camping 35 feet from the ocean, South Carolina

Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Lakes Campground, Myrtle Beach, SC

parked alongside the "big boys", Ocean Lakes Campground, Myrtle Beach