Time for us to say goodbye to our superhosts, Bill and Aster, and head north again. Subie is packed up and ready to go. She’s been averaging 31mph on this total trip (about 6,200 miles so far) and she’s able to hold all of our gear without too much difficulty.
One of the cool things about this trip is sometimes we get the opportunity to say, “Hmm… which way should we go? Left or right?” Today we got to do that as we left the confusing spaghetti of the Tidewater highway system and headed up the Eastern coast of Virginia. We literally did not know whether to go the eastern or the western route up to NYC. There was only a few minutes difference. Either way, we had to cross the famous 20-mile bridge-tunnel system that crosses the Chesapeake Bay.
Once we got over to the other side, we drove through beautiful farmlands with old historic homes and barns in various states of repair. An interesting thing about this area is that the churches all have a churchyard cemetery, some of which are huge! We also found a few fallow cornfields with a tiny cemetery of a few headstones in the middle of the field (no church or home nearby). Unfortunately we didn’t get pics of those, but we’re writing it down here so we remember it in our brains later.
Another great thing about traveling on the fly is you may see something on the map that you’ve remembered from your youth and you wanna go see it. More often than not, you get to! “Misty of Chincoteague” was a favorite book of Lisa’s when she was in her horse phase as a kid. As it turns out, in addition to being a little touristy beach island in northeastern Virginia, Chincoteague is a real wildlife sanctuary where the wild ponies of the island actually roam! To make it even better, it’s a NATIONAL Wildlife Refuge — Free to Federal Annual Passholders! Jim couldn’t find any reasons to say no to Lisa’s request to the see the ponies. But first, we had to go visit the Assateague lighthouse, because, of course, we haven’t seen a lighthouse yet today. This one you can actually climb up to…. when the keeper is in the house. Today he wasn’t.
Even though Lisa was disappointed we couldn’t climb the lighthouse, she was very quickly pleased to find the wild Chincoteague ponies just around the corner. We first spotted a few in the fields and then we came around the corner and they were on the road! Seeing them up close, Jim noticed their long manes and forelocks were knotted up, but they seemed pretty comfortable around people and came right up to his car window.
Enough playing, we had to get up to NYC to see Ray and Gwen. Being on the East Coast, the states are smaller, so it sounded like we drove a lot but we quickly went through Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey in no time. There are lots of bridges on the way, some with tolls as much as $15! The famous New Jersey Turnpike is also a toll road. So much for trying to see how far we can get without using toll roads. On the East Coast, they are essential, but how can the locals afford this?
We finally made it into NYC with hardly any traffic. And we’re actually driving our own car this time! We’ve been here by plane, train, bus, Uber, subway, taxi, and by foot — never in our own car. It only took two people, one printed map, and two GPS’s to get here!
Ray and Gwen’s new place is in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn. It’s right in the middle of great restaurants, bars and other businesses. In keeping with trying out new cuisines, we had Vietnamese at a place two doors down, followed by cocktails in the tiniest of bars around the corner. With all the hustle and bustle of the city, we can’t believe we were just playing with wild ponies on a quiet island only a few hours ago. What an awesome country and an amazing adventure. Tomorrow, we’re off to the land of Springsteen and Gwen’s hometown, the Jersey Shore.