Monday, September 03, 2012

Road Trip, Day 3

Tobacco field somewhere north of Ahoskie North Carolina
And so we started the day like we did yesterday, loading up the Prius and heading out of Rocky Mount NC, first east on 64 to Williamston and then north-east up 13 to Ahoskie and on into Virginia, through Norfolk and then across the Chesapeake bridge and into the tidewater portions of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

There is some quality to the upper southern and northern states I like. I could have stopped every fifteen minutes and gone crazy trying to photograph everything that caught my eye and my fancy. Instead, I toured through the countryside and soaked up the sights as they came rolling by, minute after minute and then hour after hour. Staying on 13 kept us off the interstates and closer to the land and smaller communities. Driving slower and more closely to the land was far more comforting and relaxing than the mad dashes from the prior two days. I did eventually stop just outside of Ahoskie North Carolina to photograph the field of tobacco.

That one photo is representative of all the fields we drove past and through from North Carolina up into Maryland. Tobacco was rather limited; instead we saw what I believe were soy, peanuts, cotton and corn, heavy on the soy. Some of the smaller communities we passed through had small fields right near the center of the town. I've seen the same in Florida with small orange groves. We saw small fields of soy and tobacco in some of these townships.

The diffuse light from an overcast day, combined with the less hectic travel pace and the country view made the travel day a lot more enjoyable.
Elizabeth River III paddle boat passing in front of General Dynamics Shipyards, Norfolk, Virginia
Driving on 13 through Virginia was as enjoyable as driving on it in North Carolina until we got close to Norfolk. Then urban development began to crowd in again. Our route took us along I-264 and the center of Norfolk past the General Dynamics shipyards. As we drove across the Berkley Bridge I happened to look off to my left and see this Navy ship in the yards. I have no idea what its name is, but I stopped on the other side of the Elizabeth River at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside and did the touristy photo op. I waited until the little paddle boat started to cross in front before grabbing the photo. Isn't it all cute that way?

After making a quick pit stop in Norfolk we headed towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, paid our $12, and then crossed it. This is the first time in my life I've crossed it. It dawned on me as I was crossing the bay bridge that I've spent the majority of my entire life in some sort of room or office, from my room at home to class rooms to offices and cubicles. I've traveled a fair bit with my wife, but nothing like the trip we're taking this year. We've both come to the decision that we're going to do a lot more traveling from now on. Next year I'm supposed to have an extra week of vacation. I think we'll spend three weeks traveling out west, crossing into Texas, New Mexico, and other points out west.
Corn field, early evening, just across the Virginia/Maryland state border
We continued into the Virginia tidewater region after crossing the bridge. Rain showers had been chasing us since crossing earlier into Virginia, and as we drove further north the light grew more diffuse. We noticed that the corn fields have started to turn brown, and just across the Maryland border I noticed a touch of fall color in some maples by the side of the road. Real fall season. Now there's something I haven't experienced in a good long time.

We stopped for the night in Salisbury, Maryland. We had a massive seafood meal at the Old Mill Crab House in Delmar Delaware. My wife loves blue crabs, and so she got an all-you-can-eat meal with blue crabs. I was a bit more restrained with the admirals platter, but not by much. Tomorrow we're actually going to slow down and spend a bit of time in Salisbury, then head straight over to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. We're going to check out Betsy's place and the bell.

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