Wednesday, August 5, 2015 is a day with no anesthesia seminar presentations. My husband, my daughter, and I roll out of bed at 6:30 a.m. From Williamsburg to Chincoteague Island is about a 4 hour drive. We stop at a Dunkin Donuts for our breakfast and then merge into the stream of low flying cars moving south on VA Interstate 64. We move along smoothly until several miles before what is known as the Hampton Roads Tunnel which goes under the James River. The road narrows from 4 lanes to 2 lanes going through the 3.5 mile tunnel and traffic comes to a screeching halt as everyone jockeys to get through the tunnel. The backup is “only” about 6 miles long. Apparently, this is normal here. Once we are through the tunnel, the traffic begins its low flying again.
We exit onto Route 60 which looks like a shortcut along the Chesapeake Bay towards our target. We soon discover that my “shortcut” contains numerous stoplights and takes longer to travel than the long way around via Route 64. Our goal is to connect with Hwy 13 which runs through the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge. The Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge is a 23 mile long bridge spanning the Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk to what is known as the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a 31 mile wide peninsula that extends south from the landmass that is Maryland. Interspersed along the bridge’s length are 2 separate mile long tunnels under the bay to allow for unimpeded commercial ship travel in and out of the bay.
We pay our $16 fee and begin our journey over the bridge. We stop at a rest area that is situated just before the entry to the first underwater tunnel. This area allows for a beautiful view of the bridge in the distance and the open water in front of us. It is really freaky to watch the bridge just disappear and then reappear in the distance. We are delighted to be able to see a war ship steaming out of the bay as we watch. On the horizon are other ships making their way into the Chesapeake Bay. My hubby loves large ships so this is a treat for us.
We are soon on the road again headed to our final destination which is Chincoteague Island. I have booked a pontoon boat ride for 3 p.m. In my mind, I have this view of a quaint quiet little island with wild ponies roaming everywhere. I have never read the book, Misty of Chincoteague, but this is where the backdrop for the story and its successors originated. The island has been made popular by the success of the book series. Therefore, Chincoteague Island is not a quaint quiet place but an overpopulated bustling tourist attraction.
In the heat and our hunger, we are getting irritable trying to find a place where one can park and not have to walk a mile to the planned destination. We do find a little café which is offering sandwiches. Soon our tummies are full and we decide to drive to the next island, Assateague, to visit the light house there. Assateague Island is uninhabited in the sense that no one lives there and it is a National Wildlife Refuge. Our short stop at the beach dispels any belief that this island is free of human beings. On Assateague Island is where the wild ponies actually live.
The day is hot and I am dressed in a tee shirt and capris. As we walk down the path through the woods to the lighthouse, a lady coming towards us says, “The mosquitos will eat you alive.” We really have not had much of a problem with mosquitos since we have been in Virginia so I think she must be over-exaggerating. At least I am hoping that she is, as we do not have any mosquito deterrent on. Unfortunately, I soon discover the truth for myself. I keep moving around and swatting my arms hoping to deter them. Later, I discover that my attempts at discouraging the critters from making me their afternoon snack have failed miserably. I have managed to get bitten 4 or 5 times on each leg and a couple of times on my arms. If I were a normal person, that would not be such a big deal but over the last couple of years, I have discovered that several mosquito bites close together will result in a hyper-reaction. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I will break out in a total leg or arm rash that itches to the point of not being able to sleep and almost drives me insane. Denial does work for a while so I tell myself that maybe this time, it will be OK.
We get back into our cool air conditioned car and snail our way through the throngs of people to our appointment with the boat company. Soon we are skimming across the waters towards the backside of Assateague Island. The wind whips past our faces and cools our heated skin. It’s a great day for a boat ride. Our driver wiggles and maneuvers our boat up the winding canals that line the marshy areas of the island. Soon we spot the beautiful multi-colored ponies that roam the island. Then it is time for a watery view of the lighthouse without the pesky mosquitos. Soon, our captain gets a message that there are dolphins cavorting in the area and we are flying over the water towards the open Atlantic where the dolphins have been spotted. We bounce up and over the waves and down again as we are treated to dolphin noises and play.
As were motor past an island, I notice a sign that says, “For Sale” planted on the beach. There is a house on stilts located at the eastern end of it.
“Is that island really for sale?” I ask.
“Oh yes, you can buy the island and the house over there for a few hundred thousand. The only problem is that the house is no longer on the island and the island keeps moving.”
Ok, that sounds like a real bargain to me.
All too soon, our two hour ride is up and it is time to head back to the hotel in Williamsburg. My mosquito bites have started to itch but not more than any mosquito bite so we shall see. It has been a pleasant excursion to the most eastern shore of the US with another day to beckon tomorrow.
To be continued…