Friday, September 21, 2012

Williamsburg Virginia - WWR 6 Chincoteague

We awoke to clear skies on a cool dew covered first day of fall. The nights will now be longer than the days for the next six months. I gave Sherm a quick lesson in how to covert a Zumo trip log into route, a necessary function when trying to either decipher a complicated ride or retrace one's steps.

There was an official ride today through the local countryside but Moosquatch had volunteered to take a group to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands on the Virginia Coast instead. It was a longer run, about 142 miles one way. We spread the word that we would be pulling out about 9:00 AM and the riders started to gather as the hour approached. Right on time, Moosquatch and his brother Roger pulled in and the group hit the road.

Sherm took second spot and I was near the front but fell to the rear as I blocked the street so all twenty-seven bikes could get out of the lot together. This was good because Sherm and I then had radio communication from the front to the back. I was behind Phillip but soon let him take the very rear because I couldn't hear the intercom over his nasty loud pipes. He didn't mind.

We rode out of town and caught the on ramp to I-64 east. Morning traffic was busy and fast and it took everything we had to keep the group together, but we managed as we rode into the sunrise. We crossed the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel on the way and kept going.

Moosquatch pulled off at a gas station in Virginia Beach for a break and so the shorter range Vulcans could fuel. We met two riders there, one on a 2012 Wing from New Jersey and his partner on a Harley from near Boston. They were homeward bound today.

Heading out of Williamsburg

Some kind of stadium

Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

Riding under water

Julie taking pictures

Boston and Jersey riders

Six Pack Jack talks to Phillip (Caleb's dad)

Departing the station, we approached the 23 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We had been informed that the toll was $12.00 one way and an additional $5.00 for a return trip. They mentioned that EZ Pass was accepted but ours was back in the Avalanche so it would be a cash transaction today.

After paying the toll, we were out over the water. When we finally got to the first tunnel, we pulled off in a parking area to check out the ships. The route goes underwater here to allow larger ships like the aircraft carriers to access the bay. One tunnel is for inbound traffic and the other lets them back out to sea again.

We saw a large container ship coming in and then what seemed to be a small aircraft carrier. There was some confusion over what appeared to be a Canadian flag flying and we wondered if there was something the Prime Minister had not told us, but closer examination revealed it was just a red and white maritime flag. The craft was the USS Peleliu (LHA-5), a Tarawa class Amphibious Assault Ship designed to launch helicopters and assault barges. . Later research showed it had departed San Diego on the 17th and would be the main craft in a task group intended to backstop Marine forces in US embassies in the middle east. We believe it was here to join the rest of its group before going overseas.

We were also approached by a couple from Germany who own a Vulcan Classic back home. I provided them with the VROC website and they took a picture of our patches.

Leaving the shore behind

Stopped on the bridge/tunnel

Lots of containers

USS Peleliu

It looked like a Canuck flag on top

Moosquatch got us fired up again and we proceeded north, sometimes over the water and sometimes under it. Before long, we were back on land on the Virginia Shores, a peninsula that has a distinctly different flavour than the rest of the state.

Descending under the bay

The fishing must be good

Descending again

And now an elevated span

Finally we are ashore again

The rest of the ride to Chincoteague Island was uneventful. Moosquatch kept the pace steady enough that those of us at the end didn't play crack the whip. Sandy recorded some of the scenery along the way.

Picturesque vignettes

Maybe the last Stuckey's store in existence

A fair

The turn to the Islands

Finally, we turned east towards the islands. We passed a NASA tracking facility before heading out on a causeway/bridge over some very pretty coastal marshes and onto Chincoteague Island.

Coastal marshes

And more coast

A lone egret or maybe a crane


It's all bridges out here

The town of Chincoteague

Finally, we are here

On Chincoteague, Moosquatch cruised the main street of the town until he found what he was looking for. Set back from the street along the water was a rundown looking building, the Chincoteague Inn and Restaurant. It wasn't a place that looked like it catered to tourists, which was fine by us. The inside was full of very local looking people but the nice lady set us up outside on the floating tiki bar. The server told us she was the only one handling the whole place but she said she had called in reinforcements and soon Jamie arrived to help.

The menu had a lot of fine things, many of them fresh seafood, but I had a roast beef sandwich while Sandy had grilled chicken. The biggest surprise was a sampler that Julie ordered that would have fed a platoon. She had a lot of help finishing that. At one point we all paraded out on a narrow, shaky dock so that the nice lady from the restaurant could take a group picture. I wasn't sure it was going to hold all of us but we did survive.

Monument to the wild horses

An out of the way establishment

Southern Draw uses specs in a non-traditional manner


Cheap B and Malachi

Everyone getting ready to order

Our leader Moosquatch (Craig) and his brother Roger

Dueling cameras featuring Six Pack Jack

Our server Jamey (nothing flustered her)

The other young lady

Julie's huge sampler (look at the size of those shrimp)

Real working boats

After lunch, it was growing late and there were still the horses to see on neighboring Assateague Island. Some of us looked at our watches and did some computations, coming to the conclusion that if we followed through with the plan, we would be getting back in the dark. Not such a good idea in deer country or for those with not-so-young eyes. So, while the main group turned further east to Assateague, I led Sherm, the Southern Folk and Phillip back west to the mainland. While we were fueling before the main highway, Lucky Al caught and joined us. Al was out of the loop today because his CB refused to work, but we used sign language.

We headed out past the NASA tracking station again and turned south on the highway back to the bridge tunnel. The speed limit was 55 MPH, interspersed with sections of 45. I tried to hold five over, slowing for the speed zones but a semi confounded us by doing 55 all the way, so he kept passing us and we kept passing him. He began to annoy me greatly when he finally turned off and got out of our hair.


Antennae pointed every which way

I think it's an old Redstone with a Mercury capsule

More fine Virginia real estate

We had one incident going south. The road was four lane with a grass median. I was looking for an old building we had seen on the way up and, at the last moment, saw a school bus stopped on the other side. Now some places allow you to not stop if there is a grass median, some require you slow down and some say you will come to a halt. Not sure what Virginia law was, I hit the brakes hard. The next thing I knew a Harley Switchback blew by me. By this time, there was not much use in pretending to stop so i proceeded with caution. We found later that the grass median means stopping is not required so I almost got a Harley in my hip pocket for nothing. LEADERS SHOULD NOT MAKE SUDDEN UNEXPECTED MOVES!!

The ride over the bridge/tunnel was uneventful, with most of the heavy Friday evening traffic going the other way as they headed to the beaches for the weekend. We stopped again for gas in Virginia Beach before continuing. Now the traffic was getting heavier and overhead signs warned of a five mile backup from the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Lucky Al punched a detour into his GPS and thought he had a solution as traffic ground to a halt, but I checked and found it was twenty miles longer so we got back in line. Luckily, the traffic moved along slowly but steadily and we were clear before too long. I can't say the same for the poor souls going the other way as the line of stopped vehicles went on for miles.

Traffic jam in Hampton Roads

Two flattops in port

The jam is worse the other way

As we were approaching Williamsburg, I must have been tired because I missed the sign that said our exit was to the left. I saw it at the last minute and made a sharp cut through traffic from the right lane to get off I-64. By some miracle, the rest of the group followed  I later found that the next exit would have worked better. Anyway, sorry about that guys and if Al tells anyone that I cut across three lanes through traffic, there were only two. See my earlier note about sudden moves.

A draped tower entering Williamsburg

Back at the Rodeway, we were surprised that elements of the horse watchers arrived not long after we did. They must have been hauling ass all the way. Others came in much later. All in all, it was an interesting day. Thanks to Moosquatch for leading.

For supper, we joined Sherm, Wrong Turn, KT, Mal and Yvette at a very unusual McDonald's on Second Street. It has an old Chevy in the store, an old gas pump and some gold records (probably replicas) on the walls and in the display cases.

An unusual McDonald's

An old pump

An old price

After supper, we went back to the Pasture and hung out at the fire for a bit. After that, I found I was really tired and wandered off to bed early.

Today's Route (284 motorcycle miles):

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