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Road Trip Report: VA-MD-DE-DC-NC

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Day 1: Norfolk Airport to Suffolk on I-64, US  58/460
Day 2: Suffolk to Williamsburg and back on VA 10, VA 31, Colonial Parkway, US 17, VA 105, I-64, I-664, US 58/460
Day 3: Suffolk to Pocomoke City on US 58/460, I-264, US 13
Day 4: Pocomoke City to Glenn Allen on US 13, US 50, I-395, I-95
Day 5: Glen Allen to Dorsett and back on I-95
Day 6: Glen Allen to Morehead City on I-85, I-95, I-40, US 17, NC 24
Day 7: Morhead City to Kill Devil Hills on US 70, NC 12, US 158
Day 8: Kill Devil Hills to Norfolk Airport on US 158, NC/VA 168, I-64

A few observations:

* My sister kept waffling back and forth about exactly how scared she was on tunnels. Finally she said it didn't matter too much, which I viewed as license to see them, so we drove throught the Downtown and Monitor-Merimack tunnels as well as the Chesapeake Bay. I still took the Jamestown Ferry though, I thought it would be cool to complete the Colonial Parkway, and it made sense when approaching the area from Suffolk where our hotel was.

* Virginia is by far the worst state as far as highway lighting I've been too, especially outside of the Tidewater area. Every rural interchange was dark, and even a lot of signalized intersections, something I haven't seen before.

* I liked Virginia's extensive use of spread medians. Like New England the trees appear to be much closer to the interstate than the midwest.

* I liked the "map sign" approaching Richmond from the north.

* ***Lots*** of traffic signals US 13 north of the CBBT,  It's like being in a long city, and I can't imagine how slow it must be during peak vacation traffic. But maybe I was just irrated because I was in a hurry to get someplace rather than viewing it as a destination in itself. When I was planning I looked at my map and thought "Oh, an expressway; it's probably speed limit 65 so I can average about 60... And what's with the 65 mph limit on I-85 in NC north of Durham...

* Wanted to find  Matapeake State Park to take a photo of the Bay Bridge. I had no detailed map of the area and after a half hour of driving around and asking a local that didn't know I still couldn't find it, but I stumbled on a playground that had a good view.

* Traffic in DC was awful even on a Saturday. If we ever go back and spend time there we're staying at a hotel in the suburbs and driving to a Metro station. My sister did see the Jefferson and Washington Monuments, I couldn't because I was driving but I've actually been to them before.

* The Hampton Road Beltway was very old concrete, but other places asphalt, usually in pretty good condition, predominated, something I've noticed elsewhere on the east coast.

* When I hit I-395, I linked up to a previously clinched route from Dulles into the city.

* King's Dominion had a "LA freeway" themed roller coaster. Of course it bugged me that the "BGS" was apparently painted plywood intstead of retroreflective sheeting.

* The Bay Bridge didn't bother either of us in the least. My sister thought it was kind of cool and we got a free ride since we went westbound only.

* A few very old curved truss arm lights in MD. Millerbend still has them in their catalog but I haven't seen an installation anywhere that didn't appear to be 30 years old.

*Saw a couple of cotton fields on our way to the Jamestown Ferry, and then on our way to Morehead City. And a few Palmettos here and there on the OBX and Norfolk and a few things that looked like actual palms on the lower OBX. Not the most earth shattering observations, but I come from the land of corn, cows and soybeans.

* THe OBX reminded me of the Florida Keys, kind of the laid back atmosphere combined with how expensive things were and blatant tourism in a beautiful area. Exect they don't have sand blowing aross the highway like I saw on Ocracoke Island

* Since I was driving, we went to Raleigh before turning east, and drove down to Wilmington so I could "link up" with previously traveled road west of Raleigh, and complete I-40 east of the Smoky Mts Parkway. I also preferred the Cedar Island Ferry to the Swanquarter one as I could "encircle" more territory. Our agreement is I do all the driving and know geography and thus have complete control of the routes taken, as long as I don't do anything completely unreasonable. It was raining when we passed the rest area at Warsaw, so we went from the rest area just west of I-95 to almost Morehead City without stopping. I also agree to limit taking pictures of highway signs and bridges to those I really find interesting, so I didn't get that many road pictures, but I'll post what I have soon.

They ran my drivers license at the ferry to Ocracoke, something I wasn't expecting. Also, no one ever checked our ticket. Funny story- my sister thought it would be another short hop and I didn't tell her otherwise, so she decided to stand up at the front. An hour later she comments about how long it was, and she got a mild sunburn in that time.
*Often roadgeek goals conflict. In my mind a X0 X5 interstate that reaches both ends of the country is the premier states, but I picked I-85 to veer to Raleigh to encircle more territory and link up with previous routes traveled.

* The simplified BGS version of the MD marker looked a bit "off" to me. IMHO it would look better omitting the divider and just having a white square, since the seperator looked odd when there's no state name to seperate from the number. But I did notice highway markers are bigger and more legible in the midwest in  VA and MD. In NC I found them a bit harder to read since big numbers don't fit in a diamond. In the Norfolk area I saw a few "tall thin font" I shields for the 3DIs. Minnesota tried some of it out and I never liked it. I did like the CBBT signs everywhere.


--- Quote from: Mdcastle on September 20, 2012, 06:32:14 PM ---
Day 6: Glen Allen to Morehead City on I-85, I-95, I-40, US 17, NC 24

--- End quote ---

Were you just trying to get in some sights/clinches through this part? I-795 south to US 70 east would have taken you straight to Morehead City/NC 12.


--- Quote from: Sanctimoniously on September 21, 2012, 01:32:48 PM ---
--- Quote from: Mdcastle on September 20, 2012, 06:32:14 PM ---
Day 6: Glen Allen to Morehead City on I-85, I-95, I-40, US 17, NC 24

--- End quote ---

Were you just trying to get in some sights/clinches through this part? I-795 south to US 70 east would have taken you straight to Morehead City/NC 12.

--- End quote ---

Yes, trying to link up with previously clinched roads in Raleigh, then when we were doing well on time I decided to go I-40 to NC 24 to clinch more of I-40, then when we were still doing well I decided to go to the end of I-40. I don't regret it but if I were to do it again knowing what I do now I would have just taken US 70 and seen either the NC or VA state capitol. For that matter taking the Swanquarter ferry would have been faster, or just driving back to Norfolk and down to Hatteras instead of a ferry faster still, but I like to do trips in loops if at all possible.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel

Mason-Dixon marker at the corner of DE.

The Bay Bridge. If I had to do it again I would have taken pictures myself on the bridge, but I wasn't familiar with the bridge or the amount of traffic that would be on it so I gave the camera to my sister, who'se not the greatest photographer so they are all zoomed out with substantial portions of the car in the frame.

Cedar Island-Ocracoke Ferry

Sand Dunes blowing across NC 12 on Ocracoke Island. I took a picture since it was so un-midwestern.

Wright Brothers monument, I especially liked the phrase "To commemorate the conquest of the air". As much as I like road travel, utlimately air travel enables us to see roads much farther away than would ordinarily be possible, and to that I am grateful to everyone from the Wright Brothers to the president of Southwest, who made it affordable (and who has a picture in the museum as people who furthered the field of aviation).

Wow, the Cedar Island ferry looks like a much spiffed-up and larger boat than I recall, although it's not surprising they'd have replaced the one I took because my trip was in May 1993 with some college friends (we were driving from Myrtle Beach to Nags Head). I have some pictures somewhere but I don't know where, since obviously given the year they were not digital photos.

The drive down Ocracoke that day was a ton of funówe weren't stopping in town, so basically we got off the ferry and once we were out of town we essentially drag-raced the length of the island to try to make the Hatteras ferry ahead of everybody else. Succeeded, too, mainly because we were going 100+ mph at times. Good thing it wasn't windy like in your picture!

I was just a kid when we took the Cedar Island-Okracoke ferry, but I don't remember it looking anything like that. I remember more of just a flat-deck ship like the Hatteras ferry was. This looks more like a mini Cape May ferryboat with the upper observation deck.

Do they have a lounge/restaurant and wi-fi like the Cape May ferry does?


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