Tuesday, March 27, 2012
When you leave Virginia Beach heading north, you have some options. You can cross the Chesapeake Bay and head up what they call the Eastern Shore or you can go a bit west and go through Richmond and north up the west side of the bay to Maryland and Washington DC and Baltimore. We are very fond of the ocean and not crazy about large cities, so we crossed the bay. I had heard of this bridge, but did not realize it was the one we would be crossing. It was not the longest bridge we have crossed on this journey, but I have to say it is the most unique. It is 17 1/2 miles long. Now most bridges we have crossed which spanned major bodies of water would go flat for a while and then go high in two or three places to allow for large marine traffic. This one twice became a tunnel and went below the bay to allow for that traffic. It was very strange to be driving along on a bridge and suddenly find yourself going into a tunnel below the water. I have been in tunnels below rivers and even the San Francisco Bay on BART, but they were only tunnels not combinations. It was amazing. I know that is an overused word, but..well..it was amazing. I would love to see a documentary movie or a book about the engineering and construction of this marvel of engineering. I hope the photos give a sense of the feeling I had as we headed down into the bay from about 3 miles out. Then to come back up for a few miles and plunge down again. Near the north bank the bridge went high for a smaller traffic channel. It ended on a tiny island and then another short bridge to the mainland. I would have loved to turn around and do it again, but when I glanced over at Lucy she looked like she had just been on a giant roller coaster ride. Also the toll was $12 and well, once is probably enough (for now). The remainder of the drive today was much like the previous days driving along this coast. Lots of beaches, but not to be viewed from a moving vehicle. It has turned off quite cold now so the one time we did find a boardwalk that allowed dogs, it was really too cold and windy to enjoy the walk. We actually drove all the way up into Maryland and stayed at a very nice Walmart in Salisbury Maryland. I kept wanting a hamburger steak with brown gravy, but I don’t know why. Oh well…
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
One of the reasons I am able to work and we are able to travel and stay at free camp sites is that we have very good batteries both for the coach and also the starting battery. I have a small device called an inverter. It changes 12 volt power into 120 volt power. With it, I can run my computer even when we are not hooked to an exterior power source. It has a built in safety feature which shuts it off if the battery gets too low. So far that has not happened. But what I
did happen was that the fuse protecting the 12 volt outlet burned out. I know it was not because I pulled too much current because the inverter has a 20 amp fuse and the fuse that burned out was a 25 amp. So if I pulled more than 20 amps the fuse on the inverter would have blown first. So no big deal, the fuse just went bad and I can just replace it. Easy right? Well I found the offending fuse and it was indeed broken. I went to the first auto parts store we passed to buy a fuse. They did not have the correct fuse. I went to another store with the same result. The fuse is one of those new blade type and they are quite common, but this particular one is physically larger than the normal fuse. After four auto parts stores I discovered something. They all had fuses in this physical size, but none had it in a 25 amp. I went to a dealer and they had never seen a fuse like it. I really need for this outlet to work, so I began to reason it out. I could put a 20 amp in and I should be safe. My inverter has a 20 amp fuse so I’m sure it will not pull more than that. I could put a 30 amp in and since the inverter has a 20 amp, it should break before any damage could be done. I checked and found that this fuse is only for this one outlet and nothing else uses it. So I bought a 20 and a 30. I put in the 20 first just to feel safe. If it blows I might try the 30. So far it is working fine. Is my reasoning correct?
Anyway we finally got underway and headed back over to the coast to head north along the shore of the Atlantic. We stopped at a very nice restaurant for lunch called The Cottage Restaurant. It is in a little town called Bethany Beach. The food was very good. We each had a seafood melt. Lucy’s was crab on a toasted English muffin with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese melted on it. Mine was the same except it had crab and scallops and shrimp. They were wonderful. We also had a cup of cream of crab soup, also quite good. For desert (don’t tell my doctor) I had carrot cake. It was good but not the best I’ve had. Lucy had something we had never heard of, pineapple cobbler. I did not taste it but Lucy says it was excellent. She says she would order it again. In case you don’t know Lucy, that is as good as it gets. She said she will try to duplicate when we get home.
About halfway through our meal the waitress came to check on us and I saw she was wearing a t-shirt with the name of the town on it in small lettering. I did a second take and was surprised to see that it said Bethany Beach, Delaware. Not Maryland? We had driven across a state line and didn’t know it. We inquired and were told we were eight miles north of the Maryland border. After our meal we found a boardwalk and took a little jaunt along the beach. It was windy but much warmer today so it was a pleasant walk. It seems they allow dogs on the boardwalks in most of these towns until April 1st. I guess that is when the tourist crowds begin to arrive. We are just under the deadline so LaKisha was allowed to walk with us. According to the waitress at The Cottage, Bethany Beach is rated as the best beach in the world. It was indeed a very nice beach. White sand and long and wide with a very nice wide boardwalk running the length of it.
Since we were in Delaware we headed for Dover because we heard they had a big casino there and we could stay the night for free in their parking lot.
It turns out they also have a free dump station. If you ever do any dry camping, you know what a bonus that is. It is called Dover Downs and it is a horse race track and casino and hotel combined. A very large place. We found the RV section and the dump station and we are set up for the night. We went into the casino for a short time. Lucy played some machines and I sat at a very distracting bar and wrote most of this blog post. The bar was distracting for two reasons; one, it was translucent and lighted from within and it kept changing colors. I suppose if you were just there to drink it would be okay, but I never just drink. I usually write or have a conversation. This time I wrote. The other distracting thing was the scantily clad nubile young female behind the bar. I was forced to keep averting my gaze so that I could concentrate on my writing. Another thing which made my time at the bar short was that the adult beverage I was consuming cost $7.50 each. Ouch. I can buy a whole bottle for the cost of two of those drinks. So we are back in the van. Lucy is watching TV and sending me the photos for this blog as I write.