If we sailed the 2,493 statute miles from Las Vegas to Norfolk, VA (2,166 nm), it would take the better part of three weeks. However, nothing goes to wind like a 737 and we were heading to the Atlantic Yacht Basin via an Uber ride about 9 hours after leaving Las Vegas.
Our time with Cups was limited. She was pouting, and quite frankly, stuck in the mud. The remnants of Hurricane Maria grazed the Virginia coast and the result on the Elizabeth River at the boatyard was a dramatic decrease in water depth at dockside. Our usual 10’ of tannic water was reduced to about 6’ and Cups was wallowing in a mud bath, the newest in beauty treatments for sad boats. We counted our blessings that Maria’s impact here was so minimal.
We had thought that Cups might be encased in spider webs, but she evidently had beaten them off, because we spied nary a one as we stepped down to board her. Other than being stuffy below because she’s been closed up for a month, she was in good shape … except the mud thing. We picked up tools, clothes and loaded Blue for our trip to New England.
Blue, too, was feeling neglected. Our Swiss friends had driven him a few times, but they’d left for a boat delivery, so he’d been sitting idle for a couple of weeks. The boatyard dust and grime had accumulated and he was not looking his best, a problem soon to be remedied. His cargo of tools for the impending work being planned seemed to cheer him up … as did a van wash along the way.
For once, we were not in a major hurry heading north. We were meeting friends in Delaware and had a day to relax and enjoy the 4-1/2 hour ride. There were a dozen places along the way that had always piqued our interest, but we’d never had the time to stop. The day was warm and sunny and absolutely perfect for seeing what there was to see.
We stopped at the Eastern Shore Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. A former army base and air force base, these public lands now provided a protected habitat for local flora and fauna. Our visit coincided with the annual Monarch butterfly migration and, much to our delight, the fluttery travelers were just beginning to make their appearance.
Remnants of the old bunkers and shore armaments of the military base were still in place. A gun off the USS Missouri similar to those previously in use at the base, had been placed at one of the bunkers and surprised us with its size. One statistic provided on a placard stated this 16-inch gun could sling a shell the size of a small car a distance of 25 miles. Yikes!
Wandering down a well-worn path, we spotted several 19th-century gravestones that reminded us this land had once been used for farming and agriculture.
A wooden platform provided an overlook with a sweeping view of the wetlands extending out to the barrier islands. A juvenile tri-color heron waited motionless and patiently for a late morning snack. Dragonflies, hundreds of them, whizzed by our noses and cicadas hummed loudly like a bad case of tinnitus.
Back in Blue, we continued our trek, taking in several little coastal towns like Cape Charles and Eastville. We bellied up to the lunch counter at the iconic Exmore Diner. Though we opted for more mundane lunch choices, the whiteboard offered some daily specials that had us scratching our heads. Spot? Swelling toads? Our waitress explained that “spot” was a bay fish with a noticeable birthmark, i.e. spot, and that “swelling toad” was a local, non-poisonous puffer fish that was quite tasty. Maybe next time.
Our daytrip ended with a free hotel night in Dover, Delaware. Our goodnatured innkeeper proudly reminded us that tiny Delaware was the “first state”, i.e. the first state to ratify and sign the first five articles of the Constitution and quizzed us on our state knowledge (abysmal as it turned out). We’ll explore a bit of this capital city tomorrow and report back next week.