Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hatteras Island

We left Delaware and headed down the Delmarva Peninsula on our way to Hatteras Island. Our plan was to stay on the north side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and cross the next morning. We have been this way before in Opus so we knew what to expect. When we learned the weather forecast was for wind the next day, we decided to get across while the winds were calm.
The 23 mile bridge-tunnel across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay opened in 1964 with one bridge having two-way traffic. In 1999 a second southbound bridge opened so now there is no traffic coming toward you....... 
......except in the two mile long tunnels that have one lane in each direction. As of May 2018, 130 million vehicles have crossed this engineering marvel. In the RV it is a neat but intense trip, especially in the tunnels.
After an overnight stay just north of the Outer Banks, it was on the Hatteras Island. We always love seeing the Bodie Island Lighthouse because it means we are on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, our favorite beach location. 
The original Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet opened in 1963 allowing easier access to the national seashore. It was supposed to last 25 years so it was well past time for replacement. There has been major erosion under the piers and in 1990 a dredge broke loose in a storm and took out over 300 feet of the bridge, making it a necessity for replacement sooner rather that later.
Construction on a new bridge started in early 2016. As you can see, the new bridge will be higher and wider, but still only two lanes. The last of the road surface concrete was poured while we were there and the temporary platforms where the cranes worked from were being removed.
One of my favorite Hatteras things is surf fishing. It is very relaxing and usually fun catching a variety of fish. Not this year!!!! I DID NOT GET ONE FISH:(  It was so bad that on a couple days the same piece of bait lasted all day.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the United States. We were here in 1999 when it was picked up and moved 1,900 feet to save it from the encroaching sea. That was quite interesting to witness.
As often as we have visited here we have never toured the US Weather Bureau Station in Hatteras Village. The station was one of several the government built in the early 1900's. They were important for warning ships at sea and local residents of impending storms. If you want an inside look at how early weather stations operated, the station is worth a visit. It has been renovated and is now run by the park service. 
The surf was up so there were many surfers on the water. Maybe the rough ocean was why the catching was so bad.
There are always plenty of birds to entertain you on the beach. Grebes stuff themselves with so many fish that they can't fly until they digest them, so they just waddle down the beach. We have seen them so full they can't even walk.
A panoramic view at the beach and not one person can be seen. When we first started coming here in the 1970's you could find places like this even in the summer.
It was cool the first couple of days we were there, but as you can see it warmed up enough that no shoes, no shirt was no problem.
Nanc even held the pole to try and change my luck. It did not work and for the first time in many, many visits to Hatteras I got skunked.
The happy couple celebrating our 49th anniversary at Pangea. It was a great day and we already have plans to return next year for the BIG 50th.
There are several great restaurants on Hatteras that we support while we are here. Pangea, Oceania Bistro, Ketch 55, Sandbar, Gidgets and High Moon are our favorites. They are all locally owned and at most the owner will be there to greet you. This is Waterhigh, the house band and owners of High Moon. This time of year the bass player, Danielle, is also the cook so when someone places an order she leaves the stage and goes to the kitchen to prepare your meal. 
I'm not sure what kind of birds these are, but we saw hundreds of them heading south for the winter......
.....and that is what we did after two weeks on the island. This is the last time we will cross the old bridge as the new one will be open for our next visit. 
Thousands of birds on shore and in the water as we crossed Oregon Inlet. Maybe we will see some of them in Florida with the rest of us snowbirds.
You can't get out of this area without crossing many bridges. The one over the Alligator River has a swing bridge where we had to wait as several boats passed through. You can see the masts of two sailboats.

We are now in Georgia and will be in Jacksonville over the weekend. We will then be heading further south for a month before going to the Keys for six weeks starting the middle of December.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

LSD and Annapolis

No this post is not about drugs. As we travel around the country we always see those oval stickers that let people know the places they love. We have an OBX - Outer Banks and HI - Hatteras Island on Opus. One of my favorites was from Ocracoke's Albert Styron's Store - ASS. The one we saw in Delaware now takes the place as the most unusual we have seen. We had to ask, what is LSD? Well it promotes the unique lifestyle in Lower Slower Delaware far away from the more northern hustle and bustle area of Delaware.  
We are heading south way too slowly. We awoke to temps in the 30's and frost on the CRV. The good news was that it was sunny and warmed up real fast so we did a bit of exploring in LSD.
We went to nearby Milford, an old ship building town on the banks of the Mispillion River. Previously, the old dam powered a sawmill. Today it is part of the river walk, a very interesting little park. We also checked out the Mispillion River Brewery and gave it a thumbs up.
There is an art project along the river walk that celebrates the old ship building industry and the new happenings in Milford. All the ships are a replica of the Augusta, an old ship that was built there. It had sunk and was recovered and restored by the city. We found this part of LSD to be very neat and we did not even make it to the ocean.
On our last day here we ventured back across the Bay Bridge to Annapolis to tour the capitol. This capitol, built in the Georgian style, is the 36th we have toured. The Maryland capitol is the oldest state house in continuous use since 1772. It was also the first peace time capitol of the United States from November 1783 to August 1784.
The dome was constructed between 1785 to 1794. It is the largest wooden dome in North America and is held together with wooden pegs not nails. The model shows the interior rotunda and the outside dome.
Two famous people who visited the capitol are Ben Franklin, who designed the lightening rod system to protect the building, honored here with a bust and Marque de Lafayette, the Frenchman who led troops in the Revolutionary War depicted in the painting. In 1824 he returned to the United States and toured the 24 states to instill the spirit of 1776 in the next generation of Americans.   
Looking up at the interior dome above the rotunda.
The Old Senate Chamber with the "Ladies Balcony" as women were not allowed on the floor. In the balcony is a statue of Molly Ridout. Two important events in American history took place in this chamber. One was in January 1784 when the Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the Revolutionary War.
The other event was on December 23, 1783 when George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. This established the idea that the military of the new country should be under the civilian rule of the president. 
This exhibit in the rotunda has Washington's original resignation speech. I have always liked the idea of seeing the words and signatures of historic figures on display, especially the original documents in the National Archives 
The Old House of Delegates Chamber. It has been restored to its 19th century appearance. The painting. The Planting of the Colony of Maryland depicts the arrival of the first colonists in 1634.
There are exhibits of two Marylanders who were born into slavery and then became important figures in the freedom movement, Harriet Tubman....... 
,,,,,,,and Frederick Douglass. The displays had copies of the records of their birth. There are plans to erect statues of both these famous Americans.
The State House Caucus Room has the silver service from the USS Maryland and portraits of former governors and other political figures. The sliver service from ships is something we had not seen before, but Delaware had the same thing.
Between 1902 and 1905 a new annex was added with larger legislative chambers and more offices on the upper floor. Great effort has been made to keep the Georgian style of the original building.
In the grand staircase of the addition is a painting Washington Resigning His Commission that was done in 1858 by Edwin White.
The new House of Delegates Chamber for the 141 delegates. The assembly meets for 90 days each year. 
The new Senate Chamber for the 47 senators. 
The portraits in this chamber are of  Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll.
This is the new, 1905, annex side of the capitol.
Annapolis is a very interesting city with narrow streets and many buildings dating back to Colonial times. 
The rows of businesses and homes give you a look back in time even with the modern amenities. 
Main Street offers a great view of the harbor. Of course, the U.S. Navel Academy is here so it also has a college town feel.
Docked in the harbor was the Lynx, a replica of a ship built in 1812. It was a privateer that was given permission to raid British ships during the War of 1812. Here is a link to the site about the ship. 
Buildings along the waterfront with the capitol dome that overlooks the city. Both the city and the capitol are well worth a visit if you are in the area. 

We are now on Hatteras Island to kick back and celebrate our 49th anniversary before heading south. for the winter.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dover - Delaware Capital and More

After three months in WashPA we are slowly heading south. We continue to have an issue with the leveling jacks and were not able to get an appointment to have them repaired. We did have a mobile service come and look at them but they could not get us in for a repair, so for now I will raise them manually. The new plan is to try and get an appointment in Florida. As for the acceleration problem we have driven over 300 miles and so far it has not been an issue. Who knows???   
Our original plan was to stay a couple days near Annapolis and tour the capitol. Since the jacks are a pain in the butt, we decided to head to Delaware for a longer stay and tour that capitol and then do a day trip to Annapolis. Driving to the Delmarva Peninsula means crossing the Bay Bridge over Chesapeake Bay, a very high level experience. We are staying at the Delaware State Fair Campground in Harrington.   
Delaware is known as "The First State" since it was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787. It ranks 49th in size and 45th in population. Legislative Hall, the second capitol building in Dover, was built in the Georgian Revival colonial style. It has been the home of the state government since 1933 with a couple expansions as the government got larger.
In 1776 Delaware not only declared its independence from Great Britain, but also from Pennsylvania which had controlled the area since 1682. The Delaware Continentals statue honors those from the state who fought in the Delaware regiment of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. 
The state has 21 Senators who are elected to four year terms. Only two presidents have ever been to this capitol, in 1998 President Clinton addressed the legislature in this chamber. President Obama came here to pay his respects to Beau Biden, the son of Vice-President Joe Biden, who passed away in 2015.
I always like the tours where you get to sit in the big chair. Such a feeling of power.
The state seal of Delaware. 1704 was the year the lower counties established their own legislative assembly, 1776 was the year they declared Delaware an independent state and 1787 was the year they signed the U.S. Constitution. The corn and wheat symbolize agriculture, the blue is for the Delaware River, the ox is for husbandry, and the ship is for the ship building industry. The men are the citizen-solder militia. The motto is "Liberty and Independence", 
The House of Representatives has 41 members who are elected to two year terms.  The paintings in both the house and senate represent historic events that helped shape Delaware.  Both houses are in session once a year from January to June.  
Exhibit and chair honoring POWs and MIAs.
The Hall of Governors. There is even a portrait of a governor who only served 19 days when the old governor was elected to another position. He even moved into the governor's mansion and had a party there everyone of the 19 days he was in office.
While the Delaware capitol is not the grandest we have toured, it is a beautiful and functional building that is well worth a visit.
The capitol is part of the First State Heritage Park. At the welcome center in the archives there was an exhibit about WWI. There were several examples of Trench Art created by soldiers from old shell casings.
The poppies on the column are part of a display about Flanders Field and the Delawareans who gave the last full measure in that war. 
War time posters encouraging people at home to support the troops and war effort by buying bonds. 
The Old Statehouse was the first capitol in Dover. It was built in the Middle Georgian style between 1787 and 1792. It was the seat of the state government from 1792 to 1932. It also was the Kent County Court House from 1792 to 1873. 
Very neat sculpture at the Biggs Museum of American Art. The birds leaving the tree on the outside and then fly into the foyer of the building.
While Delaware was the first state, it was the last state to get a National Park Service site. The First State National Monument was established in 2013 and the First State National Historical Park in 2014. It includes seven site throughout the state including The Green in Dover. All the buildings around The Green are built in the colonial style.
The site of the Golden Fleece Tavern is on The Green. It served as the meeting place for the Delaware Assembly Upper House when the government first moved to Dover from New Castle. It was here where Delaware was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. When the government moved into the Old Statehouse the first law they passed was that the legislative branch could not meet in any building that served alcohol. The tavern was torn down in 1830.
Every state was given a copy of the Liberty Bell from the French in 1950. We don't always find them when we visit the capitals but here is Delaware's on the Legislative Mall with the Hall on the other side.
On Saturday we saw something we have never seen, a truck parade. It is a fund raiser for Special Olympics with over 200 participants. There was every kind of truck you can image; tow trucks, garbage trucks, flatbed trucks, trailer trucks.......
......tanker trucks, concrete trucks, pickup trucks.....
......firetrucks, box trucks and more. The parade is a 29 mile ride through Kent County. In 2017 they raised $63,000 for Special Olympics. You just never know what you will see while traveling this great country.