I was staying with Tootie at my family’s house in Virginia Beach and I drove the car less than an hour north to take a solo three or four hour bike ride on the Eastern Shore. This involved crossing seventeen mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, one of the longest in the world.
The Eastern Shore (also called the Delmarva Peninsula) even now can be one of the most remote places on the East Coast of the United States. Here is the bicycle ride I took that morning.
Press the minus sign on the map above, look how this tip of Virginia ends at the water. Imagine how isolated this area was before the Bridge Tunnel was completed in 1964. With the toll on the bridge $14.00 each way, the area is still not visited all that often.
I left the Prius right near the end of the bridge at a parking area for a rail trail in the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge. The five mile long rail-trail parallels the main highway US13.
I bicycled north. There was no one around, it was peaceful.
The smooth paved bike path on a former rail line continues for five miles both starting and ending at essentially nowhere, ultimately depositing a bicyclist on lovely empty country roads that pass through a flat landscape.
I passed this small post office. Capeville VA 23313.
Almost every house out here had at least one boat in the yard.
I passed through the town of Cheriton VA, population 487.
I think they were saluting the flag at 8:30 AM, I am not sure.
I bicycled onward the four miles to the largest town in the area Cape Charles VA (population 1,000.) Just outside of town I passed a perfectly preserved gas station of the brand Pure. I think somebody now uses this as a residence. I used to see these stations all over as a child when my family was on car trips.
In central Cape Charles I saw another former Pure station.
Despite being three miles from the main highway US-13 Cape Charles appears prosperous. Apparently the town has become a destination unto itself. Founded as a planned community by a railroad in the late nineteenth century, Cape Charles was the endpoint of a rail line that ran the length of the Delmarva Peninsula, where rail cars were put on ferries to Norfolk. Cape Charles was also the loading point for the car ferry to Norfolk. This business went away after the Bridge Tunnel was completed in 1964. Today Cape Charles preserves its turn of the twentieth century appeal.
Now there are actually a few new condos being built in downtown, as well as a brewery and restaurants.
There is a small beach. It looks like the ocean but there are no sizable waves because it is the Chesapeake Bay.
Near the waterfront the older houses are larger.
On the way bicycling out of town I saw people social distancing while waiting in line at a pastry store.
It would be about seventeen miles back to my car in the wildlife refuge, cycling a different route through flat rural landscapes.
This crop duster had no fence around it, I was able to bicycle right up to it.
I passed through a small village called Cheapside.
I arrived back at my car by noon; I was able to have lunch back at the house in Virginia Beach.
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