Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What Came Next and Then and Then and Thhhheennn

We are so behind on the where we ares and what  we're doings.  The next few might be a little skinny as a result.

So, we left Chesapeake, VA bright and early and headed off to do something we don't normally do.  We spent money to do something.  That something was driving the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.  Granted it was the shortest way to where we were going but it was also different and unique.

It is called the Bridge-Tunnel because that's exactly what it is. Twenty-three miles long and crossing the Chesapeake Bay, the system is essentially, Bridge - Tunnel - Bridge - Tunnel - Bridge (with some other highway terms thrown in for good measure).

                      Here we are just getting started on the first Bridge section.

There is a pull-off just before you enter the first tunnel which lets you get a better view of the setup and the passing military vessels.

The rocks you see closest to you are the 'end of the road'.  The rocks in the distance are the 'beginning of the road'.  The tunnel under the bay is between them and permits large ships to cruise through the area at quite a pace.

                                               Entering the first tunnel.

We exit and a short while later can see where the road disappears under water = Tunnel #2.

The tunnels are well lit and they actually want you to go 55 mph so other than being under water, much else seemed pretty much like driving a normal highway / bridge span.

Just before exiting the 'fee' area there is a pull-off that allows you to experience a part of the bay that is preserved.  We sat for a while enjoying the birds, the dolphins and the scenery.

We spotted four different kinds of gulls; Great Black Backed, Herring, Ring Billed and Laughing (in photo).


                        Shorebirds like these Sanderlings were prevalent.

                                                   An Osprey caught a fish.

                     Brown Pelicans flew overhead.

  The acrobatics of the Forster's Tern (a new bird for us) were impressive and fun to watch.

         This Tern had a bit of a disagreement with the one in the next picture.


It was a great little rest area.  Even better was that we only had one more mile to go before we got to our stop for the night.  The Welcome Center at the other side of the Bridge-Tunnel allows a 48 hour stay.  Even better than better was that the welcome center was right outside of the Eastern Shore NWR.

IMG_2839              There is even a refuge entrance from the Welcome Center Parking Area.

The Eastern Shore NWR used to be a military base so there were a few remnants kept on sight for historical reference purposes.

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                               This massive gun is one such example.

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                                        It could hurl a 2100 lb artillery 25 miles!

                               We wandered the trails of the refuge.

    We saw and heard many birds including this (new to us) pair of Field Sparrows.

Seems we're moving just ahead of spring but the trees are trying to add some color.

                             We meandered on out to a marshy overlook

where more history was seen off in the distance.  The lighthouse (tallest in VA and second tallest in the country) was built in 1895 to replace the first two built in 1827 and 1864.  The three structures just to the right of it are the Smith Island Towers.  WWII soldiers utilized them to look for enemy vessels.

Just realized that this is getting really long.  So, we'll leave you with this really great poster we saw plastered on the back of a semi-truck.