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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Meandering Home

Today was our second day on the road home.  We are taking the back roads and enjoying ourselves.
Our first stop was Assateague Island National Seashore.
They grow a lot of corn in Maryland. We also saw potatoes too.
Ocean City Maryland is a beach town. They have those cool campgrounds I always wanted to stay at when I was a kid.  There were a couple we saw on our drive to Assateague
From Ocean City it is 8 miles south on Route 611. The trees were beautiful!
We got to the Visitor's Center a little early, so we drove over to the island. We got to see some of the horses!  Beautiful creatures!

A Information Bit from the NPS website:

Assateague's wild horses are well known, even to many people who have never been to the island. The "wild" horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, meaning that they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, abundant mosquitoes, stormy weather and poor quality food found on this remote, windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society. Enjoy their beauty from a distance, and you can help make sure these extraordinary wild horses will continue to thrive on Assateague Island.
Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale of struggle and survival is popular, there are no records yet that confirm it. The most plausible explanation is that they are the descendants of horses that were brought to barrier islands like Assateague in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock.
The horses are split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland State line. These herds have divided themselves into bands of two to twelve animals and each band occupies a home range. The National Park Service manages the Maryland herd. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company owns and manages the Virginia herd, which is allowed to graze on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, through a special use permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit restricts the size of the herd to approximately 150 adult animals in order to protect the other natural resources of the wildlife refuge. It is the Virginia herd which is often referred to as the "Chincoteague" ponies.

Trying to find the horses again !
Learning about the park.
There was a touch tank, he had to pick up things for the Jr. Ranger badge. He did not want to touch the horseshoe crab.
Hard at work. This one required 6 items from the booklet and 2 others from the first page.  (A ranger talk, a hike, the movie, the touch tank, or what did you learn today at the Visitor's Center)  He got it done fairly quickly.

Getting his badge. They also had the certificates here too!
Lon was then free to explore the center for a little while longer.
We spotted this bit of information on our way out of the center. Hmm, this could be a lot of fun!
It was not too far out of our way either!
Love the old farm houses.  We passed a lot of them!
This one is in Virginia!

Wallops  Visitors Center
It is a Nasa facility that still sends rockets into space!
There were many exhibits to see. Lots of dioramas and miniature things. Lon loves those!
Face in the hole.
Someone needs to come up with a better name for these things
I just have not thought of one yet!
This was so cool! You selected a planet on the screen that you wanted to see and it showed up on the sphere and rotated! That was fascinating!
Lon had to show me this contraption. The thing over our heads. It would pass over you and then tell you about how tall you are.
Air Rockets. The boys had fun with those!
Looking out over the NASA Facility.
A group of three planes were practicing touch and gos.
We all agreed that these looked like hay legos.
An old motel in a wheat field.
We stopped for lunch at the Sage Diner. Not the best place we have ever stopped.  Won't be stopping there again.

Follow the seagull to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel!
Inside tunnel one. There are two tunnels and a little over 20 miles in total length!
From the CBBT website, they are the ones who run the bridge:
The Bridge-Tunnel project is a four-lane 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing of the lower Chesapeake Bay. The facility carries US 13, the main north-south highway on Virginia's Eastern Shore, and provides the only direct link between Virginia's Eastern Shore and south Hampton Roads, Virginia. The crossing consists of a series of low-level trestles interrupted by two approximately one-mile-long tunnels beneath Thimble Shoals and Chesapeake navigation channels. The manmade islands, each approximately 5.25 acres in size, are located at each end of the two tunnels. There are also high level bridges over two other navigation channels: North Channel Bridge and Fisherman Inlet Bridge. Finally, between North Channel and Fisherman Inlet, the facility crosses at-grade over Fisherman Island, a barrier island which includes the Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Toll collection facilities are located at each end of the facility.

The toll was 15 dollars. 

Big cargo ships
After the second tunnel (or the first if you are going the other way) they have a Visitor's Center, restaurant and gift shop and fishing pier.  They did not have any charms, but they did have smashed pennies!  It was such a gorgeous day
Someone left a quarter in the telescope !
We decided to stop in New Bern, NC. It is about 5 hours from home, but we had put in a long day!  I would like to come back to New Bern for a long weekend. It looks like a fun little town!
This is the Baptist Church.
New Bern is also the birthplace of Pepsi Cola.
detail of a fence post on Christ Episcopal Church
The outdoor chapel.
The founder of New Bern.
He was a Swiss Gentleman from, of all places, Bern!
The City Hall Building. These are wonderful gargoyles!

There are a lot of bears around New Bern. Some are on all fours such as this one. He also has the state flag and the city flag adorning him

We only saw one chain saw art type bear
There were bears standing up. Very smartly dressed too!
This one is out side of Mitchell's Hardware Store. I am sorry we came to late in the day. It looked like a great place to see. All sorts of hardware, and fun stuff.

History bit from Mitchell Hardware's website:

Visitors to coastal New Bern (North Carolina's second oldest city) enjoy one of it's most popular traditions: Mitchell Hardware - located at 215 Craven Street in the historic downtown district.
Founded as a livery stable in 1898 by Thomas J. Mitchell, it specialized in selling horses, mules, wagons, and harnesses. Then, as now, it had the reputation of the place to find those "hard to find" items. As time passed, the Mitchell Business became a general hardware store. From that time until the present, it has met the needs of people in New Bern and Craven County for hardware items and much more. And now, thanks to the Internet, Mitchell's is accessible to the whole world!
This locally owned and managed hardware store was operated by a member of the Mitchell family from its founding until 1987. Thomas Mitchell IV, better known as "Buzz" retired due to ill health and sold the store to Harold and Pat Talton, long time residents of Craven County.
The Taltons decided to keep the Mitchell name and all of the good memories the name evoked among residents of the area. "Buzz" is still fondly remembered by many for his uncanny ability to locate every item in his crowded store and for his ever-present cigar. Much of his stock was stored in his cigar boxes. Today's manager, Greg Smith, still provides the same convenience and service to Mitchell Hardware customers that they have expected and received since 1898 - he has even saved a few cigar boxes.
Finding the tiny rented store a little small and overcrowded by the large inventory, the Taltons were pleased when a 1912 building became available across the street. They purchased and remodeled it to meet the needs of a modern hardware store, but sought to preserve the integrity of a genuine turn-of-the-century building, from the pressed tin ceilings to the leaded glass across the front. The move in 1988 was a busy time for all at Mitchell Hardware. With the help of employees, friends, and valued customers who pitched in to assist, the store never closed its doors.
Today, the friendly staff at Mitchell Hardware thinks you will like what you find in this unique store: from the old to the new in hardware items, a full line of cast iron cookware, traditional pottery, enamel ware, accessories for bird watchers, and much, much more.

Building detail
They were doing a ghost tour when we walked by.  We might do that when we come back!
A mural, I am not sure why it is there. We liked it. 
Time to say good night! 
It was a very fun day!
Tomorrow is home and maybe a hurricane! 

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