Kiptopeke State Park, VA Part 2

Monday, April 15

Tootled down the Southern Tip Bikeway (old Cape Charles Railway bed) to the beautiful and enormous wildlife refuge, which once was an Army base (see reader board text below). Rode down to the old gun emplacement and around some of the trails, over to the boat launch, and the marsh observation deck. Saw a juvie baldie and lots of other neat birds. 

Reader board: Cape Charles Railroad

The Cape Charles Railroad once ran along this bike path, connecting lower Northhampton County to the town of Cape Charles. From there the New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Railroad carried produce from the Eastern Shore to northern cities.

In the early 1900s, local farmers carried their produce to Cape Charles by boat. During potato season, boats filled with produce clogged the town’s harbor. Building the Cape Charles Railroad solved this problem and for years daily trains ran between Kiptopeke (south end) and Cape Charles.

In 1941 the rail line was extended south to supply the 5000 troops housed in the new Army base, today turned into a wildlife refuge (but still features two of the gun turrets and one of the guns used in WWII to protect the Chesapeake Bay). After WWII, improved highways and the growing trucking industry led to the slow decline of the railroad, which closed in 1972.

Today, the bike trail is all that remains of the Cape Charles Railroad, and the path runs from the Wildlife Refuge and its exceptional Visitor Center (open only Thurs/Fri/Sat at this time of the year) adjacent to Route 13, ending at a 700-numbered road called Capeville Rd (near a truck stop and seafood restaurant called Sparky’s). But the effort continues to extend the bike path all the way to Cape Charles when possible. For now, intrepid cyclists must leave the protected path and use the wide shoulder of Rt. 13 (or a maze of back roads) to cycle into Cape Charles proper (which Jack & I did on April 17, but more of that later).


It was during this ride, especially on our return to camp, when we took some back roads instead of staying on the bike path, that we encountered a very gusty, strong wind that alternated between being a headwind and a crosswind. We were literally threatened with being knocked off our bikes by oversteering the cross-gusts. We also (Mary especially) discovered the thick, dense pollen that was blowing and collecting everywhere and on everything. Note the yellow tinge of the Big Front Window on our Alto in the below photo.


For John and Mary’s last night camping, we had a celebratory “weenie roast” (using bratwurst) over a Solo stove fire, even though it was pretty darn chilly. 



Mary even cooked a s’more for herself and John (Jack and I don’t do s’mores). When it was full dark, Mary cranked up her “disco light” and we placed it around the two sites to see what it looked like. The best photo I was able to get was when it was sitting on J n M’s teardrop, Little Debbie’s doorstep. Pretty cool.


The next day, John and Mary got away about 10:30 (April 16). Jack and I sat around to let the sun warm us up a bit and then headed out for a long bike ride after lunch. Again, pollen counts must have been off the charts, and the wind had not abated by any measurable margin.

As we set off we stopped at an active osprey nest midway up the main road into Kiptopeke (we’d noticed it yesterday, but I couldn’t get any pix). The parents were around, and Mr. delivered a fish, but I wasn’t able to capture the carry or drop.


Taking the Bikeway as far as we could, we decided to head toward the Bay along the Custis Tomb road, west of Rt. 13. We rode down to the tombs themselves, on what was once the Custis Arlington Plantation, now a tony housing development. A short history of Arlington: Early in the 1670s John 2 built a three-story brick mansion on the south bank of Old Plantation Creek, in southwestern Northampton County, naming the house Arlington after the Custis family’s ancestral village in Gloucestershire, England. 

The name of the mansion inspired Custis’s descendant, George Washington Parke Custis (adopted grandson of George Washington) early in the nineteenth century, to give the same name to his estate outside Washington, D.C.

There’s not much left except an open grassland where the grand home once stood, with some reader boards, and the view of Old Plantation Creek.


And of course, the tombs themselves, which bear mention. Both John Custis II and his grandson John Custis IV are buried there, within a brick-walled enclosure with a small wooden gate. The inscription on John 4’s marker is significant and rather funny. Both original inscriptions are unintelligible on the stones, but the preservation folks have reprinted them for posterity.

John Custis II’s inscription:

Oddly, John 2 neglected to mention the actual name of his granddaughter-in-law, Frances Parke Custis (seeing her father as being much more important), but she was evidently a rather difficult person, evidenced by her husband’s inscription.



The one for John 4 (above) is notable on several counts, not the least of which is that he threatened to cut his son, Daniel Parke Custis, out of his inheritance if he would not place his requested wording on the marker. While John 4 had moved to Williamsburg in 1717, he specifically wanted to be buried on the Eastern Shore, under these exact words:

“Aged 71 Years and Yet lived but Seven years which was the Space of time he kept a Bachelors House at Arlington on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. This Inscription put on this Tomb by his own positive Order.” It was chiseled there by William Coley, Mason in Fenn Church Street, London.

Now, if several of these references (Governor Berkeley, Bacon’s Rebellion) have stirred your memories of Virginia history or snagged your “bells” on the names themselves (Custis being a part of Martha Washington’s as well as Mrs. Robert E. Lee’s names) you can click here for a somewhat cobbled-together history of those periods and people in Colonial Virginia’s history, up to (nearly) America’s Civil War.

Back at the long-gone estate, we pedaled into and out of the Arlington development, and then, turning randomly on the country roads to see waterfront where we could and stay off Rt. 13, we made our way back to Kiptopeke. We hadn’t ridden around the park itself yet (something we nearly always do, taking every left turn so you cover it all without getting lost, since you end up where you began eventually) and we learned some things and saw things missed the first time through, two years prior (for more, check the link here).


We went down to a boat launch, beach, and fishing area, adjacent to the “cement ships” used during WWII as cargo vessels so that the metal ships could be used in the war effort. They have been beached off the shore of Kiptopeke, as a breakwater. The 9 ships that comprise the breakwater now serve as structure for fish habitat.


This area was also the northern landing site for the once-busy Kiptopeke Ferry, which carried passengers from Norfolk to the roads accessing Cape Charles between 1949 and 1964.

It is obvious this was a passenger throughway if you catch this sign buried in the woods near the Ferry Road, and adjacent to the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch area (where the country’s highest counts of migratory peregrine falcons have been documented).


Bike Stats

  • Ride time = 2 hours
  • Stopped time = 1 hour
  • Distance = 21 miles
  • Average speed = 11 mph
  • Fastest speed = 17 mph

Not to belabor this entry overmuch, on Wed., April 17, we rode into Cape Charles for lunch at Tim’s Family Restaurant (good food) in the shopping district and pedaled around the neighborhoods for much of the day. 

Before leaving camp, we noticed a family of squirrels living nearly above our heads in our major shade tree. The strangeness of the black plastic trash bag caught my eye at first, and then we watched the mama exit and leave the kids behind. There were at least two of them and they were stretching their legs a bit before they disappeared back inside (went down for a nap?).

Anyway, forgot to take my camera along on the ride, so not much more to report. After getting back to camp and before the teensy Cape Charles library closed, I drove back into town to upload the Janes Island Pt. 2 post. We tried to fix pizza for dinner, but it was too windy to cook properly on the grill (with our grill-sized pizza stone). Decent, but sort of like eating a big pizza cracker: crispy on the bottom and barely melted on top. We’ll try that dinner again sometime, without the wind.

Bike stats

  • Ride time = 2.25 hours
  • Stopped time = 1.5 hours
  • Distance = 26 miles
  • Average speed = 11.5 mph
  • Fastest speed = 18 mph


Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia, Part 1

April 14 is Mary’s birthday, as well as being our moving day from Janes Island to Kiptopeke. En route, we stopped at a little burgh called Harborton on the Bay side of the Eastern Shore, roughly midway between Janes Island and Kiptopeke. Harborton boasts 131 souls (2010 Census) one of whom is a lifetime friend of Mary’s named Liz. Their mothers were best friends, so they’ve known each other since they were 6 years old. Liz, an artist, is working to restore an old property near the water, and we had a very nice visit with her. Harborton appears to be a very nice, quiet place to live.

The largest part of Kiptopeke is primarily for tent campers, but they have set up a fairly open pasture for RV camping—both reservable and walk-up. Much of the RV area is in full, blazing sun. But if you’re lucky, you can get either reservable or walk-up sites that are sheltered by trees. Our little cul-de-sac (Loop C) offers trees along the circle at the end, and we were in site 23, with John and Mary setting up next door in site 21 (strange numbering system). Both are shady, but with rain overnight, we discovered a small lake directly outside of John and Mary’s door, partly under their awning and partly toward the hitch end of their setup. But it drained pretty quickly.


Full hookups including sewer are available at all RV sites, a quite nice bathhouse (although there was a floor drain that emanated a rather foul odor the entire time, rather like it didn’t have a “j-trap” below). We enjoyed 3 bars of LTE cell service and single stream recycling, but there was no dish washing station. 

After setting up, we headed into Cape Charles for Mary’s b-day dinner at The Shanty, hidden deep within the Cape Charles Harbor area, behind the Coast Guard campus, where Jack and I had eaten last time. We sat out on the deck, with an osprey family as our dining partners on pylons out in the water (along with several human groups at the deck picnic tables). 

There was (of course) a sea life themed corn hole game that patrons were taking advantage of, and some interesting waterfront-styled art that I liked.


John joined us in drinking a local draft ale from Cape Charles Brewing Company (his first beer in three years) in celebration of Mary’s birthday.

Jack and I enjoyed excellent fish ’n chips, and John and Mary both had shrimp baskets, also delicious. After dinner, we drove around Cape Charles a while, then got out at the public beach to watch an incredible sunset that went on and on and changed every moment. As most of you know, I simply adore taking sunset photos, so I’ve tried to limit my choices to present to you in a gallery I’ve set up below. It was a lovely day, even with the aforementioned hard rain in the wee hours, and we saw many, many osprey in and around nests the whole time we were at Kiptopeke.



April 23 & 24 – Rain and More Rain

Our final night at Kiptopeke Saturday, April 22) was quite a bit different from what we had expected. For one thing, most everyone in the park quickly broke camp and left. It was windy and the night was supposed to be rainy, but what did they know that we didn’t?

So I think I mentioned that Jack spent a lot of the day packing up things we knew we would not need. Due to the wind, we elected to pack up the awning, too, leaving no where to grill our pork chops for a final-night-at-a-site dinner. So we put together some sandwiches and ate indoors, listening to more of the Jussi Adler-Olsen book we’ve been listening to in the car since we left Meadows of Dan.

Due to this fact, the packup to leave for Belle Isle State park near Kilmarnock, VA was quick and easy on the morning of Sunday, April 23. Also of note, is that the Kiptopeke State Park campground does NOT have a dish-washing station at the bathhouse, but a big bonus is that they DO HAVE sewer at every electric site in the park. Very nice feature. We only had to back up a couple of feet to dump our gray tank, and we were away (after waving goodbye to our killdeer neighbors, steadfastly sitting the nest in the rain, but the wind had died down and there was nothing near flooding levels of precip).

I mention all this because there is absolutely nothing to say about our transfer to the new campground, since travel went perfectly, and the wind was not scary at all as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Once we arrived, however, our reserved site (#3, which we highly recommend) was occupied. My only complaint about anything about Virginia State Parks is that sometimes we find that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. The Ranger where we checked in said #3 was still occupied, as the folks there had not yet checked out. The Camp Host, however, came by and assured us #3 didn’t have anyone there, and we could drive right in, even though it was a little after noon. Secondly, on one piece of paper it says check out is 3PM, where another (and the internet) says it’s 1PM. No wonder staff and volunteers are confused (not to mention campers).

The folks already there in site #3 showed exactly zero signs of moving out, and in fact were nowhere to be seen when we set up shop to sit a while and “encourage” them to get on the stick (by parking nearby and glaring at them — naw, just kidding on the glaring part. We did, park nearby and watch, though). Luckily, it was a pop-up, thus a relatively simple break-down process, and once they began, it was only about an hour before they pulled out.

Speaking of the internet, the reservation system is rather Byzantine, too, when we come to niggly complaints. All we wanted to do was to change up our reservations for the upcoming weekend. For example, what we intended to do was to grab 3 extra days at park Y by transferring our current PAID days (the SAME DAYS mind you) at park Z over to park Y, and basically, cancelling our stay at park Z. But the sequence in which you reserve and cancel is critical to the SYSTEM. If you feel like, logically you want to secure the site you’ve already got a couple of days reserved at park Y by adding the extra days onto that site-specific reservation (before someone might take it and you end up having to break camp and move to a different site during your stay), and you enter the reservation system to do so—but the helpful person on the other end (all of whom are invariably nice and quite helpful) neglects to understand the full scope of your needs—and you begin by reserving more time at park Y BEFORE you cancel the time at park Z . . . . well, let’s just say those days won’t transfer in that order. You MUST do it in the reverse order to save a buck or two.

We did secure the extra time, and did manage to cancel the days at the park we didn’t want, but we had to pay both a NEW registration fee AND the cancellation fee; instead of making it a seamless transfer of the same paid days to a different location. **sigh**


Belle Isle is a lovely State Park, with big, flat, roomy sites with plenty of brush between sites. There are some really pristine pull-through sites, although they’re not as shady as the others (not an issue during our stay, but in the summer? Might be a factor). Another really nice, deep-set back-in site is #25. That one might be a good grab next time we come. The bathhouse is modern and clean with both a laundry and a dish-cleaning station; and the showers are each private rooms off the back. The fire pits are well-positioned far from where you might want to stake a guy line or erect a screen house.

Site #3
Our Setup

And we took advantage of just such a fire on our opening day, once we finally managed to get in. The rain held off until we were set up, which was wonderful. But then began just after our Billy-Boil cooked Lebanese Chicken Stew dinner, enjoyed by the fire (the temperatures were chilly, too), and as the firewood was no longer in need of constant attention to stay lit. We watched it turn to embers from the screen house until it got too cold to sit outside, and then we retreated to our heated Roomba.

It’s been raining ever since.

We believe we would really love to explore this park, because, near as we can tell through the rain and fog, there are tons of bicycle-friendly trails out and about, some even heading down to the Rappahannock River. But at this point, we have not off-loaded our bikes from their rack and waterproof cover.

Instead, we went exploring by car on Monday, April 24. Driving in with Roomba on set-up day, we had seen exactly one grocery store. On Monday, we figured we’d make that our last stop before heading back with the hope of clearing weather. We first drove to Kilmarnock (the locals call it “Kill-mar-nogh” in which the final “ock” is sort of swallowed at the end). That was where the grocery store and a likely lunch place was. Since it was still early when we passed through on Monday, and we’d had good hearty steel-cut oatmeal breakfast and weren’t hungry yet, we drove through and down by back roads to Irvington, where the Tides Inn Yacht resort is.

We noted some damage to numerous trees in that neck of the Neck, guessing that the recent “Snowmageddon” storm might have been the culprit. But the yachts all seem to be fine.


From there we ventured out to where the mouth of the Rappahannock River meets the Chesapeake Bay, at a place called Windmill Point. Here’s what the historic marker says about Windmill Point:

During the War of 1812, the British blockaded the Chesapeake Bay and sent raiding vessels up the rivers and creeks to plunder and destroy property. The lookout at Windmill Point (about a mile east [of this marker]) on Fleet’s Island reported that on 23 April 1814, the enemy “landed near Windmill (Point) or North Point (about 2 miles northwest) and plundered a poor man . . . of a boat, everything he was worth.” A detachment of the 92nd Regiment of Lancaster Militia posted in the vicinity fired across a creek nearby and drove the British back to their ship. This was the final raid of the War of 1812 in Lancaster County.

And here’s the one about Fleete’s Island:

Henry Fleete was born about 1602 in Kent, England and moved to Jamestown, VA, in 1621 Fleete was seized by the Anacostan Indians during a trading expedition and held for five years. He learned their language and after his release in 1627, became a negotiator for the Virginia and Maryland colonies. Fleete helped establish Maryland in 1634 and served in its General Assembly from 1635 to 1638, and in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1652 to 1661. He established the boundaries of Lancaster County when it was created in 1651. In May 1661, Fleete died and was buried at his home here on Fleete’s Island.

Not too far from these two markers, where the road ended, I hopped out and grabbed a couple of photos of the Mouth of the Rappahannock on one side of me, and the Chesapeake Bay on the other.

River’s Mouth
Chesapeake Bay

The return drive held a few photograph-able views, but the rain was like a spigot that a 2-year-old was playing with: sometimes heavy, sometimes light, sometimes just barely sprinkling. The sky was uniformly gray, however.

In the biggest, first photo above, you can see two blue herons that startled near the road as we drove past, one lower left and one high middle-right.

Headed back to Kilmarnock and drove around a while to find the local hang-out: Lee’s Restaurant (how wrong could be be?).



I’d already thought that a warming lunch of soup and a sandwich would be just the ticket, and Lee’s is where we found it.

Hot navy bean soup and corned beef on toasted rye.

By the time we’d returned to camp, the rain was worse than ever, so again we retreated to listen to our book for a while, and later, prepped, cooked, and ate the long-delayed grilled pork chops and grilled corn on the cob, accompanied by wild rice. As you’ve probably noticed, eating is a mainstay of our travel experience, and we usually do it up right.

Hoping for a bit of clearing tomorrow, although the prospect is not great, but better for Wednesday, when we move on to Powhatan State Park near Richmond. Maybe if we, like our predecessors in site #3 observe a 3PM checkout, we might get a cycling tour in before we leave. Otherwise, we’ll just have to return to explore further.


Cycling the Kiptopeke Area

April 21, 2017

We rode up to Cape Charles and then back down to the end-of-peninsula wildlife refuge, actually a reclaimed Army post, called the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge (you might remember we saw a gateway to this refuge back when Jack and I first landed on this side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel – I think that was April 13).

Anyway, we found a way to get up to Cape Charles that did not involve any riding along the busy artery, Route 13. We crossed the busy road a couple of times, but we mostly headed north and then south again along Rt. 600, or Seaview Road. We discovered later that this used to be the road that was the primary north/south travel route.

Yard Egrets.
Potato perspective.

For us, however, it was lovely and traffic-free (just about), although the day had turned quite hot for a change. We saw several interesting things, and once we got back across to Cape Charles, we had to climb “the hump” as we discovered the highest bridge was called by the locals (and over which we’d driven to obtain our dinner last night at the Shanty). One of the locals said that it had been built for the time when Cape Charles was a rail hub, and no one could cross the tracks on the ground, they were so busy. So rather than allow residents and visitors to sit in long lines of traffic to get to the beach, the town fathers built this high bridge over the rail tracks.

View from The Hump.

Today, the hump is no longer required, but has become a landmark.

We toured a bit through the shopping district, which has fun and quirky shops and restaurants. We saw a place called The Dacha Russian Tea Room, and another called Deadrise Pies (pizza). There was a local market for veggies and other fresh stuff, and lots of art galleries and gift shops. Bistros with on-street seating and fancy looking restaurants dotted the long main road.

Ending up at the public beaches, I walked along a boardwalk while Jack minded the bikes, just to see what I could see, and the beaches were surprisingly vast, clean, and fun-looking. Not having brought along the kite on the bicycles, we found that that beach would have been the perfect place to fly it. Maybe next time.

Dune restoration.

The last photo is a pair of osprey – one on the nest and one perched above.

At the boardwalk and the beach intersection, we found a Virginia Is for Lovers “LOVE” sign, and a very interesting (but somewhat deteriorated) info sign about a meteor impact that elevated the geology of Cape Charles so that it’s higher than much of the surrounding land.


Here’s what the info signboard said:

A meteor/comet two miles wide crossed paths with Earth 35 million years ago. Moving at a speed of 21 miles per second, it crashed here, at what is today the town of Cape Charles, creating the Sith largest impact crater on Earth.

The meteor blasted into the shadow sea that covered the state’s eastern half and exploded with more force than the combined nuclear arsenal of today’s world powers. Rock flew skyward, bedrock fractured seven miles deep, and enormous tsunamis raced westward to the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Melted rock splashed upward in the center, hardening into a central peak nearly a mile tall, which is directly under Cape Charles. Over the centuries, sediment and debris have filled in the crater, and what is now called the Chesapeake Bay lays over much of it today.

Although the crater is not visible today, small earthquakes occasionally rock its fault lines, and two low ridges appear to mimic its contours far underground. One of these can be seen near the town of Painter, northeast of Cape Charles. The other is just east of Gloucester Courthouse on the western side of the Bay.


We spent a bit more time cycling around the neighborhoods of the town, with some really lovely old homes and others that were works-in-progress. We both commented on the fact that so many of the old places appeared to be getting renovations rather than being torn down to make way for something bigger and inappropriate (as happens in Jack’s old neighborhood in Hampton, VA).

Later we found a picture and information board about the famous Cape Charles lighthouse, but were interested to see that the community had designed their public water tower to appear as if it’s a lighthouse. Very clever.

The water tower from The Hump.


The water tower from below.

We also found it rather odd that so many people park their boats in the streets. Later, we saw boats parked in a variety of strange places.

Potato patch boat.

Town of Cape Charles Historic Marker

The Town of Cape Charles was founded in 1884 by Alexander Cassatt and William L. Scott as the southern terminus of the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad. The extension of tracks south from Maryland to Cape Charles opened the northeastern markets to Eastern Shore seafood and farm produce. Using railcar barges and passenger steamers, the new port established a link to Norfolk. Cape Charles enjoyed rapid growth and soon became the commercial and residential center of Northampton County. The old town historic district, with its many Victorian-style residences, is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

But Cape Charles is a small place, and if you’re not eating, swimming, sunbathing, or shopping, there’s not much to see. So we retraced our steps to the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge, which, as I mentioned, was once an Army Base.


Cycling the bike route to the VC.
Canada geese sculpture outside of the VC.

The Visitor Center (2.5 miles along the bike path) was open for about 10 minutes when we got there, and the docent behind the desk was a native, and it was from him that we learned about “the hump” and Rt. 600, and so many other tidbits about the area. We kept them a bit long past their closing hour, looking around at the kid-oriented displays in the Center, but the guy recommended that we take the time to follow the Butterfly Trail down to the Big Gun. After sharing a granola bar, we did just that.

16 inch/50 Mark VII Gun #393

The 16 inch gun barrel, designated U.S. Navy Mark VII #393, was mounted in the rear gun turret aboard the famed battleship USS Missouri and saw extensive action during WWII. The USS Missouri is best known for the Japanese surrender ceremony held on board in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

This barrel is 66.6 feet long—50 times its 16-inch bore, or 50 calibers. Each gun weighted 239,000 pounds (267,900 lbs. with the breech). The built-up gun is constructed of liner, tuibe, jacket, three hoops, two locking rings, tube and liner locking ring, yoke ring and screw box liner. The gun had two main projectiles – armor piercing (AP) Mark 8 – weighing 2,700 pounds and 72 inches tall, containing 40.9 pound burning charge, all of which needed 660 pounds of propellant; and its smaller sister shell – high capacity (HC) Mark 13 – weighing 1,900 pounds and 64 inches tall, containing 153.6 pound bursting charge.

The gun barrel was taken off the Missouri during the Korean War when the ship was refurbished. The gun barrel was put into storage at St. Juliens Naval Annex in Chesapeake, VA, for possible re-use. But it was never remounted and lay in the yard alongside eight other battleship gun barrels for 55 years. When the U.S. Navy phased out its last battleships in the 1990s, the spare guns at St. Juliens (and others at Hawthorne, NV) were eventually declared surplus and were put up for sale as scrap.

The USFWS, however, worked closely with DOD to save this barrel for display at the Refuge. Gun #393 was selected for preservation because of its historic association with the USS Missouri.



About the USS Missouri (BB-63)

The USS Missouri, a 45,000 ton Iowa class battleship built by the NY Navy Yard, was commissioned on June 11, 1944. She spent the remainder of ’44 preparing for combat, transiting to the Pacific in November, and arriving in the war zone by January of 1945.

Missouri supported the Iwo Jima invasions, the Ryukyus campaign and raids on Japan’s home islands. In May, she became the Third Fleet flagship and was the site of the September 2, 1945 Japanese surrender ceremony that ended WWII.

Following the end of hostilities, Missouri returned to the US, participating in a naval review at New York in October 1945. In March 1946, she went to the Mediterranean on a diplomatic mission. Through the rest of the 1940s and into 1950 the battleship operated extensively in the Atlantic area. She was the centerpiece of a grounding incident off Hampton Roads, VA, in January 1950, but was quickly repaired and returned to service.

Missouri was the only US battleship on active duty in June 1950, when the Korean War began, and made two combat deployments to the Western Pacific. Following that action, and several training cruises to Europe, she decommissioned in Feb. 1955. For the next three decades, she was ion reserve at Bremerton, WA, and became an important tourist attraction. All four Iowa class battleships were reactivated ub the 1980s, with Missouri recommissioning in May of 1986.

Her next 6 years were busy, including (among other activities) a cruise around the world and a combat role inn the 1991 Persian Gulf War. She decommissioned for the last time in March 1992. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995, Missouri was transferred to Pearl Harbor, HI in June 1998 to be come a memorial.

It was so big I had to take it in two pieces (I also posted a Pano shot of it to my Facebook Page).


We rode along a bit farther to an “overlook” and found low tide and a long, low tidal flat. There we discovered this info plaque about the Cape Charles lighthouse.


Having gotten seriously tired and hot (although we both were drinking good quantities of water) we decided to go by pavement back to the cut-across-Rt13 road along a part of 600 that we’d turned off from to get to the wildlife refuge. There I saw this old boat full of plants at the edge of a hay field.


We finished off with a long cool-down sit in the tree house with fans blowing, a shower, and a nice Leftover Queen’s Royal Salad (with a bit of everything in the fridge thrown in). Checked into the general health and well-being of our killdeer neighbors, and called it an early night.

Cycling stats: 34.5 miles, during 3 hours of ride time, at a 12 MPH pace.

April 22

Not much to say about Saturday, Earth Day, because it was raining and blowing, or getting ready to do so, most of the day. So I caught up with blog posts and Jack filled the car with fuel, and found a Custis historic marker (below), then got the groceries for our travel-time BillyBoil stew for tomorrow night. As the wind was getting fiercer, he pretty much broke camp on the outside, and since the awning really needed to come down, we changed our dinner plans from pork chops on the grill to sandwiches. The rains have come and we’re snug inside Roomba and pretty ready for an early departure in the morning to get to Belle Isle State Park.