For my final vacation ride, I struck out towards the west on Shore Drive. This is a four lane road with no shoulder, making a trip more adventurous than I would prefer. I was hoping my 6:30 AM start would help with the traffic density and was surprised to see that it didn’t make nearly as big a difference as I had hoped it would. There are a LOT of people driving west toward Norfolk in the morning!
I made my way past First Landing State Park and the campsites that were still very quiet at the early hour. I was about to cross over the Lynnhaven River Bridge when I heard the telltale whirring of a coasting bicycle. A fellow cyclist had joined me! Unfortunately, he wasn’t the chatty type and seemed eager to suck on my wheel in his aerobars. Perhaps he wasn’t a wheel sucker but was just looking for an opportunity to pass me. Either way, I didn’t relish the thought of a non-chatty person on my rear wheel, so I pulled over and let him pass.
Since today was checkout day at the hotel, time was short. After crossing under US-13 (a major road that leads to a bridge over the Chesapeake Bay), it was time to head back. Shortly after turning around, I came across a nice bike path which started at a location for no particular reason and lasted a mile, where it ended at an equally odd location. Such is the way of things at Virginia Beach. I then came back to the Lynnhaven River Bridge and noted the unfortunate attempt to modify an old sidewalk to accommodate bicycles. I pulled off the road and immediately hit soft sand. I was expecting something a little more compact and darn near fell off the bike as I plowed to a stop. I then eased my bike onto the sidewalk and was on my way.
In short order, I was back on base. I took a quick spin along one of the few back roads on the base and after two miles I found myself back on the main road and near my hotel. In this nondescript way I ended my vacation cycling and began making preparations for the trip home. Virginia Beach was a great vacation and the cycling was definitely a change of pace for me. If I had more time, I would have liked to venture further south, possibly to the North Carolina border 35 miles away. The roads in that direction appear to be much less congested, which would have been nice. Still, you don’t often get to cycle with fantastic views of the beach and I had that opportunity on three occasions this week. All things considered, a very good situation!
Historical Marker Segment!
Today’s ride netted me two markers. The first describes the history of Seashore (aka “First Landing”) State Park, built as part of FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression. The “naval actions” mentioned are intriguing and I have no idea what the 1672 and 1700 engagements were. A three-minute Google search failed to turn up any results. 1672 marks the beginning of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, but I cannot find a mention of a naval battle off the North American coast, let alone Virginia. 1700 is the time period of the Great Northern War (Russia v. Sweden) and I cannot imagine what two ships from that part of the world were doing near Virginia.
The second marker may be the most interesting one I’ve come across to date. In it we learn the tale of Adam Thorowgood, an indentured servant who eventually owns thousands of acres of land, builds a town, and becomes a major political figure in the colony of Virginia. That is one heck of a journey! The sign also explains that Lynnhaven is named after King’s Lynn, an English town that I would occasionally visit during my UK tour. Small world.
FUN FACT: George Vancouver, the founder of Vancouver, British Columbia, was also from King’s Lynn. There must have been something in the town that gave its young men the urge to voyage to the other side of the Earth.