Hampton, VA – Cape May, NJ
Daily Mileage: 197
Total Mileage: 197
Total Number of States Traveled: 4
All in all, I’d call the first day a success. I packed up, checked out of my room at the Arrow Inn (in Hampton, Virginia, near Langley AFB) and headed out. I sparked up my Axim X30 and Belkin’s Bluetooth GPS along with the included navigation software for Pocket PC and input my destination [Cape May]. My plan was to head for Norfolk and then take the Chesapeake Bridge over to the coast and then head north. The navigation software, giving verbal driving commands, had other destinations in mind (or at least that’s my belief). There’s a setting to pick the type of route you want (Quickest, Shortest, Major Roads, and Local Roads). I think I had it on Local Roads… and the software took me into (what appeared to be) the bad part of Norfolk. I changed the setting to Shortest and then I was back on track.
I crossed the Chesapeake Bridge ($12 fee) and headed out over the water. It was a gorgeous day – clear skies and a brisk 53 degrees. I had hooked up my magnetic mount antenna for my handheld amateur radio before I left. I used a software program from ARRL called TravelPlus for Repeaters to get the frequencies for the 2m and 440 repeaters along my route. It seemed like a your average Saturday chat session – hams talking about their projects and upcoming ham events. I made one call to make sure I was getting out and all looked good.
After crossing the bridge, I headed north. I made good time through Virgina, trying out the cruise control which worked great. I’d left with about a 1/2 tank of gas with the intent of filling up for lunch at Ocean Shores, MD. Shortly after crossing into Maryland and turning east to head for the coast (and Ocean Shores) my fuel warning light came on. That reminded me of when I had my 93 Toyota 4×4… I was traveling from Ft Benning to California over the Christmas holiday while I was finishing up OCS and was in Mississippi on I10. The tank was getting pretty low, but I wanted to wait for the fuel light to come on and also try and use as much fuel as possible to minimize fuel stops in my attempt to cross the country in two days. Ends up my 4×4 didn’t have a fuel light. I ended up running out of gas, but thanks to the kindness of the locals, I was offered a ride to a gas station by a group of drunk hunters and then got another ride back to the truck from a man who was on his way to a hospital to see his wife who’d fallen out of a deer stand earlier. Anyways – this time I actually have a fuel light, which came on. I stopped at Newark, Maryland and filled up and was out a Ocean Shores by 1:30pm. My plan was to hit the Starbucks in Ocean Shores to check email and make a blog post, but the actual location for the Starbucks was on the laptop and not programmed in the Pocket PC. I started getting a little nervous about the time, because I had to be up to Lewes, Delaware by 3:30pm to check-in for the 4:30pm ferry to Cape May, New Jersey.
So I drove around for a bit (Ocean Shores is your classic cheesy beach resort community – like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina or Seaside, Oregon) and failed to find Starbucks. I decided to delay lunch and headed north. It ended up being a short trip to Lewes – so I got lunch in town at Arby’s (this huge cheddar chicken wrap – very good) and then made it to the ferry landing by a little after 3pm. I’d made a reservation over the internet, checked in, and put my truck in line. We started loading the ferry at about 4pm and departed at 4:30pm. I got out of the truck and took a quick walk around, it was still a real nice day but very windy on the water.
I retreated back to the truck and watched the third episode of the Amazing Race (where they had a Roadblock in Argentina and had to eat 4lbs of meat – I love the show). The ferry arrived; I rolled off and ran into some navigational problems. My motel was at 501 Beach Avenue, I’d put in 501 Beach Drive – needless to say I was misdirected for about an hour, then my GPS failed (some kind of power issue). It was dark by the time I finally found the place.
Definitely some lessons learned from the first day.
Marquis de Lafayette
501 Beach Drive
Cape May, NJ 08204
Here’s the route for tomorrow: