Virginia Beach to Cape Hatteras – Pt 3

two harleys at the sandbar and grill in buxton, nc

Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel on Monday morning following Easter was quite a way to start the day. The bridge is a modern marvel of engineering. It is 23 miles long and has two tunnels where the bridge dips down underneath the bay and goes for a mile under water before you come back up on another section of bridge. It was a sunny morning with blue skies. Not as windy as the day before. My thoughts were with Vic, Karen and Joanne. Karen died in a motorcycle accident a few miles before the bridge in April of 2009. We were on that trip with our friend when she was killed. Vic was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast from Pennsylvania who died of cancer in November 2011. He loved the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel and here I was enjoying the ride for him and talking to him as I crossed the majestic span. My thoughts were also with Joanne, a member of our HOG Chapter who died in a motorcycle accident about 48 hours before this leg of our trip. While crossing the bridge and entering a tunnel a speeding tractor trailer decided to tailgate me. At one point Diana couldn’t even make me out in her rear-view mirror as I got swallowed up by the front grill of the truck. Finally we emerged from the tunnel with it’s one lane in each direction and came out onto the bridge with it’s two lanes so the truck could now pass me.

Once we crossed the span and entered into the Virginia Beach area we had to do battle on the interstates. My least favorite part of the trip. I hate highway riding, especially beltways around busy cities. Some crazy people in a green Pontiac got between me and Diana and were riding her ass and making it difficult for her to make the lane changes we needed to in order to get where we needed to be. Diana as usual held her ground and managed to not get run over or killed. But I’m still feeling the stress of watching these jerks put my wife’s life in danger as we tried to navigate our way around a strange city. Shortly after we found ourselves on the more peaceful Rt 168 leading to Rt 158 down the North Carolina shore to the outer banks. Yeah!!!

As we drove past the Wright Brother’s Memorial in Kitty Hawk I found myself disappointed. This touristy beach area was not much different from Ocean City, MD. My vision of the outer banks was less developed. At the end of Rt 158 we merged onto Rt 12 South, also known as Cape Hatteras National Park Road. This was more of what I had in mind and I breathed a sigh of relief and started to smile. The vacation part of the trip kicked in! We rode our motorcycles through vast areas of undeveloped shoreline with sand dunes that were as tall as the houses in my neighborhood. The barrier island is so narrow that in some places you see the Atlantic Ocean on your left and Pamilico Sound on the right. Rt 12 is the only road in and out with one lane in each direction. No shoulder, just beach sand on both sides. Giant dunes on the left and acres of wilderness land on the right. Once in awhile an impatient driver will pass using the oncoming lane. It pissed Diana off when someone almost took me out while making one of these pass moves. We would occasionally come into a small beach town with cool beach houses raised on stilts. We finally came into Cape Hatteras. It was too early to check into our room at the Lighthouse View Motel but we were plenty hungry. We rode past the motel and kept an eye out for a good place to eat hoping for a dining experience with a water view. We found it at the Sandbar & Grill in Buxton! We stripped off our chaps and riding gear and made a beeline for the rest rooms. Then we went upstairs to order beer and a heaping pile of deep fried seafood that again hit the spot perfectly after a day of riding (only one alcoholic beveridge was imbibed by each motorcycle rider before switching to diet cola with lemon). Then we poked around taking pictures before heading back to the motel to check in. Cape Hatteras is great getaway! Just a few motels, a gas station, several restaurants, several gift shops, a general store and a bait store. Definitely paradise for the avid fisherman.

jay and Diana at the Sandbar and Grill inside

Sandbar and Grill Sign

A great dinig experience with a waterview at the Sandbar and Grill

The view from the deck of the Sandbar and Grill

Diana behind the Sandbar and Grill

The Sandbar and Grillis right on Pamlico Sound

Pamlico Sound from the Sandbar and Grill

Diana is the mastermind of vacation planning. She found this terrific motel on the Internet that costs less than $100 per night. She got us a third floor room facing the ocean with a magnificent view. We unpacked and walked to the general store to pick up a six pack of Yuengling, a twelve pack of bottled water and other supplies. Then we changed into our bathing suits to relax in the hot tub. Diana’s true genius came out when she suggested we bring bathrobes with us for the outdoor hot tub.  It was pretty warm when we arrived and we didn’t need the robes to get in the hot tub, but I’m sure glad we had them when we got out as the sun set and the wind picked up a little bit. They took up a lot of valuable luggage space, but they were worth it! We were in heaven! We rode to Cape Hatteras, had an awesome steaming pile of deep fried seafood as a late lunch, checked into a great hotel with an incredible view right on the beach, had several Yuengling beers and then soaked in a steaming hot tub.

 The lighthouse view motel and cottages in buxton, nc

Parked at the Lighthouse View Motel

The parking lot of the Lighthouse View Motel

Nice rooms at the Ligthouse View Motel

The pool and beach are just outsuide the room of the Lighthouse View Motel

Sitting outside our room at the Lighthouse View Motel

Ralaxing after a soak in the hot tub

We put on dry clothes about mid evening and walked across the street to the Shipwreck Grill looking for a light dinner. We had soup and salad and then returned to our room to drink more Yuengling and watch American Chopper and Outlaw Garage before turning the lights out and sleeping very soundly!

Shipwreck Grill Sign

Jay shipwrecked

Daina shipwrecked in Buxton, NC

One Big Gun – OBX Part 2

cape charles sunset

Diana and I left a little later than we planned on the first leg of our five day spring break trip to Cape Hatteras. The first leg of the trip on April 8th was to Cape Charles, VA to visit overnight with Alan who is technically my brother’s father in law. My brother’s mother in law, Katie, was visiting with my brother and his family. We also decided to take the scenic route down to Dover before jumping on the expressways in order to ease into the riding pace and also enjoy a little scenery before battling speeding tractor trailers. Once we did get on the expressways we found it to be a terribly windy day making the ride a little challenging. We originally planned to arrive at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Wildlife Refuge where Alan works at 3:00pm but due to our slow start we arrived at 5:00pm. Since we have not put in any real riding as of late we were sore by the time we arrived. My left shoulder blade was not happy and Diana’s shoulders were in the same mood.

history on the move

Alan is an awesome host! He had our favorite beer, Yuengling, cold and ready for our arrival. He also had a roast with carrots, potatoes and onions cooking in the crock pot for us all day. He made gravy and served us a meal that hit the spot dead on after a day of riding. After dinner Alan showed us his project over at the Cape Charles, VA rail road yard on the western bay side shore of the Delmarva Peninsula in historic Cape Charles. The sun was setting over the Chesapeake Bay and the view was awesome, but that wasn’t what he wanted to show us. Alan has been busy saving a WWII historic battleship gun barrel. The Navy had 8 of these they were going to destroy. Alan has been working to salvage one that will be on display at the Wildlife Refuge. This gun barrel is a 16″ diameter 50 caliber Mark VII from the USS Missouri. The gun barrel is 68′ long and weighs 120 tons. It cost a boatload of money to have a barge bring it over to Cape Charles and unload it in the rail yard. Alan needs to raise $70,000 by August to transport it a few miles to the Wildlife Refuge and display it properly.

Alan making history move

Alana, Diana and Merlin and the big gun

one big ass gun

Diana posing with big gun with rusty nuts

rail cars in the yard

cape charles rail yard

more of cape charles rail yard

from on top of the big gun in cape charles

sun starting to set

the sun setting on cape charles rail yard

sun is setting over the water and the rail yard in cape charles

We had a great time visiting with Alan in the wildlife refuge. We woke up late. Alan left hot coffee and cinnamon toast for us to eat for breakfast before he left for work. We geared up again and were just about to leave when Alan came by to see us off. His timing was perfect. Alan coming by to see us off for day 2 of our OBX trip

It was about 10:00am as we rolled out of the park and directly onto the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel for the second leg of our trip.

Starting the Season Big – OBX Part 1

We didn’t get much chance to shake the dust off and get our motorcycle legs back before going on a five day motorcycle trip. Diana and I took the cold winter months off from riding this past year rather than riding with our HOG Chapter at least once a month as we have done in recent years.  On St Patrick’s Day Diana got her motorcycle out for the first time this year to participate in the MAV St Patty’s Day Poker Run. My motorcycle made a visit to Turner Tech for a new rear tire and rear brake pads the following weekend. We spent the next weekend doing our own maintenace and getting the motorcycles ready for spring. Diana’s spring break was approaching fast and we had plans for a 5 day road trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina aka OBX. Spring Break came quickly and Diana and I didn’t have any other opportunities to ride and give the motorcycles a shake down to make sure our maintenance was done correctly. We took the bikes out for a short local bop around White Clay Creek the day before our big trip. I was apprehensive about this, but that is normal for me.

Three years ago from yesterday we embarked on a trip to Kill Devil Hills, NC during Outer Banks Bike Week with our HOG Chapter. We planned the trip with Karen and Ed. On the way down there was a terrible accident and Karen was killed by a driver under the influence.  We never made it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. We have since crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel on our motorcycles and visited the accident site every April. We have also participated in Cheriton Day in honor of the fire fighters and EMT’s who came to our side that tragic day. So we have been back to the area of the accident a number of times but we never made the trip to the outer banks on our motorcycles. We decided it was time to make the trip in honor of Karen this April and to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel in honor of Vic. Vic was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast from Pennsylvania who had cancer and passed on November 25th, 2011. He loved riding across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel on his motorcycle.

Shortly after the accident my brother’s inlaws moved into the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge  just a few miles down the road from where Karen was killed. We have visited several times so our ties to the area are strong but with a dark undertone. Katie and Alan’s house inside the wildlife refuge is exactly halfway to Cape Hatteras (our destination for this journey).

As if my apprehension about the trip wasn’t bad enough and the dark ominous undertones of traveling down Rt 13 were cause for emotional disturbance we received news that a couple who belong to our HOG Chapter had a bad accident the day before our trip and we had lost another friend to the unforgiving road.

On Easter Sunday Diana and I rolled the motorcycles out for a five day road trip. I said a prayer out loud before we left thanking God for this magnificent country he blessed us with and that beckens to be explored and appreciated. I asked him to watch over us and protect us and as we try our best to cast our fears aside and venture forth to live our lives with the spirit of adventure and freedom that all motorcyclists thrive on. And with that being said we shifted into gear and hit the road to visit Alan on Virginia’s Eastern Shore at the very bottom tippity tip of the Delmarva Peninsula. Hopefully this would be fun trip to the beach, a well earned vacation and a safe adventure. The story continues in 2 days.

Jay getting ready to leave for OBX

Diana getting ready to leave for OBX

We miss you Karen and we still think of you often.

In memory of karen fortner

Karen Baine Fortner was killed 4-24-09 by a driver under the influence of drugs. Karen was an inspiration, an orignal and lots of fun to be with. She was and will always be our friend.

Thirty Two Plus Hours In A Cage

I have to apologize for not blogging for the past 2 weeks. Life has been busy and I have not been riding. My career has been keeping me at work late and I have had road trips the past two weekends by cage. We have been through 8 states on some very scenic Interstates but I have to say the foliage although enjoyable is a little drab. Rainy and cloudy weather has not helped in making the trips all they could be but we enjoy traveling anyway; even by car or van. On our trip to Massachusetts for a family wedding we saw bright yellows, especially in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. On our trip to Canton, Ohio for HOG® State Rally Training we caught a lot of Autumn color in Pennsylvania but today on the way back taking Rt 70 from Ohio through West Virginia and Pennsylvania and into Maryland it seemed like the mountains were nothing but burnt sienna, dark orange and brown. The bright reds and oranges one hopes for are not out there. Although mountains are always pretty, the foliage itself was not spectacular. Spent at least 16 hours in the drivers seat last weekend and then again this weekend. We got to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’m Glad to be home.

Buddyfest Tilghman Island

Diana doing what she does best

Just past St. Michael’s on Maryland’s eastern shore is a gem of a destination known as Tilghman Island. Diana and I were introduced to Tilghman Island in 2008 when friends took us on a ride to Harrison’s Chesapeake House for crabs. Harrison’s Chesapeake House is awesome and we have always wanted to return and stay overnight. The chance to return arrived… Diana organized an overnight trip for our H.O.G. chapter this past Labor Day and we were happy to discover that Harrison’s has a special celebration called Buddyfest every Labor Day weekend. One week previous to our trip Hurricane Irene swept up the east coast damaging coastal properties from North Carolina up to New England. Although half the roof was taken off the deck bar and restaurant at Harrison’s, Buddyfest was still on! We were told that Buddyfest usually attracts a much bigger crowd but many people (not us) canceled their Buddyfest visit to the shore.

bikers at harrisons chesapeake house

our cottage like rooms

the main property at harrisons

onlyhalf the roof is missing

view atthe bay from our cottages

Diana led our trip with sixteen First State members on eleven Harley-Davidson motorcycles followed by one mini SUV. We arrived at Harrison’s mid afternoon on a warm sunny day. We parked our motorcycle in the unpaved lot in front of Harrison’s among pick ups, cars and other motorcycles. We checked into the friendly establishment who had set us up with a block of hotel rooms near the swimming pool with a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay.

Diana immediately set up shop at the deck bar and restaurant and ordered crabs with pitchers of Yuengling beer. We commadeered two picnic tables and placed them end to end. We ate and drank while another group of bikers wearing cuts featuring a one piece RC patch took over the dance floor and bar. There was a live band and everyone was having a good time including a native Indian man who looked as out of place among the bikers, tourists and locals as a black sheep. Some of our friends decided to enjoy the buffet inside at the more formal restaurant.

first state eating crabs

great dock bar at harrisons

Gordy always making new friends

live band at buddyfest

bikers, toursist and locals dancing at Buddyfest

After gorging ourselves with a seafood feast from the Chesapeake waters we put on our bathing suits and regrouped at the swimming pool. Summer was basically over and it was just warm enough to enjoy a sunset swim while sharing pitchers of Yuengling and chatting about riding. From the pool in front of our cottage like rooms we had a great view of the bay and the festivities at Harrison’s. It was a perfect evening but still early.

move the festivites to the swimming pool

justchill’n at Harrisons Chesapeake House

a perfect day!!!

We put on dry clothes and regrouped again at the inside bar where I made the mistake of getting involved with several shots of Jack. The bartender at Harrison’s was a nice women but what she considered a shot was more like a small drink in most bars. Definitely the biggest shots I have ever seen. We sang karaoke, danced and laughed for several hours before calling it a night. I do wish I called it a night before the shots.

taking the party inside

we be danc’n

If you like fancy motels on crowded touristy beaches then Tilghman Island is not for you. But if you like a low key laid back festive atmosphere where you can put on a bathing suit & sandals and hang out in a comfortable picnic-like setting then I highly recommend you stay the night at Harrison’s Chesapeake House. Make sure to say “Hi” to Captain Buddy Harrison and make plans to be at the next Buddyfest!

tilghman Lady a little under the water

Harrison’s dock at sunset

Captain Buddy Boat

boats docked for the evening

Click here to see all the pictures.

Scouting Garrett County Maryland

my favorite road captain

The last weekend of July 2011 attracted HOG members from Delaware and Maryland to Salisbury, Maryland for the 2011 State Rally. The 2012 Maryland/Delaware State HOG Rally will be Father’s Day Weekend in Deep Creek Lake which is a resort area in Garrett County, Maryland. Diana and I took a weekend long scouting mission to check it out.

diana riding western maryland

awesome roads in garrett county

diana rt 9

We took off on our motorcycles on a Friday evening immediately after I got off from work. We jumped on Intersate 95 South just a little ways before hopping off onto backroads taking us across Maryland to Frederick. We got into Frederick, Maryland at 9:00pm and stayed at Motel 6 for the low price of $61.03 including tax. After riding and kickstands are down for the night it’s always fun to find a restaurant that serves cold tall Yuengling draft like The Outback.

Cheers 1

cheers 2

cheers 3

We walked back to the motel and took a few pictures at K-mart.

k-mart 1

k-mart 2

The next day we took off on our motorcycles again heading west. I had read about a great over look in Road Runner magazine that inspired George Washington to expand the United States westwardly. Panorama view on Rt 9 in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is among the best views in the country.

panarama view 1

Diana at panarame view

Diana took me on a fantastic bunch of backroads into Garrett County Maryland dumping us out in Deep Creek Lake across from the Fort where we got lunch at the Black Bear Tavern. Then we took pictures of all the amusements available at the Fort shopping center in Deep Creek Lake.

The Fort in Deep Creek Lake

black bear tavern dcl

Black Bear Tavern Demolition Car

deep creek lake area in summer

the fort mini golf

go carts atthe fort

water go carts

deep creek lake usa

After lunch at the Black Bear Tavern we headed to Swallow Falls State Park to take pictures of Maryland’s tallest waterfall: Muddy Creek Falls.

swallow falls state park

short hike through million year old forest

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 1

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 2

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 4

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creeks and lakes and waterfalls 7

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 8

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 9

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creeks and lakes and waterfalls 12

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 13

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 14

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 16

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 17

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 18

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 18

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 19

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 19

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 20

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 21

creeks and lakes and waterfalls 22

After hiking through the park and taking a bunch of pictures we got back on our motorcycles and headed to Oakland, Maryland where we stayed at the Oak-Mar Motel Restaurant. This is a nice place to stay just outside Deep Creek Lake close to the West Virginia border on Rt 219. Restaurant on site, clean rooms and affordable rates. We paid $87.69 including tax. The phone number is 301-334-3965. We got beer and pizza for dinner at the Pizza Hut down the street and called it a night.

oak-Mar 1

diana at the oak mar

nice place to sleep

The next morning we got up, had breakfast at the Oak-Mar Restaurant and gassed up and hit the road. We were surprised how cool it was up here in the mountains and we had to pull over to put more clothes on.  In order to get home in a timely manner we did get in some highway and man was it hot when we were cruising I-68 and I-70.

We had a great little trip and took lots of pictures. Click here to see them all.

black eye susans