Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 26-Virginia Beach

Somehow the thought of the car being comfortable was foreign to me in the morning, it wasn't terrible; but wasn't as great as I thought it was last night. I made an impromptu decision to head to Virginia Beach today; meaning I would only have about a 5 hour drive, and it would only be two hours further for me to get to Chincoteague Island the following day. Since I didn't stop in Kentucky, I had a couple days to play with. I decided to go to Virginia Beach for one night, and part of the following day, then drive to Chincoteague Island for two nights and a half day, getting me home Saturday night around 7 or 8:00pm in time for Mother's Day on Sunday. The one great thing about sleeping in the car however is the packing up process, there is none. I was out of the parking lot no longer than 10 minutes after I woke up, can't beat that. I merged onto the highway and drove from West Virginia into Virginia. The mountains were a familiar sight for me, the beautiful blue ridge. I texted with Papa where I was since he and Nana had been on that section of the Appalachian Trail with me at the time, and he asked if I remembered stopping at the food truck. I didn't recall what he was talking about at first until he mentioned pork rinds, and then I remember we did stop right after they picked me up off the trail one day and he got a bag of pork rinds and I got a bag of kettle corn. I saw a sign for Waynesborro and smiled passing by. The change in scenery has been gradual since I have been driving, but it is kind of amazing to remember back to being in the desert and having no trees or greenery, and here I was in the Virginia mountains with an abundance of trees and mountains. The United States is a gorgeous, diverse place that is for sure. The countryside here was beautiful, and I couldn't stop taking photos along the way. It is funny how fast 5 hours goes by compared to 8 hours; I used to think the drive to Northern Vermont or New Hampshire took forever, now 3-5 hours will be nothing to drive. I knew after hitting three thousand miles, five thousand, and now defiantly seven thousand miles I was long overdue for an oil change; the Chevy now made it known it needed one. Now every time I start the car, a little oil tank shows up that says change. I haven't read the paperwork thoroughly, but I am banking on I don't have to spend money on a rental to change the oil; crossing my fingers at least. Had it been my vehicle, I would have gotten it changed; but I feel since it is a rental it is alright to wait. Before I knew it, the mountains faded away, and the coast was in sight. I had gone from the coast of Los Angeles a couple weeks ago, to now the coast of Virginia; West to East. There were a few underwater tunnels, and a lot of freeway along the coast, a drastic change in scenery for sure. Tonight I would be staying at the Virginia Beach KOA, though it was a beautiful day and around 2:00pm, so I decided to check out the beach before checking in. Driving around reminded me of driving around Misquamicut in Rhode Island, Virginia Beach was a lot bigger; but it was the same cliche run-down beach town full of tourists. I parked at the Pier parking lot and only got charged $3 instead of $7 since I was going to Ocean Eddie's for lunch. I was craving some clam strips and knew what better place than the beach to get them! I sat outside on the deck and ordered a basket of strips, and a Yuengling. The clams were served with cocktail sauce which I found odd, and quickly asked for some tarter sauce; nothing like slobbering mayonnaise all over your fried food. I ate every last piece, and decided to go sit on the beach for awhile. I forgot to bring a towel, so I just sat right in the sand and began to catch up on writing the blog on my cellphone. The beach was pretty dead, but then again it was a weekday in early May, not exactly tourist beach season I suppose. I did notice four guys in their early 20's horsing around, wrestling, and swimming. It is funny to think boys never really grow up, they were playing like they were all 6 years old. One didn't want to go swimming, and the three others dragged him about 300 yards, for a good 10 minutes or so struggling to get him to the water; he went in not on his terms eventually. The day was a little chilly, and partly sunny, I sat and blogged for awhile until I was interrupted by, "do you mind if I sit here with you?" Not at all I responded, I looked up and it was one of the guys from earlier. Apparently the other three went to get food and he decided to stay behind. He sat down and immediately stated, "so I take it you're local here?" No, not at all. Seems it is easy to assume when a young female is by herself at the beach on a weekday, safe assumption but wrong. I corrected him and informed him I was on the last leg of my loop cross country trip. I am better at assuming when I asked, "are you in college or the service?" He is in the Navy. There was no gap in our conversation, we talked about traveling, my road trip, his experience in the submarine, the Appalachian Trail, how much he liked Singapore, and how they were in Hawaii and Connecticut for awhile. We didn't even introduced ourselves, just talked casually like old friend's catching up. One of his buddies walked up on us and sat down, we caught him up on where we were in the conversation and after awhile he said, "sorry I didn't catch your name." We laughed because for the past half hour at least, we didn't introduce ourselves to each other. I answered the new-comer, "Ashlee." He introduced himself as Joey, and the guy I had been talking to first said his name was Kyle. Now that we were all acquainted, we continued our conversation about the Navy, and ourselves, and how much Virginia Beach and Connecticut suck but Connecticut is better since it has Boston and New York City nearby. We hung out for awhile until the other two joined us, seems they never went to eat and were looking to go now. Their one friend that they dragged into the ocean earlier, apparently had too much vodka on an empty stomach and was pretty drunk. We all hung out and talked a little bit, but I mostly was familiar with Kyle and Joey who I had been talking to already. Two girls came down to the water and the guys made a bet that they would take a white girl photo, then Joey said, "you know like where their hands form hearts in front of the ocean." The deal was if Joey won, Kyle would have to take a white girl photo and vice versa if Kyle won. We proceeded to watch the girls like hawks and they did take cliche ocean photos of one another, however there were no hearts; I said the bet was no good. Joey insisted it was good since they took white girl photos. The group dropped the bet and no white girl photos were taken of the guys. The girls then noticed us laughing and looking at them a lot so Kyle pointed to two guys down by the water doing the same thing taking photos of one another to distract them and let them think we were looking at the guys. The girls ended up leaving, and the guys were ready for dinner. They asked if I wanted to join, but I was still full from dinner and decided to go to the campground to check in. Before we departed however, I asked if they minded us taking a white girl photo. They were excited, grabbed my phone, and went to a nearby couple to ask them to take the photo. We lined up in front of the ocean, all made hearts with our hands, and our white girl ocean photo was created. I am equally as much in love with the candid of us trying to show the guys how to make hearts with their hands, as I am with the final photo. It was one of those perfect moments when strangers just connected for an hour, it wasn't weird, or alarming, and it was just nice to have company. We went our separate ways, and now all that remains is a memory and a photo of that time I met four Navy guys and we took a white girl photo on the beach. (Kyle is pictured second from the left, and Joey is on the far right.) I got to the KOA campground right before 6:00pm when they closed, she gave me my campsite packet, and a guy in a golf cart brought me to my site. I was right next to the bathroom which was convenient, and there was no one directly around me. There was no trees however so I set up the tent, and decided to check the oil in the car and make sure it wasn't bone dry. I popped the hood; pulled the dip stick, cleaned off the end, and stuck it back in to check the levels. It was dark in color, not the golden honey color it should be, but the levels were alright so that was ok with me. I closed the hood and pulled out a Mountain House meal and my stove for later. I sat with my laptop uploading photos and writing in the blog and noticed a white van pass by. I continued on with my business until about 20 minutes later or so when I looked up and noticed the same white van passing by and almost to a stop. I looked up and stared at the driver and then looked back down and began typing. He said, "darlin' I know your busy but is that a one person tent?" I looked up and answered yes. He said it seemed pretty small. I didn't look up again and he drove off without my engagement. The situation in a way annoyed me, it gave me the vibe of a creeper in a white van making comments how I was a young female camping all alone. I instantly transitioned to "badass bitch mode" and grabbed my knife and a beer. Who does he think he is to try and intimidate and scare me? (I mean it kind of worked, but I could be crazy myself.) I drank my last beer from Golden, Colorado, ate dinner, and continued blogging in my car with the charging cord running through the window. I didn't see sight of the van again, but that didn't stop me from sleeping with the hatchet and pocket knife. I got in my tent a little after 10:30pm, and lay looking at social media for awhile. I started to get a stomach ache, not a nauseous one but more of deep pains. Social media wasn't taking my mind off of it, so I went to my Solitaire go-to for whenever I don't feel well. I played many games but it didn't seem to pass, I got up and got an acid reducer, and a ginger chew. Shortly thereafter I was able to fall asleep for the night, undisturbed by a stomach ache, or creeper in the van. 

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