After Assateague Island National Seashore and the Blue Crab Scenic Byway I had one remaining travel adventure before heading home on familiar Virginia roads: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, according to some, one of the scariest bridges in the country—we’ll see.
I attempted several photos of the bridge, but how does one photograph something 20 miles long? So, I borrowed a photo (above, left) that shows part of the bridge and one of its two, mile-long tunnels. For more images, go to: Bay Bridge. The bridge was completed in 1964 and was distinguished as “The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was also selected as one of “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” during a worldwide competition.
But was it scary? Entering from the north, just past the toll gate, you soon ascend one of the steep arches. I downshifted for the climb, had a great view at the top, and coasted down the other side of the arch. Then it was about 15 miles of raised roadway with a 3 foot guardrail. The guardrails are designed to contain cars if hit. They will also contain motorcycles if hit, but the rider flips over the rail. The tunnels are two-way, narrow, poorly lit, and smelled bad, but no big deal. At times, all you see is water around you, and after about 25 minutes you reach the other shore. An experience? Yes. Scary? Not so much. The Savanna, IL, Mississippi bridge retains that distinction in my opinion.
I caught myself smiling when I saw the Blue Ridge mountains through the lifting fog ahead of me (photo). I also noticed that I unconsciously slowed down, happy to be home, but not wanting the ride to end. On Route 130 at the Blue Ridge Parkway (photo), I stopped to stretch, smell the familiar, damp forest, and listen to the quiet of the mountain.
Five miles from home I stopped at Lucie Monroe’s, my favorite coffee shop, and another familiar touchstone. Yes, I concluded; after 7,300 miles, and many coffee shops coast to coast, Lucie’s latte was still the best this side of the Atlantic.
I pointed Boxxer towards Blacksburg and noticed the word “Home” and a little “House” icon emerge on my GPS.