Monday, July 16, 2018

Nick’s First Camping Trip

Nicolas arrived!

Nicolas has been living in his camper for the last 10 months, but he hadn’t taken it anywhere, so he was hoping to get some time off later this summer for a vacation.  When it started looking like that wasn’t going to be possible with his work schedule, he decided that a mini vacation close to home was better than nothing.

So, he put in a request for a couple days of leave to combine with his weekend off, and we made a reservation for him here at Kiptopeke State Park.

He got home early on Friday and spent several hours getting the camper ready to travel – it takes a while to get ready when you’ve been stationary for 10 months!!  It’s only about a 70 mile drive from his campground to here, and he made good time . . . but hit a roadblock at the Bridge-Tunnel.  There was a thunderstorm with high winds moving through the Norfolk & Virginia Beach area, so they closed the bridge down right as he got there!  He ended up waiting almost 1-1/2 hours for the bridge to re-open!  We didn’t even get any of the storm over here on this side of the bridge!

He finally texted me that they were letting them cross, and he made his way the last 20 miles of his trip!  We had saved him a site in our loop, and he easily backed in and got set up.  We were getting a little drizzle by then, but it wasn’t too bad.  Once he was all set up, we had dinner and relaxed.  Nick was pretty tired from working all night on Thursday, so we skipped the campfire, and he went to bed early.

Saturday was really windy!  Nicolas brought his new kayak with him, but the water was way too rough to use it that day.  We did our morning and afternoon rounds, and after lunch we went into Cape Charles to look through the shops and go to church. 


There are some cute shops in Cape Charles, and more under development, but it didn’t take us too long to walk through all of them.  We still had some time to kill before 5pm mass, so we walked down a couple of the residential streets – admiring the historic houses,

Cute historic homes

Nice corner lot

and even went to an open house.

Some of these old homes are so cute . . .

Love this one!

Fixer Upper?and some could use a little work!

How’s that for a “fixer-upper”??

Coming or going?  I'm not sure

After mass, we went back to the campground for dinner and a campfire.  Nicolas was still catching up on his sleep, and almost fell asleep out at the fire!

The wind died down somewhat on Sunday, so Nicolas decided to put his kayak in the water and take it for a paddle around the concrete ships.

Taking the kayak on its maiden voyage

The water still looked a little rough!

Nice little kayak

He paddled through the kayak launch,

And he's off!

and out into the bay.

Out into the Bay

The concrete ships are there to create a barrier from the open water of the Bay, and do provide quite a bit of protection, but there were still some waves on the water. 

Nicolas made his way out toward the ships, but he said that the water got rougher, the further he got out.

He got pretty far

Headed back

He said the waves were washing over the kayak, so he turned around right away and headed back. 

He said the kayak was really stable, though, even with the wind and waves!

We kept an eye on him from the pier as he made his way back!

Lots of waves out there

Safely back into the kayak launch!  It was a short, but successful, first trip!

Back into the channel

Shortly after Nicolas got the kayak back up to the site, our friends from his campground, Brian, Janetta, and their daughter Tessa, arrived at the park.  We all headed to the beach for the afternoon – it was still windy, but a beautiful day!

Relaxing on the beach


Some people thought the water was cold . . . but they don’t know cold water!

They said the water was cold!

Nick and Tessa didn’t think it was cold!


Cutie Nick

Tessa decided that she wanted to be buried in the sand, so Nick was happy to accommodate her!

Digging a hole to bury Tessa in

Trying to keep sand out of her face!

She was having fun, but the wind kept blowing sand into her face!

Nicolas burying her

Completely buried!

She's buried!

So once she was buried, her MOM had the great idea to stick a cheeto in the sand on top of her and see if a seagull would come get it!

Seagull coming for the cheeto!

One got pretty close, but Tessa’s screaming scared him away!

Next they tried putting the cheeto between her toes!  Poor girl!

Trying to get it to take it out of her toe!

She was not thrilled with this game, and didn’t stay still to see if the seagull would come back!  That was enough of that!

That's enough!

Back at the camper, we got cleaned up, and  Tessa went back to riding her new bike, courtesy of Uncle Tom. 

New bike from Uncle Tom!

Some campers had left it behind earlier in the week, so Tom picked it up.  He thought it just had a flat tire, so we picked up a new tube and got it rideable.  It turned out that the shifter wasn’t working either, but she did just fine with a single gear.  Her Dad can get the shifter fixed later. 

She was a very happy girl with her new pink bike!

We grilled chicken, pork chops and fresh corn for dinner, and then enjoyed a delicious fruit trifle for dessert.  Brian made an angel food cake in his Inst-Pot, and Janetta topped it with peaches and berries, and whipped cream.  YUM!

It was a really fun day, and we were glad they came out to the park for a visit!

On Monday, we went for a bike ride on the trails.

Riding the trails

Out for a bike ride

We showed Nicolas the overlooks of the Bay (and he noticed that the water was much calmer than the day before!),

Enjoying the view

he thought about taking the jump down to the beach, but then thought better of it --

Nick wanted to jump down

and we showed him where to find wild blackberries.

Picking blackberries

It was a great day for a bike ride – not too hot, and not too windy, just a nice breeze.

Beautiful day!

We got back from our bike ride and Nicolas decided to give the kayak another try.

The conditions were much better!

Trying it again

Much calmer today

He cruised around the pier and followed the shoreline towards the Bridge-Tunnel.  Without having to fight the wind and waves, he was moving along really well.

Around the pier

Following the shoreline

He was out for about an hour, and said it was a nice paddle . . . but that a motor would be nice!

We wrapped up Nick’s vacation with a steak dinner and a campfire in the evening.  It was a great weekend!

Getting hitched back up

On Tuesday after breakfast, he started getting ready to go home.  It didn’t take nearly as long to get packed up to go home as it did to get ready to come here!

Almost time to go home

All hitched up and ready to go!

All set


Bye, Nick!  We hate seeing him go, but loved having him here for the long weekend! 

Bye Nick!

He got back home with no issues, and got the camper set back up in his permanent spot.  It was a successful first trip out in the camper!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

July 4th Celebrations

Lighting up the sky

We had a busy week leading up to the July 4th holiday, with the park nearly full of campers.  The weekend before was the craziest, with most people staying through the 4th.  We were busy, but we managed to get away for a few hours to enjoy some of the celebrations in Cape Charles.

On the morning of the 4th was the Independence Day Parade along the waterfront and up Main Street.  We parked the Jeep at the north end of town, and walked to the waterfront, where we could watch the parade at the beginning of the route.

The festivities were kicked off with the Color Guard and the Star-Spangled Banner.

Honor Guard

There were cars,

Tom likes the Firebird

Nice Bronco

bikes of all shapes and sizes,


He's festive!

and lots of golf carts!


Setting the crab traps

Some were just decorated for the holiday, and others were fully disguised!

Disguised as a train

Old Glory

Like many small town parades, almost every vehicle had candy to toss to the kids . . . and we got a fair amount, too!

This little guy wasn’t sure what was going on . . .

He wasn't sure what to think of all the candy being thrown at him!

There were firetrucks sounding their sirens,

Big Tanker Truck

Waving to the crowd

and waving to the crowd, like this little guy in the big truck!

Cheriton Fire Department

Farmers were getting into the action, too . . . with their tractors,


Tractor Club


Old Farmers

John Deere

and BLUE!

Lots of tractors

This is an old Ford tractor, like the one Tom used to have!

Ford 8N Jubilee

Bringing up the rear were the horses . . .

Horses, too

and the pooper scooper!


Pooper Scooper Guy

That was fun . . . we really enjoyed the parade!  It was hot, though, so back by the Jeep we cooled off with some shaved ice at the Peach Beach.  YUM – That hit the spot!

Cooling off with some shaved ice

Across the bay, they were having a golf cart parade at Davis Lakes.  Nicolas got in on the fun with Bryan and Janetta!  It looked like they were having fun, too.  He had the day off, but had duty on Thursday, so was staying home.  He invited a few friends over for a BBQ, campfire and fireworks in the evening – they had a fun day, too.

Nick in the golf cart parade

After dinner and our evening rounds we headed back into Cape Charles for fireworks.  Our neighbors, Wojceich, Aneta and Patrick joined us. 

After picking a spot for watching the fireworks and setting our chairs up, we walked to the Brown Dog for ice cream cones.  Mmm, they were good, but melting fast!

Getting ice cream before the fireworks

We had a great spot for watching the fireworks just across the channel,

Great spot for watching!

Great fireworks

and the little town put on a pretty big show!  They lasted only about 15 minutes, but were continuously going off – good job, Cape Charles!


A beautiful finale to a great day!