Saturday, November 1, 2014

third and final part of our trip

When we left Virginia Beach we drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
It stretches 23 miles across the mouth of  the Chesapeake bay, linking Virginia's Eastern Shore with mainland Virginia. It is a combination of bridges, trestles, 2 one mile tunnels and 4 man made islands.

Here you see the road dipping down to a tunnel entrance a tunnel entrance...

Inside the tunnel !   I'm not sure how far under water the tunnel is, but deep enough for ships to pass over.

Once we were over the bridge we headed north to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. This is where the annual wild pony swim takes place every July.

The ponies have been living on Assateague Island for hundreds of years. The theory is that they are descendants of ponies that survived a shipwreck of a Spanish galleon.

In order to keep the island from becoming overpopulated, the ponies are herded and swam across the channel to Chincoteague, where they are auctioned off.

We did get to see some of the wild ponies in the distance...

The whole island is basically a nature preserve. A lot of different kinds of shore birds there.

 On the tip of the island was a visitor center. They had a tank of different live mollusks that you could hold and look at. Quahogs, scallops and clams...but I can't remember the name of this one that Lonnie is holding.

Outside there were mounted telescopes that you could use to see over to NASA Wallops Flight Facility. 
 By coincidence  they had a launch scheduled for later that day. We could see the rocket standing in place! Unfortunately we couldn't stay to watch the launch...but I found out later that they had a major problem with a fire and explosion!

After spending the night in Maryland, we crossed the Chesapeake Bay again on a different and shorter bridge and attempted to drive straight through Washington DC for a little excitement!  

Well, we got mixed up in a roundabout and got off on the wrong road. The GPS was lagging behind by a few seconds so we returned to the roundabout a couple more times before we got back on track.
At one point we were on Pennsylvania Avenue...but not close to the White House.

We also got a glimpse of the Iwo Jima Memorial as we were heading out of town. It is enormous! Much larger than I would have thought.

Finally we reached our destination, The NRA Museum in Fairfax VA.  The building is also their headquarters.

The museum is free to visit and they have done an exceptional job with it. Rooms and rooms of displays!

They had a section of military weapons, target shooting competition weapons, law enforcement weapons and (unfortunately) big game hunting guns.  Guns from all over the world...from all different periods in history.

I liked this exhibit of "bullet boards". They were used by bullet manufactures to show all they had to offer in the way of caliber and grain weight, etc.  
You probably have to biggie size the picture to see them. From a distance they look like needlework samplers.   Hmmmm!

Before we left Lonnie also took a look at their indoor shooting range but it was closed that day so no one was shooting.

We had intended to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway as we headed towards home, but with more traffic snarls we realized it would be dark before we could finish the drive. 
Instead we took the Interstate, which turned out to be fine. Lovely scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding mountains nearly the whole way south to where where we turned off..

It was a very nice fall vacation. So much to see...we had to pick and choose and save some sights for another time.

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