Chincoteague Island, VA
November 3, 2009
Sunshine! Clear blue skies, perfect for our planned bicycle ride around Assateague Island. Our camping neighbors were up early and soon we were telling our travel stories. They are from Montreal, Canada and are on a one year adventure through Newfoundland, the Maritime Provinces and now heading south as far as the Florida Keys before turning west then north to Vancouver B.C. and then back home. A spirited young couple traveling with their 7-year-old daughter and 13-year-old dog while participating in the WWOOF Program where they arrange to work for a week or two on organic farms along the way.
While we were talking to them another couple arrived that they had met in PEI. This young couple is from Switzerland and is taking 9 months to travel a similar route around the U.S. and Canada with their 14-month old son. Having begun their journey in Miami they were now closing the loop. It was great fun to share experience and to see these young people on the road discovering new territories, meeting people, learning about regional differences and finding common grounds.
We shared email addresses and hope they will stay in touch as we travel and visit when they reach the Seattle area.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
Our campground was a short bike ride from the bridge that connects Chincoteague Island to Assateague following a paved trail into the wildlife refuge. With a quick visit to the lighthouse and then the visitor center for a trail map we were on our way. The wildlife loop extends for three miles around a lake full of water birds including hundreds of snow geese. We had a lunch snack on the beach at Swan Cove trail, sitting in the sun listening to the crashing surf it doesn’t get much better. The island has a population of wild horses made famous by the book “Misty of Chincoteague”. Alas our search to see the ponies fell short by about a mile or so as we found out later in the evening.
Tomorrow we will go back on bicycle to get a picture or two of the horses but for now an early dinner in town provided by the Chesapeake Bay. George enjoyed raw oysters for an appetizer and crab cakes for dinner, I had the best steamed little neck clams that I have had in many years and a side of mashed red potatoes with ham hocks and cheddar cheese, oh my were they good.
On the way back to the campground we lost control of the van and wound up in an ice cream parlor parking lot, oh well might as well sample the goods. No harm, no foul we left with smiles on our faces in a bit of a sugar stupor but found our way back to the campground. Just as we finished setting up the van Nancy realized she did not have her purse that contains her money, credit cards, cell phone, passport, etc. Panic ensued and we quickly unplugged the van, dropped the top and tore back to the ice cream parlor. Nancy walked in and looked at the table where we had just been sitting and a sick feeling came over her, it was empty, nothing on the chairs or the floor, she was about to inquire when the clerk behind the counter asked if she had lost something and Nancy said “yes, my purse” at which point the woman pulled the purse from behind the counter. Oh my God what a relief! Thanks did not begin to express our gratitude and we were finally able to convince her to accept a small reward and will rest much easier tonight.