Dirt Man and I decided to bike False Cape State Park on Saturday. To enter False Cape State Park, one must go through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We had just purchased (online) our Annual National Park Permit. We pulled up to the security gate, and Dirt Man handed over his park permit and his driver’s license. The attending ranger looked at it as if he’d never seen an annual permit. “Oh, I see you have a permit?”, he added. He placed the two side by side and scrutinized them. He leaned his head in close to where it was inches from his eyes. Then he said, “There’s a problem here. Your name on your license doesn’t match your signature on the permit!”
Dirt Man laughed and said, “I just signed it last night. Can I see that?”, and he spelled his last name to the ranger.
The ranger ran his finger along the signature and peered at it again. Then he chuckled, “Oh, I was looking at the middle name on your driver’s license and the last name on your signature. No wonder they didn’t match.”
That my friends, is your government dollars at work!
If you look closely, you will see an egret in the center of the photo. We saw a bit of wild life on our ride through Back Bay to False Cape. There were spider webs all over the road that we kept riding through. It was as if the spiders were just catching the wind and soaring all over the place.
A gaggle of Canadian geese are all paddling together in one area.
The turtles are lined up in two rows in the canal sunning themselves. If there was ever an “Indian Summer”, it was today!
This is a marsh rabbit, a cousin or subspecies to the eastern cottontail. See how his ears are shorter than the average cottontail rabbit? His body is bigger, darker, and he has wider feet. I find it interesting that marsh rabbits have adapted their features to their surroundings.
It was slighty over four miles from the parking lot at Back Bay NWR to the ranger’s station at False Cape State Park. We stopped, got a map and asked the ranger about heading on to the North Carolina border. He told us that it was six miles to the border and mentioned a memorial marking it. He told us that Wash Woods was on our way. He looked like the Anthony Norman Bates Perkins from Psycho! In fact,when we were leaving he peered out the door at us, and then he locked the door as we were leaving. As we rode away, I could have sworn I heard him say “Mother, please!”
Along our ride I had been experiencing a poltergeist in my gears, YET AGAIN! My gears kept popping out. (The next day we find I am not crazy but my cable is rubbing against my chain.) And my chain popped off once. Anyway, we had gotten pretty far down the park and we came upon the trail crossing a loose sand dune. There was no riding our bikes through it, so we had to push them. Then, we came upon another sand dune. I said I had enough. Dirt Man asked what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to go back. He asked, “Seriously?” Duh, he just asked me a question and I answered. Needless, to say we kept going! We came upon the trail for Wash Woods church which took us off the sand dunes. (Only temporarily, I might add!)
This is the steeple, the remaining portion of the Methodist church at Wash Woods. It was once a community of about 300 people in the late 1800’s. It was named Wash Woods due to the endurance of the people who lived there. They were self-sufficient people who lived remote lives.
There was a graveyard near the church. This man was a Mason. His tombstone and two other were partitioned off inside a wooden gate and have been tended, possibly by the Masons or family. Most of the graves had sea shells placed on them, directly in front of the head stones. This was apparently a token of respect and to care for those buried there.
We left Wash Woods and headed toward the North Carolina border. We ended up pushing our bikes through much sand as there were several dunes. I was getting extremely irritable. Dirt Man switched bikes as my bike was heavier than his. It was sweet of him, but then made me angry that I didn’t take him up on the offer of looking for a new bike for me. I hate the idea of buying a new bike when mine is perfectly fine, yet HEAVY in comparison to his!
So, this was the border. A tall fence! I was starting to feel like I was in Mexico, trying to cross the border to Texas. I had no idea there was a fence border between Virginia and North Carolina. But no monument! No sign directing you to a monument. We went a ways along each direction of the fence…no signs, no monument. We took another trail.
Still no signs, no monument…but hey, we found an old dump! I was pumped…until Dirt Man waned my enthusiasm by telling me to get out of it because of the possibility of Canebrake Rattlesnakes. So, I went back to being tired and grumpy! We hit the trail again. And there were even more sand dunes! I didn’t know how much farther I was going to make it…and knowing that we still had to go back which was as far as we came.
Eureka, the beach! That meant that this was the LAST sand dune I had to push the bike through, then straight beach riding back. However, I still thought I had twelve miles to go, though afterwards I found I only had nine to go; however, it may as well have been fifty. I had HAD IT!
The border fence even runs into the ocean. I wonder if that is the border patrol sitting on the post?
This is a shipwreck off the coast. At first, I focused on the shipwreck, and by the time we reached it I could hardly pedal any more. I’d ride a bit and push my bike a bit. It wasn’t that beach riding was harder than the trail, I was just exhausted. It was easier than the dunes; that’s for sure. Dirt Man switched bikes with me. Then I was really aggravated when I found out how much easier it was to pedal his bike! It took twice the effort to pedal mine. So, I have been working out twice as hard all this time because I have a crappy bike! However, the drawback was the he has a crappy banana seat! I could NOT take the pain, and had to trade back. I set my sites on a water tower in the far distance. It was like a doggone mirage! I thought it would never come to pass. I really wanted to cry. My legs, shoulder, and back were killing me, and I could not see the end in sight. I prayed my way home. God is good, I made it the entire TWENTY-ONE AND A HALF MILES…yes, you read that correctly. 21.5!
I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to lift my legs up to climb into the truck; but alas, I did. And you better believe I lifted up a prayer of thanks to God. And guess what…I got up the next day and hiked six miles at another beach. Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment. That story will be later this week! Surprisingly enough I was done for the night, but felt great the next day.