The bird in the rear of this group is a Herring gull
A few random shots from our trip home to Virginia Beach last week.
“The Rocks” at the western end of Chesapeake Beach (Chic’s Beach to locals), in the northwestern corner of Virginia Beach. I grew up on this stretch of sand and spent a good part of my teen age years sitting on those rocks staring out across the Chesapeake Bay trying to figure out life’s mysteries. No trip home is complete without a return to this site no matter what the weather or time of year. In the distance is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, spanning the 20 mile mouth of the bay.
Now, a few burds I managed to shoot while once again sitting on those rocks:
US Navy SH-60 Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The special paint job is in honor of 100 years of Navy aviation. The first flight from a US Navy ship, the USS Birmingham riding at anchor in Hampton Roads, was made by Eugene Ely just a few miles east of Chesapeake Beach on 14 November 1910. Hampton Roads was also the site of the first battle between ironclad warships, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, during the American Civil War.
The first landing on a Navy ship, USS Pennsylvania, was also made by Ely in San Francisco harbor on 18 January 1911 and the navy purchased it’s first airplane the following month, establishing the first Navy flight training facility at Coronado, California..
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view the slide show. When I was Googling Chic’s Beach for links as I wrote this I was pretty stoked when it appeared 6th in the results. I made it a couple of years ago so some of you have already seen it. The little kids in the black and white shot are me and my oldest sister with our dad and one of his friends at Chic’s Beach in 1958. I literally grew up on that beach!
In another frame you’ll see a couple standing under a canopy on the beach. That’s my mom and dad, shot in the late 70s. The solitary girl looking out to sea in another frame is our youngest daughter, Laura. I took that shot 50 years after the shot of me, Dad and Crazy Horse (my sister) was made. There is another frame of two women, my mom and my wife, Frankie (aka THE BOSS) walking towards the setting sun taken this past June.
Hope you enjoyed the nickel tour.
Preparations are under way for our trip home to celebrate Mom’s 88th birthday.This means the sorting, packing, re-sorting, re-packing, re-re-sorting…..well you get the idea….. is underway and I’ll be out in the backyard cursing at the trees any minute now.
This is good practice for the trip home because it’s a proven fact that the idiot per mile population on Virginia’s highways increases exponentially as you travel east until you get to the gridlock that is Hampton Roads, road rage capitol of the known world. Add to that the stress from having to keep a sharp eye out for speed traps and it’s little wonder my blood pressure spikes every time I have to make the trip.
If there is one thing the USAF taught me that stuck it’s how to pack. I can usually get my bags packed (duffle, camera bags and computer bag) in 10 minutes but Frankie, Queen of the Pack Rats, always has a terrible time cramming everything into and on top of the truck. If we had a tractor trailer she would find a way to overload it! I’m always amazed that a fidget (Female mIDGET) always needs a suitcase that’s at least twice the size of everything I carry, combined.
Once Frankie finishes overloading Godzilla I have to wait until she falls asleep before going out and unloading enough
junk crap trash “good stuff” to allow room for me to drive the truck and use the rear view mirrors. When she wakes up she always tries to stuff the excess back into the truck until I get that look in my eye and start searching for matches. Then she squirrels it away until her next attempt at setting a Guinness Book world record for most junk hauled across Virginia in a passenger vehicle.
Internet access at Mom’s involves a trip to McDonald’s to use their free Wi-Fi access because Mom views computers as one of the greatest evils ever visited upon mankind. My Internet Service Provider does not offer dial up access and the cost of a wireless plan would put a dent in my camera gear budget and that ain’t happening! I do have a 3G cell phone but I’m an old geezer and only use my cell for phone. I dropped the data plan after realizing that I only used it for about an hour total during the 3 month mandatory prescription period when I first got the phone. I figured the extra $49 a month would be better spent on that huge lens I wanted……and I did!
Anyhoo, I’ll be off line for most of the next week. When I get back I should have loads of pictures to share. On the other hand I may make the papers if I succumb to temptation and open fire on the idiots in a Virginia Beach traffic jam. At least tourist season is over so I’ll only have to deal with local idiots wandering around lost and not the summer time imported variety (mostly from Ohio, New Jersey and Quebec), as well.
See you when we get back….. unless I’m incarcerated or involuntarily committed!
P.S. If you happen to find yourself on a Virginia highway anywhere between Mount Rogers and the Atlantic Ocean during the next week you may want to re-consider your trip. That large green object with a dog head hanging out each side rapidly growing larger in your rear view mirrors will be Godzilla moving at a high rate of speed in and easterly direction tomorrow and westerly a week from tomorrow. I’m not braking for anything! You have been warned.
I’M B-A-A-A-CK! ……… and I brought pictures…..hundreds and hundreds of pictures.
Anyone interested in sorting and editing a few hundred for me….before I go blind as well as nuts?
No? Oh, well……maybe I can get Buddy to help if I tell him I have cookies.
Every time I return home no matter what the weather I have to make at least one trip to the beach I grew up on. The big red balloon with the A on it (below) wasn’t there back then but the building boom that began in the early 70s is still going like gang busters and you never can tell what you’re gonna find when you’ve been away for a while.
Located in the northwest corner of the resort city of Virginia Beach, Virginia the laid back beach community fronting on the Chesapeake Bay is officially known as Chesapeake Beach. Natives refer to it as Chic’s Beach and it’s easy to spot a native. They’re the people telling you that the T-shirt you just purchased from one of the tourist traps on Shore Drive isn’t sanctioned by the Civic League because there is no K in Chic’s. Those same folks will probably be happy to tell you what you can do with that shirt but this is a family oriented blog so………….
When I noticed that the shirt Mom bought for me a couple of summers back had the wrong spelling it immediately became my puttering around the yard shirt. Now it’s so faded, paint, blood and oil stained that the offending misspelling is almost entirely obliterated. Suffice it to say that all of the Chic’s Beach shirts I now own have the official CXB logo prominently displayed.
The name Chic’s goes back to the 1940s and Chic’s Cafe, a cinderblock stand that sold hot dogs, lemonade and boasted a pinball machine. The cafe was named for its owner, Chic Ledington, and the name has been lovingly preserved by residents ever since. By the mid 60s, when I first adopted my beach rat ways, the café had become a snack bar, bath house and float rental stand whose chief attraction among my set were the outdoor loud speakers attached to the juke box.
A special place on that beach is known as The Rocks.
The boulders placed around the boundary fence between the civilian beach and the beach owned by the US Navy were intended to protect the fence from the wave action.
As you can see from the sections of chain link fencing peeled back along the pilings nothing can withstand the force of nature, not even a double row of pilings and fencing. There was only a single fence in the days of my misspent youth. If I had a nickel for every time I paddled a surfboard around the fence because the waves were always better on the restricted Navy side I’d have a whole bunch of nickels. I can’t begin to count how many times I got chased back to the other side of the fence by Base Security personnel.
Just about everyone who ever set foot on this beach spent at least a little time sitting on these rocks, lost in thought while staring out at the Chesapeake Bay. Those of us who lived on this beach spent a lot of time here. My uncle had a house and a cottage just three doors up the street from the fence and I lived on this beach….literally lived on it in the summer.
Sitting on The Rocks you are rarely alone.
My friends in the US Navy refer to this as a GU-11 unmanned aerial vehicle.
Depending on visibility when looking north from The Rocks you can usually make out at least the first island of of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel which spans the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay . To give you an idea of scale, the first island is three miles from shore.
A closer view of the first island, one of four man made islands of the bridge tunnel complex reveals the Sea Gull Fishing Pier. The rectangular object in the right of this frame is a fan house which provides ventilation in the first tunnel. The fan house in the background is on the second island and marks the point where the road bed rises to the second set of parallel bridges.
This photo, taken in 1958 on Chic’s Beach where I grew up, illustrates why I still have sand and salt water in my veins. I’ve been a beach rat most of my life. That large boxer dog, Pete, was my protector from birth and best buddy. According to the pedigree papers that came with him when Dad won him as a pup in a poker game in Port Deposit, Maryland, his real name was Conawingo’s Royal Flush but I always knew him as Pete.
It’s ironic that this is one of the earliest shots I have with Dad in it. His ashes were spread just offshore from this piece of shoreline after his death on July 4, 2003. That he passed away on the anniversary of our nation’s birth seemed fitting for a man who gave nearly a third of his life in service of his country.
Dad was in the US Navy, as was Mom when they met. Mom was discharged in 1953, after 9 years service, when she became pregnant with me, and put down roots in the laid back beach community of Chesapeake Beach (Chic’s to locals) in the northwest corner of what was to become Virginia Beach to raise me and my siblings while Dad traveled the world, eventually retiring in 1968 after 26 years of service.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling, as well, in my 50 plus years as a Navy brat, US Air Force enlisted man and as a civilian. No matter how far I’ve roamed over the years I have always returned to this stretch of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay , at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, to recharge my soul.
As I type I can almost taste the salt air and hear the gentle hiss of the water kissing the sand.