June 1, 2023 It seems like June took forever to get here. As morning arrived, we heard rain on the roof. We did a few things around the bus and it rained again during the morning! We decided to head down to the Boardwalk after lunch when the forecast was calling for cloudy skies, but no more rain. It was still a cooler 66 degrees. We left the campground at 12:30 and took the 15-minute drive down to the Boardwalk. We hopped on Atlantic Ave. at 5th St. and immediately saw the restaurant that my brother told us about. It is the Waterman’s Surfside Grill. It’s notably a military hangout for Seals. We would have enjoyed a beverage on the beachside if the weather had been nicer.
Driving down Atlantic Ave., there were still only a few shoppers walking along the street, but more than yesterday. We passed the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier and it was a little busier with fishermen and tourists.
We found lots of on-street parking and decided to park on 29th St. paying for 2 hours. It was still a blustery day with winds out of the north at 15-18 mph, gusting to 25 blowing right down the Boardwalk. As we made our way towards the water, the first thing we noticed was all the activity on the beach and along the Boardwalk.
Tomorrow and through the weekend, Virginia Beach is hosting the world-class competitions and demonstrations by world-renowned skateboarder, Tony Hawk and other world-class competitors at the Jackalope Action Sports Festival. They will have skateboarding, base-jumping (the sport of jumping from fixed objects using a parachute to descend to the ground), and boulderers (free climbing on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses). They were setting up all the things they need for tomorrow’s competition, complete with music stages, a pop-up marketplace to buy all sorts of gear and souvenirs, and food trucks. When we came by, they were assembling the half-pipe on a section of the beach that was marked off for the event.
We noticed this platform hanging from the top of this hotel. It is going to be used in the base-jumping competition this weekend.
We walked down to 32nd St. where the colossal statue of King Neptune stands 34 feet tall at the gateway to Neptune Park welcoming visitors. Each September, people gather to celebrate their heritage of the city-by-the-sea at the Neptune Festival. The statue honors the maritime legacy of Virginia Beach and stands as a reminder to the community’s duty to respect and protect our resources.
From there, we walked south on the Boardwalk in the other direction and saw these poor lifeguards. They did not seem to be enjoying the weather. Luckily, there was no one in the water.
All along the Boardwalk, the city has placed art sculptures of all kinds. Here is a pretty one of a school of colorful fish. There were others along the Boardwalk of shells and other sea creatures.
Once we got away from all the setup for the Tony Hawk event this weekend, the Boardwalk was pretty much deserted.
So was the beach. This was the only family I saw out there braving the wind whipping up the sand.
Sitting among the high rise hotels was the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum in an old Coast Guard Station.
We saw something interesting farther down the beach and we had to go check it out. Bob recognized it as a monstrous hovercraft.
Two men from the Navy were there to answer questions. They had driven the hovercraft down yesterday in the bad weather and would be driving it back to Washington, D.C. on Sunday. We climbed aboard and looked around.
Bob asked a lot of questions and found out some interesting information.
The cruising speed is 30 knots, with a max of 50. He told Bob he had it up to 86 knots at one point. The hovercraft has carried a tank, 4 pickup trucks, heavy machinery and equipment, but not all at once. It has 4–1200 hp gas turbine engines. The Navy guys were very interesting to talk to.
After leaving there, we decided to walk back along the street to be out of the wind. We made a stop at the new Naval Aviation Monument.
There are multiple monuments that tell the story of Naval Aviation History from the first flight off the deck of the USS Birmingham to present day.
It was quite a tribute to the people who dedicated their lives to defend our country.
Because of all the military presence in the area, you can see representations and tributes to the men and women who serve our country throughout Virginia Beach. These beautiful murals were painted on the sides of 3 buildings on Pacific Ave.
We headed back to the campground around 2:00. It was still cool and cloudy, but we sat outside with Auggie for awhile before dinner. We were able to cook pork chops on the grill and take our evening walk without any threat of rain tonight. Tomorrow we’ll leave early for Washington, D.C. and spend 5 days there seeing the sights. Looking ahead to the weather forecast, we should see sunnier skies and warmer temperatures in D.C.