Wilmington, NC to Virginia Beach, VA

May 30, 2023 We set the alarm for 7 AM so we could get an early start because we had a longer drive today of 288 miles. This was our longest run of the trip so far. We would be on the interstate most of the way, except for the last section before the Virginia Beach KOA, for a drive of 4 1/2 hours according to the GPS. I made sandwiches as usual to eat on the move in order to save time. We actually had blue sky this morning and a temp of 74 degrees. It’s nice to see the sun for a change. We pulled out at 9:20 and were on I-40 in 10 minutes. Traffic was light as we headed north. We would follow I-40 to I-795 and then I-95 out of North Carolina. We made a stop at the rest area to stretch our legs and eat our sandwiches around noon. The highway took us through Mt. Olive—the Pickle Capital of the World. (Check your pickle jars in the fridge.) As we moved north, we saw a lot of grapes on the vine. There were quite a few vineyards in the area which was a little surprising.

We had light rain near the Virginia border.

Once we were in Virginia, we turned east on Highway 58 towards Virginia Beach. About 2:00, we stopped in Franklin, VA at a Love’s Truck Stop for fuel. Bob had done his homework to find a cheap fuel stop right on the highway for $3.50/gal. Every morning that we are traveling, Bob scopes out the best roads we need to take to get to where we’re going and to be aware of what problem areas we may encounter. That’s my man! We were fueled up and back on the road in 15 minutes. It continued to rain and sometimes with the sun out. The rain came in bands from another low front that was hanging around offshore. In Suffolk, traffic was backed up through town and it really slowed us down.

Once we got out of town, we made better time. We passed over the northern side of the the Great Dismal Swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp is about 750 square miles of forested wetlands. (When we came up this way by boat on our way to Chesapeake Bay, we passed through the Great Dismal Swamp Canal which runs along the eastern edge of the Swamp. The canal is 22 miles long and was completed to provide a pathway between Chesapeake Bay, Virginia and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. It is the oldest operating artificial waterway in the country and part of the Intracoastal Waterway–ICW. History tells us that African Americans took refuge in the Swamp to flee slavery.) We took Highway 64, the Hampton Roads Byway–“The Loop”, around the south side of the Norfolk/Chesapeake/Hampton Roads cosmopolitan area. Adding to the stress of the rain and the traffic, the road was under construction. We crossed over the Elizabeth River and the ICW and looked north toward Hampton Roads farther up the river. We had traveled that way by boat and remembered the area.

The rain and construction finally ended as we neared Virginia Beach. We arrived at the Virginia Beach KOA at 3:45.

It was a little longer drive due to the rest area and fuel stop, but at least we didn’t have to set up in the rain, We were ready to be off the road! We checked in and they led us to deluxe site #54. We will be here for 3 nights.

The skies were cloudy, but the rains were done. It got down to 62 degrees as darkness fell and we turned on the fireplace to take the chill out of the air. Tomorrow we’ll do a little sightseeing around the area.

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