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Virginia Beach 2005

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 4

On August 25, I woke up at 7 AM and had my familiar breakfast: Pop Tarts heated in the microwave, and a soda.  By the way, this is also the same breakfast I usually have on my first break at work, except at work I don’t heat the Pop Tarts.  After breakfast, I marked the camera (four fingers today!), and went out on the balcony.  This was the day that I should have done the sunrise!  It was gorgeous, with a few clouds dotting the sky.  And I do like a few clouds in the sky vs. nothing at all, because it lends an interesting touch to things.  Note the way my Atlantic Sunrise photo set uses this to its advantage.


I think you will agree - it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  I think you will agree - it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

I think you will agree – it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

I think you will agree - it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  I think you will agree - it was an absolutely gorgeous day.


And the sand smoothing machine does its work for the last time on my vacation.

And the sand smoothing machine does its work for the last time on my vacation.


My objective in the morning was to get the heck out of the hotel by the prescribed 11:00 check-out time.  So, first thing’s first.  Go downstairs, grab a Virginian-Pilot, commandeer a luggage cart, and go back on up.  The breaking news on Thursday basically summed up the week.  We found out that Pat Robertson had issued an apology for his call for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez earlier in my vacation.  We also learned that the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission had decided the fate of Naval Air Station Oceana, which I considered to be kind of a sneaky, underhanded way of saying that they really want to get rid of Oceana.  The BRAC Commission said that Virginia Beach can keep it only if they reverse decades of development around the base – buying up and condemning approximately 1,800 houses and businesses surrounding the base, which are considered to be in crash zones.  And even after spending millions to demolish all of these structures, there’s still no guarantee that Oceana will remain in Virginia Beach for the long run.

Otherwise, I packed up all my stuff, and loaded it onto the luggage cart.  The last thing to go on was Big Mavica.  Before I left, I wanted to document the one feature that is the problem spot on the Travelodge in Virginia Beach.  That would be the bathroom.  The bathroom is problematic because it’s far too small, and it’s not even square in shape for some unknown reason.  The sink is also separate from the rest of the bathroom (I’ve never understood why hotels and motels like to do this, and I find it bothersome).  This creates a truly tiny bathroom.  So small, in fact, that one must be creative when using the toilet, since you don’t have the space to use it conventionally.  And to make things worse, the toilet is also positioned at an angle.  Still, you either have to sit sideways or put your legs in the tub.


 

As you can see, space is at a premium in the bathroom here, and the diagonally-oriented toilet is far too close to the tub to use comfortably.


The shower, on the other hand, is fine.  Good size, though the temperature control was a little challenging to figure out at first.  But once you got the hang of it, that’s no problem.

I figured out how the bathroom could be improved, though.  I think that if you turn the shower the other way (where it’s against the side of the bathroom vs. the back), and also remove the outside-the-bathroom sink and a small linen closet immediately adjacent, and incorporate that space into the bathroom, you ought to have a more comfortable bathroom, or at least one that will allow one to use the bathroom normally, and have the sink inside the bathroom where it belongs.

And aside from the bathroom, I got a few more photos of the beach from the balcony, packed Big Mavica, and rolled the cart on out.  From there, it was down to the lobby, where I checked out just before 11:00, and then loaded up the car.  And from there, I was off!

I first went back to the library, to post a Journal entry and check various other things out.  The Journal entry is dated August 25, and titled, “Tuesday may have been a wash, but things still went quite well!


This is the Oceanfront Area Library, where I used the Internet while on vacation.  It's a nice library of fairly recent construction.

This is the Oceanfront Area Library, where I used the Internet while on vacation.  It’s a nice library of fairly recent construction.


After the library, I stopped at the same Crown station I stopped at for directions on Tuesday, filled up, and prepared to make my exit from Virginia Beach.  I wanted to get one last look at the ocean before leaving, and then go and not look back.  So I drove back to Atlantic Avenue, went north from 19th to 22nd Street, took one last look at the beach and the ocean from Atlantic Avenue, and then when the light turned green, I was gone.  From Atlantic Avenue, I crossed Pacific Avenue, Arctic Avenue, Baltic Avenue, Mediterranean Avenue, Cypress Avenue, and Parks Avenue.  Crossing Parks Avenue, 22nd Street became westbound I-264, and I was on my way!  I nearly missed my exit to westbound I-64, though.  I was about two lanes over where I should have been.  Thankfully I was able to bust a move and make it, just in the nick of time.  And from there, it was, in theory, a straight shot back to Waynesboro.


Some road work on the westbound side of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel closed the right shoulder, and also made for some traffic congestion.  The traffic lights attached to the overhead signs, normally both green, showed a flashing yellow light over the right lane.  Some road work on the westbound side of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel closed the right shoulder, and also made for some traffic congestion.  The traffic lights attached to the overhead signs, normally both green, showed a flashing yellow light over the right lane.

Some road work on the westbound side of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel closed the right shoulder, and also made for some traffic congestion.  The traffic lights attached to the overhead signs, normally both green, showed a flashing yellow light over the right lane.


Once clear of the tunnel, however, it was smooth sailing, with traffic being fairly light.

Once clear of the tunnel, however, it was smooth sailing, with traffic being fairly light.


I, however, made sure it wouldn’t be a simple straight shot back home.  First of all, by the time I reached Newport News, I was hungry.  And for some reason, I had a hankering for Wendy’s.  And Wendy’s is somewhere I normally don’t eat.  Last time I ate at a Wendy’s was my 2004 beach trip, when I ate at a Wendy’s in Virginia Beach on Pacific Avenue.  This Wendy’s, however, was near Fort Eustis in Newport News.  If I’d known how far off the highway it was, though, I probably wouldn’t have stopped.  However, despite its off-the-beaten-path location, it was a pleasant dining experience.  Quick food, good service, and a clean restaurant.  And, as is the case with Wendy’s, square hamburgers, which I’ve always found strange.

From there, I made a stop at the westbound rest area in New Kent County (not at all like its far-newer eastbound counterpart) where I bought a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  I would have also read it there, if it were not for the bees.  I’d sit somewhere, and the bees would come.  I’d sit somewhere else, and different bees would come.  I retreated to my car, and I was off.


In Richmond, traffic became thicker, especially in the section that's multiplexed with I-95.

In Richmond, traffic became thicker, especially in the section that’s multiplexed with I-95.


Richmond is where I truly blew some time.  After going through the eastern part of I-64 in Richmond, and completing the multiplex with I-95, I got off I-64 at Staples Mill Road to do what I described as “sprawl hopping”.  After a very long exit ramp (seriously – REALLY long), I ended up on Staples Mill Road.  And then from there, it wasn’t hard to find Broad Street (US 250).  My plan was to take Broad Street well into the suburbs, and then catch I-64 later.  Staples Mill was a good choice for an exit.  It was right at the city line.  When I made my right turn onto Broad Street, I was in Henrico County, outside the city limits.

First stop: The Shops at Willow Lawn.  I’d never truly seen the whole shopping center, so the first thing I did was drive around the whole complex.  Until now, I’d never known that there was a Kroger around the back of the place, for one thing.  I also found out that a place I enjoyed there, Tower Books, had closed, having been replaced by a Staples store.  How sad.  Tower Records was still there, but Tower Books was gone.  Willow Lawn is a hybrid as shopping centers go.  It’s mostly an outdoor shopping center, but the various parts of the outdoor shopping center radiate out from a central section that is an enclosed shopping mall.  There are also offices in the mall building, though these are accessed separately from the mall.  At the time of my visit, the mall was in the later stages of a renovation.  Most of the mall had been renovated handsomely, with long, white slats making up the ceiling, replacing an earlier mirrored ceiling.  There was also a new ceramic tile floor.  At the far end of the mall, however, where a Dillard’s had existed during my last visit (2003), the corridor was walled off, and the renovations kind of trailed off, waiting to be completed.  I found out that Dillard’s was being demolished (which I’d noticed from outside), and that the old space would be turned into a new outdoor wing, and the former Dillard’s entrance would become a door to the outside.  One would then assume that the interior work will be completed once the new wing is completed and the new entrance is built.


The renovation work kind of trails off as you approach the temporary wall at the end of the mall, where Dillard's used to be.

The renovation work kind of trails off as you approach the temporary wall at the end of the mall, where Dillard’s used to be.


Following Willow Lawn, I went down the street some more to Libbie Place, which is an open-air shopping center with Chinese-style architecture.  It’s of fairly recent vintage – I want to say it was built in 2001.  I made a Barnes and Noble visit to check out a few odds and ends while I was there.

After leaving Libbie Place, I continued down West Broad Street.  A funny sight while traveling through this area was seeing a Sam’s Club and a Kroger sharing the same sign, despite that Kroger and Wal-Mart are competitors.  I ended up stopping at a Target Greatland store.  Target Greatland, for those of you who don’t know, is a larger version of the Target department store, with a very different floor plan.  It didn’t seem all that large to me, but of course, I work in a 183,000-square foot building.

From there, I backtracked slightly to get the Interstate at the Short Pump exit.  I continued to the Goochland rest area, where I finished my newspaper from earlier, without interference from the bees.  It also got dark while I was reading, but my reading wasn’t affected due to a nearby lamppost.

After that, I got to Charlottesville, where I took US 250 from Exit 124 into town.  That took me along “Veterans Memorial Drive”, which is the US 250 bypass in Charlottesville, to Route 29, where I went over to Barracks Road Shopping Center.  At this later hour, I was looking for something to eat.  I had thought about going out in search of food, but ultimately nixed this idea in favor of a visit to Smoothie King.  The smoothies at Smoothie King are quite filling on their own, thank you.  Smoothie King is more of a health-nut smoothie bar, with a heavy emphasis on natural ingredients, and on nutritional supplements and such.  And as such, you pay health-food prices for it.  But it’s good nonetheless, though it’s quite thick.

Charlottesville is of significance to me on these kinds of trips because I usually never go beyond Charlottesville going east.  And with Charlottesville’s being only 30 miles away from home, it’s close by, too, and thus I can go there almost any time I want.  Thus the significance is that kind of we’re-nearly-home feeling.

And from there, it was a short drive over the mountain to Waynesboro, and then back to Stuarts Draft!  Not a bad vacation.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 4