Dec. 29-31 2010

This is still I-64 in Norfolk approaching I-264. Notice the separate carpool lanes on the left. Norfolk was one of the first places to adopt HOV lanes, marked with the distinctive lozenge. (Not a paper-encased lozenge of death. Just a lozenge.)

The tall building on the right is part of Virginia Beach Town Center (which has a Celine Dion look-alike on its website). Virginia Beach Town Center is a group of office and commercial buildings, though it's not an actual downtown. (Downtown Virginia Beach is actually on the oceanfront.) Groundbreaking for this large upscale development began in 2000 and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

East on I-264, the skyscrapers at center-left are in Virginia Beach's true downtown. My 2000 trip to Virginia Beach was a downright spectacle. That was the trip where our rental car's tires got slashed in a mall parking lot.

Yay, Cypress Hill! I-264 in Virginia Beach feeds into the one-way couplet of 21st and 22nd, and here we're at 21st & Cypress.

On 21st approaching Baltic Avenue (which I hope is as affordable as the Baltic Avenue in Monopoly).

I finally captured one of Virginia Beach's idiotic "no cussing" signs! And is that a spy camera on the signpost in the background? I tried photographing one of these anti-cussing signs during my 2000 trip, but Kmart lost the photo. Virginia Beach's propensity for micromanaging personal behavior also now reportedly manifests itself in a ban on playing frisbee or volleyball on the beach.

North on Atlantic Avenue near downtown Virginia Beach.

Continuing on Atlantic.

Approaching 30th on Atlantic.

It's Homer Simpson's "land the law forgot"! From Atlantic Avenue, this is a view of the Atlantic Ocean. I'm talking international waters!

Northwest on US 60 (Shore Drive) in Virginia Beach.

Some McDonald's hilarity in Virginia Beach. I know that when I think McDonald's, I think oatmeal, don't you?

From US 60 in Virginia Beach, this is looking out to where Chesapeake Bay flows into the Atlantic.

The thin horizontal line across this photo is the amazing Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. And you're gonna peep it all!

Approaching the toll booth for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The toll was a staggering $12. Even so - considering America's unregulated gas prices - it's probably cheaper for travelers between Norfolk and Philadelphia than using I-64 and I-95.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is officially named the Lucius J. Kellam Jr. Bridge-Tunnel.

The mouth of the bay as seen from the bridge-tunnel. Note the sandy beach at lower right and the land in the background that's the home of Fort Story.

North on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, an amazing 18-mile-long structure that carries US 13 from Virginia Beach to the Delmarva Peninsula. This side opened in 1964, but the southbound lanes to the left didn't open until 1999. This is one of only 8 bridge-tunnels in the world (though 3 of them are in the Norfolk metropolitan area). Construction of this facility was difficult and even deadly to some of the workers. A 1962 storm even destroyed much of the work that had already been finished. Although the bridge-tunnel has no bicycle facilities, cyclists can call ahead for a $12 shuttle service.

Gee, thanks for the news.

Was this helicopter for maintenance - or something more devious?

Remember, this is an 18-mile bridge - interrupted by 2 tunnels. This is the entrance to one of the tunnels, but there's a pull-off on the right.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a bird after all! This beautiful avian was sighted at the bridge-tunnel pull-off.

At the pull-off, this is looking south on the bridge-tunnel for about 5 miles towards dry land. Yes, the northbound control city is Philadelphia. This pull-off features a round-the-clock fishing pier.

Now we're entering the tunnel. Each of these mile-long tunnels emerges on artificial islands. Notice, however, that the northbound and southbound sides of the bridge merge into a narrow 2-lane road for the tunnels.

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