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Old 12-31-12, 08:24 AM   #1
phillybill
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Touring from cape may to the outerbanks

OK.. I need some good advice here as I have not been bike touring since the 80's. My son will be turning 16 this summer and I wanted to do something unique with him ( and teaching him how to drive is not one of them). So I proposed that we do some light bike touring from cape may NJ. to the end of the outerbanks Nc. I have been looking at the the routes that they have posted, and I am ok with most of it, but getting over the Bay bridge to Norfolk.
Is there a service to take bikers across like a local bus, or am I better taking folders that I can pack for mass transit?

Thanks

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Old 12-31-12, 10:39 AM   #2
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I rode from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ in May, 2010 (journal here). I faced the same dilemma as you. I was told that if you contacted the bridge, you would be shuttled over if you paid the bridge fee. It seemed best if you made an appointment.

But, after checking out the areas on both sides of the bridge, I decided to skip the Chesapeake Bridge entirely. Instead, I took 2 ferries to get across the Bay. First, I took one from Reedville to Tangiers Island to Crisfield, MD and the Delmarva Peninsula. The second one was from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ. Note that I was riding in the opposite direction that you are planning.

The above referenced journal has links to detailed planning information about this trip that might help you.

Between the Outer Banks and Reedville, I rode to and spent a couple days seeing Williamsburg, VA and other historic areas that I highly recommend.

You can read about my ride starting at the Outer Banks and points north, if you like, though after Sandy, the Outer Banks will likely look much different.

While I can't say that this was my favorite bike tour, I'd never spent much time on the Atlantic Coast and I now have a much better sense of it. Also, Williamsburg was fabulous.
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Old 12-31-12, 01:04 PM   #3
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My trip was a while ago, but I got across by hitchhiking. Stood with full bike and panniers close to where cars entered and it didn't take long for a pickup to stop to give me a ride across. I was going northbound.
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Old 12-31-12, 01:56 PM   #4
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That looked like a great trip...... and thanks for the ferry information.... stopping williamsburg would probably be good.

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I rode from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ in May, 2010 (journal here). I faced the same dilemma as you. I was told that if you contacted the bridge, you would be shuttled over if you paid the bridge fee. It seemed best if you made an appointment.

But, after checking out the areas on both sides of the bridge, I decided to skip the Chesapeake Bridge entirely. Instead, I took 2 ferries to get across the Bay. First, I took one from Reedville to Tangiers Island to Crisfield, MD and the Delmarva Peninsula. The second one was from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ. Note that I was riding in the opposite direction that you are planning.

The above referenced journal has links to detailed planning information about this trip that might help you.

Between the Outer Banks and Reedville, I rode to and spent a couple days seeing Williamsburg, VA and other historic areas that I highly recommend.

You can read about my ride starting at the Outer Banks and points north, if you like, though after Sandy, the Outer Banks will likely look much different.

While I can't say that this was my favorite bike tour, I'd never spent much time on the Atlantic Coast and I now have a much better sense of it. Also, Williamsburg was fabulous.
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Old 12-31-12, 01:59 PM   #5
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Thought about that.... but my wife would be livid....

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My trip was a while ago, but I got across by hitchhiking. Stood with full bike and panniers close to where cars entered and it didn't take long for a pickup to stop to give me a ride across. I was going northbound.
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Old 01-01-13, 05:55 PM   #6
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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel offers a shuttle service if you reserve in advance:

From the Virginia Dept of Transportations website (http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-info.asp):

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is not a VDOT facility, offers a shuttle van for cyclists. The cost is $12, the same as a passenger car toll. You must call ahead. For more information:
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
32386 Lankford Highway
P.O. Box 111
Cape Charles, VA 23310-0111
Phone: (757) 331-2960
Fax: (757) 331-4565


Or, you could probably hitch a ride pretty easily, too. There is a rest area just before the bridge toll on the north side, and many vehicles stop there. I imagine you could find a ride there without too much trouble by asking somebody with a pickup or van if they would take you across if you pay the toll.
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Old 01-02-13, 01:49 PM   #7
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Plus 1 on using the ferry. You'll get to experience quite a unique town and experience, like you are in another country. Traffic will also be lighter using that route, although it will add quite a few miles to the ride.
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Old 01-02-13, 02:24 PM   #8
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Plus 1 on using the ferry. You'll get to experience quite a unique town and experience, like you are in another country. Traffic will also be lighter using that route, although it will add quite a few miles to the ride.
I've been able to work a ferry ride into a bike trip every now and then, and it's always a welcome way to travel. My first trip to the Outer Banks was planned to intentionally include the Ocracoke ferry even though it was far from the most direct route.

However, it's worth noting that raybo's ferry ride seems to have run him $40 vs. $12 for the bridge/tunnel crossing. I guess I'm spoiled by tax-supported ferries that run less than $10, but I'd definitely want to know the ferry price. before I planned my route.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:31 AM   #9
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+1 on the Crisfield/Tangiers/Reedville ferry.

I planned a tour using the ferrys as a way across the bay, but then took a different tour instead.

If you are planning to camp there is a campground a mile or two from the ferry in Lewes DE, Cape Henelopen State park. There is a campground within 3 or 4 miles of ferry in Crisfield, Jane's island State park. There are motels in Crisfield as well.

There are several routes across the Delmarva, with camping, motels, or B&Bs. If i recall, the mileage between the Cape May- Lewes Ferry and Crisfield was about 80 miles. Maybe a stretch for you, it would be for me. So, a place to stop may be a good idea.

Logistically, the biggest concern is timing the ferries as you take one to Tangiers and then another to Reedville. My plan was to arrive in Crisfield in the evening, campout and catch the am ferry.

Other big concern is riding the shoulderless roads in VA.

There is another ferry to take you across the James River on RT 31.

Lastly, as cool as this tour will be, another to consider is driving to NC and then Bike touring the Outer Banks. Maybe the drive defeats your purpose but it would be another cool tour. There are some links on Crazyguy.

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Old 01-03-13, 09:49 PM   #10
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I am by no means an experienced tourer, but pretty familiar with routes in VA. I would suggest the Tangier Island route, as the trip through Virginia Beach can be hectic. The route through VB has dedicated lanes and if you go down into NC through Knotts Island, you will encounter a free ferry across the sound over to Currituck County. You will also encounter some sand truck haulers for a short while before you hit the National Wildlife Refuge.

If you go the route of Tangier Island, you will have a great ride. I highly suggest you Google "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail" as this will give you a route from Reedville to Fredericksburg, Va. The Northern Neck of Virginia has a whole network of bicycle routes to chose from and has a published map on PDF that you can download. The ride from Reedville to Fredericksburg is beautiful.

Once you get to Fredericksburg, you will be steeped in Civil War history and some great routes via USBR 1 south towards Richmond where you can pick up either USBR 76 towards Williamsburg or The colonial leg of the East Coast Greenway. Once in Jamestown, you will pick up the free ferry to cross the James River heading south. The East Coast Greenway has a free PDF file through Virginia that will route you all the way through the Dismal Swamp prior to getting to NC and onto the Outer Banks.

I live in Hampton Roads, so would be glad to be your emergency support system, should you need it while coming through the Old Dominion. Have a great trip.

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Old 01-04-13, 09:16 AM   #11
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I am by no means an experienced tourer, but pretty familiar with routes in VA. I would suggest the Tangier Island route, as the trip through Virginia Beach can be hectic. The route through VB has dedicated lanes and if you go down into NC through Knotts Island, you will encounter a free ferry across the sound over to Currituck County. You will also encounter some sand truck haulers for a short while before you hit the National Wildlife Refuge.

If you go the route of Tangier Island, you will have a great ride. I highly suggest you Google "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail" as this will give you a route from Reedville to Fredericksburg, Va. The Northern Neck of Virginia has a whole network of bicycle routes to chose from and has a published map on PDF that you can download. The ride from Reedville to Fredericksburg is beautiful.

Once you get to Fredericksburg, you will be steeped in Civil War history and some great routes via USBR 1 south towards Richmond where you can pick up either USBR 76 towards Williamsburg or The colonial leg of the East Coast Greenway. Once in Jamestown, you will pick up the free ferry to cross the James River heading south. The East Coast Greenway has a free PDF file through Virginia that will route you all the way through the Dismal Swamp prior to getting to NC and onto the Outer Banks.

I live in Hampton Roads, so would be glad to be your emergency support system, should you need it while coming through the Old Dominion. Have a great trip.
FC, great info here!!!

regarding the route thru VB, Knott's Isl, does that take you thru Sandbridge? Where are the ferry terminals? THX!!!
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Old 01-04-13, 10:08 AM   #12
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Looks this has some details on the Knotts Island ferry. http://knottsislandonline.com/travelguide/ferry.htm

I've biked from Raleigh to the Outer Banks a couple of times, but I've been imagining a trip where I come from the north, stay at False Cape State Park in VA, and head into the NC Outer Banks from there. False Cape to Corolla is without real roads, though, from what I understand. There would be some trail and beach riding, which I think would be fun on the right bike, but probably not on the bike I'm currently touring on.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:34 AM   #13
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Thanks... great information... know some of the area as I lived in Va from 1982 - 2002. But it is all new to the kid, so i would love to see this through his eyes.
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I am by no means an experienced tourer, but pretty familiar with routes in VA. I would suggest the Tangier Island route, as the trip through Virginia Beach can be hectic. The route through VB has dedicated lanes and if you go down into NC through Knotts Island, you will encounter a free ferry across the sound over to Currituck County. You will also encounter some sand truck haulers for a short while before you hit the National Wildlife Refuge.

If you go the route of Tangier Island, you will have a great ride. I highly suggest you Google "Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail" as this will give you a route from Reedville to Fredericksburg, Va. The Northern Neck of Virginia has a whole network of bicycle routes to chose from and has a published map on PDF that you can download. The ride from Reedville to Fredericksburg is beautiful.

Once you get to Fredericksburg, you will be steeped in Civil War history and some great routes via USBR 1 south towards Richmond where you can pick up either USBR 76 towards Williamsburg or The colonial leg of the East Coast Greenway. Once in Jamestown, you will pick up the free ferry to cross the James River heading south. The East Coast Greenway has a free PDF file through Virginia that will route you all the way through the Dismal Swamp prior to getting to NC and onto the Outer Banks.

I live in Hampton Roads, so would be glad to be your emergency support system, should you need it while coming through the Old Dominion. Have a great trip.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:36 AM   #14
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The ferry ride is stating to sound like the way to go... Plus going through the Williamnsburg / Jamestown area seems like a plus.
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Plus 1 on using the ferry. You'll get to experience quite a unique town and experience, like you are in another country. Traffic will also be lighter using that route, although it will add quite a few miles to the ride.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:38 AM   #15
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Were going to be traveling light... so staying in motels is the way we are going to go. I have Bilenky working up a pair of Soma Saga's with the Titanium couplers for the trip.
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+1 on the Crisfield/Tangiers/Reedville ferry.

I planned a tour using the ferrys as a way across the bay, but then took a different tour instead.

If you are planning to camp there is a campground a mile or two from the ferry in Lewes DE, Cape Henelopen State park. There is a campground within 3 or 4 miles of ferry in Crisfield, Jane's island State park. There are motels in Crisfield as well.

There are several routes across the Delmarva, with camping, motels, or B&Bs. If i recall, the mileage between the Cape May- Lewes Ferry and Crisfield was about 80 miles. Maybe a stretch for you, it would be for me. So, a place to stop may be a good idea.

Logistically, the biggest concern is timing the ferries as you take one to Tangiers and then another to Reedville. My plan was to arrive in Crisfield in the evening, campout and catch the am ferry.

Other big concern is riding the shoulderless roads in VA.

There is another ferry to take you across the James River on RT 31.

Lastly, as cool as this tour will be, another to consider is driving to NC and then Bike touring the Outer Banks. Maybe the drive defeats your purpose but it would be another cool tour. There are some links on Crazyguy.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:40 AM   #16
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Thanks... appreciate the that. Most of my contacts from my days in Va are in NVA and Warrenton
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I live in Hampton Roads, so would be glad to be your emergency support system, should you need it while coming through the Old Dominion. Have a great trip.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:43 AM   #17
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This route kinda skirts the Sandbridge area. If you look at a map of Virginia Beach, you will take Princess Anne Road south all the way to the North Carolina border. Just before you hit the NC border is where you will experience sand truck traffic as there is a sand pit that you pass.

The road name changes to Marsh Causeway / Rt 615. This road travels past Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge. You may be able to contact them for potential camping spots prior to crossing the ferry.

Rt 615 makes a sharp turn soutwards and picks up the name Knotts Island Road to the end of the peninsula and finally winds up at Dock Ferry Road where you take a hard right and go down about 200 yards to the entrance of the ferry. Last time I was on this ferry, it was free and I still believe it is. The ride across the sound will take you about 45 minutes, so get a place to relax.

Once you hit the other side of the water, you are on Hwy 168, which is a busy highway in the summer time (as most of the OBX vacationers will actually be backed up trying to cross the Wright Memorial birdge over to Kitty Hawk. DO NOT attempt this bridge on a Fri, Sat or Sunday in the Summer months.

This is just an FYI, but a northbound trip throught the Outer Banks is easier as this Wright Memorial Bridge has a nice shoulder on the northbound lane, where as the southbound lane has none (but two lanes...., so there is the opportunity for those to move over for you). If you can pick up an Adventure Cycling map for the Atlantic Coast route, section 4....you will have a good idea on conditions for the OBX of NC.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:43 AM   #18
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Yeah... the shoulder are a bit of a pain in Va... And the car thing did cross my mind. Hence I am getting frame couplers put on the bike in case I want to go that route.
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Other big concern is riding the shoulderless roads in VA.

Lastly, as cool as this tour will be, another to consider is driving to NC and then Bike touring the Outer Banks. Maybe the drive defeats your purpose but it would be another cool tour. There are some links on Crazyguy.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:45 AM   #19
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Thanks for the local knowledge... will pick up the maps at Adventure cycling, probably a very good resource.
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This route kinda skirts the Sandbridge area. If you look at a map of Virginia Beach, you will take Princess Anne Road south all the way to the North Carolina border. Just before you hit the NC border is where you will experience sand truck traffic as there is a sand pit that you pass.

The road name changes to Marsh Causeway / Rt 615. This road travels past Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge. You may be able to contact them for potential camping spots prior to crossing the ferry.

Rt 615 makes a sharp turn soutwards and picks up the name Knotts Island Road to the end of the peninsula and finally winds up at Dock Ferry Road where you take a hard right and go down about 200 yards to the entrance of the ferry. Last time I was on this ferry, it was free and I still believe it is. The ride across the sound will take you about 45 minutes, so get a place to relax.

Once you hit the other side of the water, you are on Hwy 168, which is a busy highway in the summer time (as most of the OBX vacationers will actually be backed up trying to cross the Wright Memorial birdge over to Kitty Hawk. DO NOT attempt this bridge on a Fri, Sat or Sunday in the Summer months.

This is just an FYI, but a northbound trip throught the Outer Banks is easier as this Wright Memorial Bridge has a nice shoulder on the northbound lane, where as the southbound lane has none (but two lanes...., so there is the opportunity for those to move over for you). If you can pick up an Adventure Cycling map for the Atlantic Coast route, section 4....you will have a good idea on conditions for the OBX of NC.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:14 PM   #20
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Addl info:

If you travel the Potomac National Scenic trail from Reedville to Fredericksburg, there is a private Rail Trail at Dahlgren that you have to register ahead of time. This trail is on the official PHNST route, but since the state has yet to incorporate it into the state park system, they need all travelers to get permission to ride for insurance reasons. Also, send my your e-mail address and I will send you the PDF maps of the Northern Neck Cycling routes.

fullcount.tom@gmail.com

Hotels will be scarce in between Richmond and Jamestown. There are some biker hostels listed on ACA map. Another thing to note, with the destruction of the Jersey shore this past year, many of these tourists will show up in VB, Sandbridge and the OBX during the summer vacation season. Make sure you have advanced reservations if you plan to hotel it on your trip throug the outer banks. I would be preparred to camp just in case.
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Old 01-04-13, 04:06 PM   #21
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FC, good stuff!!! THX!!!
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Old 01-04-13, 04:06 PM   #22
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Were going to down to Chincoteague first before crossing over the the ferry.

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+1 on the Crisfield/Tangiers/Reedville ferry.

I planned a tour using the ferrys as a way across the bay, but then took a different tour instead.

If you are planning to camp there is a campground a mile or two from the ferry in Lewes DE, Cape Henelopen State park. There is a campground within 3 or 4 miles of ferry in Crisfield, Jane's island State park. There are motels in Crisfield as well.

There are several routes across the Delmarva, with camping, motels, or B&Bs. If i recall, the mileage between the Cape May- Lewes Ferry and Crisfield was about 80 miles. Maybe a stretch for you, it would be for me. So, a place to stop may be a good idea.

Logistically, the biggest concern is timing the ferries as you take one to Tangiers and then another to Reedville. My plan was to arrive in Crisfield in the evening, campout and catch the am ferry.

Other big concern is riding the shoulderless roads in VA.

There is another ferry to take you across the James River on RT 31.

Lastly, as cool as this tour will be, another to consider is driving to NC and then Bike touring the Outer Banks. Maybe the drive defeats your purpose but it would be another cool tour. There are some links on Crazyguy.
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Old 01-04-13, 04:08 PM   #23
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mmmm.... might just have to cycle up the other side of the bay if you keep pointing out all these good ideas
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Addl info:

If you travel the Potomac National Scenic trail from Reedville to Fredericksburg, there is a private Rail Trail at Dahlgren that you have to register ahead of time. This trail is on the official PHNST route, but since the state has yet to incorporate it into the state park system, they need all travelers to get permission to ride for insurance reasons. Also, send my your e-mail address and I will send you the PDF maps of the Northern Neck Cycling routes.

fullcount.tom@gmail.com

Hotels will be scarce in between Richmond and Jamestown. There are some biker hostels listed on ACA map. Another thing to note, with the destruction of the Jersey shore this past year, many of these tourists will show up in VB, Sandbridge and the OBX during the summer vacation season. Make sure you have advanced reservations if you plan to hotel it on your trip throug the outer banks. I would be preparred to camp just in case.

Last edited by phillybill; 01-08-13 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 01-07-13, 09:02 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I rode from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ in May, 2010 (journal here). I faced the same dilemma as you. I was told that if you contacted the bridge, you would be shuttled over if you paid the bridge fee. It seemed best if you made an appointment.

But, after checking out the areas on both sides of the bridge, I decided to skip the Chesapeake Bridge entirely. Instead, I took 2 ferries to get across the Bay. First, I took one from Reedville to Tangiers Island to Crisfield, MD and the Delmarva Peninsula. The second one was from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ. Note that I was riding in the opposite direction that you are planning.

The above referenced journal has links to detailed planning information about this trip that might help you.

Between the Outer Banks and Reedville, I rode to and spent a couple days seeing Williamsburg, VA and other historic areas that I highly recommend.

You can read about my ride starting at the Outer Banks and points north, if you like, though after Sandy, the Outer Banks will likely look much different.

While I can't say that this was my favorite bike tour, I'd never spent much time on the Atlantic Coast and I now have a much better sense of it. Also, Williamsburg was fabulous.
Raybo, I read your journal - good stuff!!! If you ever get back this way give the Pine Barren's In Jersey some time to explore. Good camping, kayaking, swimming, hiking. AS well, good riding on well maintained roads, most having either a bike lane or wide shoulder. We do mini tours of south Jersey, riding from one state park to the next sometimes with trip to the shore mix in.
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