East Coast – Wrap Up – Beaches and Swamps

Let’s get our East Coast trip wrapped up. First though, I wanted to recap a bit on the TL. She has been a noble companion throughout the entire trip. This has been by far the most comfortable vehicle I’ve traveled in and the climate control system easily kept the high humidity and scorching temps at bay. The 6-speed manual and clutch were very easy to operate even in the midst of New York City traffic, and the ebony black leather seats offered the necessary support for long stretches. However, all cars have their faults. The gas mileage is nothing to shout about. I averaged about 24-26MPG on the trip on 91/93 octane. That’s about 4MPG less than the V6 Accord I had and 11MPG less than my old RSX. The trunk isn’t quite as capacious as the Accord either, and the TL mysteriously needed 2 quarts of oil during the span of the trip. Road noise is definitely on the louder side too. However, I am overall very pleased with the TL and would definitely recommend one. I will plan to do a full “unofficial” review of it later on.

The miles keep piling on. From the start of the trip, here’s where it stood.

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And this was the ending mileage (and the nice toasty temps of Las Cruces):

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Now, on with the last bit of the East Coast trip: I find it amazing how diverse our country is in climate and landscape. On the west coast, we have instances of beaches with rain forests. On the east coast, we have beaches and swamps. Sometimes those are within a few short miles of each other. Let’s see what that’s like.

From Washington D.C., we stopped in Virginia Beach. The biggest attraction there were the multi-story hotels towering over the beach. With a population of over 437,000, this is the most populous city in Virginia and the 39th most populous in the county. The city sits on the edge of the longest “pleasure beach” in the world. Here’s an aerial from Google.

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The vicious weaves of the Atlantic crashing against the shores was a real treat to experience. The Atlantic seems to be a little more aggressive than the Pacific.

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A storm was trying to roll in at this time, so many tourists were scrambling to get to the comfort of their hotel rooms. Therefore the beach was quite empty.

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Here was a massive statue of the mythological Greek god, Triton— the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, messenger of the sea.

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I found this amusing: as we walked the streets into the night, there were many signs like this. Is this a strict “no-cussing” policy?

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The next day was a real treat. On the way to South Carolina, I wanted to stop and see my first ever swamp. That would be the Great Dismal Swamps near Norfolk. This marshy land takes about 1,000,000 acres stretching from Norfolk, VA to Edenton, NC. The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest of its kind and was created in 1973 when the Union Camp Corporation of Franklin, Virginia, donated 49,100 acres of land after centuries of logging and other human activities devastated the swamp’s ecosystems. The name comes from the days when people often referred to swamps or morass as “dismal.” “Dismal” because of the inhospitable snake-infested, mosquito-swarming place it was (and still is).

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The long, skinny, dirt road took us deeper and deeper into a heavily wooded area.

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It was desolate and a little spooky at this time. So many creaks, groans, chirps and buzzes were coming from all the wildlife that were observing our encroachment on their land.

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This area looks like where water logging had once taken place years ago.

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At the end of the road, we reached the lake.

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I dare you to take a swim in this nice black, marshy water!

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On we go!

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The TL got a generous helping of dust to accompany the thousands of miles of tarmac grime. This photo looked quite fitting to showcase the SH-AWD

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One of the hiking trails had this amusing sign posted. “Those Darn Mosquitoes!”

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The boardwalk leading back further into the deep woods.

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We saw this bench off to the side with what looked like chew marks. Was this a victim of a bear or deer?

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Throughout this entire drive, only one other car was seen. Otherwise, the swamp lands was all ours!

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From there, our trail towards New Mexico was basically hitting the road hard on I-85 and I-20. Here’s some state lines…South Carolina.

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Georgia.

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Alabama.

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Mississippi.

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Another amusing town name to go on my list: welcome to the town of, “Chunky!”

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Louisiana.

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Throughout our entire trip, the weather was very cooperative. Louisiana was the only state where we actually got some rain!

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Still marveling at the green landscape.

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Last stop before New Mexico…Texas!

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Our last way point for the trip was Caddo Lake in eastern Texas. This lake/wetland covers about 25,400 acres and is located on the border between Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana.  The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo.  This wetland features the largest Cypress forest in the world! Let’s see what it’s like. 

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Here’s the entrance to the park.

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Even though it was about 5:00 in the afternoon, the heavy vegetation blocked out most of the sunlight. Time to flick on the lights.

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Road leading up to the lake was smooth and still wet from a recent rain shower.

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And here’s what we got to feast our eyes on. Wow! Now when you talk about swamps, this looks like the real deal.

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Jouhl was impressed too.

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A very friendly park ranger I spoke with told me there were many resident alligators here. Unfortunately, none were spotted as they were very shy and were masters of hiding.

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How’d you like to take a swim in this?

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This was the only good spot in the park to show proof that the TL had driven through swamp lands.

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Guess what folks? That concludes my East Coast trip. I hope you enjoyed coming along. I look forward to sharing my next big grand adventure with you all. Until then, have fun fellow #roadtrippers!

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5 thoughts on “East Coast – Wrap Up – Beaches and Swamps

  1. tysonhugie says:

    “Those Darn Mosquitoes” = my thoughts exactly! Any encounters with those? And I’d hate to have a run-in with whatever varmint chewed on that park bench. Every time I think of a swamp, it triggers scenes from the movie Princess Bride when they’re in the Fire Swamp and flames keep shooting out of the ground periodically. Looks like the TL got to do a little off-roading as per usual! Also, I laughed out loud when I saw your photo of Exit 121 in Chunky, Mississippi. I took a picture of the EXACT SAME SIGN last August.

    http://drivetofive.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/nalm-day-5-dallas-texas/

  2. pawela says:

    Tyson, we are starting to get “Those Darn Mosquitoes” here in town now. 😦 Yes! I remember the Princess Bride and the thought did cross my mind. Always have to get a little off-roading in on the return leg of the trip. That’s so funny “Chunky” caught your eye too. I’m looking forward to Death Valley…will talk soon!

  3. Russell Saffer says:

    So here is the story of the dent in the roof. My oldest son played little league baseball from the age of 6 until 12. In all the years he played there was always a tryout before the teams were picked for the year. The league he played in had 7 fields and tryouts were almost always on the largest of the 7 fields. This meant that the foul ball zone was always “in a certain place.” Well, you guessed it. One year they moved the tryout area to the outfield of the largest field due to construction and ground works at the facility. Of course no one told anyone about this until AFTER they checked in for tryouts. With the tryout area moved to the outfield it changed the foul ball zone. Only one car was hit that year in the revised foul ball zone. At least it was hit by one of the best batters in the league….no not my son. He was really good. Rodney Peete’s son hit a foul ball during his tryout. Yes that Rodney Peete. One of his son’s played in the same little league and at the same level as my son. So when we heard the THUD my son said “Hey dad, wasn’t that near you’re car.” I said “No, couldn’t be. I don’t have such luck.” I was wrong. The ball struck the roof and left a small dent. I didn’t realize it of course until we were about to leave the tryouts. The dent was never big enough to bother me. I figured I’d get it fixed one day. I just never got around to it before the car was turned in. So Jason, you can tell everyone Rodney Peete’s son dented you car. BTW, my son’s team won their little league division that year.

    • pawela says:

      Love this, Russell! Now I know the mystery behind that dent. I had plans of fixing it but didn’t get around to it. It was one of the first things I noticed when purchasing the TL at Sherman Oaks Acura and even tried to use it to haggle. No dice. Maybe now I’ll have to leave it as a conversation piece. It’s always a nice feeling when discovering a car’s past and the little adventures it endured. Please keep the stories coming!

  4. […] Caddo Lake (Swamplands) – Texas […]

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