Assateague is a skinny island just south of Ocean City in Maryland. Where Ocean City was all tourist attractions and (probably) trucked-in sand, the beaches along Assateague are natural and wild. The northern part of Assateague Island is in Maryland and hosts both Assateague State Park and Assateague Island National Seashore. The southern end of the island is in Virginia and hosts the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Assateague is perhaps best known for the wild ponies that roam it. I’ll share some pony photos soon, but for now, just enjoy the beach.

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

The beach at Assateague State Park

Canon PowerShot S95

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Photography

The beach at Assateague

Just some photos of the wild, natural beach on Assateague Island in Maryland.

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Photography, Road Trips

Walking the beach in Ocean City

It was my first visit to the Atlantic Ocean.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

It’s a long trip to visit any ocean from my Indiana home, but the Atlantic is far closer than the Pacific. And since we were most of the way to the Atlantic already on our Washington, DC, visit, we decided to spend one day at the beach.

Who knew Maryland is so wide: it took 2½ hours to drive to the beach at Ocean City! Fortunately it was an entirely pleasant drive, US 50 almost all the way.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The day was chilly and the wind barreled in off the ocean. Consequently, few people visited the beach with us. That was just fine with us.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The winds were strongest on the pier, from which I took this photo. It chilled the bones in a hurry. I didn’t stay up there for long, as I was wearing only a windbreaker over my pullover!

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

In Ocean City, to get to the beach, you have to cross the boardwalk.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

End to end, it’s top-notch tourist-trap kitsch.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

But since the season hadn’t begun, most of the stores and attractions were closed.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

You could hardly get a bite to eat on the boardwalk this early-April day.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

The boardwalk wasn’t devoid of people. These youngsters were having fun. The kid out front was pushing the cart backwards down the boardwalk.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

We left the beach and boardwalk in search of lunch. After we ate we drove down the coast a bit to see a natural beach where we encountered some wild ponies. I’ll write more about that visit in a future post.

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Where US 50 begins

3,073 miles. That’s how long US 50 is. And it begins — or is it ends? — right here, in Ocean City, Maryland.

Its other end is in West Sacramento, California, not in Sacramento as the sign promises. A sign in West Sacramento tells drivers that Ocean City is 3,073 miles away. It’s a famous sign pairing among us roadgeeks. It was even more famous during a time when the West Sacramento sign erroneously read 3,037 miles.

US 50 is one of the original US highways, designated in 1926. But where it has ended has changed several times. Originally, it stretched from Sacramento to Annapolis, MD. Its west end was moved to Hayward, CA, in 1932, and to San Francisco in 1935. Its east end moved to this location in Ocean City in 1948. Finally, in 1972 its west end moved to its present location in West Sacramento.

The route in between has changed many times over the years thanks to various upgrades and bypasses. The changes keep coming, such as one being built now around North Vernon, Indiana. It will add two miles to the route. It makes me wonder how these 3,073 miles are counted. When the new North Vernon alignment opens, will the signs be amended to 3,075 miles?

I’ve driven US 50, including its old alignments, across Indiana and most of Illinois; see everything I’ve written about this road here. I’d like to drive the rest of it someday, on one giant road trip.

If I set my trip odometer at one end and check mileage at the other, do you think the Departments of Transportation in California and Maryland will be interested to know?

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Road Trips

Where US 50 begins (or ends, depending on your perspective)

I wax a little too philosophical about US 50 and its ends. I got to see one of them: the eastern end, in Ocean City, MD.

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On the beach in Ocean City, MD

On the beach in Ocean City
Canon PowerShot S95
2018

Our day on the Atlantic Ocean was cold, and once or twice we felt raindrops. This only meant that we had the beach largely to ourselves, which is the way this family of introverts likes it.

We split our beach time between Ocean City with its boardwalk and (probably) trucked-in sand, and Assateague with its grasses and wild horses. This photo is from the former place.

More photos from this day to come.

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Photography

single frame: On the beach in Ocean City

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The view from Gilpin Road

The view from Gilpin Road
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

My sons and I were driving the National Road across Maryland. As we ascended Polish Mountain, the view of modern US 40 and I-68 below was arresting.

Photography, Road Trips

Photo: The view from Gilpin Road, part of the National Road in Maryland

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Road Trips

Scenes from the National Road in 1920

Long about March I’ve been cooped up so long that I start to itch for my first spring road trip. The guys over at the American Road forum have been talking about the National Road a lot lately. One fellow there has started an ambitious online project to capture the road’s history. It has me coming out of my skin to hit the old alignments!

I won an eBay auction recently for a stack of little cards, printed in 1920, showing scenes from the National Road in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They reminded me of my trip last spring along the same route, and only made me want to get out on the road even more!

This card shows the Wilson Bridge, my favorite bridge on the Maryland portion of the road.

National Road, 1920

This bridge isn’t as white today, but she’s still a real beauty. I took the photo below from the shore at about the center of the card’s right edge.

Wilson's Bridge

The road has been rerouted several times over Polish Mountain since 1920. This is what it looked like then.

National Road, 1920

This is the view from the old road on Polish Mountain now. I-68 certainly wasn’t part of the view in 1920!

The view from Gilpin Road

Maybe it was because Maryland was a tough act to follow, but I wasn’t very impressed with the views in Pennsylvania. This card makes me want to give that state a second chance.

National Road, 1920

You can check out all eight of these cards in my Flickr space.

My bubble of old-road nostalgia was burst at the other end of the National Road, in Illinois.

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