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.

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?

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!

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.

On the beach in Ocean City, MD

On the beach in Ocean City
Canon PowerShot S95

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.

Photographs, Travel

single frame: On the beach in Ocean City