Assateague Island National Seashore

Tom's new Rubicon - Click to Enlarge

8/20/03 - 8/22/04

Waypoints

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!

 

Prologue

I wanted to visit Assateague again before my sticker ran out. 

Assateague ORV Permit
Assateague ORV PermitAssateague ORV Permit

ORV Permit.

The web site lays out the rules very well, where to buy it, how much it costs, and how long it stays in effect.  Since mine was due to expire at the end of August, I decided to go at the end of the month.  I posted an announcement on the OCC Group site and soon a likely bunch had signed up.

I went back to the same web site as last year to see about booking a cabin, as Maria had asked that we try that for a change.   We knew we would not be using the campgrounds on the beach.  We liked Pocomoke River State Park so we went ahead and booked the last available cabin using the online reservation system.  There appears to be a well developed ATV trail system (Chandler ORV Trail System) but we can't take the Jeep on the trails.

So I packed the bike rack, threw the trunks on the roof rack and headed for camp around 1:00 PM on Friday.  We were expecting pretty good weather all weekend but I decided to keep the top up and doors installed for practical and comfort reasons.   Between the noise of the wind on the highway, the insects in the dunes, the salty haze, and the wind, running top down for us isn't really practical.

The reservation system turned up one last cabin - site 30 at Milburn Landing, so I snagged it and confirmed our plans for Friday and Saturday night.  We were lucky to get it as a second check for other folks sake showed there was nothing but campsites left for the weekend.  Maria got her cabin!   Everyone else made reservations to stay at Shad Landing - Charles got site 188 and Dave got 194.  We were across the river from them so get-togethers were not as convenient.

Pocomoke River State Park - Shad Landing

Shad Landing

Milburn Landing Cabins


 

Blue Heron Loop Robin's Nest Loop (D)
Blue Heron Loop Robin's Nest Loop

 

On the drive down, Charles saw us drive by his group and called us on the cell phone.  Dave tried to call at various times but coverage was very spotty all weekend so we ended up playing a lot of phone tag.  Eventually, Charles and his family along with his friend Scott and theirs caught up with us just as we were turning down the road that leads to Milburn Landing.

We were flying by instruments, having loaded the GPS track and waypoints from last year, and using the auto-routing function of the GPS 5 to put us down at the cabin.  It worked flawlessly and we located the cabin site without any mis-steps.  I can't say enough good about the GPS for trips like this.  By the time you've been driving for four or five hours, the last thing you want is to get lost trying to find your destination. 

Tom, Jeep and CabinRoad in front of the cabin
Maria on the porch of the cabin - Click to Enlarge

The cabin was about what I expected though it was in much nicer condition (I was expecting it to be gray and dingy), cleaner (I expected lots of graffiti), and best of all, the grounds in general were so nice I would almost call them manicured.  Maria was very pleased.  We unloaded the Jeep and made ourselves at home.

BunksBedTable and shelvesFront DoorFront Door and parking spot

The kids found some cool bike paths and went off to do some riding.

Movie: mov06531.mpg Bike Riding

By the time we got all squared away it was after 6:00 PM.  We needed a couple food items and I wanted to try and find something for the kids to play with at the beach so we hit "Find" on the GPS and set a course for the Pocomoke City Super Center Wal*Mart, five miles away.    When we arrived, we discovered a Friendly's Restaurant nearby.  We went into Wal*Mart and got the food and ice.  I found the latest 1/64-scale Maisto Jeep Wrangler Sahara toys and bought several, sharing them with the kids.

We called Charles on the way back to camp and invited ourselves to their S'Mores party.  We soon arrived at the Galpin's site and spent the remaining slice of daylight eating Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, melted marshmallows with chocolate bars and graham crackers.  Yummm!

S'Mores at the Galpin'sS'Mores at the Galpin'sI think I can, I think I can...AnticsMore Antics

Pretty soon we headed back to the cabin.  The kids had a lot of trouble going to sleep (funny how a carb dinner will do that...) but eventually they did go down.

Maria and I sat outside pondering our future and the general meaning of life.  The air was mild with a light breeze and not many insects.  When we went to bed we discovered that the complaints about the mattress from Teddy had merit.  It was a thick slab of some sort of closed-cell foam but it compresses and gets hard.  I recommend bringing an air mattress.  I actually brought ours but because we had one queen-sized one and one full sized one, placement was an issue - we'd have ended up with no place to walk.   So we made do.  It was far better than the floor or the ground, but there's no place like home...

Saturday

In the morning we pulled together what we needed for the beach and headed to Friendly's for breakfast.  

But not before Ted and Tom collided while riding bikes.  We were fortunate that the only lasting injury was a nasty scrape that took off a layer of skin in a stripe about 1/4 inch wide and 1 foot long on Ted's belly.  He was in agony but a couple giant bandages and a good squirt of Neosporin got him comfortable and protected the open wound from the salt water he would be playing in later...  Sometimes the First Aid kit does get used!  And those extras that I put in to round out the options really does pay off.

On the road to breakfast - we split into a lunch detail (Maria at SubWay) and a toy detail (who but, and where else).   Maria came up with our favorite subs and I came up with another Jeep toy - wonderful 1/12-scale Jeep Wrangler Rubicons made from stamped steel, complete with removable hard tops!  They even have tow hooks front and rear.  These babies are OCC-ready!  The kids each picked out one to play with (the collector in my is shuddering) and I picked out one for "the collection".

After breakfast the boys broke in their rigs on the curb in the parking lot.  The flex needs some work, and Teddy didn't make it five minutes before his first roll...

Ted: Proud owner of a brand new Rubicon!Tom: Proud owner of a brand new Rubicon!Checking the flex, already rolled it...
Poseurs! - Click to Enlarge

We hit the road and soon reached the Ranger Station station after first paying the access fee for the week.  Dave and his boys, Charles and Scott and their crews were already there, and had called on the cell a few minutes before our arrival.

Trail

We aired down, I disconnected, and we made a quick pit stop.  Ted and Tom did some more test drives in the parking lot with the Rubicons.  This time, Tom rolled, and not to be outdone, Ted put his chassis-up.  This was shaping up to be a fine day - three rolls and we haven't even hit the "trail" yet!

OCC MusterDoh!Double Doh!
Rubicon parking lot jungle - Click to Enlarge

With Dave in the lead and everyone running GPS with my waypoints, we set out for the spot we used last year - far enough down the beach to be less busy, with some dunes across the drive for various needs that might arise...

Dave leads the wayCharles and the Gang of Eight riding

We reached the spot after a short drive and got to work setting up the tarp to use for shade and shelter from the wind.  Right about then, Carl pulled in! 

Carl arrives!Hey!  Camp Jeep is O-Ver!
Butt-Ugly - Click to Enlarge
Paul and Dave's JeepsCharles' Defender

We tied one side to Dave's Jeep as he didn't plan to go wheeling.  I provided two poles and some rope to anchor the other side.  Then we unloaded the coolers, chairs, and all the beach junk.   Meanwhile, Ted and Tom had already gone wheeling... 

Movie: mov06556.mpg Tom Wheeling his Rubi

Movie: mov06557.mpg Ted's Snagged Rubi

Ted managed to get his Rubi buried so deep we had to use a snatch block to get it out.  I still don't know how he did it!

I told you not to punch it! - Click to Enlarge

Tom didn't get stuck as bad, but got lots of sand in the radiator, so we were expecting overheating problems later in the day...

Put the lockers on you...you...

After everything was set up and we were sure the tarp wouldn't blow away, we set out to drive down the beach and to take some of the side trails leading to the bay-side. 

Just like last year, the bugs were bad so we didn't stay in the back trails too long.

Nothing like a little brackish water!Charles andCarl and Kelsey
Carl - Click to Enlarge

Saturday wasn't too bad - certainly warmer than last year.  The water was pretty and there were lots of birds.

Surf - Click to Enlarge

As we made our way back, traveling downwind, the call came over the CB from Carl that Charles was stopping.   It turned out that he was having a cooling problem.

Charles cools down - Click to Enlarge
Radiator overflowThe culprit Business EndWide shot of Business End

Cool, Calm and Collected

So we helped him check for leaks, belts or hose problems, and suggested some tricks like running the heat, running the engine a little faster, and facing into the wind during the cooling down stops.   In between, I let the kids take turns at the wheel.

Movie: mov06568.mpg Tom Driving

Movie: mov06570.mpg Ted Driving

During one of the stops we got some rain, so I helped him get his soft top installed.

Movie: mov06571.mpg Charles
Top up for the sunshowerBayberry DriveCharles inspectsCarl approaches

We stopped a few times before getting back to the spot on the beach where Dave was fishing and Maria was catching some haze.  The kids jumped out and started wheeling again.

Is that a Giant?It is, It is a Giant!

Not long after that, Carl pointed out that the weather was turning bad, and storm was heading north for our location.  So we hurriedly struck camp in time to get everything packed and stowed before the rain came.  We started for the beach exit and the air station.  By the time we got there the rain had nearly come to a stop, though Charles did make another stop or two to cool down and we got to watch the solo pony.

The OCC Gang
The OCC Gang - Click to Enlarge

The Assateague Pony

Charles, Scott and families headed for Ocean City for dinner, Carl went to Ocean City to rejoin the rest of his family, Dave and his kids, and we went to our camp sites.

When we got back to the cabin, we cranked up the grill and had hot dogs, chips, some odds and ends, and then lit a fire with the wood we bought on the way back from the beach.

Pretty soon we had a beautiful fire going and cooked some S'Mores.  The kids were in candy-rat heaven...

Ted and Tom eating S'MoresTed and Tom eating S'MoresTed and Tom eating S'MoresTed, Maria and Tom

Fortunately they were tired enough from a day wheeling hard on the beach that they went to sleep without too much trouble, mattresses notwithstanding.

Sunday

We decided to pack everything and then go to the beach.  This resulted in our being profoundly late for the 9:30 AM plans that we made to meet Carl and anyone else who wanted to go.  I got a voice mail message from Carl around 11:10 AM that he was on the beach.  We were still an hour away just leaving the camp!

At the Ranger Station we stopped to air down and disconnect.  While I did that, the kids spent some time getting the lowdown on the ponies from the Pony Patrol, and Maria took some pictures.

Some more poniesSome more poniesSome more poniesSome more ponies

When we reached the beach we discovered that our late arrival had complicated our day - it was a little after 1:00 PM and the "one off - one on" rule was in place.  We could not go in the beach until 30 or so vehicles came off.  We turned the kids loose while we waited and I tended the Jeep as we inched to the front of the line.

Waiting to get on the beach
Still waiting to get on the beach... - Click to Enlarge

I spent my time waiting listening to music at loud volume, taking pictures of the dunes, and watching Tomi practice his gymnastics.

The dunesDunes (Dad get's bored)

Tom does some tricks!Nice one...Gimmee Ten!Alright!

Carl came along out not long after we got in line, headed back to Ocean City for the day.  We passed the time of day and soon he was on his way.

Finally we got our turn and drove out on the beach.  To save time, we drove in a little ways and set up near the high water mark.  Since it was cool, the wind was kind, and the sun was not blazing, we simply set up towels, a chair, got some things to eat from the cooler and called it good.  The kids were happy to play in the sand.

Rubicon Parking Only
Mother and Chicks - Click to Enlarge

Ted and Tom - Click to Enlarge

Can someone give me a strap?Not again!Digging out

The weather was in fact so nice that I would go as far as to say it is my perfect beach day.  The humidity didn't even feel bad.   And with two Rubicons and a vintage Wrangler Sport, what's not to love?

Movie: mov06612.mpg Tom Wheeling

Movie: mov06613.mpg Ted Wheeling

The whole fam damily - Click to Enlarge (the red and silver ones will stay small...)
Locked and Loaded

Solitude, Jeep StyleSolitude, Jeep StyleSolitude, Jeep StyleSolitude, Jeep Style

 

If you have never driven on the beach, this is a great place to try it for the first time.  They have everything you need, and the beach is great, even if you decide to walk the entire strand!

GPS Track Log Legend

Epilogue

We packed up and left around 4:00 PM.  The drive out was smooth until we reached a stretch just before the Bay Bridges.  At the same time, I ran out of gas and had the pleasure of refueling from my spare gas stash while a Maryland State Trooper ran my tags and chatted with me.   The tags didn't turn up my heinous criminal past, so he moved on to help someone else.  Truth be told, I was glad he stopped because even though we were well off the road, it did help make it a bit safer for me.  He was also very interested in the Jeep, so I told him about the Jeep.

We eventually got home after a stop for supper at the Golden Corral on Route 50 in Easton.  Be advised it is not the same fine restaurant that we have grown to love in Harrisonburg.  I recommend passing it by in favor of something else...

Great trip, great weather (most of the weekend!) and a great group of people!

 

Some Info:

ORV Permit  -  online version

Vehicle Specifications:

  • Maximum number of wheels per axle 2

  • Maximum number of axles 2

  • Maximum vehicle length 26 feet

  • Maximum vehicle width 8 feet

  • Minimum vehicle ground clearance 7 inches

  • Gross vehicle weight rating may not exceed 10,000 pounds

In addition, all two-wheel-drive ORV's must have a minimum of 8" of tread width in contact with the ground. Tires are not acceptable unless they meet the width requirement.

Equipment Checklist : ORV operators in designated zone must carry and be able to display upon request:

Assateague Virginia ORV Zone 2003

Assateague

Assateague State Park Map (PDF)

Assateague ORV Zone Map (jpg)

Assateague Island National Seashore (Home Page)

Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Permit Registration (html, reproduced form) (Word 2000 Document)

Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Use (Info page)


Assateague Island National Seashore GPS Data

Assateague

Assateague Island National Seashore GPS Data

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