exploring is important to your plein air artist

It’s another nice day. I think I’ll go out for a drive.

Hampton Roads is a large heavily populated area with a lot of access to natural places and a lot of bridges across the rivers. I know my way North across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. (13) That’s a pretty drive but I think the toll is $12 so I don’t go that way very often and it would cost too much to go to the Eastern Shore to work on a painting since I go back again and again to paint.

264 to 64 is the way I usually go West but they’re expanding the Hampton Roads Tunnel and there’s a lot of traffic jams there. That construction will take a few years. What if there’s a hurricane and I get stuck in a traffic jam? That would be scary.

Years ago I drove 460 from Petersburg to Norfolk to avoid traffic jams on 64. They’re doing a lot of construction on 64 too. Sometimes traffic is flying but it’s usually heavy and you can run into a jam that will stop you for a half hour. Sometimes I run into 2 traffic jams and a trip to Richmond which should take 1.5 hours turns into 2 or 2.5 hours.

There are a lot of pretty drives West of here that I remember but I didn’t drive East to West. I was driving West to East.

Smithfield is pretty. Hog Island is pretty. The James River ferry is real nice to take. Rt. 10 is pretty. I need to try to find my way to Smithfield from here. It’s not too far. I’d like to explore Ragged Island but I’m afraid to go alone since it has a reputation and I’m not sure if it’s safe for an old girl.

Then there’s the Colonial Parkway which I drove a few times and that is also very pretty with nice places to park and look at the river. Jamestown is pretty, Williamsburg is pretty. And so is Yorktown. Not all of those towns are considered Hampton Roads.

It could take the rest of my life to paint all the nice places I’ve seen in Southeast VA. Sometimes I just explore and try to figure out alternate escape routes, times, distances, traffic, where to park for maximum beautiful scenery etc. I can look it up on maps but I have to drive it in real life so I can remember it. Plus, I enjoy driving.

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