Saturday, April 30, 2011

Publique Numero Tres ("Three" for all you non linguas)

The next day we headed South even further. The Tar Heal State. Now I had to go look that one up. No concrete explanation unfortunately, just speculation.

I sure do know why they call Maryland the land of pleasant living. Having a few as I write this from the back yard...

Instead of posting a blurry photo, I have lifted this one from the Currituck BBQ Company's site. We all ate some North Carolina BBQ in North Carolina and it was pretty good. Lunch was short and sweet then right back on the road.

I hope I do not have to explain Grave Digger to you. Okay, Grave Digger was old school monster truck when I was a kid and the so called sport started. I saw Anna looking cute for that early generation truck in the yard.

He was grinning back, all country boy bashful, over the hot city girl.

He was puffin out and looking tough.

Givin her the wink.

Grave Digger was so bad ass at the first Monster Truck show I ever went to. Monster trucks are way more sophisticated now. Wonder if this was the one I saw and cheered on. I wonder how many of those old panel truck bodies they went through.

Anna and Thunder rolled further on South and onto the Outer Banks. Smooth driving, exit stage right, enter, slow, Harley infested, tourist not knowing where there going , weekend of Easter, weekend traffic. We worked our way South on 12. Lots of "12" stickers. Even more "OBX" stickers. I have never seen an Impko OBX water decal.

The drive South was followed up with a nice long que at the ferry to Ocracoke. Time to make lemonade? Nay, squeeze limes for margaritas.

Show time...

It started with a three hour tour, but the weather never starting getting rough. The little ship was never tosses. If wasn't for that fearless crew, the ferry never even got close to being lost.

Once on Ocracoke we made camp as quickly as we could at the National Sea Shore Park. The grill was fired up and some burgers put on for the adults while the kids ate mac and cheese with hot dogs. Big smiles and full bellies all around.

We were smiling, the flag was smiling,...

Even the man on the moon was smiling.

Good night Thunder. Goodnight Anna. Good night John boy.

Post #2

All road to good intentions are paved in gold, but few take you to your intended destination. I never wrote again after day one and a week has passed since we returned home. I am human and I often fail to do the things I intend. Sorry. I also found adding photos to what I write to not work well for me either. I now intend to go back to my old ways. Hopefully, I will post more often this way.

We intended to meet Don and we did. I will tell you, the entire family was so happy to see Thunder (I just realized I might be assuming; Thunder is short for Vintage Thunder. That is the name of Don and Amanda's trailer given to her by Rich Lurh, one of her previous owners) come rolling down route 50. It was like seeing your favorite family members arriving home after too long away.

The loose plan was to attend a BBQ festival and unfortunately, the weather was not having us see that one through. Usually I can make the best of things, but it was cold, rainy, and windy. We just felt that we wanted to head South towards a promise of sun and warmth. Ironically, as I am at this juncture of writing, a very apropos song came into the shuffle of my Itunes. Maybe you might listen to it as you read on. The photos on the You Tube video are worth coming back for though....

When we got to the Chesapeake-Tunnel Bridge we were told we could not cross. The wind was so strong that they had it shut down to all trucks, camper, and travel trailers. We were turned into a parking lot to wait it out. What to do when served lemons? Squeeze limes and make margaritas is what you do silly! The looks on all the other wayward travelers faces when the chairs got whipped out and happy hour began was priceless. Fortunately for us, the wind kept up just long enough for us to finish before it dropped below so called "dangerous levels".

The waves crashing against the bridge might not convey how strong it was blowing. Fortunately it was blowing steady so I was able to steer a bit into it. I was picturing Anna going for a swim the entire time. The left lane was further from the edge, so I promptly moved over there to assure myself it would be a longer tumble once the wind won the fight.

Good bye Maryland, see ya in a week...

Not sure, but I think I might have just run a red light. I was not stopping till I was firmly on the Virginia side.

The tunnels offered a rest-bit from the wind. Oddly enough, as we reached land again the sky actually cleared. By the time we hit the campground it was a beautiful afternoon. Campground? Yes, we can highly recommend another one. First Landing State Park. This used to be known as Sea Shore State Park. Before kids, Beth and I tent camped here. The sites are almost all under the trees.

Though the sites are not very large, they are all fairly secluded from each other. The place was spotless and well kept as I find in most State Parks. With all the budget cut backs the State Parks have been hit hard. I am glad the system is adapting and keeping the experience top notch.

If you plan to come here, be warned anything over 26 feet will have a hard time fitting in a space. A 30 foot space is 30 feet total here.

Happy hour was resumed as soon as we got settled in. Fortunately happy hour was only interrupted by dinner. It resumed after dinner in Thunder.

These are those horrible candid drunken shots so favored by underaged girls at dance clubs.

They are all off kilter and have some element of blur to them. You know the type of photo I am talking about. Oh, sorry, you might use an Iphone as a camera and think all photos like this look good.

Don, you just couldn't resist could you...

As I said, the beach is right there and a beautiful beach it is. All those ship are waiting for their turn at the Port of Baltimore or Norfolk. You only see 5 in this photo, but I counted 23 that I could see with the naked eye. They are all bulk carries waiting to be loaded with American goods. I see this as a clear sign that our economy is coming back. A busy Port has a tremendous trickle down effect. Keep them boats lined up...

Did you lose your sunglasses? They might be at the lost and found glasses totem.

Time to follow that board walk back to the rig and head further South. Thanks for reading. Oh, on a parting note...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This is going to be an experiment of sorts. I usually compose my posts by selecting photos and then putting my thoughts to them. I am a visual person and this system works well for me. I think for the readers of this blog, it works well also because the picture is worth a thousand words and my 30 or so I add give an extra bonus. I find that often things I wanted to share get lost because there are no photos to write to. However this time around, I am going to write about my trip and add the photos later. Why the change Frank? Because we are on the road for the next week and I doubt (or actually hope) there will be much WiFi along the way. I am also writing all of this in Text Edit on my Mac so when I do get a chance to be connected, I can then bring it all together. I am also hoping that once I import the photos onto my computer, they will just fall into place. I sure hope this works...

In good Airstream spirit we are off on a family vacation. Eight days on the road with no real time frame, no real agenda, and best of all ZERO RESERVATIONS. I have many good excuses why we are doing this; Ava is out of school and we have not been out in Anna since late October. I reversed rolls with my friend Don and instead of me only saying "yes" to anything he asks of me, He said "yes" to me; spend Spring break on the road with us. I have always wanted to cross the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge. I have always wanted to cross over to Ocracoke on the ferry with my trailer, I have always wanted to eat North Carolina BBQ with Don, in North Carolina. The list goes on and on, but the real excuse is I need a vacation. Work has been taking a serious toll on my psyche lately and I need a week to stop thinking about work flow, cash flow, and over working my elbow (come on, that was a great line. Elbow, get it? It takes a lot of elbow grease to restore trailers). Bottom line, we are on vacation. The cell phone is turned to off and my desire to kick loose is turned to ELEVEN.

The loose plan was hatched with Don that we would meet somewhere and travel in the general direction of the Outer Banks. The only limit in our plan is that Key West is as far South as one can drive on the Eastern Seaboard. The plan was to have no real plan. We would embrace each day fresh and see where the wind would blow us. Everyone came to the table with some suggestions of things to see and do, but in general we would have no reservations either physically or figuratively. Foot loose and fancy free is the goal. This is a serious job and I am seriously ready for it. Beth on the other hand is somewhat uneasy with this. Having reservations is a means of exerting some control over the unknown. For Beth, this vacation is going to be a learning experience on how to let go. So far, she is doing great with it I might add. As long as I promise her she will see Ocracoke, she is happy. A happy Wife, is a happy Husband.

I am so serious about the job at hand that instead of leaving on Saturday morning we shoved off as soon as Ava got out of school. Though it put us well after dark before we would stop, we were on the road. It feels so (cuss) GOOD to be on the road again. We made our way to Pocomoke River State Park, South of Snow Hill Maryland.

It is an awesome place to camp. Typical of most State Parks, it is clean as a whistle, well laid out, and about 15 years out of date.

I say that lovingly. I like the fact that it is somewhat out of date. Unlike an out of date KOA, State Parks age gracefully and are still very user friendly. Would I recommend this place? (cuss) YES. Pocomoke River State Park used to be three parks until they were all combined into one large one. This is a very cool ecosystem consisting of swamps cypress and pine forests. The Pocomoke is a meandering tidal river awesome for canoeing and kayaking. We are in the Milburn Landing area right on the river. Just across the river (25 miles by car, 2/10th by boat) is Shad Landing area. This summer Shad Landing is to close for renovations. I sure hope they do not modernize it too much. Modernizing usually means tighter spaces, larger rigs, and cable TV. Time will tell. If one likes to fish, bird watch, or canoe this is an excellent place to go. The beach is about 25 minutes away, Crisfield (the soft crab capital of the world also known formally as the seafood capital of the world) is about 30 minutes away, and countless other historical and man made attractions are close by.

Where does Don and his family come into play? We are meeting them in Salisbury at the Pigs in the Park Festival a little later in the day. Hopefully he and I will eat some North Carolina BBQ (no worries Marcus, I still think Texas BBQ is the top of the heap. I mentioned NC BBQ only because earlier, I referred to eating NC BBQ in NC) in Maryland. We will both be unofficial judges. If I can scam or forge some credentials, maybe we can eat our way around without paying. Maybe I can bluff my way through by saying I am a press agent with the Airtstreamer's Club writing an article. The press always get in that way.

Well, time to pack it up to meet up with Vintage Thunder. We need to dump the tank on the way out and that will take some time. All winter long Anna was the Anna Inn to all the guests that came and visited us. We did the old enzyme and ice treatment on the ride down. With our use overnight and all the guests, she is ready for unloading. Now where are those gloves?