Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Down By the Sea...

Hey all, sorry about the delay- got a little carried away with the housework and geekery yesterday to find time to post. But now I'm here, so here we go!

A Midsummer Beach Bum

As I stated last time, we decided to forgo our third New Hampshire vacation for a trip down to the shore in Berlin, Maryland, where the Ryans, friends of my parents, live. The trip down was pretty uneventful- nice weather, including a brilliant rainbow, characterized the voyage. We got down late at night and stayed up a bit drinking and chatting with the Ryans before heading to sleep.

The next day we got up early and went over to the Peach Festival at the Ryans' church in Ocean City. The Festival does indeed have peaches, but it also has plenty of other food and a sizable flea market where the proceeds go towards the church and their charity. I got a whopping huge burger, a big bowl of peaches and ice cream, and purchased a cheap zen water fountain thing for my desk and the most badass coffee thermos that I have ever seen. Seriously, the thing is at least a foot and a half tall and feels like its made out of steel rather than that namby-pamby nalgene stuff. I'm pretty sure that it would make a pretty effective weapon or hammer in a pinch, too, because it definitely has some heft to it. After I had bought it I found out that it was actually Mr. Ryan's old thermos, and that he had earlier joked about finding a buyer for it with my parents. Well, shows them...

We then headed out to Assateague Island. The island is special not only because of its spectacular beaches, but because of its interesting assortment of wildlife. There are your herons and other birds of course, but also small deer... and wild horses. They got there thanks to a Spanish galleon that had sunk off the coast a few centuries back. A few of the horses on board managed to escape and have now adapted to the salty vegetation on the island, becoming smaller and more potbellied in the process. We didn't see any of the horses until we drove back from the beach, but in the past we have swum almost next to them on hot days.

Saturday was a beautiful day for spending at the beach. The temperature of the land was 75 degrees and the water was 69, so it never got too hot or cold in either environ. The sky was almost perfectly cloudless, and the water was incredibly clear. I spent the afternoon floating in the surf or sitting on a lawn chair drinking a beer and reading more of The Chronicles of the Black Company (a really good book- I'll do a review of it when I finish it).

We then headed home to eat steamed and seasoned blue crabs, which are just about the most delicious yet annoying things in all of creation. I say just about because the Ryans had another couple over to cook, and the husband was amazing. He created what I now want to characterize as "the steaks of Heaven." Seriously, these were the most delicious things I probably have ever tasted; even the fat was too good to pass up. This succulent steak was served with sauteed onions and followed up by desert kabobs and coffee liquor.

Seeing as we were already stuffed, I objected at first to my sister Liesel and her boyfriend Tim's idea to go down to the Boardwalk, but was wrangled into it to save the Ryan's daughter and my pseudo cousin Erin from having to be alone with the two. As I predicted, we ate even more at the Boardwalk, because 6 or 7 crabs, a steak, onions, and kabobs were clearly not enough. There we got enough fries to fill a bucket larger than my head, deep fried oreos (Tim's idea), and Polish ice (served by actual Poles!)

The Delaware Adventure

The next morning we got up and went to church with the Ryans. The pastor there was a hoot, and his sermon, about the different kinds of "storms" that we face in our lives, was pretty good, if a bit long on the personal examples (though the one about losing the buffalo steaks did make me cry a bit). What we didn't realize at the time, however, was that it was quite prophetic.

A little bit after we took off from the Ryans my mom noticed that our battery gauge was dropping down. We unplugged everything, turned off the AC, but it kept on dropping. We managed to eke out enough power to get the car into the automotive department of a Walmart, where we got the battery changed after a 40 minute wait. (We were actually pretty lucky- they had originally said that it was going to be 4 hours before they would even look at it) We started on the road again, but we noticed that the gauge was continuing to drop. This necessitated our stopping in Smyrna, Delaware, where we went to a local Autozone to get a new alternator and wait for a mechanic. This meant a lot of waiting around, as the mechanic originally went to the wrong Autozone before coming to pick us up. Still, the wait wasn't bad- I got to get an exceedingly delicious apple from an Acme, got to read some more, and Bug and Tim got Chinese food. Our mechanic was really friendly and really quick, and we headed off yet again. We got a little lost on some of Delaware's smaller highways while trying to avoid the interstate, but we made out pretty well...

That is, until God decided to pour His Wrath upon the world.

Our first glimpse of The Wrath was the sky turning a sickly black color in front of us, with lightning streaking out all over the place. Then the rain started, pouring down so hard that even when we were at a complete standstill we could barely see the road in front of us. We later heard hail hit our car as the rain continued to pour and the lightning and thunder continued to duel in the skies above. Fortunately I am still under Thor's protection (see Road Trippin' in the Northeast: New Hampshire Strikes Back! for the origin story, blog fans! -ed), so we made it through the storm ok, but it was still a pretty tense 20 minutes.

The rest of the ride was nice and quiet, and we reached home just after my brother did from his excursion at the beach. (he also had car trouble- seems his oil was actually smoking...) I'll have another update sometime today probably about the last two days before I head off again, this time to Ye Olde Boston Towne to meet up with Nik and The Girl (yay!). So, until next time...

The corpses of doomed men fall/
the gods' dwellings are reddened with crimson blood/
sunshine becomes black the next summer/
all weather is vicious; do you understand yet, or what more?
- a reference to Ragnarok in the Voluspa

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