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24 June 2009

Clearly, I'm not a grownup yet....

The Tigers are playing the Cubs tonight, and I noticed their centerfielder's last name is Fukudome.

I'm sure it's not pronounced the way I'm pronouncing it... but.. hah.

Posted by rickroot at 8:01 PM | Link | 0 comments

Vacation Day 6 - Thursday, June 18

I was very excited today about our planned trip to Cape Lookout.  We'd made reservations on the 8:45 ferry with Island Ferry Adventures and a guided tour with Port City Tour Company to visit Shackleford Banks, part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.  Shackleford Banks is a 9 mile island at the southern end of North Carolina's Outer Banks, and is home to over a hundred wild horses, left by the sunken ships of Spanish explorers over 400 years ago.

the ferry dropped us off on the southern end of the island, and there happened to be a small herd of the horses right at the ferry dropoff, so we didn't actually have to go hunting for them.  However, we'd paid an extra $10 for the walking tour, so we followed our excellent guide Larry off into the wild, where we learned about the horses, fiddler and ghost crabs and other wildlife on the island.  We also spent some time on the ocean side of the island where the surf was quite rough, looking for shells.  The water felt great.

After the walking tour (about 2 miles I'd guess) and the shell hunting, we headed back over to the sound side for some swimming.  I was the only one with the sense to put my suit on when we left in the morning, so me and Emily were the only ones who went swimming.

I guess I should mention that this trip was just Adrienne and I, Emily, and Erin.  Bill and Lin and Marnie and Derrick stayed at the resort (and Bob had actually gone home Wednesday morning).

The water on the sound side was surprisingly deep.  It actually dropped off to 10' or more only about 20 feet offshore.

We got on the 12:20pm ferry back to Beaufort, and hit up Clawson's 1905 for lunch on the recommendation of our ferry boat captain.  Lunch was excellent.  Emily and I went into the General Store afterwards to look around, and on our way out, Emily tripped down the stairs (about 3 steps) and went face first into the sidewalk.  Very unpleasant.  Amazingly she survived the incident without any blood or broken facial parts.  And I really was amazed because after seeing her face hit the sidewalk, I thought for sure I was going to pick her up and have her nose be bloodied at the very least.   She managed to calm down after about 5 minutes but during most of the ride home she was telling us how certain she was that something was wrong with her.  My little drama queen, I love her!

I have no recollection of what we did for dinner that night.  I think Emily and I had leftovers while Adrienne and Marnie and Erin had dinner at the Hurricane Restaurant.

Tomorrow - back to the islands!

Posted by rickroot at 1:44 PM | Link | 0 comments

Olive Chapel Otters vs. Eagle Ridge

Emily had a swim meet last night, her first of the summer swim season.  It was at Eagle Ridge in Raleigh, and thankfully I was not volunteering.  Of course, the benefit of volunteering is you're not bored.

Summer swim meets consist of "main events" which are scored, and "heats" which are not.  The top swimmers typically get to swim in the main events.

Emily got to participate in her first ever relay events.  She swam the backstroke leg of the medley relay for one of the Otters 7-8 girls relay teams, and her team took third place.  She also swam the anchor (4th) leg of the freestyle relay at the end of the meet, and took third place in that race as well.

In the individual events, she was in main events for both freestyle and backstroke, and in heat 1 for breaststroke and butterfly.  She finished 3rd (of 6) in freestyle, and 2nd (of 6) in backstroke, won her heat for Breaststroke, and finished 4th or 5th in Butterfly.

Overall, an excellent outing.  She had a good time, and won some place ribbons.  I'm anxiously awaiting her times to see if she set any personal bests.

Posted by rickroot at 7:09 AM | Link | 0 comments

Vacation Day 5 - Wednesday, June 17

Today was our day to stick around New Bern.  We intended to go down to historic New Bern and have lunch at The Cow Cafe, a cool little place we discovered on Middle Street last time we were in New Bern, then visit Tryon Palace.  Tryon Palace was build in 1767 as the home of the Royal Governor, but it burned down in 1798 and wasn't re-built until the 1950s. 

Anyway, lunch was good, but as we finished it started to rain.  So instead of heading over to Tryon Palace, we shopped.  There are a lot of cool little shops on Middle Street, including The Pepsi Store which was supposedly the place where Pepsi was invented, then called "Brad's Drink".  The pepsi Store consisted of a soda fountain where you could sit at the bar an order a Pepsi for 50 cents, and a bunch of pepsi-branded merchandise.  It was kinda lame, actually.  Plus, I'm a coke drinker.  Coke Zero, actually.

We ended up spending a couple hours wandering up maybe 3 blocks of Middle Street before getting ice cream at the end of our shopping trip.  By that time it had stopped raining but it was very wet, so we just headed back to the resort.  We ordered take-out from The Hurricane Restaurant, which was onsite at the marina.  I wrote a review of this experience on Google:

We recently stayed at the Fairfield Harbour Resort, home of the Hurricane Restaurant. We had a large party and ordered carry-out from the Hurricane twice. Everyone in our party enjoyed their food. For my part, I had a full rack of ribs the first night, which were good... fries and slaw on the side. The second time I went with the Seafood Fra Diablo, which was shrimp and scallops over pasta with a spicy marinara sauce - also good. This isn'ta "top of the line" or fancy upscale restaurant, but as far as "resort/hotel restaurants" go it was good enough for us to eat twice at in a week. Of course, it has the convenience of being the only nice restaurant within 10 miles of the resort.

Off to bed early as we had a big day planned for tomorrow - our trip to Beaufort and Shackleford Banks.


Posted by rickroot at 7:02 AM | Link | 0 comments

Vacation Day 4 - Tuesday, June 16

Our original plans for Tuesday had been to hang around New Bern.  This would've allowed Emily and I to drive back to Garner for a 6pm swim meet - the first "real" swim meet of the summer swim season.  Unfortunately, because the trip to Topsail hadn't occurred on Monday, and Wednesday wasn't going to work either, we ended up going to Topsail Beach on Tuesday.  We left around 9am in a bit of rain, and it poured pretty hard at times... we managed to drive out of the rain but then back into it on and off.  As we drove down the main drag on Topsail Island (Hwy  210 / Anderson Street), there was some really high standing water on the road.  Thankfully we were in the pickup truck so it was no problem.  I think I did power wash someone's house going through one puddle.

We were visiting our friends, Bob and Debbie Grady.  Adrienne's dad and Bob have been friends for a long time, and Adrienne has been visiting the Grady's at Topsail Beach since the mid 80s I think. 

Marnie rode down with Bill and Lin for this trip, and left Derrick back at the resort with Bob.  It was raining hard when we arrived at their second row beach house on the south end of the island, so we went inside to relax for a while.  Eventually it did stop raining, so Emily and I went out to the beach for about a half hour to play.

Debbie made us one of her typical awesome beach lunches - a good ol' southern steampot.  Smoked sausage, corn on the cob, new potatoes, and shrimp, all boiled together.  And the shrimp was good and fresh too!  I love fresh peel-n-eat shrimp.  As usual, lunch was great.

Nothing much else to tell about Tuesday.  We headed back to New Bern around 5 o'clock.  We picked up Chinese takeout on the way home for dinner, and went back to our condo to play Blockus and Uno before retiring for the night.

Posted by rickroot at 6:41 AM | Link | 0 comments
23 June 2009

Vacation Day 3 - Monday, June 15

We had originally intended to spend Monday at Topsail Beach with our friends the Grady's.  A few days before the vacation though, we changed the plans because Marnie didn't feel it would be a good idea to take Derrick back on another car ride the day after driving to New Bern.  The trip to New Bern for them on Sunday was about 3 hours.  The trip to Topsail Beach was about 90 minutes.  So we rescheduled the Topsail trip for Tuesday.

Somehow, Monday we ended up driving about an hour and 15 minutes to go to Pine Knoll Shores (on Emerald Isle) to go to one of the North Carolina Aquarium's.  This would end up being the only time Derrick (20 months old) left the resort.  Everyone actually had a great time, and Derrick really loved the aquarium.  Marnie and Bob took Derrick back to the resort after a couple of hours and the rest of us went to Fort Macon State Park on the northern end of the island.  We had about an hour to kill before dinner, so while Adrienne and Bill went to check out the civil war era fort, Emily and Erin and Lin and I hung out on the beach.  Emily and I flew our kites and walked along the shore.  Because it's on the end of the island, swimming is not only dangerous here because of the currents, but actually prohibited.  They even say "no wading" though we did get our feet wet!

Finally 5:30 rolled around and we packed up the truck and headed to The Channel Marker, a wonderful seafood restaurant on the sound side of Atlantic beach.  This was our third trip to this restaurant and the first that it wasn't "awesome".  The appetizers were still great, my she-crab soup was awesome.  I thought the crabcakes were great but Adrienne said they weren't as good as last time.  I actually ordered a pound of peel-n-eat shrimp and it was overcooked.  Oh well.  I think we'll probably still go back.

After dinner, we headed back to New Bern for a good night's sleep.

Posted by rickroot at 7:58 AM | Link | 0 comments

Vacation Day 2 - Sunday, June 14

We had a limited schedule today for a couple of reasons.  We weren't sure when the rest of the crew was arriving, and of course it was Sunday.

After getting some breakfast, we headed out to the Aurora Fossil Museum in Aurora, NC - a very very sleepy little town about a half hour from the resort.  Sunday hours had the museum opening at 1pm and we got there around 10:30, but we were still able to dig in the fossil pit in the park across the street.  The fossil pit is a pile of rejected "stuff" from the PCS Phosphates mine.  We looked for fossils for about an hour and found numerous sharks teeth.

Then we headed up to Washington, NC, where we were going to go to lunch and maybe hit up the North Carolina Estuarium.  We had a bad lunch experience at The Meeting Place, then ended up heading back to New Bern as the rest of the family was going to arrive.  No time for the Estuarium.

Washington, NC is a pretty cool little waterfront town at the mouth of the Pamlico River.  They've undergone quite a waterfront restoration I guess, and the downtown area itself is quite cool.

One note, beware of one way streets.  Luckily for us it was pretty quiet, but we ended up driving about 5 blocks the wrong way down the one way "Main Street" in downtown Washington before we noticed.

Didn't really do anything worth mentioning the rest of the afternoon/evening.

Posted by rickroot at 5:01 AM | Link | 0 comments
21 June 2009

Vacation Day 1 - Saturday June 13

Saturday, June 13.  Emily had her "Red/Black" swim meet Saturday morning.  I woke up sneezing and with watery eyes.  Should be a fun day.  I ended up being a volunteer timer for the meet, which started at 8am and finished around 10:30am. 

We couldn't check into the hotel until 4, so we had plenty of time and no rush to pack up the truck for a week.  When you stay in a condo, you pack a lot more stuff.  Food, games, etc.  For me and Adrienne, Emily, and Adrienne's step-sister Erin, we took an amazing amount of stuff.  The bed of my pickup was pretty much full.

We finally took off around 1:30.  It's about a 2.5 hour drive to the Fairfield Harbour Resort in New Bern.  About an hour and a half in, I had to give up driving because the sneezing and watery eyes were just killing me.  I took a couple of benedryl and let Adrienne drive the rest of the way.

The benedryl didn't help, so when we got checked into the resort and unpacked into our super cool condo, I went back up the road a couple miles to a gas station and bought some Nyquil, then ordered some pizza for carryout at the Big Apple Pizzeria across the street from the gas station.  Nyquil is the only cold med I trust.  After eating some pizza, I went up to the bedroom and crashed.  It was only 8 o'clock.

The resort we were staying at was the "Wyndham Vacation Resort at Fairfield Harbour".  It's one of their older resorts - built in the 60s and 70s I'd guess from the architecture.  We had two units, one of which wee would not check into until Sunday.  The second unit was for Adrienne's sister's family, and her dad and step-mom.  But the unit we checked into on Saturday was located in the "Sandcastle II" part of the resort.  These were attached townhome style units that had recently been remodeled.

When you walk in the front door, there is a foyer and half bath, then up half a flight of stairs into the dining room, along with the full kitchen, living room, and exit to the "front porch" - the units surround a large pond, with a walkway around the pond and a few docks for fishing and such.  We had a beautiful view of the "lake".   From the dining room, up another half flight of stairs to a laundry-room which doubled as a jacuzzi tub room, and also the "master" bedroom - a double bed, desk, and full bathroom.  Up another half flight of stairs to the second bedroom and another smaller full bath, and then up another flight of stairs to a loft-style third bedroom with 2 twin beds.

About a 5 minute walk from this unit was the marina and the recreation center.  This was not really a public marina, but more a place to rent boat slips.  There was a restaurant at the marina, but no store or anything, so it wasn't the kind of marina where people would dock temporarily to load up on supplies, use the bathrooms, or anything like that.  There were a lot of big boats though, probably 80-90% of them sailboats of 30-40 feeet.  The restaurant, which we ate at twice, was not great but was decent.  Okay, we actually got carryout and took it back to the unit twice.

The rec center had a mini-golf course, indoor and ourdoor pools, tennis courts, and playground.  Amazingly, I didn't use the pool once.  I think Erin took Emily to the pool once. 

That's about all I have for "Day 1".  More to come!

Posted by rickroot at 7:51 AM | Link | 0 comments
11 June 2009

Car Hits Train - DRIVER FAIL! [VIDEO]

This occurred at the New Hope Valley Railroad in Bonsail, NC, where my dad volunteers...

Posted by rickroot at 9:23 AM | Link | 0 comments