Note From Jon


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Water ruled the Fourth of July week with trips to a lake, river, ocean, and even the bay all within 7 days.

We kicked off the week with a trip to Darren's parents' house on the Lake of the Woods. Things didn't go quite according to plan as I spent most of the day programming Mr. Biggs' remote as his birthday present (from Darren mind you...). I missed the winery festivities but finished with plenty of time to enjoy the lake (well except for being featured on the next Fox special "When Alexandras Attack") and take the ubiquitous Pontoon boat tour of the lake. We capped the evening with some bacon wrapped shrimp which Mary brought.

As usual I spent the Fourth tubing down the Shenandoah River. This is probably the 5th year in a row I've done this but this was by far the largest group I've taken. Somehow we managed to get 23 people on (and off) the river, got everyone fed lunch, and the only casualty was a pair of ABs sunglasses (sorry AB, I'm usually pretty good at rescuing sunglasses from the bottom of rivers as April and Mary can attest). The water level was about normal this year and we did the three mile section from marker 16 to 19 with Shenandoah River Outfitters. It's all flat except for Compton Rapids right about mile 17.5. As documented by AB, we managed to get all the coolers safely through Comptons and pulled up on the right beach just below the rapids (which is the wrong side since it's private land as opposed to the park land on the left bank - but we only got shot at a couple times so it all worked out). This spot was perfect for lunch (except for some bugs) and was much easier than eating on the river with a group this large. There is also a path from here back up to the top of the rapids for anyone who wants another go. We did the 10:30 trip again this year which meant we met at my house at 7:30, actually got on the road by 8:00 and arrived at 10:00 giving us time to park, sign in, organize
coolers and make the 10:30 trip (well except for George who arrvied at 10:30 and still made the 10:30 trip - nice timing George!). We were on the river much longer than I remembered (from 11 to 4 - albeit with a half hour lunch stop) and got back to D.C. about 6:30. We made reservations for the first time this year because our group was so large and we knew of another group of 40 who had discovered our secret tradition and were coming on the noon trip. The evening ended with what might become a future Fourth tradition of riding bikes down to Iwo Jima to see the fireworks with a stop by Carvel on the way home - but somehow next year we have to find a better way to leave than trying to ride through the mass of people leaving (it was about 15 minutes of trying to ride at the exact pace that the crowd was walking - any slower you fall over, any faster you run over someone (which was tempting) and occasionally darting through an opening between people). While no one seems to be impressed, I will document that while Dharma, Eric, Darren and I biked down, Jan Louis, Hilary, and George hitched a ride separately with Mary down to Iwo Jima. With thousands of people mulling around we didn't have any expectations of meeting back up with the lame car riders, not only did we find them, but of every blanket spot in the entire area, we picked one that happened to be right next to them without seeing them there. Surely someone will be impressed by this improbable occurence!
Playmate shot for Tigerbeat -- Different from pissing IN the river? -- Cutest Siblings?


Saturday Jeffrey organized a day trip t
o Chincoteague Island. It turns out Chincoteaugue is a bit farther than Assateague and we spent four hours in the car... each way. Thankfully we had a FUN! carpool and the ride turned out to be just as enjoyable as the beach (which is a good thing since the drive was longer than the time at the beach). Still I wouldn't hesitate to do a day trip again if you've got a fun carfull (Eddie Murphy's Delirious, and Journey sing-a-longs help too). Probably the most important thing to know about making a day trip to Chincoteague is that you need to leave D.C. early. Not because of Bay Bridge traffic but because of Chincoteague parking. We left D.C. at 8 and arrived at noon and about three cars behind us they started instituting a one car out- one car in policy due to parking which caused a frustrated line of cars. Four hours to go to the beach is one thing, four hours to drive and sit in a car line for another hour only 5 minutes from the destination is another. Jan Louis and I had strapped our bikes to the back of Sally (his car) and we took an hour and a half journey around the island (about 10 miles with plenty of stops to see ponies, herons and the Chincoteague lighthouse - remember to bring cash, it costs $4 to climb the lighthouse. We did a loop from the beach up to the black duck trail which cuts across to the wilderness loop, around the loop and back by the lighthouse before coming back down along the road towards the beach, around the Woodlawn trail to see some wild (summer sausage eating) ponies, and finally back to the beach). The afternoon was spent bodysurfing in the ocean (as illustrated by Mary's photos) before we headed back around 6pm. Dinner was probably 30 minutes from Chincoteague at a place called (I believe) "The Upper Deck" which had remarkably fresh Ahi Tuna (which they overcooked despite me pleading for them to barely sear it - the fact that it tasted good even overcooked gave me an idea of how fresh it really was) and probably the best cornbread I've had in my entire life (grits were mixed inside the bread).

We're coming more often

Technically I never got in the water (or even walked on the beach), but Sunday I went to our beachhouse on the Chesapeake Bay. While I didn't get any pictures I did learn a valuable plumbing lesson that I need to remember (really you can stop reading now unless you care about plumbing). When you buy a new tub faucet set it comes with a whole new piping assembly so unless you a) are replacing the same brand faucet (and they haven't changed their standard) or b) plan to have full 360 access to cut out/unsolder the old assembly and install and solder the new one, you'd better plan on repairing the old faucet set. That of course isn't easy either since if your faucet set isn't a name brand or is more than say 7 years old (ours was both) then Lowe's or Home Depot probably won't carry it and you'll have to go to a plumbing supply house (which is of course closed on the weekends). Anyway simply replacing the O-rings on the existing valve stems "appears" to have fixed the immediate problem of water leaking from the spigot which should allow us to have the new well put in.

P.S. Blogger sucks, it took me 3 hours to post this, mainly because their interface for manipulating photos is pathetic and well yeah I write too much (I have to drag each and every photo down the entire entry a couple lines at a time because photos aren't 1) inserted in place and 2) dragging the photo outside of the small, unresizable text window, doesn't scroll it. And of course once I post this in a minute none of the photos will be where they are in this preview. Bad blogger. Bad.).

1 comment:

Darren said...

Nice entry, but don't worry about the layout it is the writing that counts! Need to do an animation of AB attacking.