Note From Jon


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Team Extreme at Assateague

We’ve returned from the annual camping trip to Assateague National Seashore and I can report that the bathrooms are getting better and the mosquitoes are getting worse. Everything else is as good as ever. The biggest change this year turned out to be that we arranged meals with our carpools rather than as one massive group of 30 (or one year 80) hungry campers. That had to be easier on trip organizers Jamie and Krista, and it was perfect for the Saturday bike riders because we missed breakfast and lunch last year anyway. It did mean, at least in our case, that you spent more time with your carpool than the full group. Hence as you can tell from the photos it was the weekend of Jon, Sara and Darren… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Highlights included spending Friday night at Ocean City which Darren and I had last visited in 1994. We found Hooper’s Crab House which has a $28 all-you-can-eat crab/shrimp/chicken dinner. This was the exact same place we had eaten 14 years ago… except that from a newspaper clipping on the wall we learned that it had completely burned down and been rebuilt in that time!

On Saturday a group of us set out on various bike rides around the lovely town of Berlin (which has a billboard advertising that it was the town where Julia Roberts and Richard Gere filmed Runaway Bride). I did the same 30 mile loop as last year (though I felt considerably faster) but I definitely have some serious riding to do to get ready for my first Century in September. Gulp. I am sure I can ride the 100 miles though if it is followed by a meal at Saturday’s lunch spot Rayne’s Reef (aka The Falcon Diner in Runaway Bride). You can’t beat a post-ride burger and milkshake at this establishment in the heart of Berlin. Too bad my century finishes hundreds of miles away from there…

Saturday afternoon it was back to the beach for some sun, sand, and small-court volleyball. We’d forgotten to pack the volleyball net that Joel recently left with us but another group had set one up and Sara, Darren and I decided to crash their court. It made for a memorable afternoon. The net belonged to a group of hilarious Marines from Philly who dubbed themselves “Team Extreme”. Team Extreme sported torso-covering tattoos and invented force-of-nature names for their serves. While attempting some sort of arm/chest roll they would warn us to “Beware the Hurricane!” (sometimes they called the exact same move “The Tornado”). Other times they pantomimed drizzling lava on the ball. Of course we had secret-weapon Sara who combined her sizzling softball serve with a blue bikini that proved far more distracting to the Marines than any of their natural disaster antics did to us. Although we won all but the first game it was more about having fun than playing volleyball and we definitely accomplished that. After all you have to understand that the court was about one-quarter regulation size and it was necessary to engage in a lengthy discussion with Team Extreme to reach agreement that a team would only be allowed three hits per side…

Notes to Jon:

  • Wear Aqua socks when playing sand volleyball. I survived Team Extreme’s serves but thought I broke my big toe by slamming it into Darren’s heel. I guess I could also try to improve my “periphial” vision.
  • Cambridge is the town that has the shopping center we always stop at with a Food Lion, Liquor store, and Taco Bell/KFC.
  • The waitress at Hooper's made my weekend by delivering a basket of what she called condiments, which included (drumroll please) BUTTER! You of course have to understand that Darren, Sara and I have had ongoing debates over the past month regarding the question “Is butter a condiment?”. Resolved that butter can be a condiment!
  • The joys of condimentary butter aside, I prefer crab dipped in vinegar.
  • Don’t be suckered in by the heaping plate of corn, hush puppies, chicken and ribs that is first delivered to the table, they are just trying to fill you up so you won’t eat as many of the delicious shrimp and crabs!
  • The port-o-potty and wooden shower stalls at the Oceanside group sites have been replaced with concrete buildings and real doors. Sure there’s no electricity or hot water but it feels much classier.
  • Jeffrey and his magical packing powers once again defeated us and despite our own personal best time for departing Assateague on Sunday morning (8:36 am), their car rolled out before ours. I blame my busted foot for forcing me to limp my luggage between the tent and the car…

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