the longest vacation, part four

This was supposed to be our last full day. Instead, I extended our stay until Friday. I regret nothing.

I’m not ashamed of how much I’ve played this song.

Aug. 28

Oops. I do regret something. On Aug. 28, 2019, I had the worst steak I’ve ever had in my entire life. It wasn’t rancid or anything. It was just cooked in a impressively bad fashion. I nearly spit it out. I ever send food back, but I nearly sent back that garbage. It was not medium rare like I ordered. It tasted like it was steamed. It was tough. It was woefully underseasoned. And don’t get me started on the abomination that was supposed to be pancetta macaroni and cheese. I usually name the places we go in my travel posts, but screw this place. Screw this place so hard. Never mind that all of the seafood was cooked well.

Yep, still angry about that more than a month later.

Anyway, before I was insulted by a dead cow, I got the sunrise over the Atlantic I’ve been looking for. Despite spending more than half of my life within two miles of an east-facing major body of water, I’ve never seen a sunrise over one. I tried once in high school, but we had been up the whole night and were facing the wrong direction.

So, within weeks of seeing the sun sink into the waves as I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel after celebrating my aunt-in-law’s birthday in New York, I got my sunrise.

The forecast called for rain that day, and I rained to the point that we bought an umbrella while we were at the outlets. I essentially overhauled half of my wardrobe and retired my Pulp Fiction wallet.

Don’t worry. I’m still a BMF.

The rainy day was short-lived. We walked around downtown for a while and also headed out to the Second Avenue Pier as the sun set.

Additionally, we finally went out for drinks beyond the hotel bar, and I also decided that I wanted a lot of drinks. Because vacation. Since everything is Tropical Sugar flavored, I couldn’t fall asleep. I wandered around the beach near our hotel deep into the night and then slept for a part of the night on the balcony for the ambiance. I managed to take one picture that was somewhat close to decent while I walked.

A creek enters the Atlantic here, and I forded its sandy delta. For the second time during this time off, I had hoped that any accident would be fatal because I would otherwise be killed.

I did a good job of hydrating, so our new last full day wasn’t miserable.

the longest vacation, part three

I didn’t have my phone with me for the first half of this day because we were at the beach.

To be honest, I spent a lot of late August/early September listening to a lot of Pretty Lights.

Aug. 27

Clouds thwarted my attempt to see sunrise on our first morning. I woke up a few minutes before sunrise and decided to stay up for it. I had hoped the clouds would burn off or something, but all I got was dark clouds gradually becoming brighter clouds. After that, I set an alarm for the next morning, headed off the balcony and went back to sleep.

Boohiss.

Despite the clouds in the morning, it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

A very, very nice day.

And you could tell how relaxed I was.

Remind me again of why I used to hate going on vacation?

We finally ventured away from the Ocean Reef Resort at about 5:30 p.m. The night before, we also grabbed some takeout from Sol y Luna and the décor compelled my wife to suggest that we start our evening there.

Afterward, it was my pick. I wanted to go on a Ferris wheel. I don’t know why. We researched one of the multiple ones we saw while riding around and went with SkyWheel. The sun set while we were on it.

We then walked around the boardwalk for a bit before going into an old-timey arcade.

We very briefly thought about going to a bar. Briefly.

the longest vacation, part two

Welcome to Post No. 2,300! Remember when I used to mark every 100 posts? That was 300 posts/nearly exactly four years ago. (Do you remember when I used to average about 180 posts a year?) When I hit 2,000, I decided to switch to marking every thousand. So, at this rate, expect that when I’m in my early 40s.

But I digress.

I played this song multiple times a day for like a week in early September and haven’t listened to it since.

Aug. 26

North Carolina is large. I keep forgetting that. It’s less than 1,000 square miles smaller than New York and nearly 10,000 square miles larger than Virginia. I’m reminded of its enormity when I decide to go somewhere there because it’s just the next state over. And then the ride is slightly shorter than a trip to New York because the far southeast part of the Tarheel State is as far from Charlottesville as Brooklyn.

Our voyage through North Carolina on our way to South Carolina took about an extra hour because because we had to go to Hampton first to drop off Missy. It was our belated fifth anniversary trip, and getting Missy into/out of (semi) public spaces always is a thing because she does not like other dogs.

We went to Myrtle Beach because my wife used to vacation there with her family and liked it. I was just ready to go on vacation overall because of a large project that ate up my life for a good chunk of the year. While I was at the racetrack, I felt relaxed in a way I hadn’t felt in years. I knew the newsroom was capable of running for a few days without me, so I seldom thought of work. I purposely did not bring my computer. It was fantastic.

The sunlight was perfect when we arrived.

We had a room with an ocean view.

I resolved to see the sun rise one day before we left.

Due east is slightly to the left of our balcony.

We almost immediately went to the beach.

My mom’s comment upon seeing my getup (not seen: my second pair of customized Chucks): “Well, that’s your husband.”

I’d didn’t know how much I missed the Atlantic. Growing up in Hampton Roads made me take it for granted. Although it was great to be back, I was missing the Blue Ridge the whole time.

I’ve always wished the Chesapeake Bay was clearer. This photo does no justice to the water because the sun was setting and I never got more than my ankles wet this entire trip.

And then I discovered the resort bar.

I’ve had enough coconut-flavored drinks to last a lifetime.

Because we’re wild and crazy thirtysomethings, we capped off the night with a trip to Target. I now own about three pairs of shorts. The taste of the weather I had before the sun set made me reconsider my exposing my calves moratorium.

the longest vacation, part one

This is my favorite song of the moment. It does not go with the theme of this post.

Since the beginning, I used Roman numerals for all of my trips. I jammed two, technically three vacations into the nearly two weeks I had off in August, so I initially didn’t know whether to label this xxii; xxii and xxiii; or xxii through xxiv. I’m going to count it as one, as it was contiguous time off, but I’m going to break this into parts.

Aug. 23 & 24

TAUDELT ROAD TRIP.

It’s Year Two of being Lamborghini VIPs. This time, instead of heading back 15 miles to Danville this time around, we decided to camp out with the other fans at the track. We’re thinking about making this a largely yearly tradition and getting an increasing number of fraternity brothers joining us, regardless of whether we get to go to the fanciest of the hospitality areas. This year, we did get a third brother to come and almost had a fourth.

The first order of business was setting up the tent, and I’m glad we did because it unexpectedly rained a lot the first afternoon.

Not pictured: The rain.

That night, Beanie showed up, joining Butler and me. Then, since it had dried out enough, we went exploring the campground. Our first stop was a Tiki bar we noticed the year before. After that, the night devolved into going to several party sites, riding precariously on the backs of souped-up off-road vehicles and entirely too much alcohol.

“If we crash this thing, I hope I die because, otherwise, my wife will kill me.”

The next morning, we definitely dragged a bit. We caught some of the practice runs and early races. We also caught up with some of the people we met the night before. Their night wound up being a lot wilder than ours, including a dude who work up in a strange person’s camper and had to retrace where some of his valuables were.

Prototype cars.

Along with needing to be around for the big race on Sunday, a constant, overwhelming urge to go back to sleep and the chilly temperatures after the Friday rains, we took it easy. We didn’t make it to 1 a.m.

Aug. 25

Gradually, the sun came out, but the previous damp conditions mad the track slick in spots. We saw a lot of vehicles slide off the track during the races. The races were pretty good overall, though. And, as usual, the hospitality area had amazing food. I’ve been trying to eat a lot less lately, but I ate a lot during that trip. I also walked a lot, so there’s that.

After learning that once can rent a Lambo for less than a golf cart at the track (RENTING A GOLF CART IS FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE AMERICAN DOLLARS), we headed for home. I was happy that it was early because It would be time to hit the road again in a few hours.

I apologize for this posts being a bit short on words. By the time I catch back up, I’m going to be talking about the first full week in July. And then I need to reference June when I finally get back to last weekend.