Sea to Shining Sea

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Where I stayed
Nana's Condo

Flag of United States  , Maryland
Saturday, December 22, 2012

    After two days of a rental car, we picked up the rig, which had been given a clean bill of health by brother Sam's favorite mechanic, hooked up the taomobile and headed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Ocean City, MD, where we would set up camp for the holidays in the Knoll family condo, a cozy one-bedroom a half block from the beach. Mallery and Travis flew in to join us for three weeks during their Christmas break, and Skip and Connie drove over to spend the holidays at their condo as well, which all made for a great Xmas, albeit much different than any we had experienced before. On Christmas eve we all went down near the Baltimore Inner Harbor to a party that included crab cakes, crab pretzels, oysters on the half shell, spiced shrimp and beer. Then we walked across the alley to a bustling market that offered everything from fresh{?} produce and repackaged candy to shrimp, sushi and more beers, all thanks to Uncle Skip and Aunt Connie. Despite all the revelry, we were able to drive the two hours safely back to the beach, having finished our celebrating and over indulgence by 2pm. On the way back, we stopped at a little candy apple shop to grab a cup of coffee. There was only one other patron in the store who kind of looked like one of the seven dwarfs - grandpa or grumpy? who also looked somehow familiar, so I approached him, only to find out that he knew my uncle and his family well and used to live near Cabin John. And as most of us did who lived near there, he frequented my uncle's tavern on a regular basis, the same tavern that later would be purchased by Mary's dad and .,.. well you know the rest. Small world, again.

    Picked up a few jobs that paid a little more than a tankful, which kept me busy while Mary and the kids - kind of hard to call them kids anymore [ i can beat you up now dad ] - took off for New York City to see Corcoran cousins and friends. The biggest job came from the same guy we ran into in Ann Arbor, who had about $30,000 worth of damage to his beach house thanks to an ice maker drip. That job, two bathroom remodels and a couple of deck waterproofing jobs will run me into January before we can get back on the road. It's amazing how quickly you can find yourself right back in the routine, but it sure helped with what turned out to be a great Christmas.       

 Perhaps the highlight of our month, and maybe of our trip thus far, came the weekend after Christmas. Travis, from the moment he realized he would be in the D.C. area, began a concerted push to somehow attend a Redskin's game, and the only home game during his stay would be the Dallas game, which is a highly coveted ticket but seemed possible at the time because neither team was doing very well. So Mary set out to tap some old reserves for what turned out to be the game of the decade, at least for Skin's fans. As you can imagine, she had a pretty good sized rolodex to draw from, but this was too big for anyone to let go of. We resorted to Craigslist, only to find upper level tickets going for $250-400 with $ 50 for parking. That added up to a $1200 dollar day for the four of us, not to mention a 5-6 hour roundtrip drive. Undaunted, we decided to just go and see what might happen - maybe a last minute giveaway or a reasonable scalper. The worst that could happen would be to watch the game with locals at a bar near the stadium. There were no last minute responses to the "we're desperate" plea on Facebook, so we just drove up to the stadium about 4 hours before game time and promptly found free parking for handicapped fans.
The lot was about a mile from the gate but no worries, we took the free shuttle right up to the front door, still ticketless.After having no luck with scalpers for about an hour, we decided to hang out at the ticket office ... well I don't have to tell you what a great game it was, and all for face value- 4 tickets for $260, numerous beers for $9, family experience     priceless!  We also managed to have a house to stay in about 20 minutes from the stadium , a friend who was out of town and insisted we spend the night. Her cats would love the company. OK, if you insist. 

    The next morning we had a trendy organic breakfast in Bethesda and then visited some more Knolls, who actually still live in the same house we grew up in. We also had a great visit with some dear friends who were instrumental in facilitating our relocation to Bigfork 16 years ago. Capping off our 2-day adventure was a couple games of duckpin bowling and a killer mexican restaurant on the way home. Back in O.C. we're hangin' with brother Pepe and his family in Pittsville, anxiously awaiting the return of the rockfish, the finest food the ocean can provide next to blue crabs. There are a few around, but mostly 5-10 miles off shore, where it's illegal to keep them. Although, some lucky bastard just caught a 50 pounder in the surf, a new Delaware record. Pepe will go out 40 miles in his 28' center console boat with no seats. Not me.

    Then there are the Lutz boys. Rick and Tom have lived at the beach for about 25 years, Rick retired from the brick selling business and Tom playing in a few bands and spinning discs. These guys have figured out how to live on nothing and still have a pretty good time - Rick subsists on about $100 / week he gets from renting the room upstairs, but still manages to have a couple cocktails and a puff every day. He's within 6 months of collecting social security, when he plans on really livin', but he'll have to be careful not to get his ass kicked by a couple of strangers on his own front porch - again! Their house is right on the main drag through O.C., and it can get pretty wild in the summer when most of D.C. and Baltimore descend on this little island, which leads to a very stringent police force, most of whom are just cutting their teeth. Even now you can't go very far without seeing police. Rick found a discarded ticket in the alley behind his house that a guy on a bicycle got for Riding with One Hand!! Can you believe that? I was pulled over for having a taillight out, and you would have thought I was a terrorist or something. OK so I do look a little Iranian at times.
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The Sheik of Ajijic on

Looks like you guys are having a wonderful time. Your painting are great as well Billy. Here is my question, when do we get to see or read anything about your working experience of 'Have Hammer Will Travel'.
Love, Duck!

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