Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HHN II The Party! (31 July - 20 August)

I know it has been a while since I wrote, but for the past few weeks we have we have just been chillin’ here at Herrington Harbor North and I haven’t had much to write about. But now I do. I am going to preface this entry with just six exclamations, some of which are even words: P-A-R-T-A-Y! OMG! Wow! Yuck! Yum! Hmmmm! Want to know what those are about?? Read on!

The big event since we have been at HHN was, of course, the boat warming party. First I want to thank everyone who was able to come. As far as we can tell we had about 40 guests, ranging from friends we have met over the past few weeks to guys (yes, they were guys) we have known for over 40 years. We had folks who read this blog religiously; we had some who read it occasionally; and we had a few who didn’t even know there was a blog. Of those who read it, we had people who told me they did so because we offer hope or inspiration (for when they finish working), we had a few who are making lists of what NOT to do when they start their cruise, and we had some who just enjoy the thought of me with my head, hands and arms buried in the inner workings of a toilet.

Class of 73, Company H3!!!!!
Front Row left to right, Jeane Bothe, Kathi Ferguson, Ann Brown,
Cher Thompson, Denise O'Donnell. Back Row: Chuck Kaylor, Steve Bothe,
Lynn Ferguson, Yours Truly, Mike Thompson, Phil O'Donnell

I would love to mention everyone and tell you how much we enjoyed your company – and we really, really did – but if I did so, this entry would be extremely long. So, instead, I am going to single out only one group of people. In July 1969 I met a group of guys who, for the next four years, would be my closest buddies: my West Point class and company H3 mates. I think there were around 36 of us when we started, and four years later there were about 24. Six were able to attend the party: Steve Bothe, Chuck Kaylor, Mike Thompson, Phil O’Donnell, Lynn Ferguson and, of course me. In case you are interested, the first negative RSVP we received was from Bill Crisp (another company-mate) who couldn’t attend because he lives in Ohio. Ron McConnell was going to come but got waylaid at the last minute, and now that I know Mark Tracy is still in Charleston, I will have to drop him a line when we are heading south (maybe we can photoshop him into the picture). So, Chuck Woodrow, why weren’t you here? And don’t give me any 3000 mile excuse, we had free beer!  Anyway, it was great seeing everybody. And I shouldn’t pick on Woody; I should have picked on one of my other West Point roommates, Ben Cabell, because I don’t even know here he lives!

What's left of the Deltaville Museum
I also had an “OMG!” in the introduction and I’ll bet you are wondering what hat was for. (Actually, after talking about meeting my company mates in 1969, I had to show that, at heart, I am not really that old and am, in fact, quite “hip” (do kids still use that word?). Thus, my use of the abbreviation “OMG.”) Anyway, if you will recall, when we were in Deltaville we took an afternoon and went to the Deltaville Maritime Museum.  Ann and I both liked the models and the discussions of region’s history, but we were a bit disappointed in the lack of real artifacts. Well, it’s a good thing that they didn’t have those artifacts because the museum burnt to the ground less than two weeks after we went and just a few days after we left Deltaville! They are not quite sure how it started, but as you can see, not much is left.
Ok, the “wow!” comes from something you had to see to appreciate – and it was very difficult to get a photo of it so I’ll try to trace out a “word video.” Imagine, if you will, about 50m astern of our boat is a row of smaller boats in another marina. These boats are generally unremarkable, except for one 25’ center console that has a hard top. Over the weekend, an Osprey (aka Sea Eagle) landed on it. Now this isn’t really unusual as we see Ospreys landing on unoccupied boats all the time. What made this event particularly interesting was that, up in a tree about 200m away was another Osprey. And the “Tree Bird” apparently, considered this center console boat part of his domain.  
He launched himself from the tree, went up in the air and circled a few times at about 100 feet.  Then, he slowly dropped down circle by circle. Until he was about 30 feet in the air it looked like he was going to land beside the interloper on the center console and have a discussion with him. Then, at 30 feet, out came the talons. He changed course, headed for the “Boat Bird” and looked like he intended to inflict some damage. The Boat Bird took off at the last minute and got away without any serious wounds. The Tree Bird went back to his roost and the Boat Bird disappeared. It looked like the story was over.  For about five minutes. Until he came back.
Again the Tree Bird launched. This time, though, Boat Bird looked ready. He was watching Tree Bird and was in his “Incredible Hulk” pose; you know the one – head down, eyes focused on his enemy, shoulders haunched and his wings spread a little to make him look a little bigger – just like the Incredible Hulk. This time there wasn’t much flying around; Tree Bird headed straight for Boat Bird. Boat Bird, however, was ready. He did this thing I have only seen on TV. He took a step or two, jumped into the air and turned upside down so he could meet the attacker talon to talon. It looked like – and I couldn’t swear to this – but it looked like he was trying to fend off the attacker’s talons more than he was trying to scratch his body. In fact, now that I think of it, I never saw either of the birds get scratched and the only time I was concerned for the safety of either of them was when it looked like they had interlocked talons and might both fall in the water.  Anyhow, this attack-defend scene was repeated several times until Boat Bird eventually took off.  Boat Bird did return again, but he didn’t land on the center console. I think he was tired of being the upside down defender and wanted the Tree Bird to come after him. But Tree Bird didn’t have any problem with Boat Bird just flying around – it was only when he landed on the center console boat that Tree Bird got upset. Anyway, this took place over about an hour and we eventually got tired and went to dinner.
Speaking of dinner, you will recall that we had one “yuck” and one “yum” in the intro. Let me talk about the “yuck” first. When we had our previous boat, we used to tour the Chesapeake trying to find the best Maryland Cream of Crab Soup.  (For those of you who haven’t had it, it is really good.) Although we found a number of good places over the years, the general consensus was that Pirate’s Cove in Galesville, MD had the best. In fact, on our GPS we had Pirate’s Cover located not by its name, but by the label “The Soup Place.” Although it had been two to three years since we had been to Pirates Cove, I knew it was going to be great and ordered a whole bowl, not just a cup. When they brought it out, I was a little concerned as it looked kind of thick and I didn’t see any crab on top, but I remembered how it tasted and I was sure it would be delicious.
Oh, how times have changed. It looked like soup, but tasted like paste with a little crab juice on top. It wasn’t quite disgusting, but it was certainly NOT GOOD. Moreover, in the past they served the soup with a little bottle of sherry that you could use to sweeten the soup. The bottle was still there, but it tasted like they had diluted the sherry! Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It will be a long time before we go back to Pirate’s Cove.
But we will go back to a place called “The Narrows!” The Narrows is on Kent Island – which is in the middle of the Bay –and belies my description of the typical Chesapeake Restaurant as  having great views with poor service, mediocre food and high prices. The Narrows had great views, great service, wonderful food – but I must admit that it was balanced with VERY high prices. (Their crab cake, for example, though delicious, was listed at “market price;” that turned out to be $37.90 – which we thought kind of steep for lunch.) Anyway, there were four of us and we all had a cup of cream of crab soup. It was GREAT … and they actually gave us sherry so we could sweeten the soup – and it wasn’t diluted!! Better than Mangos? I really don’t know. I may have to go back to both places to try again.
Besides delicious soup, the Narrows had wonderful crab cake. It was so “crabby” that Ann was looking all over for the filler that they must have used to hold the crab together in the cake, but she couldn’t find it. These crab cakes were almost pure crab. The other meals were almost as good. My shrimp salad was delicious and Dave’s beef medallions were excellent.

These graves are dated in the early 1800's.
The really old ones are in the background,
but I didn't want to crawl over all the others to get there.

Finally, I have spent part of almost every day for the past several weeks riding my bike.  I am up to about 20 miles a day. I am not saying that to brag – well, okay maybe a little bit – but to point out that I have been on all the little roads to nowhere within ten miles of the marina – and yes, there are some interesting sites. Not too far away is a farm where William Penn stayed when he visited a friend in Maryland. And not far from there is the first Quaker Meeting Place in Maryland, which is collocated with a Quaker Cemetery that dates to 1672.
Before I turn the Blog over to Ann, I want to let you know that I will be having surgery on my foot and spending my time recuperating over the next month or so. Rather than waste your time and mine on my recovery regime, I will wait ‘til the middle of September before the next entry. But then, we will be getting ready to head south to Florida and the Bahamas!

ANN’S  NOTES:  I have been keeping busy with doctors appointments for myself or making sure all the paperwork and pre-op appointments are done for Michael.  I passed with flying colors and I am DONE. Michael still has a few more to go and once he is up and running (pun intended), we will be more than happy to point Traveling Soul’s bow in a southerly direction.
The boat warming party was a lot of fun…as always with the help of Dave and Joan it went very smoothly. I wish I could have spent more time talking to all our guests … these type of events seem to go so quickly.  As Michael stated many of his classmates attended and he was both surprised and delighted to see them.
We are still having a few improvements made to the boat. I sometimes wonder why the marine industry and the companies that work for them are so slow. An example is I need to replace a shower liner in our shower (sounds like a simple request … not so fast) It is on a special little track, the liner needs to have the special tape that has the beads that go into the track. I bought the liner and then asked for an estimate … well three weeks later and after many phone calls I finally got a response. I really just do not get it. To cite another example, we are still waiting to have the motor put into our winch…Geez guys … they don’t look that busy … I am just saying.
I have had some wonderful times with friends. I miss my “girl-friend” time and I have tried to set up as many dates as I can, so far so good.
We spent last week-end with our grandchildren Caylin and Gavin. They slept over Friday and Saturday nights. Thank heaven the marina has a play area and a pool. Those two kids have energy to spare. Both of them love to swim and that was good because when bed time rolled around they were more than ready to sleep. Whenever we watch them, I am reminded why we had our children while we were younger … much younger J
Oh … I think I know what was holding that crab cake together that we had at The Narrows…
The answer is … our credit card
It was yummy and excellent but very expensive
The restaurants must be paying the crab community death insurance payoffs.
Traveling Soul…OUT