We initially figured we wouldn’t do a post about our time off the boat, but then we later figured we’d forget stuff unless we memorialized at least a couple of things in writing and this seems like the best place.
Way back on May 7—when Millinocket, Maine, probably still was buried under six feet of snow—we left Misty Pearl in Zimmerman’s expensive but very capable hands and headed off to Nags Head for a week or so. Very cool places along the Outer Banks. We put it on the list of places where we might move, even if just to put those neat OBX stickers on our cars.
They have beaches, and pickleball, and the Wright Brothers’ launch site, and delicious restaurants. Even the Citgo gas station has good food. We stopped there twice for the biscuits. Dana’s effort to look at the magazines was thwarted by the wrappers, but the biscuits were awesome.
The worst thing about Nags Head is that’s where we finished the last season of Justified. By our count there’s about $9 million missing from what Ava stole from Boyd after Boyd extorted it from Sam Elliott, who without the mustache doesn’t at all look like Sam Elliott as The Stranger who dispensed wisdom to The Dude at the bowling alley bar. Doug tried to enlist Charlie to help look for the money up in Harlan but Charlie says he won’t go to Kentucky. Charlie’s from Mississippi, but as the great Kristofferson noted, “Everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.”
On the way up to D.C. we checked in with Zimmerman. The old girl looked different out of the water, but things remained on pace to be ready for us to leave Mobjack Bay with Brent and Karen on June 8.
Then on up to to Georgetown for Mallory’s graduation. Woo hoo! We’re quite proud of The Punkin. It’s been a good four years for her. She bolstered her independence, made lifelong friends, obtained a valuable diploma, and all that.
One of us fears, however, that she’ll look back with more than a little regret. Four years worth of wasted opportunity to appreciate the places where dramatic moments happened in The Exorcist. Like Dalhgren Chapel. Heck, we took post-commencement photos at Dahlgren Chapel without Mallory knowing anything at all about that time Linda Blair desecrated the Virgin Mary statue with a penis in there. Mallory lived less than a hundred yards from the stairs where Father Karras committed suicide to rid himself of the demon who swapped out of Regan. Completely lost on her.
There should be a law requiring all Georgetown University students to watch the movie, hokey though it may be. Oh well, their loss.
Unless one of the girls or some other family member becomes President, we ain’t going back. However, we did discover something more harrowing than driving around D.C. in a car and then looking for a parking space. Driving around D.C. and then looking for a parking space in a U-Haul truck is waaaaay worse. We’d rather dock Misty Pearl in a canoe slip. Stern first. Without thrusters. Blindfolded. In a hurricane.
Anyway, with Shannon’s help we somehow got Mallory packed up and out and we escaped toward the green hills of Tennessee. The four siblings took Mallory’s car. Doug drove the truck. Dana decided ten hours in a U-Haul listening to Hardcore History and then unloading the truck sounded like less fun than visiting her family in Austin for a few days, so her short car trip ended at Reagan National.
Back in Ooltewah, we rented yet another storage unit. Of course we rented yet another storage unit, because renting storage units across the country is what we do. And since we were back in Tennessee it seemed fitting to get this one at Billy Bob’s. That’s not even a joke.
The trouble was, we rented it online. (Shockingly, Billy Bob has a website.) Doug rolled over Tuesday afternoon to sign the paperwork and unload. “Closed on Tuesdays” says the sign on the door. What the hell? There should be a law against storage places being closed on weekdays.
The absolute highlight of the month was the epic Roger Alan Wade concert Lewis and Terri hosted. Yup, he actually came and played for three hours in the backyard, with some of Doug’s friends from the old days in attendance.
Amazingly cool, even if he did skip some of his kinda vulgar songs in deference to the children and the weak-hearted.
Next, a four-day drive up to Maine to deliver Mallory to the top of the AT. Shannon has friends in these parts so we stopped in Portland for a couple of nights so she could visit them. Nice kids.
We’re not from Maine and don’t know for sure, but there just might be a law requiring tourists to stop at the LL Bean mothership for gear and a photo with The Bean Boot. So we did, just in case.
The snow was gone by the time we reached Millinocket, which counts as a “town” mostly because it has a McDonald’s. But it’s close to Mt. Katahdin, which is the starting point for AT southbounders and which also photobombed a photo of the girls and Oscar.
Unfortunately, snow and rain delayed the opening of Katahdin until at least June 15. Mallory wasn’t in any mood to wait around, so she started off northbound about 150-miles south, then—assuming the ticks and mosquitos don’t suck down all of her life-forces—will shuttle back to head south from where she started. Dana hiked the first fifteen miles with her, although the last three were caused unnecessarily by the lack of cell-phone service. Long story, but all ended well.
So now Mallory’s off on her six-month hike before starting grad school in January. Shannon flew out of Philadelphia for her return to summer life as a paddle-board and snorkel instructor on Catalina Island before returning to Eckerd. They’re both completely awesome.
Today we picked up the former Second Wave crew—or is it the crew from the boat formerly known as Second Wave?—in Herrington Harbor. We’re super excited to cruise with Brent and Karen again.
They’ll travel with us back up the Chesapeake Bay for a week or so. Or—since the weather forecast looks pretty grim right now—maybe they’ll just sit on the boat in Zimmerman’s yard with us for a week or so. Either way, when we finally get out of this place we’ll have just one more stop before crossing our wake at the mouth of the Potomac.
Now for the horrible part. Old age and poor health finally caught up to little Benny in Chattanooga. We shed many tears and probably aren’t over it yet. He was a huge part of the family for most of the girls’ lives. We miss him greatly.