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Illustrated vacation Post Part 2

One thing I really miss about the East Coast is narrow and winding country roads. We have our fair share of backroads in the Midwest but not so many that are really curvy and hilly like back east. 20+ years ago when I started college at Virginia Tech, I discovered several shortcuts to get me from Blacksburg back up to Northern Virginia on free weekends. Most of these involved the narrow state roadways that at one time served as farm to market roads. Ever since then, I've driven these roads every chance I get. So the prospect of a whole day driving down to see jellyfish was one to be savored. I lost myself in the experience of sailing down VA Rt 20, through horse and farm country at breakneck speeds. Ignoring the danger of cops. Anticipating the surprise of what might lie over the next hill or around the next curve. Speeding up on curves and feeling the centrifugal (or is it centripetal) force on my body. Speeding up on hills and feeling my stomach drop out as I fell down the other side. I didn't stop even for gas all the way down to Roanoke from Mineral.

Upon getting to Roanoke, I realized I'd left jellyfish's contact info at home on my computer. I prayed she was listed in the phone book. As luck would have it, there were two people with that last name. I knew she didn’t live with anyone so I figured Butch was out of the question so I called the one that just listed a single initial letter. It rang and rang with no answer.

So I called Deb at home and asked her to call information and ask for a number. 30 minutes later she called me back. Unbeknownst to me, Jellyfish had been to the doctor and had gotten home just after I’d tried to call her. In the meantime, Deb had gotten her number and called her to make sure she was home. Apparently they had a pleasant little conversation because when Deb called me back she told me how nice she had seemed on the phone. Then she gave me the number. I called and got directions and within 20 minutes was driving down her street.

Because she was sick, I didn’t take any pictures. She promised to email me one but as of yet I’ve not seen one…hint hint.

She turned out to be one hell of an awesome person. We started chatting in her kitchen around 7:30. About 8 we decided to go to her backyard because it was warm and pleasant out. We opened a bottle of Riesling her family bottles at their vineyard . It was yummy and it didn’t take us long to drink it. We sat and talked for awhile longer and decided around 11 pm it might be nice if we got some food since we were planning to drink more. She gave me a tour of Roanoke and we looked for someplace open to eat. Finding none we went back to her house and each ate half of an Italian sandwich she had in the fridge. But the backyard and the alcohol were calling. I had three bottles of Mead Eric had given me. Two bottle he’d made himself and one commercial bottle of Chaucer Mead. So we went for the first bottle of home brew. We drank and talked, drank and talked. Then the bottle of Chaucer magically got opened. I was holding out on the bottle of Tupelo honey Mead but eventually it fell victim to our revelry as well. When all was said and done we’d consumed 4 bottles of wine/mead between the two of us and had talked until 6 am.

When we noticed the sun coming up, we figured it was time to get to bed so we returned to our respective rooms and slept until noon. Amazingly I don’t think either of us experienced any sort of hangover symptoms. That was nice. We talked a bit more and I finally got a shower and told her to kick me out about 1:30 or so. She was still under the weather from a sinus infection and needed some sleep. So I gave her a big hug and let her go back to bed. I got on the road for an 8 hour drive down to the coast. More speed racing down curvy backroads until I got to I-40 near Greensboro, NC then made my way down the coast from there. I finally got to my folks house around 8 pm. Went to Wally World for some groceries and then went back to watch a little TV and get to bed.

The next day, I was to go see Tracy in Smithfield and dragoneerl in Wayne County, down near Goldsboro, but not until afternoon. I was planning to go see ryl and gnominclature over in Greenville later on but that didn’t pan out time wise. So after sleeping in a bit, I headed over to Morehead City to buy some shrimp. If you get up early enough, you can go right down to the docks and buy it off the shrimp boats coming in. But of course I slept in so I had to try and find the Brown van, The Blue Jeep or the Blue Bus. These are Morehead City landmarks for buying fresh shrimp. The owners move them around the city from time to time and park in whatever available lot they can find. Saves on paying overhead on a permanent location but confuses the potential customers sometimes. You can often stop at any of the gas stations and ask if anyone has seen the Blue Jeep or any of the others and usually someone will know. I’d cruised all the way up past the exit to go across the Causeway to Atlantic Beach with no luck. So I turned back to search Western Morehead. I was in luck this time, I found the Brown Van and he still had shrimp left aplenty. A quick check of his sign revealed he had shrimp for $1.99 a pound. Caught fresh that morning in the Core Sound. He was a personable old guy and didn’t seem to mind that I took pictures so I got 20 pounds of shrimp from him. His only problem is the more he talked, the slower he weighed out the shrimp.

I kept looking at my watch because I’d been planning to leave about 11 am to get up to Smithfield by 1:30. It was then 10:45 and I still had to get home and shower. But he kept plodding along digging the shrimp out of the cooler.

There were a couple eager seagulls hanging about and he would occasionally toss them some small minnow or crab that had gotten caught in the nets. They didn’t seem to mind.

He finally finished up around 11:30 and I took my 20 lbs of shrimp and headed to the house running very late.

It was close to 2:30 pm when I got to Smithfield and called Tracy, despite going 80 or better most of the way there. She met me at the library and we hit a Mexican restaurant and had a nice lunch. Then it was off to Hinnant Family Vineyard just outside of town. Are you getting the idea that wine was a theme of my trip yet? Tracy and I did the wine tasting and they have some great varieties. I especially liked the Muscadine Blush. Not as good as Duplin’s Scuppernong Blush but close. Tracy knew the guy pouring the wine and they had fun joking around. He was a nice guy and he gave us a tour of the winery. I have to say that after you’ve seen one winery, there isn’t much left to ooh and ahh about at other wineries but it was still a fun tour.

After the tour, I gave the guide one bottle each of Tropical Terror and my Cayenne Sauce. He really liked them both and told me he’d try to get the winery owner to feature them in the gift shop. I’m not holding my breath on that but it would be cool if it worked out. I’m just glad people like what I make.

After the tour and tasting and buying several bottles, Tracy had to go back and pick up her kids so I gave her a big hug and then headed down to Southern Wayne High School to see dragoneerl and watch the JV football team he helps to coach get completely blown off the field by South Nash JV. But still, it was fun to watch. Tracy showed back up with her youngest during the 4th quarter and we both sat in the stands watching the game, joking and laughing at dragoneerl behind his back. Seriously dude, next time you play that team, just don’t let them get the ball and they won’t be able to score. Because I think they did score every time they got the ball. Hehehehehe.

It was long past dark when the game ended so I said my goodbyes to the both of them and headed back down to the beach. Got to the folk’s house, fed the cat and made myself some shrimp and pasta before settling down to watch The Big Lebowski. I haven’t been able to get that "just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in" song out of my head for two weeks now. At around Midnight I remembered I needed to take the heads off the shrimp and get them in the freezer for the trip home. So for the next two house I leaned over the sink heading the shrimp and counting them. I stopped at 1,000 shrimp and figured I just had a buttload and stopped worrying about how many were in each bag. My fingers were swollen and bloody from getting stabbed with shrimp barbs and I came up with a great name for a band. The Shrimp Whiskers. Go ahead and use it if you want, just remember to give me credit when the royalty checks start pouring in. I’d go see the Shrimp Whiskers, wouldn’t you?

The next morning I’d planned to get up early and head down to the beach for at least some wading in the ocean and some photography before making the drive up to High Point for the wedding the next day. The details of that experience will be included in the next and final installment.

To be continued…




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
This bad username hopes to see you around Winter Holiday Season. :P
Oct. 6th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how those happened. You'd think I wouldn't mess up 3 separate user names. Maybe I didn't put them in quotes. At the moment I'm still planning on heading there around Xmas. We'll have to see what the job situation holds out for me.

Oct. 6th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
I cannot view anything. I keep getting this when I click on any link:

Not Found

The friend group you are trying to access does not exist.
Oct. 7th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
OK, it's fixed.

Oct. 7th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
Speeding up on curves and feeling the centrifugal (or is it centripetal) force on my body.

It's centripetal. Centrifugal means "center-fleeing" and it's a fictitious force...sort of. When you go around a corner in a car, your body has a tendency to continue moving in a straight line at a constant speed (Newton's first law). A force must act upon it to change its direction. That force is provided by the seat and the seatbelt and whatever else you feel yourself pressing against as you swing around the curve. The force is directed inward toward the center of the curve, hence, it is called centripetal ("center-seeking"). It causes centripetal acceleration that bends the direction of your velocity toward the center of the circle. So instead of you trying to fly outward, you're really trying to go straight while the car curves in to meet you.

Now, if you remember Newton's laws, you may be saying "Ah, but the third law says that for every force there is an equal and opposite counterforce. Doesn't that mean that if a centripetal force is pushing inward on me, I should also be exerting a centrifugal force outward on the car?" The answer is yes, and it's referred to as the reactive centrifugal force, but it doesn't work like most people assume it does. The r.c.f. is a passive force that your body exerts because you can't be pushed without pushing back, whereas the centripetal force is actively changing your direction.

Here's another example that proves that the centrifugal force is fictitious. Imagine tying a weight to the end of a string and swinging it in a wide circle over your head. Now cut the string at any point. If centrifugal force were really pushing outward on the weight, you would expect it to go flying straight outward from the center of rotation, but of course that's not what happens. In stubborn adherence to Newton's laws, the weight flies off in the last direction it was travelling before the string was cut. In other words, the weight's path makes a tangent to the circle in which it was moving. The string provided the centripetal force to constantly alter the weight's movement into a circular path; when that force was removed, the weight went straight. The reactive centrifugal force was the counterforce provided by the weight as the string tugged on it; it kept the string taut as it swung around. But there is no active force pulling outward on either the weight or the string.

So there you go. Physics!

Heh, I should have shaved before you took that picture...oh well.
Oct. 7th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
I love you man. You need to meet my friend Eric. You two would get along. One of his kids has seen every episode of Classic Star Trek the otehr is in love with Land of the Lost.

Oct. 7th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
Oh and the links are fixed now.

Oct. 7th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
I can't see the photos.
But,the words make me want to do it all again!
Oct. 7th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Pictures are fixed now. We may have a chance to do it again soon love.

Oct. 7th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
Very nice photos, I love that old scale!
One of these days I need to go visit Tracy and Luke and the Bad Usernames.
Oct. 9th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, they are an interesting bunch and very pretty country too.

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )