Beach Buggy Trial Run

July 16-19, 2021, first “vacation” in over a year.

Freshly Groomed and Ready for Action

I’ve been trying to get this out for over a week now. It’s too long, I know. And for anyone who has already heard the details, it’s old news. But it’s a record of yet another Beach Buggy Adventure. Simplicity? There were moments….

Day 1: The Plan: It’s been way too long since I’ve put my 63 year old feet into the ocean. They hurt again. Plantar Fasciitis? Or just 63 year old bones and muscles? Either way, they need the ocean just as much as my soul needs it. We’ll be going there in the morning, catching the sunrises if we can, but also catching the morning quiet. We will probably see dolphins, and seagulls and sand crabs. I’ll come back with yet another bag of shells “to make something with.” At least, that’s the plan, once we actually get there. 

Day 2: Getting There: Hmmm. How does driving 60 miles end up taking 3 hours? Not to mention the lack of air conditioning with outside temperatures over 100. Traffic. I forgot that little detail. Construction on the one major tunnel between Colonial Williamsburg and “the beach.” I could go on with my whining, but it’s not worth the energy. Especially since I used up all my energy sweating, and worrying that some little buzz car might try to cut us off and we’d just run over them like little bugs on the road. 

And that’s how the next 3 hours went, hot, sweaty, slow, irritating, bumpy, never-ending buzz cars and ridiculously little motorcycles zipping by as if they had to get somewhere important.

I guess building a new tunnel is a pretty big deal since there were about 50 barges with various gargantuan sized pieces of tunnel-building equipment looming overhead and enough pilings to create a modern day cathedral on the water. It was all so big and overstated that my eyes could hardly take it all in.  And, for some reason, all this activity on the water, beside the current tunnel, created a bottleneck 15 miles away so that every single one of us,  all the moms and dads and college students, and eighteen-wheeler truckers, even the buzz cars and little motorcycles had to creep along at 5 miles per hour. 

But eventually we made it to the other side safely and even though the road was way more bumpy and narrow and unpredictable, miraculously the a/c started working again. Sigh. We made it to the campground just as a thunderstorm was beginning to brew. So, no beach, at least not tonight.

Day 3: Beware of Expectations

We did what we said we’d do. We got up early, ate a light breakfast, took some pictures of the amazing lotus garden and headed to the beach. We were the first ones in the parking lot. The ladies who were in charge were already sweating in their uniforms and fanny packs, but they were friendly and told us we could come and go all day for $5 but only if there was an empty space when we came back. There were about 10 empty places at the crack of dawn, so we decided it wasn’t worth the stress to even try to come back.

So, across the parking lot, up the soft sandy hill and down the 14 miles of sand to the water’s edge. All we had was our chairs and some sunscreen. It was hot and no breeze, and, since it was so early, the sun was making itself known in a big way. We stayed for about 30 minutes until more people started coming, lighting up cigarettes and ignoring their screaming children. Not exactly what we were dreaming of, so we left saying we’d come back later in another part of the beach.

First look at the ocean in 465 days. Deceptively simple, but extremely HOT!

Day 4: Finally, The vacation part

Today’s agenda: Shuck 15 ears of corn, get the oversized “Lowcountry Boil” pot and its companion oversized portable grill, and head to the rented beach house to spend the day with brothers, sisters in law, nieces and nephews and all their little ones. Lots of Crosby Stills and Nash music, smoked pork, Sonya’s famous potato salad and more desserts than any of us could manage. It was a feast, and a great reconnect face to face. But I left with a lot of unfinished conversations rolling in my head. Still, the beach was waiting.

After a long day with family members and still no real beach sand in my shoes, I was determined to go back. This time there was a nice breeze. People were packing up and taking their cigarettes and grumpy kids home and we were delighted to sit under the pier and watch the waves and the clouds and the sand crabs and birds. That’s it. That’s the simplicity we were waiting for.

I noticed more clouds moving in from behind us. When I turned to take a picture, this is what I found:

We waited, enjoyed the breeze and the relative peace for another 30 minutes, then decided the thunder was heading our way. We got back to the RV in time to realize that we were in the middle of a flood zone and it was going to rain a lot during the night. Here’s the road in its “normal” state:

Day 5: Rained Out, Almost Flooded In

As we’ve done in the past, we decided there was no more fun to be had on this trip. It looked like we might be trapped for several says if we didn’t get out the next morning. Luckily, my phone got enough connection for five minutes so I could check the tide schedule, and sure enough, it was going to be low tide at 9 a.m. which meant the flooded road might not be so bad after all. No more convincing needed. We got out of there early, drove back through that very same tunnel with NO traffic, and soon we were sitting on the couch with our feet up and favorite beverages by our sides.

Adventure over. If I was going to give it a grade, well, it wouldn’t really matter, because even when you get rained out or it’s just too hot to go to the beach, or even when the family stuff gets a little predictable, you know you’re gonna try again and have the same old expectations and disappointments and life will go on.

So, Ms. Beach Buggy waits patiently for her next little trip. And so do we.

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