Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hanging on the Cape

Cape Cod.  The Cape.  Visions of the Kennedys, high society, miles of beaches, souvenir shops, and, yes, a paradise of debauchery emerge.

After talking about going for many years, I crossed the line late in the evening of July 8th, making the approach to the Bourne Bridge.

But it wasn't that easy.  Never is, is it?

We got a late start - hitting the road at 6:45 on Sunday night...and arrived in Eastham, MA at our wonderful house (some might call it a "cottage") just before midnight.  Traveling in two cars, with Sean and I leading the way and Lisa behind us, we made a few stops, including at the rest area just outside of Sturbridge, MA where we wondered if they had to go find the meats to make our sandwich at a farm.  It shouldn't have taken that long!

So Sunday was, for intents and purposes, lost.  We settled in - Sean crashing on an air bed and Lisa and I opting for a small tent outside of the house on the deck.  Too small, in fact, as my restless sleep sent me inside to the couch (my call, not hers).

Monday was the first true day of the trip.  We needed to settle in, get acquainted, and let the fun begin.  That's exactly what we did, staying near the house for some relaxation, including hanging out in the always comfy hammock.  We would meet up with our good friends Mick and Gretchen that night for a seafood dinner (though I think we would all agree that it wasn't exactly the best that the Cape has to offer).

Tuesday was our day!  So it seemed, as we climbed on our bicycles for the trek to Coast Guard Beach.  The obvious advantage to traveling like this is that you don't need to pay to enter any of the beaches.  Bring a car, and bring your $15!  So we traveled via two wheels and, while I'm proud to say that we survived, it was a survival of the fittest (and most sane).  Sean is still very much in the learning stages of riding a bike and this was, by far, his biggest adventure yet.  And still, with the uber-patient Lisa next to him, he did so much better than he thought!

This was the payoff: the first view of the Atlantic Ocean, which, despite having a great white shark hanging out not too far from here a few days earlier, was cool and comfortable on this day.  While not a beach person per se, I'm getting a little more comfortable out there (and bought myself a sun shelter and a chair with a canopy to keep me from sunburn), I'm beginning to really enjoy the beach.  Honestly, I didn't want to leave, but given the ride back to the house, we knew we must go.  Lisa left us in case she needed to drive a car to pick us up (it took her all of about 20 minutes to get back to the house - freaking experienced bike rider), and Sean and I hour (if not more).  I love my son, but he might be the first child to walk a bike DOWN a hill!

For dinner that night, we went to the Orleans Inn, just down the road in Orleans.  Sean liked the pager that he was given.
I liked sitting on the deck, enjoying the clam chowder, and this amazing picture of Lisa, who says she's not photogenic (sigh).
Oh, I might have missed a detail of Tuesday.  Heading back to Monday night, I set up a larger tent for Lisa and I to stay in, leaving the smaller tent to Sean.  We all woke up Tuesday to the sound of lawn mowers - OK, nothing unusual there - except that these lawn mowers were roaring around "our" yard, and shooting grass all over everything: the tents, the house, and the cars.  And they shot rocks at our cars, breaking one of Lisa's windows!
In the end, it was a minor issue, as insurance and a local glass company had the whole thing fixed by Friday afternoon.  But still, it was annoying at the time.  Best to stay calm, and I think we did.

Tuesday night, we tried to play mini-golf and a few things were learned: A) sometimes, I can play pretty well (hole in one on my first shot of the round).  B) I can also fade when ruffled (especially by a child).  C) Lisa, who hasn't played in 20 years, is good, but... D) She's also a little competitive.  I want to play real golf with her, but not if I want to dump an adult beverage on her head to stop her smack-talking.  And all of this leads me to E) Sean.  Sigh.  That kid expects to be perfect every time.  Noble, indeed, but not possible, especially when he is ten and never practices and is always putting himself in competition with me, who has been doing it much longer.  Result?  He didn't even come close to winning, and I didn't come close to winning by a larger margin.

It's supposed to be fun, no?

Now we're onto Wednesday.  More beach time, we hoped.  This time, we would head to Massachusetts Bay.  I let Lisa serve as tour guide for this trip, while I get comfortable with the Cape.  She recommended Great Island in Wellfleet, where we would walk a bit but the dunes would be cool and the beach would be nice.  So we parked.  Then we walked, and enjoyed the view.
Then we reached a sign that said, essentially, that particular beach was closed due to something related to nesting birds.  The only available beach was a mile away, which we tried to walk for a bit.  It got hotter...and the sand began to burn...and so on.  Sean and I stayed game (but I think we all knew the reality was that we were going to leave).  Lisa gave the word and we bailed.  Fast.  FAIL!  But not before Lisa and Sean changed shoes.  To be honest, Lisa, who has a thing for camouflage, just wanted to wear Sean's came flip flops.

We tried First Encounter Beach in Eastham and while we hit the water for some fun, we were also getting eaten by these nasty greenheaded flies.  We were done.

On occasion, we were break things up by hitting the beach near "our" house, allowing us the advantage of being close to home, and still being able to relax.  Beaches and pools both have their drawbacks.  The pool was in the ground, with a depth of eight feet, with a comfy temperature.  We spent some of Thursday at that very pool before jumping in the car to head to Provincetown.

If you're not open-minded, you might want to skip P-town.  As I'm teaching my child to be respectful of all people, I can say we had fun.  Now I will admit that my goal of driving to P-town was to see the end of US 6, my hometown road that begins in Bishop, CA and rolls 3205 miles across the US, passing through the heart of Mahopac (along with sub-route NY 6N).  It used to start at the Pacific at Long Beach, but was truncated (foolishly) in 1964.  I'll have to go back to Provincetown to really get a feel for the eastern end/beginning of US 6, because I drove to the end after dark.  Signage was absolutely terrible (from what I could find).
Just a note...this is NOT the historic route of US 6.  This actually is US 6.  Damn.

On Friday, we headed into the town of Chatham, a beautiful village, extremely typical of what one expects Cape Cod to be.  Some nice shopping, some trendy restaurants, and a lot of money.  Personally, I'm not complaining.  I enjoyed it.

Sean and I grabbed some time to visit the Marconi Beach area on Friday night, where Guglielmo Marconi worked to establish wireless communication across the Atlantic in 1903.  That, of course, was interesting to me.
We found it, but it wasn't all that exciting.  Still it was cool for me to see.

Saturday was a day for more pool time, but we quickly pulled ourselves together to run to Skaket Beach in Orleans to see the tide go out and play in the bay!
Lisa and I sat and talked (and listened to the Yankees/Angels game on my phone!) while Sean built and dug and put crabs into his little "ecosystem" that he built.
But as this is me, and I love all things baseball, we went to the Orleans Firebirds/Wareham Gatemen game.  I was in heaven...with the woman I care so much for (and, yes, we did announce that we're "in a relationship" on Facebook) and the son who is my world.  Watching my favorite sport.  Talking with some play-by-play announcers.  A beautiful night weather wise.  What could possibly go wrong?
Safe to say that I look happy, no?

But note to self: feed your weary fellow travelers BEFORE the game in the future.  Lesson learned.

Sunday, simply, was time to go home.  Nobody wanted to - we all agreed that we would have liked to stayed longer, and that we would like to do this again.  The chemistry is pretty nice between three of us, but we're still learning.

So much fun was had and, yet, we barely scraped the surface of the Cape.  It seems will, indeed, have to go back!

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