Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunset Party Boat

Not sure what the first song you hear is, but the second is definitely by the Doobie Brothers. Rock 'n' Roll never, ever, dies.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Road Trip Day 3, 4, 5, 6 Tarboro > Charlotte > Franklin > Sarasota

After our morning walk around downtown Tarboro, we drove 4 hours to Charlotte, NC, where we stopped to visit my cousin, John MacNair, his wife, Nadine Bennett, their 4-year old son, Ian, and their pet corgi, Rosie (The Riveter).

John and I were born two weeks apart in 1968, though we were supposed to have been born on the same day. Turned out I was late and he was early. Alas. After dinner, John took us for a tour of downtown Charlotte.

We hit the road again the next day and drove to Franklin, NC, where my mother now spends her summers.

She lives in a camper on the banks of the Cullasaja River.

In the evening Lori and I went for an amble down a country lane.

Next day I rested a bit while Lori went into town with my mother and her friend, Ginger. When they returned, we drank some afternoon refreshments and played a card game called tick, a variation of O Hell!, which I recently learned is Bill Clinton's favorite card game.

(My mother is the one sitting opposite me. Ginger is to my right and Ann to my left. My mother and Ginger had just returned from three weeks in South Africa. At some point they gave us the full slide show, which was pretty spectacular.) Next morning we roused ourselves for another 12-hour car ride to Sarasota.

On the way, part of my exhaust system came loose. We didn't realize it at the time, but it was a forward-facing pipe, which meant that had we hit a divot in the road (at 70 mph) the pipe would have shot up into the bottom of the car and catapulted us to our deaths. We called AAA, who gave us the address of a muffler shop in Valdosta, GA that could service us right away. Somehow, we drove 15 miles or more without killing ourselves. The muffler shop was run by a guy named Bubba (I swear), who looked a bit like David Wells in the offseason. Bubba was super-friendly guy who rigged up the pipe so we could get on the road and make it to Sarasota safely. He also told us how much all the work we are going to need should cost so we don't get ripped off when we take it in. Thanks, Bubba!

Anyhow, we made it alive to Sarasota, where we sleeped deeply.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Road Trip Day 1, 2 ,3 Buffalo > Tarboro

Day 1 we drove twelve hours from Buffalo to Tarboro, NC, where we spent two nights visting with Brian Lampkin and family. We got in pretty late on Saturday night and stayed up gossiping until 2:30 in the morning. Next morning (Day 2) Brian took us to the very rural workshop of outsider artist Vollis Simpson. Vollis is a 90-year-old artist and metal worker who builds windmills, whirligigs and other moving structures that range in size from objects that fit on a table-top to massive sculptures that would be at home in a theme park among roller coasters and other such large metal objects.

Vollis was in and working in his shop when we arrived. He is a strong, wiry man with a powerful handshake and a thick NC drawl. Somehow, we managed not to get a picture of him, but this gives a pretty good sense of his workshop.

After visiting with Vollis, we drove for a real live NC BBQ at a place called Gardner's.

Highly recommended if you happen to be in the Tarboro area.

We played poker and gossiped late into the night.

Day 3 Brian gave us a tour of downtown Tarboro and environs before we headed to Charlotte to visit my cousin John.