Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fun and Mishaps on the Shenandoah

So a few friends and I took a brief weekend trip out to the rural Shenandoah Valley for a much needed end of summer weekend getaway.

Saturday morning Sal, Sancho and I crammed all of our outdoor equipment into the back of my truck with not an inch to spare and set out on Route 66 westbound.

We ended up getting to our destination (the Down River Canoe Company) well before the rest of our crew so we took the initiative to set up our tents and camping equipment at our campsite nearby.

I had brought most of my extra gear for Bryan and his wife who are novice campers.

A couple of hours later we were loaded into a bright yellow school bus and driven the three miles upstream by an older butch looking woman.

Our goal was to float down and into our campsites. The river was seasonably low and moving at a snails pace. In a couple locations we were forced to get off of our inner tubes and push ourselves over rocks. "That's ok", I thought. "It's all about the relaxation."

At one point the river picked up and we managed to find a pretty decent sized swimming hole. Not too long after that I hopped off my raft to "relieve myself" of all the beer I had consumed. While I was attempting to leap back onto the raft, my foot slipped off a flat rock and managed to impale itself on a very sharp rock adjacent to the flat one. Blood immediately began gushing down my foot. I was concerned because as beautiful as the Shenandoah is, I knew of its reputation as a make shift sewer system for dairy cattle.

Retrospectively, I should have gotten medical attention immediately. But so it goes. After a long day of being in the open sun and rafting we finally made it to the Low Water Bridge.

Shortly thereafter with overwhelming appetites we started up the grill and threw on some hot dogs and burgers that would end up taking over 4 hours to cook.

We ended up getting a blazing campfire going and cooking our dogs over it. Even though I've sworn off eating pork, I was so hungry that I chose to disregard my moral principles and chow down on a dog or two.

The next morning the aching in my foot was starting to get the better of me. After the hour and a half drive back to DC, I hobbled over to Matilda's house to show her my battle wounds. She insisted that I go to Urgent Care and get stitches immediately. After thinking about it for a minute and remembering that the open sore on my foot had been marinating in the foul water of Shenandoah river for quite a while I decided it might be a good idea to get it looked at.

Three hours later I found myself face down on a doctors bed and a crusty doctor injecting my foot with Novocaine. Talk about excruciating pain! The needles hurt more than the abrasion. The doctor said that I had punctured my foot pretty deep and that it was at risk for an infection.

I am still taking my antibiotics and can not put pressure on the back of my foot.

All injuries aside, it still turned out to be a beautiful weekend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cape Follow Up

So, I've been extremely bad about updating my blog lately. Chalk it up to two parts "lack of energy", a teaspoon of "loss of ambition" with a smidgen of "scarcity of time"? ... or just call me a lazy stooge.

After a three year hiatus from the outer extremities of Massachusetts's, my plane touched down tenderly at Logan International airport slightly ahead of schedule. Imagine that! Just a few minutes later I found myself nervously awaiting on my large backpack that happened to be meticulously packed with a weeks worth of provisions. After a few anxious minutes, I grabbed my pack and hopped aboard a small water taxi in search of the high speed ferry.

The sixty mile ride across Cape Cod Bay aboard The Provincetown III would prove itself to be more of a gay cruise than a means of transportation for the overwhelming majority of the people on the boat. Public displays of affection were indiscreet and in no short supply, not that I'm complaining. In fact, beyond seeing a whale breach, it was one of the more amusing happenings on the ninety minute ride.

The ferry gingerly pulled in to the Provincetown pier around 1:30 pm. A close friend of my parents was kind enough to volunteer to pick me up.

Thanks to brother Rick my entire tent was already set up. This was already looking to be a great vacation.

The next day was even better. The weather was perfect and we went down to Head of the Meadow beach for our first beach day. Had I known that this would be one of our only beach days, I would have stayed longer. In any case, it was great to see my brother Tim in the ocean for the first time in 17 years. He was the first one in the ocean and the last out, none of my nieces or nephews had the stamina to stay in longer.

After a couple of days of rain in the campground, our spirits were becoming slightly frazzled. Tim and I took the liberty to buy about five pounds of Mussels and two dozen clams. Since my stomach was slightly queasy from all the Miller Lite swilled the night before, Tim was on his own. About an hour later, an empty twelve pack of Budweiser and a full garbage can of what was just previously five pounds of mussels stood before Tim.

During the nights we managed to commandeer someone else's beach fire almost every night. Rick, Tim, Jim and I sat by the ocean drinking beer, smoking cigars and taking it all in.

The following day I bought some sand eels at the bait store and threw in a line to see what was biting. Apparently crabs have a fondness for sand eels because I was constantly re-baiting my hook. I also tried to do some snorkeling and ended up entangled in some guys fishing line. I didn't see a damn thing. I'm convinced Cape Cod is now devoid of sea life (except crabs).

The last few days were somewhat stressful. Powerful wind storms had picked up. Everyone was in the mood to get on home. The next morning everyone took off except for my mother, Kevin, his family and myself. It was odd not having everyone around and I was looking forward to getting home myself as well.

The following day Kevin dropped me off in P-town and I hopped on board the ferry back to Boston. On the way back I noticed many of the same people from the ride over. However, instead of a loud festive atmosphere, most people were passed out, sprawled across seats or drinking bottled water. I laughed to myself. "It must be hard being gay".

Oh and on a final note, while sitting in the Boston airport waiting for my plane to come in from Washington I heard someone say "Thanks John", I looked up and who else would it have been? None other than John Kerry!