To Maryland and Virginia

In July (and into August, actually), we went to Maryland to see Ian and Fiona (and their parents). We flew from Medford to Baltimore by way of Phoenix. As you may know, we've had lots of fires within a hundred or fewer miles, so depending on the wind, we've also had smoke in the valley. Not only in the valley, but here is a picture of the (just past, about 4 hours) full moon through the smoke above Mt. Shasta.

That evening there was a little ceremony to honor the swimmers on the Whetstone Whales that made it to the Regional Swim Meet. Fiona made it! Here's a shot of Fiona with some of her friends. Here's the whole crew (probably). The next day (Saturday), Fiona swam. In the time between swimming events, Fiona and Ian relaxed. On Sunday the Whales had their annual awards picnic to celebrate a successful season. Ian and Fiona both got awards. Here's a shot of Fiona and the coaches.

On Monday, Ian, Amelia, and I drove down to Orange, VA and visited the James Madison home, Montpelier. The reconstruction efforts are pretty interesting. The next day we drove on down to Charlottesville to visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. There was a small wait to get in, and we were able to visit the gardens and the cemetary. Ian was suitably attired for the warm, sunny weather. One of the young people's activities was writing with quill and ink, and Ian wrote his name with some flourishes. Here's the back of a structure that no doubt looks a bit familiar. After lunch we drove out to James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit inside, but I took a picture of this plaque celebrating the proximity of the three presidents. It is only about 25 miles between Monticello and Montpelier, and Ash Lawn-Highland is only a couple of miles from Monticello. Jefferson's influence can be seen at Montpelier, but Ash Lawn-Highland is (I believe, even though I haven't seen it) a much more modest dwelling than Montpelier, and certainly much more modest that Monticello. I did manage to take a picture across the fence of this statue of Monroe.

The Outer Banks

On July 27 we set out for Duck, NC, on the Outer Banks. We arrived safely, picked up the key to our rental house and struggled through the traffic to it (Saturday Sunday are the turnover days). We found it without difficulty and it was satisfactory. A few hours later, Evan, Laura, Ian, and Fiona arrived. Here's one of Evan and Fiona at Hailey's pool. Later we got together with some other folks, including Sulwen and Fiona, Phebe, Ian, Quint, and Lauren. Here's a shot of Evan, Fiona, and Sulwen. Time for a little snack. It's been a tough day, eh Lauren?
The next day was BEACH TIME! The beach was less than a quarter of a mile from the house. And a very nice beach it was, with waves of various sizes coming in so one could enjoy them in the water or out, and also do a bit of boogie boarding if so inclined. The pictures are pretty much self explanatory, but I'll denote them with a few words.
' Amelia and Laura
' ' Fiona and Ian try the boogie boards
' ' ' Grandad takes it easy
' ' ' ' Ian and Quint take time out for some sand work
' ' ' ' ' Soon they are back in the water with Grandad watching for waves
' ' ' ' ' And it's a good one!
' ' ' ' ' ' Another one coming
' ' ' ' ' ' ' And another
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Away they go
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Hailey gets in on the fun
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Sulwen likes the beach, too
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Well, pretty well
' ' ' ' ' ' ' Nothing like a nice sunburn
' ' ' ' ' ' Look at that
' ' ' ' ' Tanna and Hailey take a short break
' ' ' ' Big one coming
' ' ' Let's jump
' ' That's a crew if I ever saw one
' Sulwen pretending to be shy
In the evening we went down to the beach to see if we could find some crabs. But, before the crabs, here are Fiona and Laura (and I sort of got the redeye removed). There's Ian with a crab in the dish. Here's a better shot of one on the beach.
Tuesday we had a much less eventful day, I suppose. Amelia and I (and Hailey) went for a little walk up near Tanna and Stephen's place. Along the way, we saw a rabbit. Here Amelia and I and resting on the dock overlooking the sound side of the island. Then we went to see Sulwen, who was up and happy as ever with her Mom and with her Dad. A little later it was beach time again. Here's the "take it easy on the beach" bunch, while Hailey and Quint take out the boogie boards. And bring the Hailey brings her's back in while Quint waits for a better wave. Later we went to Tanna and Stephen's community pool. Before the festivities get underway, here's one of the hosts. I guess this one of me was too good to miss? The kiddie pool was plenty popular, especially when taking a break from the pool . Some of the rest of us just pretended we were taking it easy, like on the beach. There was some friendly competition, as well as some ups and downs.
Wednesday was the Big Day! My children gave me a flight over the Outer Banks (well, at least part of it) in a small airplane. Bright and early that morning Hailey, Evan, and I traveled out to the Dare County Regional Airport where Barrier Aviation has its facility (unfortunately, the airplane on their home page is not the one we took). Be that as it may, here is me and the aircraft we did fly in. Here we are aboard and the front seat's about to get underway, as are (believe it or not) the rear seats. Shortly after takeoff we had a view of Kill Devil Hill and the Wright Brothers National Memorial. We circled around the neighborhood where we were staying, and Evan took this picture of our house, in the center of the picture. Another shot from the ocean side shows the house, just behind the house with the pool. A bit further north we saw the Corolla lighthouse and beyond that a shot of the bay side of the island, and for those with sharp eyes, there are some horses. Further north on the ocean side, the houses are less crowded, but access by motor vehicle is by driving on the beach. Heading back south we fly by Hailey's condo (mid- picture) with the Duck water tower in the background. On the way back in to the airport, we had a much better view of Kill Devil Hill. Here we are approaching the runway. Here's the happy flyer looking happy, but wishing it could have lasted another hour or two. Here's the three of us after disembarking. Outside the fence, I'm still looking pretty happy. Two more, with me and Evan and Evan and Hailey. It was a great flight. Thanks, offspring.

The really, Really, REALLY BIG EVENT of the day was yet to come. Sulwen would be one year old on August 16th, but here was her entire family: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all in one place at the same time. From Oregon, California, Maryland, Colorado, North Carolina: that may not happen again for a long time. So, PARTYTIME! Here are more than a few pictures of the party. First off, the happy guest of honor. Here's a bunch of pictures of the festivities.
.Sulwen and Grammy
. Sulwen and Fiona
. .Grant, Sulwen, and Jessica
. . Sulwen, Jessica, and Hayley
. . .Fiona, Sulwen, Hayley, and Grant
. . . Laura, Amelia, Sulwen, Fiona, Hailey, and Tanna
. . . .Tanna, Sulwen, and Stephen
. . . . As above, one more time
. . . . .Sulwen (What's that!?)
. . . . . F - Lindsay, Finn, and Grant; R - Amelia, Nancy, and Michael
. . . . .F - Annie, Hayley, and Lindsay; R - Diane, Kim, and Amelia
. . . . Too numerous to mention
. . . .Guess who?
. . . Couldn't decide which one to use!
. . .Tanna and Sulwen
. . R1 - Paul, Grant, and Charlie; R2 - Jessica, Sulwen, Lindsay, Hayley; R3 - Fiona, and Ian
. .As above, different pose
. Stephen and Sulwen
.Stephen, Sulwen, Fiona, Laura, and Ian

On Thursday various folks did their own thing. Amelia and I went out for lunch to Dirty Dick's Crab House (also see me at Dirty Dick's). From there we went out to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Here's a shot of a replica of the Wright Flyer. Outside the museum area is the field where the flights were made on December 17, 1903. The boulder shows the take-off point and the marker on the right side at the first landing point, 120 feet away. The next two flights covered 175 and 200 feet, as the markers show. The plaque on the boulder commemorates the first flight. Here we see the four flight markers from the vicinity of the boulder, the last flight having lasted for 852 feet. Here's another shot of the boulder and a commemorative plaque with a picture of the first flight (yeh, they actually had a photographer there). In the direction opposite that the flights went is Kill Devil Hill, from which several years of experiments with gliders were conducted. This is a closeup of the monument. Here is the flight line and musuem from the top of Kill Devil Hill. This is a very interesting place to visit.

Evan, Laura, Ian, and Fiona opted to head south to Ocracoke Island, but being about 95 miles and a ferry ride away, we had decided to do the above. They had a good time and saw Black Beard and lots of other pirate stuff, which I would have liked, too. Tanna, Stephen, Sulwen, and Hailey came over in the afternoon. Here's a happy Sulwen, but even happier with Dad. Sulwen enjoyed the pirate head scarf. That evening Scott and Susie came over for a rice bowl dinner and some good times.

Ian was up and reading this morning, while Fiona was making cookies for our joint dinner this evening (more on that later).

A little later it was Beach Time! Here are more beach pictures:
Laura and Hailey
~ Quint and Phebe
~ ~ Phebe, Hailey, Evan, and Ian
~ ~ ~ Phebe, Fiona, Quint, and Ian
~ ~ ~ ~ Hailey
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Dick, Amelia, Evan, Sandy, and Lauren
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Ian, Evan, Quint, Phebe, Fiona
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Ian
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Fiona, Phebe, Quint
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Phebe and Fiona
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ You name'em - have you breen paying attention?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Phebe, Hailey, Sulwen, Quint, Dick, and Fiona
~ ~ ~ ~ Dick, Sulwen, and Hailey
~ ~ ~ Dick, Hailey, Sulwen, and Fiona
~ ~ Fiona and Quint
~ un-named

That evening we joined our friends at their house for dinner - pizza, salad, ice cream, ... There were a few shots of various folks around various places. Here goes.
* Sulwen and Phebe
* * Lauren
* * * Lauren and Sulwen
* * * * dinner looks about over 1
* * * * * dinner looks about over 2
* * * * * * dinner looks about over 3
* * * * * * * dinner looks about over 4
* * * * * * * dinner looks about over 5
* * * * * * time for some serious game playing
* * * * * some take great joy in Apples-to-apples
* * * * * * Oh my gosh, what'll I do with that set of cards
* * * * * * * I think I can make something of that
* * * * * * *some play something more serious
* * * * * *some folks opt out
* * * * *the photographer at rest
* * * * this is more fun
* * * but not as much fun as this
* * now this is really fun
* at last, the ladies get the greens to themselves

Evening cast its spell, so some of us went down to the beach to search out crabs.

Saturday Hailey, and Stephen, Tanna, and Sulwen all left The OB. We had a little going away party for some of us at an ice cream parlor as Evan and family left to go home. We stayed until Sunday morning, when we too headed back to Maryland. That evening took the last couple of pictures of Fiona and her swim awards, and Ian and his swim awards.
Bright and early we headed for BWI (hint, coming from the south, take the HW 100 exit on I-95 to Arundel Mills Blvd which turns into Ridge Road, which in turn turns into New Ridge Road and takes you to the car rental facility in a couple of miles. Gas stations are near HW 100 and Arundel Mills Blvd on Dorsey Road. We were home in the early afternoon after passing near Pyramid Lake northeast of Reno, NV.

It was great fun, the Outer Banks are interesting and nice, not too crowded beaches with reliable (but not too big, usually) waves for boogie boarding. After staying at Sea Ranch, CA a few times, though, it was a shock to find that nothing (I mean, pretty much NOTHING) is supplied with a rental house. No sheets, no bath towels, no dish towels, no soap, no salt, no pepper, no sugar, no nothing. Of course, all you need is available for rent (well, not salt and pepper), and at not too outrageous prices, including delivery. Different way of thinking, I guess. Plenty of grocery and other stores are not far away, so it is not necessary to bring consumables.