Bacon Vacation 2016 !!

Yes, this was from July/August 2016 !!

 

This was another unusual year in that I again took two consecutive weeks of vacation. And thank God that I did !!! We were in the middle of a project at work that without a doubt was/is/will be the worst assignment I have ever had with this company. The timing of my vacation ensured that I would not be involved in the last two weeks of the project.
The first week of vacation we would be at home and so I took a lot of frozen meat out of the freezer to cook during the week and use that as an opportunity to clean out the freezer a bit.

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Mmmmmm, frozen meat.
Now the bad part is that my brother had a graduation party for his son and daughter and there was a bit of leftover, uncooked hamburger that was sent home with me. So along with the above frozen meat, I now had an extra 12 hamburgers to cook and eat for the week. And to compound the overmeatage situation, my daughter ended up being gone with a cousin for four days of that week.  But I did manage !!

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The previous year when we went to New Bern, NC, we  (I mean me) drove straight through.  That was way too much driving and this time I bit the bullet and stayed at a hotel coming and going.  I don’t like adding an extra $200 and two days to the trip but had to do it.

We stayed at a nice place in New Bern and the town itself was great for food and walking around in, but it was an hour each way everyday to get to the beach.  Not a big deal but it did put limits on being able to be more spontaneous and such.  So I decided that regardless of what the extra cost would be, we were going to stay on the island and be closer to the beach.   It didn’t take long to figure out that there were some nice places to stay, but most were designed for large family’s or groups.  When dividing the cost per family, it’s very reasonable (even for a cheap bastard like myself.)  Soooooooooooooooooo I had the idea to suggest to the wife that we have her brother’s family in DC and her parents meet use on the island for a family vacation.

I knew well ahead of time that there could be a great downside to that idea.

We ended up with:

Mother in law

Father in law

brother in law

sister in law

nephew

Aunt

Along with the three of this us.

It wasn’t without difficulties, but it wasn’t too bad !!

I hundreds of pictures of our beach trips but most of them are about the same so I’ll just post a few:

 

 

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Food:

On vacations, I usually don’t eat more than one meal a day.  This year because we were with the rest of the family, we mostly bought groceries and made dinners at our beach house.  But we did eat out a couple of times when we were far from the beach house our just to dang tired to cook.

The year before we ate at “Howard’s Pub” on Ocracoke Island and we did the same this year.

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I ordered the “Po Boy.”  Just like last year’s lunch here, it was great !  Very fresh and not at all greasy.

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Shocking but my daughter ordered the chicken tenders.

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The wife ordered a crab cake sandwich.  Big chucks of crab.  Yummo.

Bros Sandwich Shack:

It was around  2 pm one afternoon and we were coming back from somewhere we decided to get a sandwich at Bros which was about a mile away from where the beach house was.

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Those were both $10 sandwiches. The service was very slow and the sandwiches were “meh.”  Doubt I would recommend it or go there again.

Bojangles:

On the trip last year and this year, once we got to the West Virginia area, I saw a lot of billboards for “Bojangles.”  We didn’t stop last year but did this year on our return trip going through Princeton, WV.

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I got the “Roasted Chicken Bites.”   Dang, they were OK but for some reason I thought they were going to be BBQ.  But, the biscuit?????  FANTASTIC !!!!   I could have an entire meal of just the biscuits.

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The wife and daughter both got the chicken tenders.  There are very few times when eating at a fast food chain that you can actually say “WOW!!” when you eat something.  But by an agreement with all of us, these were literally the best chicken tenders we had ever eaten.

Activities:

Of course finding sea glass was on the agenda at all times.  More was found this year than last year but there still was not a lot found.  This was the best piece found:

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The Sister-in-Law found a DNR program that let people seine in the Pamlico Sound and they explained what we caught.

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Pamlico Sound is very warm and shallow.  There’s a good chance that you could walk from Hatteras to the mainland.  It’s a great place for spawning water life.

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Here the wife and daughter are seining critters.

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The marine biologist student explains what was caught.  She looked at me funny when I asked if there was any drawn butter.

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My daughter and her cousin out trying to catch more.

Things we brought home:

What’s a family vacation if you don’t bring home some crap??!!??

Actually we didn’t bring much home with us.

The Hatteras Island chain has more tourist trap stores full of chintzy spoo than anywhere else except the Wisconsin Dells !

Some bacon related Examples:

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Does everyone have a crazy cat lady in their life?

 

 

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A couple of great six packs.  These were each $10.99.  On the high end but really good beer.

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One of the best souvenir places we stopped at was “Scotch Bonnet.”

They had some really good Taffy.

 

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Also while in Princeton, WV where we stopped at Bojangles for lunch, we went to “Jerky Outlet”.  The bacon jerky was good.  The crickets really didn’t have any taste other than “crunchy.”  My daughter ate two of them.

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Howard’s Pub: Ocracoke, North Carolina

This was the third of the three restaurants that we ate at.

Howard’s Pub North Carolina

200The wife had a crab cake and hush puppies.

201My daughter again surprised me by not ordering chicken tenders and ordered a hot dog and mac & cheese.  My daughter has learned that when the menu says “Macaroni and Cheese”, she needs to check if it’s Kraft mac & cheese.  Kind of a rip off if they serve the Kraft, but this was not Kraft and she said it was very good.  Her lunch was served on a souvenir “Frisbee.”

202I had the fried oysters.  The french fries here were very good.

Of the three places that I had the fried oysters, these were the least best.  This was bar food.  But to say that these were the “least best” of the three is like saying you had to date the second runner up at the Miss Universe pageant!

Vacation !!

Taking vacation time for me is not completely unusual, but for this vacation, I actually took two consecutive weeks off.  That is something I haven’t done for many, many years.  It’s not that I don’t want to, but I would hate to be gone for two weeks and have the big guys in the corner office notice that the world kept spinning on its axis while I was away. (In my last several yearly reviews, I put down that I was responsible for keeping the world rotating and so far it looks like they bought it.)

Of the 16 days I was off, (including weekend days), 10 of them were spent on the road.  We left the Chicago-land area on a Friday evening to do most of the fifteen hour (980 mile) drive overnight to miss most of the traffic. (A word to you clueless drivers out there, USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL!!!!)

Our destination was New Bern, North Carolina.  My parents let us use their time share points and that’s what we ended up with.  Historic downtown New Bern is a fantastic place but we were there to go to the BEACH !!!!!

It was about an hour drive everyday to get to the beach, but it was a very pleasant drive and it was well worth it.

2015_New_Bern_003What an incredible beach !!! And there was miles and miles and miles of this beach !!

2015_New_Bern_011Here we have Camp Bacon base camp setup on the beach.  I felt like a pack mule lugging most of this gear to the beach.

2015_New_Bern_021Here is the bacon offspring working on one of the many sand castles we built.

2015_New_Bern_183Another one…………

2015_New_Bern_210Endless digging in the sand opportunities.

2015_New_Bern_195One the best days, there were almost 5-6 foot waves.  Totally cool !!

Here I am with my daughter (I’m not the one on the red one piece)

She was a little apprehensive at first about going out into the waves, but she got over that pretty quick and she really liked jumping the waves.  We brought a small “boogie board” from home with us but it wasn’t big enough for me to ride but my daughter had a good time riding the waves in.

2015_New_Bern_224The surf conditions.  No “Sharknado” warning.

2015_New_Bern_296Now, these next bunch of photos may bore some of you to death, but there was an absolutely great state park that had a fort.

Fort Macon

Above is a model of the fort that someone had made.  I have included a number of photos because it is hard to get the scope of the fort with just one picture.

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The weather was FANTASTIC !!! Everyday was 100 degrees and 100 % humidity.  Yes, to me that is perfect weather.

Here comes the big BUT……………

The one day we made plans to travel to Ocracoke Island, it rained.  Above is a photo of the ferry we took to the island and the coming storm.

Because of the logistics of driving and ferry rides and the ferry schedule, we already knew that we were pushing it to get there and back.

2 hour drive to get the 10 am ferry

2 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke

X2 getting back

Now, we had the choice of taking the 4 pm ferry back to the mainland or the only other choice was the 9 pm ferry. Taking the 9 pm would mean not getting back to our room until about 1 am.  We didn’t really like that option.  So we decided on the 4 pm ferry meaning we were on a really tight schedule.  Another factor in this is that you need to have reservations for the ferry times, otherwise, taking the “standby” option would not guarantee a spot on the ferry.  I do have to say though, the ferry operators did a great job of loading the ferry to get everyone on.

Of course it started to rain just as we got to the island.  Being noonish, we stopped for lunch (post on food in the future).  After eating we drove a few miles to a beach.  Ocracoke is basically one ginormous beach (on the ocean side) and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a beach.  It was only drizzling at that time.  We walked a bit on that beach, my wife and daughter  were very intent on finding “sea glass” along with their other shells.  Still drizzling, we left after about 20 minutes.  Looking at the radar on the phone, it looked like it might clear up after a couple of hours, so we made the decision to try to “ride it out” and get the 9 pm ferry home.

Long story short (yeah, too late for that), it didn’t stop raining until about 7:30.  It was a loooooooong day of driving and being in the car for little reward.

OBXWay too much car time !!

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But HEY !!!

The next day was back to being fantastic !!

2015_New_Bern_487I would not get tired of this !!

FOOD:

We only ate out three times. (Food posts to follow soon I hope)