Vacation: Day 3

Today I opened the mystery bag (and drank a beer)

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Sometime last year, the crazy lady known as “Mom” dropped this bag off at my house (when I wasn’t home).  I hadn’t opened it until today.

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I knew what was in it.  My hockey gear from 1980 that’s been sitting in a barn since 1982.  Really, really surprised that mice never got into it.  My gloves are missing because I took those where ever I went to play pick up games when/where I could.

 

 

OBX Vacation 2018

YES !!!  This post has been in the draft bin since 08/2018 !!!

 

For the third time in the past five years, the Bacon family has gone to the Outer Banks for our vacation.  As we did the previous year, we stayed the night in Beckley, WV for the night and split the drive into two days.  As much as I hate having to add 2 days and a couple of hundred dollars to the trip, I just can’t do this non-stop!

001This was our first day there and we arrived late afternoon.

 

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After a quick trip to the  beach on our first day, we headed south to hit some shops.

One of my daughter’s favorite stops.

“Buxton Village Books” in of course Buxton, NC.

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A nice, small little bookstore.

Kind of a nice change from the big box retailers.

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I could never get tired of beach days like this !

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Leaving Hatteras on the ferry to go to Ocracoke Island.  It’s about an hour ride and we took a chance with the weather.

And what a chance it was.  It rained and rained and rained.

Instead of parking and walking about, we had to drive station to station.

We did have a fine lunch (more on food later).

 

I really shouldn’t complain about weather on vacations because not every day should be expected to be bright and sunny.

And you know there’s a big BUT coming here !!!

The above video shows how it rained for literally THREE STRAIGHT DAYS !

It was a warm rain and there was one day when I went to the beach in the rain and stood waist deep in the surf with my sieve looking for shells and glass and the such.

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WOW !!!!!

That’s what “early morning” should look like !!  The monsoons finally ended.

 

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The Bacon Sand Fortress of the beach.

Unfortunately, we built it too high above the tide range and it was not swallowed by the sea before we left.

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Little girl happy to be on the beach.

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Ahhhhhh, now that’s a nice sunset over the Pamlico Sound.

Pamlico Sound:

 

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Little girl getting some more summer reading in.

She gets bored with the beach after a couple of days.

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We did not go out on the Avon Pier last year so we thought we would this time.  Just $1.00 !!!

“I’d pay a dollar for that !”

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Long view of the Avon Pier.  I can’t imagine standing out there all day fishing, but people do.
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July 27 was our last night and as I was going in and out packing the car, I saw that the moon was real funky.  As it turned out, it was a blood moon and a total lunar eclipse.  Pretty cool.

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Beckley, West Virginia is about the half way point for driving.  In Beckley is “Tamarack”

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Not really sure how to describe the place, but it has a lot of hand crafted art and the such.  A nice place to stop and look through. (The kind of place chicks like to look around)

FOOD:

We arrived at our condo about 4 pm and unpacked the car.  We then made a trip to the Food Lion and bought most of our food for the week including a very nice frozen pizza for dinner.

This year I decided to spend just cash while on our trip and brought about $700 with me.

I play an online “game” called “Wheresgeorge.com” and I typically only spend “G” series one dollar bills and five dollar bills.  Got a few good hits from this trip.

As far as food and eating this year, it was quite different.  Previously, we would eat out perhaps only once since we were usually too tired from being on the beach all day and way too tired to get cleaned up!  But since it literally rained for 3 days, we ended up eating out quite a bit and “WOW” did the food bills run up quickly.

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BoJangles:

We ate at Bojangles in Beckely, WV after a very full day of driving.

All I can say about the fried chicken at Bojangles is, “GOD DAMN !!”

Great,great,great fried food for a chain restaurant.  And I cannot forget about the biscuit.  Another food masterpiece for a chain.

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Open Water Grill:

Open Water Grill was literally a stone’s throw from the condo.  Now, the original website I found for OWG did not have a menu on it and when I googled around, I found a Yellow Pages site that had the menu.  My daughter was excited that  there was BBQ brisket on the menu. (Our last vacation last year was to the Wisconsin Dells and we had dinner at Paul Bunyan’s and we had the BBQ brisket and she was quite taken with it.)  Well, turns out that menu was from 2015 and there was NO BRISKET !!!!

My daughter ended up getting chicken tenders and hush puppies.  They were really good she said.  I got the fish ‘n chips.  They are made with the catch of the day and I’m not sure what it was, but it was very good.  The crust was kind of a combination of breading and batter.  When cut with a fork, it didn’t all crumble and fall off.  Came with an unusual spicy kale slaw that was good.

This was an expensive dinner.  With tip it was about $70.  That’s how the food bill adds up quickly !

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Ocracoke Oyster Company:

We took a rainy day trip to Ocracoke and we already had planned not to eat at Howard’s Pub.  Not that there was anything wrong with eating there, but we felt like “been there, done that” and wanted to go somewhere else. So we did.  I ordered an Oyster Po Boy.  These oysters were great.  Not greasy and not over cooked.  A really good sandwich and great onion rings but I have to take some points off for me having to ask the server to bring the remoulade. It’s a Po Boy !!!!!

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Burger Burger:

We stopped here on Thursday after going to the Avon Pier.  They had quite an extensive menu of burgers and seafood.  I had the fried clams and the were great.

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Burger Burger:

We hit Burger Burger two nights in a row.  There was enough interesting food on the menu that I think I could have eaten there everyday.  This time I had an outstanding Shrimp Po Boy

Epilogue:

I already know that the 2019 vacation won’t be to the Outer Banks.  Most likely just take a quick, local trip.

 

BoJangle’s Famous Chicken & Biscuits

We took another mighty fine family vacation this year and as we did last year, we went to the Outer Banks.

And as we did last year, we stayed over night at Beckley, West Virginia rather than driving straight through as we did the first time going to the Banks. (Will never do that again !!)

 

It was a pretty good drive.  9 hours and 21 minutes with just a couple of quick stops at the Speedway gas stations in Greenfield, IN and Chillicohte, OH for gas, snacks and bathroom breaks.  The weather was fine and there were no traffic issues of note.  I have a new car, as my last one was totaled in an accident and one of the really neat features is that I can plug my phone into it and use Giggle Maps with GPS !!!  I used to print up maps and mark out any major intersections or turns and the such, but this is a real game changer.  I think the best part is it I can see traffic issues on my route and plan accordingly.  That came in very nicely on the drive home.

On the the trip home the previous year we stopped at a “Bojangle’s” restaurant.  The family still says that it was the best chicken at any fast food place we have ever had !!  So on this trip, I made sure to map out all of the Bojangle’s on our route and as luck would have it, there was a new one in Beckley, WV !

“Bojangle’s Famous Chicken and Biscuits”

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Oh was that GREAT !!

I did have to wait a bit for my order and the pretty girl added a couple of pieces for my time.  As great as the chicken is, the biscuits are even better.  The fries are good, but because they are seasoned fries, I can’t call them great.  Now, truth be told, for dinner I just ate the fries and my biscuit, hard to believe, but I really didn’t have much of an appetite.  The good news is, I finished the chicken on the next day’s drive to the The Banks and gosh darn if that chicken is just about as good cold as it is hot.

 

 

 

 

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.

VACATION !!!!!

Well dang…. vacation is over.

I do have to say that for not having spent the week on a exotic,remote, tropical location being waited on hand and foot by a never ending stream of Polynesian woman (Fletcher Christian knew what was going one there !!!), it was on of the best vacations that I have had recently.

I ended up doing quite a bit of things and I think the biggest reason was that I got up everyday and went to the gym. It’s a good way to get the day started and prevents me from lollygagging the day away !!

Went for four nice little bike rides.

 

I had a gift card for Chili’s and we had a late lunch there one day:

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I was not impressed with this burger.

 

It was my daughter’s birthday which meant FREE SUSHI at JuRin:

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For me, this was sushi dinner “B”.

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Also got a nice “Caterpillar Roll” .  (Eel) YUM !!!

 

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Also being my daughter’s birthday, she had an sleepover with three of her friends.  I got to go out at 6am and get them doughnuts.

 

Vacation_005Did a little smoking on the smoker !!

Did another hunk of homemade bacon.  This time it did not turn out as best as it could.  I think that I had the heat too hot for a while, but I am getting close to getting to the perfect recipe and process.  Also tried smoking some salmon.  That also was not the best because of the high heat but it was still very good.  For good measure I put a slab of beef ribs on as well.

 

The doctor said I could have one beer while on vacation:

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You’d be surprised at how quickly this was emptied.

 

We put a fence around our backyard about 13 years ago and I still had some leftover parts that I finally wanted to use up and get out of the garage.

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TADA !!!

A new planter box !!

 

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I think it will last 3-4 years before it goes onto the burn pile.

 

And now, another project:

I have some good skills with concrete and there are several things I can make: Bowls, plant stands, specialty bricks and some various do-dads.  The wife had a friend that she had previously given a brick to and she requested several more so we took the time to whip some out:

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Combination of a sand mix and a pea gravel mix.

JUST ADD WATER !!!

How much more simple can it be??

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If you have a backyard, every proper house should have a wheelbarrow.

 

 

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The wife has a kit of plastic molds and letters that are used to stamp letters/names/words on the bricks.  Even though the molds are plastic and the concrete doesn’t stick to it, it helps to give them a little spray of WD-40 to help release the bricks. (Helps with the clean up too.)

 

 

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Like the bag said, just add water and mix !

 

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While the concrete is being mixed, the letters are being arranged for stamping.

 

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Concrete goes into the molds.

 

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Have to wait for the concrete to set to just the right condition and then it gets the letters pressed in.

If the concrete is too wet, the letters blur and if the concrete sets up too much, it too hard to press the letters in.

 

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Finished product.

 

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This is one of my specialties.

Just trowel a fern leaf on the top and when it’s dry, peel off.

 

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And of course, the clean up.