This was simple day with no travel. We spent some time on the beach, some time in the shade on the deck and some time napping. Ahhh, vacation. We even had pizza delivered for dinner. All the modern conveniences (but no internet).
Before breakfast I went to Port City Java, a Wilmington, NC based coffee house trying to take over the world, to check email. There were just things that I needed to check on.
Drive: Chapel Hill to Kure Beach, NC (174 miles)
Total Miles: 2354
I woke up and drove back to the beach. I left a little later than I was planning, and I got there after breakfast. We went out to the beach and played in the water. I tried Peter’s new skim board and fell smack on my back. That wasn’t even the one that hurt the most. It was actually the first one.
Skim board technique requires you to throw the flat board down in front of you to get it moving. Once it is moving, you need to jump on it to keep it moving. The first time I tried, only one leg got on and the other stayed in place, stretching it out. That hurt a lot.
A couple of hours on the beach wore out everyone. We all took naps in the afternoon, except Grace who watched Star Wars (Episode 4: A New Hope). In the late afternoon we visited the NC Aquarium, just down the road. Our favorite exhibits are the touch pool, the 285,000-gallon tank with multiple views in (where the lemon sharks and the sting rays swim with more than 450 other fish), and the storm surge marker (showing Hurricane Hazel with a surge 17 feet above sea level).
A fish just kissed Grace’s finger in the Aquarium touch pool
We had a busy evening. We had dinner at the Cottage, a real restaurant on the island. Meg had tuna, I had crab cakes, Grace had lamb lollipops and Peter had low country fried chicken. Everything was delicious. We walked down the street to the boardwalk and got some fudge for dessert. We also played putt putt on the boardwalk. All four of us got holes-in-one, and Peter got 3 in a row.
During the round of golf, the fireworks started. Every Thursday in the summer, they have fireworks. It was a pleasant evening, made more special by the bursts of color in the air. The kids were happy when the fireworks were over, as they wanted to finish playing mini-golf.
Today I did not travel, but went to work for the only day this week. I also saw Jeff Tweedy at the NC Museum of Art amphitheater. It was a great solo show. I saw some old friends and met some new ones.
Photo courtesy of Charles Harris.
Fly: Grand Rapids, MI to Raleigh-Durham Airport, NC (663 miles)
Total Miles: 2161
Drive: Raleigh-Durham Airport to Chapel Hill, NC (19 miles)
Total Miles: 2180
Uneventful trip back. It turns out the suspected terrorists in Michigan were not planning on blowing up the bridge, but no one said what they were doing there.
Please note: If you are reading this travelogue, there will be some pictures posted. I probably won’t get to them until I return from the beach this weekend, and I will go back and put them in the appropriate posts. I will post a current entry when I have done that.
The latest white rap on You Tube:
Wink, Wink. It’s really an ad.
Drive: Chapel Hill to Raleigh-Durham Airport, NC (19 miles)
Total Miles: 835
Fly: Raleigh-Durham Airport, NC to Grand Rapids, MI (663 miles)
Total Miles: 1498
I flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a business meeting. This is my first trip after the liquid ban. I, like many other of my fellow passengers, had to either check my luggage or not travel with toothpaste, shampoo, etc. This adds a little more hassle to the arrival (standing around waiting for luggage), but makes the boarding of a plane much easier. There just was not as many people cramming oversized rolling luggage into the overhead compartments. On each flight it was a breeze putting my laptop case in the bin.
Due to the foiled terrorist attacks in the UK, the terrorist level has escalated from yellow to orange. This is defined on the airport sign as a high probability of a terrorist attack. While that may be true in a general sense, it really is not true in every airport where they have posted these signs.
Over the weekend, several suspected terrorists were arrested and it was thought they had targeted the bridge connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. These Palestinian-Americans were from Texas and were riding around Michigan buying up pre-paid cell phones (there were reportedly 1000 in their van), and had pictures and video of the bridge.
All of these events made it an interesting time to fly to Michigan.
from the NPR Series This I Believe:
Temple Grandin is an associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She has designed one-third of all livestock facilities in the United States with the goal of decreasing the fear and pain animals experience in the slaughter process.
Because I have autism, I live by concrete rules instead of abstract beliefs. And because I have autism, I think in pictures and sounds. I don’t have the ability to process abstract thought the way that you do. Here’s how my brain works: It’s like the search engine Google for images. If you say the word “love” to me, I’ll surf the Internet inside my brain. Then, a series of images pops into my head. What I’ll see, for example, is a picture of a mother horse with a foal, or I think of “Herbie the Lovebug,” scenes from the movie Love Story or the Beatles song, “Love, love, love…”
When I was a child, my parents taught me the difference between good and bad behavior by showing me specific examples. My mother told me that you don’t hit other kids because you would not like it if they hit you. That makes sense. But if my mother told me to be “nice” to someone, it was too vague for me to comprehend. But if she said that being nice meant delivering daffodils to a next-door neighbor, that I could understand.
I built a library of experiences that I could refer to when I was in a new situation. That way, when I confronted something unfamiliar, I could draw on the information in my homemade library and come up with an appropriate way to behave in a new and strange situation.
When I was in my 20s, I thought a lot about the meaning of life. At the time, I was getting started in my career, designing more humane facilities for animals at ranches and slaughterhouses. Many people would think that to even work at a slaughterhouse would be inhumane, but they forget that every human and animal eventually dies. In my mind, I had a picture of a way to make that dying as peaceful as possible.
I believe that doing practical things can make the world a better place. And one of the features of being autistic is that I’m good at synthesizing lots of information and creating systems out of it.
When I was creating my first corral back in the 1970s, I went to 50 different feedlots and ranches in Arizona and Texas and helped them work cattle. In my mind, I cataloged the parts of each facility that worked effectively and assembled them into an ideal new system. I get great satisfaction when a rancher tells me that my corral design helps cattle move through it quietly and easily. When cattle stay calm, it means they are not scared. And that makes me feel I’ve accomplished something important.
Some people might think if I could snap my fingers I’d choose to be “normal.” But I wouldn’t want to give up my ability to see in beautiful, precise pictures. I believe in them.
After sleeping late again, we had breakfast on the deck. It is great to be staying in an oceanfront condo. Seeing the crashing waves and feeling the ocean breezes are great additions to the morning menu.
The kids and I went out to the beach and played in the surf until lunchtime. It was high tide and the waves were very rough with a strong undertow. I told Peter the story from Garp about the Undertoad. We put up the boogie boards after Grace rolled over riding her brand new board. Peter was not interested in riding at all.
I stayed close to both of them, and when they got knocked down, I helped them up. After a little while Meg came out and we divided up and each of us watched a kid. She described her position as standing between Peter and Spain.
Grace spent a lot of time playing in the sand instead of playing in the water. When she was in the water, she yelled and cackled and generally carried on, since no one could hear her. The constant surf was pretty loud. She also referred to the water as chocolate milk, since it looks brown near the shore due to the sand.
After a restful afternoon of Animaniacs and naps, Grace and I went back out to the beach. The tide had gone out, and the water was calm. It was like a different beach.
For dinner, we went to Michael’s Seafood where I had peel ‘n’ eat shrimp with Old Bay seasoning. Yum. Peter also forced me to share his Death by Chocolate dessert. After dinner I hit the road and headed for home.
Drive: Kure Beach to Chapel Hill, NC (174 miles)
Total Miles: 816
As I got on I-40 at its beginning, there is a sign saying “Barstow, California 2554 miles. Glad I wasn’t going that far.
Drive: Wilmington to Kure Beach, NC (11 miles)
Total Miles: 642
We woke up to a cloudy and rainy day. The original plan was to go to the beach in the morning to get a extra day at the beach before we checked in the condo. We wound up swimming in the hotel pool, going shopping at Walmart and eating lunch at McDaniels Dairy. By the time we were done with all of the that, we could check in to our condo.
There was a light drizzle, so we were not planning going out to the beach. The kids went down to the water and put their feet in. Somehow, I managed to keep them for getting their clothes soaked.
That night Meg and I went on a Haunted Pub Tour of Wilmington. First we ate dinner at a German restaurant, where she had a wurst platter and I had veal schnitzel. Both were delicious. On the tour we went to four bars: Paddy’s Hollow, Orton’s Pool Hall/Longstreet’s, The Liquid Room and The Blue Post. We heard about a theory of Jack the Ripper in Wilmington, a hotel fire, mysterious happenings captured on video and a large bar proprietress named Gallus Meg.
The tour was led by a local actor named John. He did a great job telling the stories, but it seemed like the stories were more attached to the locations where the bars were, rather than the bars themselves.