In the Rain and on the B--A Memorable OC Weekend
No Goldens this time; this was the last weekend they would have been allowed on the beach and boardwalk, but we were unable to find pet-friendly accommodations at the somewhat last-minute. It turned out to be just as well since Alex--who is doing very well and hasn't limped in almost two weeks--isn't supposed to do more than 5 or 10 minutes of mild activity at a time until the vet clears his ACL injury on Thursday, so he would've been basically stuck in the room all weekend. As it was, he and Lance stayed with our friend Dawn, who certainly lavished them with attention.
We were supposed to have gorgeous weather, and we did ... sort of. We left Friday morning with Bobby's surfboard securely strapped to the car. Me being me, I was a little nervous about that, but it didn't budge either way, even going over the Bay Bridge with its wicked crosswinds. Friday was the worst weather day of the weekend; in the 50s F (~10C) with rain at night as the warm front rolled in. After arriving in town, we stopped for pizza at Piezano's--our first of the year! Bobby called the day before to see if they were open, and we rejoiced that they were. It is tradition that we stop at Piezano's on our way in. We were staying at a new hotel, the Coconut Malorie, which was a bit fancier than where we usually stay. We were a bit early but were allowed to check in and, after that, headed for the beach.
The breeze was brisk and coming off of the sea, i.e. cold. But the sun was shining, so I wrapped up in the beach blanket and was comfortable. Bobby donned his wetsuit and off he went. The beach was pretty deserted, so I was too concerned with watching him to do anything more involved than listen to music. The surf was terrible, but he got some practice paddling around in the ocean. A few other people arrived, in swimsuits (!), who proceeded to get in the water (!!). It was in the low 50s (10C) by this point with a water temperature of 48F/9C! After about two hours, the cloud cover started rolling in for the night's rain, and without the sun and with that strong breeze off the sea, it got cold, so we went up.
Bobby's surfboard was a bit too large to be hauling into hotel elevators, so we discussed how to manage securing it and decided to lock it in the car when he wasn't using it. That made the car unavailable, however, since the passenger seat has to be lowered to make it fit. Ocean City has a great bus service though--the infamous B! an indispensable part of our OC trips since we came by ourselves for the first time at age 17!--so we decided to use that all weekend with the added perk that we didn't have to worry about one of us serving as designated driver. So after getting ready Friday night, we hopped on the B going north and went to dinner at Tequila Mockingbird. First, I twisted my ankle crossing the street. Okay, I was jaywalking, so I probably deserved it. I stepped into a hole in the median and almost--but didn't!--fell on my ass. It was a mild high-ankle sprain, I think, and swelled a little and hurt a little but didn't really impede me walking ... or running, I would come to find out! To quote Monty Python's Black Knight, I've had worse. Tequila was great as always (and packed as always), and it had started to rain lightly by the time we exited the restaurant to wait for the B. Tequila is almost on Fenwick Island, so we rode the length of Ocean City to the inlet because we had decided to go to Marty's Playland to play some arcade games, then find someplace to get some drinks. (We'd already had margaritas at Tequila.) By the time we reached the inlet, it was raining pretty hard. We ran through the rain--this would become a theme!--me on my slightly sprained ankle that didn't really hurt very badly, up to the completely deserted boardwalk ... and Marty's Playland was closed. The horror! Marty's Playland never closes. (Seriously, it is open on Christmas.) So we ran back down to the B through the rain and ended up crammed onto a bus with a bunch of high school kids that looked like they were headed to a semi-formal dance. We decided to get some drinks at Shenanigans Pub, so we got off at 4th Street and left the high school kids behind, ran back up to the boardwalk through the rain (which was coming down harder now), and headed into Shenanigans for two pints o' plain. (Bobby also had some bright green frozen house specialty called a Shillelagh. It involved rum and god knows what else.) I think there were a lot of people in there trying to wait out the rain. Lol. We were the only dummies who were in a dry bus and decided to come in despite the rain.
Well, the rain didn't let up, so eventually, we decided we had to get back on the B and head back to our hotel. We timed it so that we'd get to the bus stop a few minutes before the next bus should arrive. We got there ... and there was no bus shelter. We ducked under the awning of a nearby hotel, but I was worried that we wouldn't see the bus in time to run out to the stop, so I resigned myself to standing in the rain right around the time the bus was supposed to arrive. It was pouring. We were quickly soaked. As we were standing in the rain with that nasty wind out of the east, Bobby noted that, "At least the surfboard is nice and dry in the car ..."
Definitely one of those times where you think that if there were awards for good spouses, you'd be deserving of one.
Thankfully, we were only standing in the rain for about two minutes before the B arrived. Our hotel was also on bay side and so back a ways from Coastal Highway, so when we got off of the B, it was another dash through the rain, getting further soaked. As I noted, Coconut Malorie is a nicer place than where we usually stay. As we ran down 59th Street in the rain, we laughed at the image we would cut as we slopped through the door, leaving puddles in our wake across the shiny tile floor. We imagined them whispering, "Where did they even come from? Did they take public transport and then walk in the rain??" (Actually, everyone at the hotel was very cool and nice, but when we got put up for a day at the Trinity Dublin because we couldn't get a reservation at our B&B for the last night, the doorman looked us up and down every time we came in, like we were there to rob the place. And this was before Bobby had a beard.)
Once warm and dry in our room, we were glad that the rain for the weekend was over and it was all warm, dry weather ahead. Lolol. Anyway, Saturday morning, we took the B to Brass Balls for their famous breakfast (and ice cream drinks!) and strolled down to Kite Loft to check out the kite expo. There was almost no wind, so they didn't have many kites up. We walked down to the inlet and got back on the B and took it to the hotel, then went to the beach. It was warm with a breeze out of the west, i.e., not off the sea this time. The sky was cloudless. It was gorgeous. I sat on the beach in a bikini top and a skirt. The surf was good, and Bobby had a great time and caught quite a few waves. We stayed long enough for the tide to chase us up the beach: almost five hours. Then the wind abruptly changed to come out of the east, and it was like getting blasted in the face with air conditioning. It was almost 6, so we decided to pack it in for the day.
We went to Phillip's for dinner. We took the B. Bobby had six sets of crab legs and other sundry seafood items, so we were in there a while. When we came out, it was raining.
It wasn't supposed to rain. As we stood in the bus shelter waiting for the B to take us to the inlet, Bobby checked the weather on his phone and proclaimed it a pop-up thunderstorm that should pass quickly. Lololol. It was basically a repeat of the night before, except that the rain wasn't as hard. We took the B to the inlet and ran through the rain up to Marty's Playland, which was thankfully open this time. I had a good run on Pirates of the Caribbean pinball, and we did well enough at Deadsea Pirates to rank the 97th highest score for that machine. (A proud moment to be sure. You can go there and see us: #97, TWT, because the machine wouldn't let me enter just WT.) Ocean Hunters, which was shut down last time, was fixed and running this time, and we used the last of our quarters on that. (We have to do like normal adults do at casinos and decide ahead of time what we're going to spend, get precisely that much in quarters from the attendant, and stick to it.) We decided to get something to drink at the microbrewery, if it was open (it wasn't) or at Brass Balls. That's only a mile down the boardwalk. It wasn't raining hard at all by now. We did that mile hand-in-hand at a brisk walk-run because a trip to OC isn't a trip to OC if you don't raise some blisters on your feet. After our drinks, it was still raining lightly, so we waited in the rain again for the B because there was no bus shelter again. (Maybe it is Ocean City's way of having fun with the drunks by not putting bus stations at the stops outside of the major OC bars?) Thankfully, since we have the timings down now, we only had to wait a few minutes again, and the rain had mostly stopped by the time we walked-ran down 59th Street to the hotel for our second ignoble and dripping entrance in as many nights.
Today, we had a boardwalk junk food lunch: Piezano's pizza, Thrasher's fries, and a Kohr Bros.' peanut-butter-chocolate twist cone. It was another beautiful day although cooler than yesterday. We walked back down to the Kite Loft, which had more kites up this time. We watched some of the guest kite flyers flying sport kites and a group that was flying sport kites in formation. It was seriously amazing. There were about six of them, curlicuing through the air, one after the other; I have no idea how they didn't all end up a hopeless tangle. We took some pictures, although I don't know if they will do it justice; it might be one of those things you just have to see to fully appreciate. I'll post them tomorrow if they turned out okay.
I almost forgot to mention that Bobby met up with some other longboarders on Saturday morning and went surfing with them this morning. One of the guys is in the Surfer's Hall of Fame and arranged with Bobby to meet up for a private lesson next time we're down. We stopped at Assateague Island on our way out, which is also a big surf beach, but the wind had switched again to coming out of the east, which is bad for surfing, and no one was getting any waves. Bobby talked to a woman there who was a local surfer and told him that Assateague used to be great surfing, but a nor'easter last year changed the island enough that now OC is better.
And we're home now. We'll be back to OC again in a month, so it's not long to wait. I told Bobby that, between his getting to surf for the first time--which he's wanted to do since he was a little kid--and all of our rain-soaked runs, this was one of our more memorable trips to OC.
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