Ocracoke - Henry's 70th

From left to right, me (in the new terminology tommy), Karen, Middle Henry, Big Henry, and Grace whose bicycle suffered an encounter with another bicycle. The occasion was Big Henry's 70th birthday on Aug  5, 2014. Middle Henry came over from Boulder. Karen and I drove from Belmont across on Highway 27/24 along a southerly route (we got badly lost in idyllic town called Clinton. Allie and Little Man stayed in Boulder. Henry has got  a 100 mile race coming up - I am going to Canada. Henry and Grace remain in the Republic of Acrocoke. Karen returns to Sister, family and hearth and home.

Father and son. Middle Henry and Big Henry - although these days the terms big and middle don't exactly apply.

Big Henry and Middle Henry. These are the only family pictures in the post, I screwed up. The rest of it is mostly Karen's and my travel log. I have gotten a little slack in my family blogs.

In Beaufort. Cemeteries are always photogenic - but I don't think poor Karen shares my interest.
Behind Hampton at Morehead City. People inside sat on stools at a long table laughing and tossing dice. Then some of the people came out and we all marveled.

Sunset at same Hampton. A big dog waded out into the water, happy, splashing. Then he hunched over and shit. I don't know what to make of this. Did it spoil the moment or make it?
Karen on sandbank near Cedar Island to Ocracoke ferry. She loved wading in the shallow water and seeing the miles of grass covered marsh land.  Walking back to shore our feet pressed through thin layer of sand leaving black tracks from the silt beneath.

Sand castle constructed by two French speaking boys. Comparing the regular pattern of sand castle to seemly random patter of sand pipers scurrying for food - it struck me that the sandpaper movement was random, complex and regular. 

Old cemetery in Beaufort - consort?

Some graves dating back to 17th century.

Me on sandbar.

Another cemetery on one of Ocrocoke's myriad back roads wandering across the island.  A linear thinker could not survive here. There are no patterns - only the random interchange of humans.

Trailing the ferry back across the sound headed home. There is no good way to get here - only different ways. Henry calls it the Republic of Ocracoke.  

Middle Henry's tattoo's. I am thinking about getting them too. I think the broken one means peace and the other the opposite. Maybe it is a Buddhist thing. Henry does a 100 mile ultra marathon next month. Just to stay in shape  he did normal marathons every day he was here. Both Middle Henry and his father fixed meals - their skills are beyond just good.  We talked about family - stories that had not been heard by all. We traced family history and tried to understand the mysterious one who is gone.
Missing a turn we got badly lost in Clinton - a pretty little town with no road signs past the perimeter. Panicky, Karen and I discussed ways to go when we stopped circling the square.  Getting out was luck and cell phone GPS that we could barely read. 
Excited, Karen told me about statues of soldiers kneeling toward US flag and a black flag.
We had two meals at the harbor front Sanitary restaurant - maybe in Morehead maybe in Beaufort.  The food was good. The restaurant got it's name to distinguish it from previous place which was not sanitary.  However the current Sanitary restaurant has only a 90 sanitation grade.   
 (When I was growing up in Shelby there was a place called the sanitary lunch.)
In Beaufort we sat under a gazebo to get out of the drizzle while eating lunch (breakfast?) that Karen had fixed when she saw a horse standing in the water across the bay. We later learned that a herd of horses live on the little island. Typically Karen saw things before I did - including stop signs.
Going up Cedar Island on highway 12 we passed through a community with a road sign that said "Autistic Child Area".
When we arrived, Ocracoke  has gotten three inches of rain in the last few days. There were deep puddles on all the roads. We had to wade through many, while avoiding the horde of bicycles, golf carts, cars and big pick ups.
Getting ready to go to the fancy restaurant across the street, Karen got mad at me because I would not trim my unruly goatee.
Big Henry and I managed not to have any of our passionate but friendly fights (about food, politics, whatever). It occurred to me that although not related by blood, this guy is one of the few family members I have.
On the three nights we got together, there were good stories about the lives of Henry and my mysterious sister.


Cleveland Etc - Packed

Sunday night. I'll leave here about 7:00 AM for Bob's then we'll head North at 8:00.  There will be rivers, cross road towns, a Frank Lloyd Wright house, an urban war zone - and I don't know.
Monday Morning  - Ready to leave for Mr. Bob's. Did not sleep well - to be expected. Shoulder does not hurt as much, but there is odd bruise in inside bicep.  See how the pee schedule goes. Bob also afflicted. 

Roan Mt


Another Mr. Bob/Mr. Tom trip. This one to Roan Mountain which is just across the Tennessee state line. Bob wanted to see the part of the Appalachian Trail that crosses here - maybe walk a bit of it. However the temperature was too cold - about 45 degrees - for our clothes. The trees had not turned green yet - it is about 6,000 feet here. I will come back and try again. The photo on top is of one of  the "balds" - which I imagine to be mountain meadows. Not visible are tiny people on the winding trial up. Bottom picture is view from nearby.


Took the usual side trip around Shelby  - then 226/221 past the McDonalds where we pee and sometime get biscuits - across the Parkway near the little restaurant where various of us have stopped -  past Humpback Road where John Ladley Burns of my and Bob's childhood lives - through Spruce Pines with signs to Penland the art place visited by some of us - then 94  - then the mountain - then the state line - then the crossing trails.

Sitting where the AT comes out of the woods to cross the parking lot were a German couple. I asked if they were doing the whole thing. They seemed surprised when I spoke. In broken English, they said they started in March (from Georgia?) and will go to Maine. Bob figures they have gone about 400 miles so far and have another 1,800 to go. At 12 miles per day the entire thing would take 183 days. Averaging 30 days/month is about six months - say September for this couple.

Some people/person had placed food inside the privy building. Although it is clear what the food was for, it could have been left by various people in various ways.

I have seen entrances to the trail two times (or so I remember) - once in the fog crossing the mountain into Burke's Garden and this time. Both entrances seemed to offer passage into a ghost world, The German couple were like ghosts . Neither friendly or unfriendly. Seeming to belong somewhere else. These two pictures are of Burke's Garden crossing.

Bob had to remind me of the Burke Garden passage. Yancie also has to remind me of things. I have forgotten a lot.  If I cannot remember an event did it really happened?  Maybe this is a good thing; if you loose the past then you cannot dwell on it. But it doesn't seem that way.  Existence seems defined by memories. (Is it the same thing with writing?)

Past the fog, nearing the Garden.

Ghost House Notes

Red brick mansion hidden behind rampant shrubs. Drive passes through a tunnel of leaves - spider webs in face. Walking dogs behind house I always wondered if an eccentric was living there looking out at me from tattered drapes. There was.

Today walking the dogs on road in front of house I met woman who's VW Beatle I had seen several times parked near edge of drive. She came down path between overgrown box woods.

Woman is Beverly. Looked younger then closer became older. Wrinkled - very thin - might have been sick. Next week 50th anniversary at Ashley Arms puts her about 67.

I asked about house. She told me. (I wonder if crazy people like woman and I reveal stuff to strangers - a hoping I suppose that retelling the facts would make them better.)

Her parents built house in 1939.  Last one to live there was early onset Alzheimer brother who shared house with homeless people, would not let Beverly in. Said he had stuff piled a foot high. One homeless man cut down shrubs in front - thought it looked better without them.

Brother gone (dead?). She had planned to fix up one room  - stay there. But building inspector would not let her use space heater - had to have central heat.

She has lived up and down SE coast.

Four family cats in back - she has put out food and shelter. Cats are frightened. I saw one. A yellow tabby. Looked at me and ran off. I expect that is why woman comes by - to feed, check on cats.

Back looks a little better. A lawn chair that has not been there before. Cat houses in sheltered places.

Same artificial flowers in windows. This where dogs and I thought we saw somebody.

Woman said I could walk with dogs on grounds, Offered to take me on tour

Moonpies and Burroughs

Ron's grand Moonpie madness. The other day he sent out hundreds of pictures from his lair in Hawaii . Most were shot the day of the Moonpie party in front on the patio of the Burroughs building near South Park. It was a million years ago. I hope I haven't violated some sort of copyright thing.

These are some of my favorites. I have left out a lot. But there is only so much time.


Guy in suit allowed it all. Guy in tie is John.


Key West - Random Pictures

Somewhere on Keys going to Key West.

Hemmingway's bathroom.

Six toe cat.


Hemmingway's study.

Waiting for Yankee Freedom III to take us to Dry Tortugas and Ft. Jefferson.

Freighter on horizon reveals curvature of Earth.

Looking out Ft. Jefferson gun port.

Gun on top of battlement.  
Key West rooster. Was told chickens originated with Haitian voodoo ceremonies.  

On Yankee Freedom. Mr. Bob exhibits cool keeping cap from blowing off.
Empty boat encountered about halfway Fort. Havana is not much further. Captain of our ship slowed down to take a look.
Bob and I tried out scenarios for 60ish woman in blue blouse. She was a recent widow figuring things out. She was a cougar pursuing the blonde crew member standing beside her. She was the object of his approaches (he gradually inched in toward her). . Her husband was waiting in the cabin. The last one was it.

Smiling fellow beside Bob does these things right. He took three weeks to get here from Augusta. We took two days to get here from Ft. Mill.
Fort Jefferson harbor. Floatplane  is only other way to get here.
Fort Jefferson. Started in 1846 to protect shipping through nearby channels. Never finished, was a prison in Civil War. Construction stopped in 1880's. Fort became a wildlife refuge in 1908, was declared a national monument in 1935.

Inside fort viewing gun rooms.

The place has a sort of stark beauty.

Five more steps back and I would have joined scuba divers 50 feet below.

Yankee Freedom.  Twin hull catamaran that goes about 30 knots. No water on island, ship served breakfast and lunch - and booze on way back. Dry Tortugas are ecologically pristine island - home to blue footed boobys and sea turtles. (The name "Tortugas" means turtle. "Dry" is because there is no fresh water.)
Stairs going to top of battlement.  Coming was pitch black.
Cruise ship coming in Key West where it will dump it's middle-age passengers for a day of frantic sight-seeing.
Going down interstates and toll roads through eastern Florida, past miles of tract houses both and I said we'd rather be in Harlan West Virginia. We returned through Florida and Georgia back country. I think this is Folkston Georgia.
Trains from North go merge through "Folkston Funnel" then spread out into Florida. We met a Canadian train buff who stopped to watch.
Bug under glass of defunct 93 octane pas pump in Wadley Georgia.
We had lunch in Leesburg Georgia at "Wolfy's" restaurant. People mostly old, retired - not cruise ship old but small town old.
Went by Steam Boat Annie's, Paw Paw's Deli and Fat Daddy's RV Park..
Passed a truck with NRA sticker exhorting followers to stand up and fight. Saw another sign asking people to join KKK. A MacDonald's somewhere was playing Littler Drummer Boy on sound system. Bob also heard it - verified in this respect at least I am not crazy.