Monday, September 12, 2016

The Vacation ... from Harry

(But not horseflies)

My wife had promised the twins a vacation at the beach this year before school starts. So a week ago we drove to the Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore is a peninsula that starts in Maryland, but is mostly in Virginia. On its east coast is the Atlantic Ocean and on the west is the Chesapeake Bay. At one time you either drove down through Maryland or took a ferry from Norfolk. Now the trip is quicker, crossing the bay on the 17-mile long Bay Bridge Tunnel. Two tunnels allow shipping to sail unimpeded into Hampton Rhodes and up to Baltimore.

We rented a cabin at a RV campground where we have a membership, but have never been to before. The first evening we had a tremendous storm that we rode out in comfort. The next day we went to the pool. The twins loved it. We stayed in the water despite its temperature being less than one would expect in August. What finally drove us out were the midges, or black flies.

Simulium callidum are known by many names, but I swear they are minions of the elder God Cthulhu sent to torture and torment man, biting him fiercely with razor sharp mandible and drawing blood before the pain begins. They swarmed our car and us. Once we got into it, we frantically tried to get them out. They were fast and agile. Demons that materialized, drew blood, and vanished before you could strike back. The second day I finally dispatched one back to the hell that spawned him and I felt I had won a fight with a bear.

And the black flies,
the little black flies
Always the black fly
no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly
a-pickin' my bones.

"The Black Fly Song" by Wade Hemsworth, 1949

We didn't just battle black flies on the second day. We drove north along the coast to Wallops Island, which is the site of a small, but important NASA launch facility. We toured the visitor center and bought freeze-dried "Astronaut" Ice cream.

Other than the black flies our only disappointment was that the campground had no beach. We were surrounded by mud flats. Maggie wanted to build a sand castle and play in the ocean surf. So on our third day my daughter and I took Maggie to Chincoteague Island, home to the ponies made famous by the book "Misty of Chincoteague". Wild horses have populated the barrier island of Assateague since the 1600s. Their ancestors were believed to be cargo in a Spanish galleon that shipwrecked off the Virginia coast. The Chincoteague volunteer firefighters hold an annual roundup of horses and auction a number as a fundraiser every year. The pony penning dates back to the early 1800s, but it became an annual fundraising event to the firefighters in 1924. The herd now is own by the fire department and lives protected on the National Wildlife area on Assateague.

We went to the beach and Maggie started her sand castle, but the allure of the sea was too strong. She spent the next hour playing in the surf and having the time of her life. I sat in my beach chair and got more sun than my bloated, pale body can handle. Before we left, Maggie got to ride a pony and her mother promised her riding lessons in the future.

Well that was our vacation. We packed up that night and checked out in the morning, but not before one final swim in the pool with the twins. We had one last stop planned, but the traffic was horrible once we reached the mainland so we slowly drove home. School starts after Labor Day and new adventures await Corbin and Maggie.


An occasional reader said...

Nice account, and I love the National Film Board of Canada animation. I must learn that song.

Harry H said...

I thought the song was hilarious, much more fun than the flies were. I love the video too, but I don't think Rachael meant to load it twice to the post.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

No, twice was a mistake.

Harry H said...

An extremely rare pixie mistake, no doubt. GRIN!

roberto said...

Black flies?!
Grab your rifle, gun, knife, peashooter and kill them all.
No prisoners
No mercy

Anonymous said...

More from H please!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Harry is no longer welcome on my blog. You won't be seeing anything more from him.