My biggest sister has a little slice of Horsie Heaven down in Va, where the Potomac River separates Maryland from Virginia. A few times a year, captain Clam and I hop on a Megabus and clunk our way down to DC where Annie and Jeff pick us up in the middle of the night. Since being blessed with Dino Gadget (pictured way down below), we have abandoned the luxuries of the Megabus and decided to clunk down there at our own leisure.
The trip was planned for a few weeks, since we had been talking about heading down for a little R&R and Junk Shopping. We had visited my family the previous week and were bringing a little surprise down to VA. His name is Max.
Friday was such a gross day, but we knew we wanted to spend an entire day in VA, and not have to worry about getting up early to make the trek. As I came home from work, I could tell how bad the weather would be based on how low the planes were coming into LaGuardia. It felt like you could just pull the aircraft out of the sky, which was kinda awesome.
We headed out around 7pm on Friday. And, as dictated by luck, the skies opened up as soon as we hit the NJ Turnpike. Between apocalyptic downpour and traffic from a “lane merge” it took much longer than expected to get anywhere. By the time we finally stopped to rest, we were about and hour and a half behind schedule. The line for starbucks was it’s own traffic jam, so I opted for Burger King coffee. I also purchased the BEST postcard for my parents. It had a giant red pepper on it. Who knew that New Jersey was known for it’s red peppers!
After the horror show that is the NJ TPKE finally ended, we zoomed over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and skirted towards Baltimore and through that cool little tunnel on 895A. The sky had started to clear and a big, delicious Waning Gibbous framed in storm clouds shone through, lighting the way for us. The moon looked like a giant flower petal in the sky, waiting to be plucked. The stars started coming out, too. It’s been too long since I have seen a star that isn’t an airplane.
There’s a funny thing about driving for so long at night. The dark tends to play tricks on tired eyes. We were cruising down 301 and I swore that a yield sign was a 7′ tall deer. It was moving and prancing and I panicked at the thought of it darting in from of the truck. But it was, seriously, just a sign rattling in the breeze. When I did see a deer, I pointed to it and asked the Captain if it was real. He said that he didn’t see anything. I am questioning my sanity.
We rolled down Annie’s 1/2 mile long dirt driveway in the middle of the woods just a little before 2am. Max was amazing in the car and snuggled with the Clam most of the way. Of course, I got to drive the full 7 hours, which was a first for me. I was exhausted and somehow ridiculously proud for making the entire ride behind the wheel. We went to bed immediately and slept like rocks sleeping in a rock pile.
We “slept in” until about 8:15, and woke up to a screaming nephew and a dog that really had to go pee. Ann was out on a trail ride, so my niece offered to drive us around to some of the local antique malls so we could find some junk to bring back to New York City. If you read my post entitled Sixteen Years Ago Today, you will understand how close my niece and I are. She is just so cool. Jeff took the top and windows of her Bright yellow Jeep (name: Jessica), and we flew all over King George with a 16 year old at the wheel. She is actually a very good driver, just needs to be a little more patient when shifting into 4th gear.
Our first stop was Wal-Mart. I don’t usually patronize WM because I don’t believe in how they treat their employees, there are no WM’s in the City, and Captain Clam is banned for life. I reluctantly went anyway… and spent $80… on clothing. Who am I?
Our next stop was the Discount Tobacco Center in the Wal-Mart parking Lot. Captain Clam can smoke under water. Crazy, right?
Next, Gabby took us up and down 301 to all the antique shops. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but had our hopes set on coming home with some sort of sofa or settee for our living room. Our Fancy Futon needed to be moved to the second bedroom to accommodate some house guests the following weekend (although Captain Clam and I ended up sleeping on it), and we wanted to set up a nice sitting area, since we don’t have a TV and futons are for college kids.
We ended up at A Unique House Antique Mall, where we perused the endless booths of bric-a-brac, junk, antiques, collectibles, etc. We were also fortunate enough to go there on the 3rd Saturday of the month, which meant they had an outdoor flea market and some bad ass barbecue. We spied a few items that we wanted to purchase, and some we might be interested in next time, if they are still available.
After three hours of browsing, we thanked Jessie the Jeep for our amazing new windblown hair-do’s, hopped back in Dino-Gadget, and set out to find some Road-side BBQ and discuss the goodies that we wanted to drag home with us. Of course, we headed back to the antique mall, but all of the food was gone (gasp!). So we popped in to this Crazy Cajun place to get some grub. Captain Clam ordered something or other, which was made from a frozen pork Chop, and I ordered a BBQ Rib Sammy bathed in the House Sauce. The Captain’s meal tasted like a flash fried frozen patty, and mine tasted like pure piggy heaven. We topped it off with Lemonade flavored purely by chemicals and some Cajun fries (which were delicious). And while the Clam pulled the Gadget around, I laid on the grass and took pictures of the paper-machete pig out front.
The food did us good, even if half of it was kinda yuck. We U-turned a few times and found ourselves back at the Antique Mall purchasing an old Church Pew and a Mid-Century Night Table. Jackpot! These items now grace our Living room where the Futon used to sit.
Thank goodness for Pick-up Trucks! After a long day of junk shopping, we returned to the farm, ready for a nap. Instead, we got a Horse Party. I had prepared well for the Preakness event (or so I thought) by purchasing a horse print dress. What I forgot was a giant, gawdy hat. At some point, I realized that I had forgotten my ENTIRE make-up bag (and also neglected to pack socks or t-shirts for Le Captain), so I had to use Gabby’s goods. And suddenly I was 16 years old again getting ready for an awesome party. I had washed my hair again (since it was so windblown I couldn’t get a brush through it), and just moseyed on up to the mirror with the other gals and started playing dress up.
The guests began arriving and I helped my sister set up food… and then I helped myself to the bar… and then I helped myself to the yummy offerings of their guests (pumpkin cookies? yes,please!). The race lasted less than 2 minutes, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all of the carrying on that the guests were doing. Yelling. Hooting. Hollering. I couldn’t believe just how much they were all into it. I mean Horse enthusiasts… it’s a thing!
So after the fanatics calmed down, Captain Clam and I roused everyone into collecting firewood for an impromptu Bon-Fire. Whenever I visit my VA family, I insist on a fire. We then just sit around, play with fire, listen to my brother in-law’s political tirades (this particular tirade was about how Global Warming is fake), drink beer, and just shoot the shit. Captain Clam, for being a sea creature, is particularly good at lighting fires. He was quite diligent in stoking the flames and inspiring the teenagers to go get wood and kindling.
We stayed out watching the flame lick the night until half past 2. I’m pretty sure us grown ups had a little too much to drink, but not enough to pay dearly in the morning. I woke up to a pancake breakfast, just like my mom’s: thin and buttery instant pancakes fresh off the griddle. Any hangover was sure to be diverted by all that magic.
After breakfast, we piled into my sister’s new monster truck and headed off for more antiquing. We visited some new places that I had never been to and scouted all sorts of junk that I wanted but couldn’t fit in the truck.
Then we headed off to Colonial Beach for some ice cream, driftwood, baby duck sightings, and window shopping. As tradition would have it, we popped into Nancy’s Ice Cream Shop for some sweets. Lo and Behold, standing in front of us was the following:
This woman stood there for about 5 minutes with her hands down the back of her pants. I know it’s mean to post this (as I have been told by some of my Facebook friends), but seriously. What the hell?
Now, here is another wonder… it’s my brother-in-law smiling. This never happens:
Well, after all that commotion, I needed the feeling of sand beneath my toes. The lot of us headed to the River. I wasted no time in removing my shoes and digging my dogs into the sand. Captain Clam and I read each others minds brilliantly and started collecting uniquely shaped pieces of driftwood.
We headed down to the pier and found a “raft” of baby ducks. They were so little and cute and completely cautious of us.
After all that fun, we headed into the local Pottery Shop to steal a plastic bag for our driftwood bounty and check out the wares. It was nice to see the pottery items, as well as the photography and art pieces. There were also some cool driftwood sculptures, and loose pieces of driftwood for sale. We ended up spending $2 on a note card to send along to my parents (which I still have yet to mail since I am staggering this card with the postcard from New Jersey). Then I got to take a picture of these faces::
After our beach adventure, we ventured back to the homestead for what would be our last meal of dried out leftovers from the night before. We kissed Max goodbye, who looked like he was so sad, yet so happy, and headed down the long driveway for the journey back to the greatest city in the world.
We hit a Dunkin’ Donuts to fuel our exhausted bodies and saw this in the garbage can:
All was well until we hit the Turnpike. As usual, New Jersey has the magic of a toilet bowl on taco night. Captain Clam almost made the entire drive back, but gave up once dusk hit, so I finished the final leg of the journey.
We did run into this:
which made part of the traffic through hell only slightly amusing. We finally re-entered our home-state, reluctantly paying a ghastly toll on the GWB. All we wanted to do was get to sleep, but we had nearly forgotten about all of the stuff needing to be carried up five flights of stairs.
We were so exhausted that we couldn’t get the damn church pew up the stairs. I went up to the building Super’s apartment to beg for help, but no one was able to help except his wife, a 60-something grandma ANIMAL! She pretty much single handedly dragged that beast up the stairs. I mean Captain Clam was there to help carry the heaviest part and all, and I was supervising, doing my best to hold up the middle of the bench and boost morale, of course.
We finally made it. It was a little after mid-night when we pulled our shoes off and collapsed into our bed. Exhausted but happy, we bid the day goodbye. Of course we were a little sad about leaving Max with his new family, but we were happy that he was finally happy. Now, if we could only learn to take a proper selfie, all the world would be right.