Monday, November 13, 2006

November 1986

Although past events of my life get hazier as I age, I do have memories that have stayed fresh, the details still clear in my mind. 20 years ago this month, my wife and I took a leisurely trip via car, down to visit my parents, who were living in Myrtle Beach SC at the time. It was easily one of the best vacations ever, not because anything earth-shatteringly awesome happened, but simply because it was full of nice little things that I haven't forgotten. Instead of barnstorming from Niagara down to South Carolina in the standard day and half drive (I'd done it several times as a kid), we decided to take our time and enjoy the journey, making sure we savoured the experience of getting there.

Our first day destination was Cameron Estates in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Because Tracy and I enjoy restaurants so much, there's usually much anticipatory discussion about food while driving and the ongoing joke that day was my intention of ordering the most lavish thing on the inn's menu, which in my mind would be roast duck. Turns out, it was on the menu, and I did order it, enjoying it thoroughly. It's still on the menu too. The inn was beautiful and quiet, situated in heavily-Amished Lancaster County. Here's the room we had.

The following 3 days were spent exploring a bit of the eastern seaboard, from Delaware on down. Some memories:

Wandering around the deserted boardwalk area in Rehoboth Beach (not much action there in November).

Buying a few cutout bin cassettes (including Brian Eno: On Land) at a mall in Dover (this place was crawling with seniors, 75% of them all strangely sporting the same brand of windbreaker).

A slow drive on/in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

A terrific lobster dinner at the Waterside Marketplace in Norfolk VA.

Hearing Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" (a big hit at the time) on the radio, while driving through a small leaf-strewn Virginia town. It felt like I heard this song every half hour that week.

Some memories from our time in Myrtle Beach:

Dinners at Cagney's, Gullyfield (closed down in 1999), Flamingo Grill and Drunken Jack's - without forgetting the great pizza and cold, cold beer at King's Pizza - conveniently located a short walk from my parent's house.

An afternoon wandering around Brookgreen Gardens.

For some reason, I distinctly remember reading a Stephen King review of Springsteen's then just released "Live 75-85" in USA Today.

Driving home, we took some time to enjoy Skyline Drive, the long, incredibly scenic stretch of highway that runs through Virgina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Included: a visit to Skyline Caverns.

That day ended with a stay at a seedy, ramshackle motel that I chose out of sheer desperation (we were tired and quite ready to stop driving) - the now infamous "Roses of Picardy Motor Court" - a dump that felt like a place an escaped convict might make a home for a night or two. Tracy was not impressed. We've joked about that place often over the years and I've tried finding it via Google with no luck - until very recently. Thanks to Flickr - here's a postcard.

20 years can sure pass in a hurry. I don't take good memories for granted.