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Malcolm’s Boat

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 19, 2010

August 30 – September 2, 2002

All Pictures

Malcolm lets one of his friends take the helm.

I’mmmmm Sailing A-Way… 

I had just graduated from college with that bachelors I never put to use. My brother called me one day and told me that I should move to Columbus because there were jobs to be had in his city. I didn’t find one, but I had a great time hanging out with my brother for a couple months.

My brother used to have a boat. He loved that boat. He went boating every chance he could get. One weekend he planned a trip for some of his friends and he invited me to come along.

Truck & Boat Combo

Mountain Momma

I’m not sure of the exact dates. I’m guessing it was labor day weekend because Malcolm had time off from work and I don’t remember it being cold.

When not in use, the boat was kept at a storage place in Licking county, Ohio. The boat had to be pulled by Malcolm’s F250, a monster of a truck. This boat and truck combination was big and heavy and took a lot of gas to power. That is probably why the truck had two gas tanks.

Malcolm showed off his driving skills through the narrow streets of Parkersburg. The boat was wider than the lanes we were driving in. He used some poles with red flags attached, to help him see where the boat ended.

Malcolm makes sure everything is just right.

I got to see a boat being launched for the very first time. My brother did it almost single-handedly. In case you don’t know what it means to launch a boat, it’s basically putting the boat in the water. The key is to not lose the trailer or submerge your muffler.

But that sounds too easy. There are many things that can go wrong during a boat launch. Sometimes, people forget to detach the boat from the trailer or to not detach the trail from the truck, causing the trailer to be launch as well. Trailers don’t float and should never be submerged. Sometimes the boat can get away and set sail without you.

walking on the boat

We went sightseeing during the day, some days, but we mostly stayed on the boat and docked on islands in the Ohio river. We did spend an afternoon on Blannerhassett Island, but I have lost the photos of that part of the trip.

We lived on the boat. The boat had 2 main bed rooms, one towards the front and one in the back. You couldn’t stand in these rooms, but they did give privacy. In the middle there was a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room area, which could be used as another bedroom. This is where you could stand; there and on the top deck.

I always know where my towel is.

I’m no hick! I’m from Ohio!

We spent the second day just boating around, going up the river then down, wasting gas and having a great time. Malcolm and I had spent a night on the boat already, just the two of us. This day Malcolm’s friends arrived and would spend the rest of the time with us. There were 6 of us total and there would have been enough room for everyone if some people didn’t snore.

To solve this problem, some of us elected to camp on what ever island the boat was dock near that night. When evening approached we started to look for a nice island.

Following boating/camping manners we didn’t pick an island with inhabitants, if the island was too small. Most of them were, with boats already docked on them. Then we found one with a small day fishing boat; the kind with a single lawn-mower type engine at the back and no top.

A man and his boat

They were obviously not spending the night, so we decided to dock there. We came ashore. It was a group of two brothers and a girl. The guys came over to talk to us. We had a good little conversation going with them.

They were from the nearby area and spending the day fishing, though we could tell the girl would have rather been anywhere else. She spent the rest of her time there on their boat, alone; she did not come over to talk with us at all. They were really planning to go home before sunset, but since we showed up they thought they might stay the night.

They kept making a point of the fact that they were from the Ohio side of the river, not the West Virginia side. “No. We’re not hicks!” This insistence made me feel that they were in fact hicks. I was excited. I had never met a real live hick before!

They were almost drunk and very friendly… a little too friendly. When it was time to make dinner my brother, Malcolm, got some wood to make a fire. The boys wanted to help and brought us the cardboard boxes their beer came in. They also went to get us some more wood. The younger brother wanted me to go with him to a “special” part of the island that had great wood, but I declined.

passing through one of the many locks

Malcolm started the fire and his friends were ready to get the cooking started but the boys protested. The brothers thought that our fire was too small and set out to get us even more firewood. They came back with a forest of wood and piled it on our fire.

That thing whooshed up like something from the pits of hell. There was no way we could cook anything on that. It would singe the hair on our heads and arms if we got too close.

The brothers, extremely drunk at this point, kept heaping wood unto our fire. I headed for the boat. The younger one kept making eyes at me and he just gave me the creeps. We all found some excuse to go back to the boat. We were going to wait it out. After all, their boat had no top; there’s no way the three of them could sleep in that thing.

They kept drinking and we could hear them stumbling around on the beach. The girl still sat in the boat. Then they started to yell at us. “Why’d you all go away? Don’t you like us? Aren’t we friendly. We don’t even mind that you’re black…”

Then they proceeded to pee on the side of the boat, which was a really dumb thing to do since they had to stand thigh high in the river to do it. Unfortunately for them the boat was too big for them to pee on a part that wasn’t already in the water.

“You guys don’t like us ’cause we’re white! That’s it. It’s reverse racism. You’re a bunch of racists! You think we’re hicks. Is that it? I’m no hick! I’m from Ohio!”

Malcolm loves being on a boat

My brother went out to talk to them. He calmed them down and assured them that their color had nothing to do with us not liking them. In fact, we didn’t not like them. We were actually a bit afraid of them.

“Why would you guys be afraid of us?” The fire was still blazing in the background. The rest of us got off the boat and stood next to Malcolm. My brother explained our fears to them. They were strangers, they were really drunk, there was a huge fire they kept building up, and they seemed to get angry easily.

“What!?” one of the brothers yelled. “We’re not angry? Why would we be angry? …because you’re black and you have a nice boat and I’m white and I have that?” He pointed to their little day fishing boat. The girl was slouched over in it. I could tell she was completely over this whole trip and just wanted to go home.

The brothers wanted to know what job Malcolm had to afford such a grand boat. “I program computers,” my brother said. “You have a college degree!?” one of the boys asked a bit surprised. “And a masters,” Malcolm replied.

“I never got to go to college. I had to work since high school,” the younger brother mused. The older brother walked closer to Malcolm and asked him, “Don’t you think your going to college took away the chance of someone else going to college, just because you’re black?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Well, when I was in high school I studied very hard. I started college at the age of 15. I was living in the Caribbean at the time and the college I went to was predominantly black. Later I was recruited to join the master’s program at Ohio State University. But if you didn’t get into some college, it’s not because your spot was given to someone else. Colleges are there to make money. You don’t make money by turning people away because you’re too full. If you didn’t get into a college, it’s because you didn’t meet that college’s standard, either academically or in some other way that makes the college board feel like you will not complete their program.”

Eventually they went home. I think the girlfriend drove. At least I hope she did.

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

The Ohio River
(by Parkersburg)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 39°15’54.3″N 81°33’32.7″W

Take I-77 to US-50

Ramp at Kenner St. off Rt 47

Address:

Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

350 7th Street
Parkersburg, WV 26101

Phone:

Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • 800-752-4982 or
  • 304-428-1130

Website:

Notes:

I took this trip back in 2002. My brother did all the planning so I remember very little of the information.


Blennerhassett Island

How to get there:

Go to US-50 in Parkersburg

Address:

137 Juliana St.
Parkersburg, WV 26101-5331

Phone:

  • (304) 420-4800

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • It’s free to just go to the island, everything short of breathing costs money.

Hours:

  • Mostly 10:00 – 17:00
  • Times varies for each activity and holiday.
  • Hours

Notes:

You can buy old time style homemade apple butter and other treats.

Map:

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Posted in Parkersburg, United States, The, West Virginia | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Farewell Tour

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 19, 2010

August 11-15, 2010

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It’s a long ways away

The Long Drive Home

Since I’m going to Japan soon and Mark isn’t, we dropped him off in Flint and made our way south. Don’t worry, Mark is coming to Japan. He’ll come shortly after I get there.

It’s a long drive from Michigan to Homestead so my mom and I made several stops along the way. Mark found a great website and gave me the link. It’s called RoadsideAmerica.com. There are lot of interesting things to see out there!

Not everything was worth a blog entry. Some of our stop was just entertaining enough to break up the monotony of a 3 day car journey. I will just talk about the more interesting ones here.

One last game of soccer

One Last Goodbye

Our first Mark-less stop was in Columbus, Ohio. I have one more chance to see my brother again and to try to talk him into visiting me in Japan. His second son, Alex, and my mom will be spending Christmas with me.

I played a game of soccer with my brother and his boys. It reminded me of the year I lived in Columbus. This was where I learned to play basketball and where I started exercising. This game also reminded me of how out-of-shape I am. I do need to start exercising again.

JV #55

You play Basketball!? ha ha!

In high school I was far from what anyone would call athletic. I had never ran without cause to. I never lifted weights, unless I was trying to retrieve something. But I was, and still am, very tall.

I moved to a new city and a new school. I was going to spend one year with my brother and see what life in the states was like. My mom wanted me in a private christian school. After weeks of searching my brother picked Tree of Life High School for me.

One day a man approached me as I was walking in the hall. “You’re new aren’t you.” he said as he sized me up. “If you want to make some new friends and play basketball, come see me. My office is in the gym.”

At dinner that night I told my brother about my odd encounter. He rolled over laughing. “They think just because you’re tall you can play basketball. You play basketball!?” He fell on the floor holding his sides.

I thought it was funny that anyone would mistake me for a potential basketball player, but I didn’t think it was that funny. “You don’t think I could make the team?”

Malcolm: “No. Have you every played basketball before? Would you even know what to do with the ball?”

Me: “Wouldn’t they teach me?”

Malcolm: “They would if you could get on the team. But you have to get on the team first.”

Me: “Alright. I’ll get on the team. Then they’ll teach me to play. Then I’ll play!”

They misspelled my name… and I changed my major. Biochemistry!? What was I thinking?

The next day at lunch I went to the athletic office at school and signed up to be a Lady Trojan. I was put on the JV team and played my heart out. I never became a fantastic baller, but that was never my goal. I did however, manage to go on and earn a basketball scholarship for college.

Think of all the goodies it can hold.

The World’s Blankiest Blank!

The next stop was to see the world’s biggest basket. It’s actually a 7-story office building and headquarters of the Longaberger basket company. When you go inside it looks like you’re outdoors. There is a piano that plays itself and many cozy rooms with examples of how you can use your Longaberger basket.

in Ottis’ cell

Well I’lllllll Be!

The next day we went to Mayberry. This was my first visit to a fictional town. Well, it’s actually Mount Airy dressed up to look like Mayberry. Mount Airy is where Andy Griffith is from. So to capitalize on his fame, the town recreated Mayberry in it’s downtown area.

This is the actual boyhood home of Andy Griffith. There is a statue of Opie and Andy in the town. You can see the shops, stores and other characters in the town, but the most popular one is Barney Fife. He now has a cafe and his likeness is seen all over the town.

World’s biggest fire hydrant

If we were just driving without unnecessary stops we could have made it home with only one overnight along the way. But how boring is that? Besides when will I have the opportunity to see the world’s biggest fire hydrant again?

one log you say…

One of our stops was in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city to see a home built from one single redwood log. It was very hot inside since there are no windows. But it comes complete with a kitchen and fridge, a bed room, dining room and sitting area. But where was the bathroom? A sign near the house said that “business” was done outside…

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

The World biggest Basket

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 40°03’49.1″N 82°20’46.7″W

By Car, from Columbus –

  • Take I70 East, exit 132,
  • then turn left onto State Route 13 north.
  • Follow State Route 13 north to State Route 16 East and turn right.
  • From State Route 16 East, turn right onto Dayton Road.
  • Turn left onto East Main Street.
  • The Home Office is located on the left.

Address:

One Market Square
1500 East Main Street
Newark, Ohio 43055

Phone:

  • 740-322-5588

Website:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Most M-F 8:00 – 17:00

Notes:

  • This place is an office building. You are welcome to come in, ask questions, and take pictures in the visitor’s area only.

Mayberry
(Mount Airy)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 36°30’06.3″N 80°36’24.8″W

By Car from I77

  •  Take exit 100 to Hwy. 89 East.
  • Turn left onto Pine St./Hwy. 89.
  • Follow Pine to Renfro St., turn left.
  • Follow Renfro Street and take a left onto Independence Blvd.
  • You will see the Blue Signs that say Visitors Center.
  • Once you turn onto Independence take the next left onto Main Street.
  • Follow Main Street until you see the Big Granite Building located beside Barney’s Restaurant.
  • This is The Chamber of Commerce Building and the Visitors Center is located in the Chamber of Commerce Building at, 200 N. Main Street.

Address:

200 North Main Street
Mount Airy, North Carolina 27030

Phone:

  • 1-800-948-0949

Website:

Downloads:

Notes:

  • There is free parking behind the Old City Jail on the intersection of Moore Ave. and Renfro St.
  • You can go camping in this area.

The One Log House

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 29°53’58.5″N 81°18’48.8″W

Go to the old down town of St. Augustine in Florida.

Address:

19 San Marco Ave.
St. Augustine, FL

Phone:

  • 904-824-1606

Website

Cost:

Hours:

  • Always available

Notes:

  • The log house is in the parking lot of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not. You don’t have to pay to see it.

Map:

Posted in Columbus, Florida, Mount Airy, Newark, North Carolina, Ohio, St. Augustine, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breakfast is Better in French

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 19, 2010

August 8, 2010

All Pictures

Mark soaking in the kid-free hot tub

A Vacation from Vacation

We had been running around so much on this trip, getting up early and going to bed late. This day was to be a relaxing day.

Ottawa is right on the border with Quebec. It was planned this way by Queen Victoria as a symbolic gesture to show the equality of both the French and English speakers. I can’t help but wonder how the Québécois feel, since Ottawa, the capital, is still in the English speaking province of Ontario.

In the US this problem was solved by having the capitol, Washington D.C. be it’s own district. This runs into another problem. Since it is not a state, it does not have a senator or a voting representative to congress. This is where the “Taxation Without Representation” license plates come in.

French Breakfast

Awkward for them, but for us this meant that we had a 10 minute drive before we could say, “We’re in Quebec!” We drove to the city of Gatineau for breakfast. The coffee was great!

Mark getting bad directions from some stuffed deer

Park it

Then we went into the town of Chelsea. We first went to the visitor center for some free maps and information. The place is filled with stuffed animals. It turns out, I don’t like taxidermy. It’s a bit creepy.

great view

It’s a great park. It’s very big. But we were really just killing time. We wanted to head back to our hotel. On this day the pool would be open at 15:00 to 20:00 and we wanted to be there for every minute of it. Mark in particular wanted to go down the big slide, but we had been busy sight seeing until this day. After a quick run through of the park, we headed back.

Marco!

Pool. Are you in?

This pool was amazing. Mark and I were the first 2 people in when it opened that day. I walked into the big pool and was disappointed. It was shallow and cold. I swam towards the deeper end and was told to get back.

I figured, “Why bother?” I got out and sat in the hot tub. It was a really nice hot tube with a most wonderful sign. “Adults Only”

in the hot tub!

If you have kids, you may not be as pleased with the sign as I was. Many parents tried to take their kids into the hot tub only to be told by the life guard to get them out.

You may think that just because you find little “Timmy” the most adorable little creature in the whole wide world, everyone must think so too. Maybe “Timmy” is cute. But those of us who aren’t his parents, don’t want to be around him when he’s crying, pooing, complaining, or doing whatever kids do. It’s nothing personal, that’s just how it is with us non-parents of “Timmy”.

As I sat in the kid-free hot tub, I noticed something going on in the cold pool. All the kids started squealing with delight. They turned on a wave machine! My mom headed for the pool. She stayed in the pool and refused to come out until she was absolutely frozen.

All Pictures


 

Canada

How to get there:

You can enter Canada by land, air, or sea. But you’ll probably fly in unless you live near the border.

Go to the US and head north. Well, sometimes you will need to head south.

Needed Documents:

As a US citizen you will need either:

  1. a passport
  2. Passport Card
  3. Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Technically, you need one of these documents or just a passport to get into Canada, but in actuality the Canadian border control doesn’t always check them. You will need one to re-enter the US.  The US border control does a thorough check on each and everyone coming into the country.
  • Be prepared to wait in a long line to get back into the US.
  • You are not allowed to carry fruit from one country into the other.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Gatineau Park
Parc de la Gatineau

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 45°36’00.9″N 76°02’34.7″W

To the visitor center –

  • Take Route 5, exit 13
  • Head south on Chamin Scott

Address:

Visitor Center

33 Scott Road
Chelsea, Quebec
J9B 1R5

Phone:

  • 1-800-465-1867

Website:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Free to enter

Hours:

The park is always available, but here are the hours for the visitor center.

  • daily 9:00 – 17:00,
  • except December 25 when open from 12:00 – 17:00

Notes:

It’s a huge park and there are many ways to get in. If you are in Ottawa, stop by the Visitor Centre across from the Parliament Building and ask for directions.


Travelodge Ottawa

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 45°23’04.2″N 75°44’16.6″W

By Car –

  • Take Hwy. 417 to exit 124 (Carling Avenue).
  • Turn left at the first traffic lights onto Kirkwood,
  • and left at the next set of lights onto Carling Avenue.
  • The hotel will be on our right.

Address:

1376 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 7L5

Phone:

  • General Travelodge 1-800-578-7878
  • 613-722-7600

Website

e-mail: info@travelodgeottawa.com

Notes:

I’m recommending this hotel, not just because it was one of the least expensive accommodations in Ottawa… not just because it is located conveniently close to all the downtown attractions… not just because the staff here was friendly and very helpful… not just because of the kid-free hot tub… but, because of its amazing pool with super slide and wave maker!

Map:


Posted in Canada, Chelsea, Gatineau, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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