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Monday, June 15, 2009

There and Back Again, A Mongo's Tale

Part Three: Nights in South Rodanthe

Well, if you haven’t already realized, these posts from the beach are all retroactive in nature. Meaning, I went, took notes, I came home, and I’ve been posting from them over the course of the last week. It will become really apparent in this last bit from the trip home as I talk about a particular game being played in the Stanley Cup finals and we already know how it turned out. Yeah! I have to say that coming home I wasn’t so sure. It was a rough Game Five and it could have been a detriment to the spirit of that team and their little “Flower” of a goalie. Instead, it was just enough fuel to carry them and the cup home. Enough about that… let’s take it home.

Day 7 Saturday June 5
Morning came quick after only getting a few hours of sleep. While we packed most of the car last night, there is still more to be stowed before we leave. I want to let the little one sleep as long as possible before having to wake her. We aren’t going to get a great breakfast because we had to wash everything and pack up all the kitchen items we brought. Still, I know what will happen. She’ll get up. She’ll come upstairs and she’ll grab that high chair and bring it towards the center of the room.

I made several passes around the house, making sure I got everything. Checked all the drawers, looked through every couch and under every bed for toys and other assorted items. I made sure everything was the we left it or better. I took some final pictures and helped load the van. Afterwards, I went back into this house that sheltered us and comforted us this last week and said in my mind, “Thank you for a great trip.” Leaving, I took one last look around and headed back to the van.

We stopped into the rental office to turn in the keys and I gave the lady at the desk the rundown of what had happened. She went and got the manager and he pulled me aside. Smart thing for him to do. The last thing you want to do is have a disgruntled customer standing among other potential customers, spouting about his bad luck. We went back to his office and we spoke about the pool situation. I laid it all out, the missing breaker, our discovery, the pool guy, and I did not expect anything in return. After all, it was our word against his (pool guy). We shook hands and I left.

I was ready to go. I wanted to get moving as quickly as possible. As much as I had a good time this vacation, there’s something to be said for going home. I also knew if I wanted to catch Game Five I had better make it to the other side of the Allegheny Mountains before too late. That was the outer marker for picking up Pittsburgh radio stations.

It was a little bittersweet driving up Rte 12. We again passed by Bodie Light, Jockey’s Ridge, and the Wright Brothers memorial. We stopped again for breakfast at the Western Sizzlin. I must admit I was satisfied with the food there. It was good for a good price. If you ever go to Kill Devil Hills, check it out. Then go a little ways south on Rte 12 to a place called Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard. They have Excellent fries and frozen custard.

Moyock, NC Rte 168
Back on the road, it was just after 1:00 PM. We stopped back at the rest stop on the other side of the sound and made a break for it. From here on out, I wanted to make some good time back to PA. We had to stop one more time at a place called The Border Station in Moyock, NC. It’s a huge gas station / store that sells fireworks. They aren’t like the places along the side of the highway, sometimes going by the name of Woody’s with a picture of a hissing black cat on the sign. This was a bigger outfit and they didn’t sell any of the good stuff. Usually, I like getting some “stuff” before I come home but this was all legal and puny.

Back through the tunnel under the bridge and onto I-95
We seemed to be making good time. I also began to really hate that purple dinosaur. We had the DVD going on a loop behind me for the little one thinking maybe she would fall asleep. No such luck. She was chugging along with the rest of us. We hit the beltway and were heading into Northern VA before sunset. We stopped at a Bob Evans after a few failed attempts at finding another place to eat. From here it wouldn’t be long until we were in PA.

Breezewood, PA Rte 70/76
This is the last leg. Out last fill up was in Moyock, NC. I topped off the tank in order to return the van with the same amount of gas as I had when I picked it up. I also turned over the keys to the wife. I was getting real punchy and needed a break after driving until here. We jumped on the turnpike and headed home. I kept a check on the radio to see if we could hear the game yet. I knew that usually we wouldn’t start getting in Pittsburgh stations until after we went through the tunnel but I was ever hopeful. Game Four was awesome and the Pens really showed Detroit why were in the finals against them for another year. This time last year, we were in a similar situation and I hoped that the tide would have turned with those two wins in Game Three and Four. Now we were back in Detroit. Unfortunately, we have to win this and Game Six to hoist the cup on home ice in Pittsburgh.

Once through the tunnels, I began to get very scratchy reception in on 105.9 WXDX. All I could make out was Mike Lange saying something about it being 5-0. As we wound through the mountains on the turnpike, reception faded in and out. Play continued and more and more pieces of the puzzle came into place. We were losing and it was almost the end of the game. This was indeed the low point of the trip. Not only did Detroit go up 3-2 in the series, there was the distinct possibility that they would be skating around our home ice with the Stanley Cup. As gracious of hosts as we are, I think the thought of Marion Hossa skating around our ice, his former ice, holding that cup high above his head would be enough to start a riot in the arena.

Somewhere around Johnstown, the little one finally dozed off to sleep. We drove the rest of the way in silence and landed back at my In Laws’ house just before midnight. We dropped them off and ended up waking the baby. She pretty much cried until we got home. I don’t blame her. She went 12 hours without a nap and once she fell asleep we woke her up five minutes before we pulled into the driveway. I’d be pissed, too.

We unloaded the van and fell into the house out of exhaustion. We pretty much just did what we needed to go to sleep. The cats were happy to see us and we were happy to see them. We bathed the baby and put her down around 2:00 AM. We both sat in our living room, exhausted by too awake to sleep. After a shower, we were in bed and both sat there still awake. I was waiting for the last of the caffeine to escape my system and finally drifted off to sleep. Since we fed the cats late, I was able to sleep until 8:00 AM before having to get up. As I finish up these notes I noticed we missed a phone call at 10:14 AM Saturday. It was the realty company. The manager called the house five minutes after I left. He said he totally understands and believes us. He’s had problems with this outside company before and is going to reimburse us for all but two days of pool heat. Sometimes, it pays to make noise even when the odds are against you. Hopefully, the fans will make some noise in Pittsburgh during Game Six and then ultimately Game Seven. We’re not out yet. I only hope Fleury isn’t too rattled after that loss. It would be nice to have the Lombardi Trophy and Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh for the year…but I guess a World Series win might be a tall order. Maybe…

As you can see, I wrote this with no knowledge of the impending win in Pittsburgh and win in Detroit. What a Game Seven that was. Holy Crap, Fleury shook off the bad vibes of Game Five and stepped it up. Go Pens!

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