Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rising Up, Rising Down

It is risen. Or possibly coming down.
What, Fourth of July weekend already? Happy birthday, 'Merica! What better way to celebrate than with a comically overdue post on our Easter adventure in Daytona Beach? But first, some backfilling.

When last Rob was describing our April tour through Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, things were going swimmingly—which was appropriate, given the monsoons we negotiated—until Blogger disappeared a post that would have been epic. Now we have always been at war with Oceania, and we've covered only the games we saw in Rome and Augusta.

But the truth is that not all towns and not all games are equally worthy of coverage. And so, leaning heavily on photos so as to get on to the Easter tale, here's a pathetically quick survey of our time in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Savannah.

Myrtle Beach was another stadium with a thick net. I will be writing separately on the subject of nets shortly. We saw the much-discussed Joey Gallo here, though he did essentially nothing memorable. Ain't that life? Also, some jerk vandalized our rental car for reasons too boring to go into.

Another opening, another show
Myrtle Beach, arguable the tackiest town in America, has a lot of maximalist miniature golf, which we couldn't let pass. Some of it is epic in scale...

Don't go chasing waterfalls, especially since you'd have to get through this fence to do so.
...and some of it is just darn peculiar, like these holes built inside a former department store.

An indoor vista that takes the Mount out of Mount Atlanticus Miniature Goff [sic]
The rest of the day was given over to barbecue and a very satisfying meal in Charleston at McCrady's. (Charleston on a whole was a little tourist-twee for our tastes.) Given the chance, Rob would have run off with our adorable server, but we had a RiverDogs game to get to at a stadium that is probably the marshiest one going. Here's the view off the back of the concourse.

And here's a view of some backs and butts. It was a slow game, I think.

After an unsatisfying and wet tour of Gullah country, we were then rained out in Savannah. No Sand Gnats for us! We ate badly and then had to leave. And to think we used to be so proud of our no-rain-out streak and our ability to find a good restaurant. Here's the best thing we saw in Savannah:

Earthrise, Savannah edition
People say this is a gas tank, but I prefer to think that it's a real, albeit misplaced, planet.
Heading south, we stopped at a tiny church.

Next thing you know, it's Saturday and we're in Daytona Beach. En route, Jekyll Island was also a bit twee. You can read all about it here ("Fun with turtles"!), if you need to. And here our theme begins. We started down in a pit a ways south of D.B. (which no one calls it).

No one is quite sure what this is.
We carried on to a flight school that featured sculptures literal...

As Orville said to Wilbur, "You're Wright!"
...and modestly abstract. But you can see in each that we're beginning to turn our eyes to the heavens.

This is not a relic from Area 51. I think.
Shortly after this moment we realized that the rain that had been playing havoc with our schedule had had the same effect on the Daytona Cubs, and that consequently they'd been playing the first game of a doubleheader for about a hour at this point. We hightailed it to the stadium (which Rob visited last year as well) and settled in for another view of a net. Watching the Cubs at any level, of course, is a deeply purgatorial experience, and it requires copious quantities of hope to keep going.

In fairness, we also got a good look at the Cubs' Albert "The Solution" Almora.
The second game ended late, and we sped through the coastal night to our beachside motel—a real deal if you can stand being steeped in mildew, which, luckily, we both can. Still, fresh air, why have you forsaken me?

To our shock, the "rising from the pit" theme got cranked to eleven at about 4:30 a.m. We heard lots of music and people chattering, and we figured it was some long-running party that would have to expire before too much longer. And yet, the noise only grew steadily. Finally, at about five, Rob decided to call the police.

"Good morning," he said, "I realize it is Easter"—Easter! I thought. Oh, crap—"but did you really issue an amplified-noise permit for five a.m.?" The person on the other end must have been expecting to hear a more typical party-beach complaint like, "Dude, my bro isn't, like, breathing or whatever," because Rob had to rephrase his question a few times before it became apparent that, indeed, there was going to be a big amplified Jesus party on the beach this morning.

Knowing we were licked, we decided to roll the stone away from our door and venture out. Here's what we saw:

You'll notice that the sun was unhelpfully obscured by some clouds. I said to Rob, "'Though we can't see the sun, it's there, just like you can't always see Jesus, but he's there.'" We then waited about ten minutes before the amplified preacher running the show said more or less those very words. If delayed quasi-ventriloquism is a salable skill, I've got the market cornered.

We wandered down the beach and witnessed another windy beachside celebration, this one with a stage and even more amplifiers. A joyful noise was being made, though joyfulness is of course in the ears of the beholder.

The lone and level sands don't stretch far enough away.
Still half-asleep we went for breakfast at Bertie's Luncheonette before heading down to a drive-in church to see if any cars would ascend into the sky.
Ready to rise
They didn't. Even worse, when we made our way back up the coast to Castle Otttis, we weren't able to go in, despite this being arguably the most important day of the year on the Castle Otttis calendar:

It was the worst Easter ever. But we did get to see the Ruins of Bongoland, where dinosaur statues sit patiently, waiting for their moment to come again... and then we'll know trouble.

Doesn't he look mad enough already??

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