Current read: "Notes" by Eleanor Coppola/1979
Best random song heard: "In Between Days" by the Cure/1985
Today was the start of my annual beach vacation, so I've shifted camp three hours south with hopes of finding good food and music here in between reading and sleeping.
I always look forward to the trip down Route 460 because no matter how many years I drive it, I always notice different things.
Like the roadside sign that said, "Phone from car" on a pole over a low-mounted public telephone. Here I thought pay phones were disappearing and yet there's one conveniently placed so the driver need not even get out of his car.
Unless he's driving an SUV and then he'd have to hang out the window to his waist to reach the low-slung receiver. Actually, I'd like to see that.
Near downtown Ivor (an oxymoron if ever there was one), I saw a sign saying "Scales, Shower, Stuckey's."
I saw no evidence of any of those things in the lot where the sign was, but they must have been there at one time, beckoning to sweaty, hungry truckers.
There was a sign for the Isle of Wight Wedding Chapel, should the urge to marry overcome you on the way to or from the beach (it didn't).
In a nod to 21st century patriotism, I saw a house decorated with four of those giant blow-up figures (dogs and elephants), all with hats of red, white and blue stars and stripes.
They flanked an enormous blow-up flag incapable of blowing in the breeze.
Passing the sign for the Hampton Roads Beagle Club next to a cornfield, I did a silent salute to my dearly departed beagle.
When our caravan finally stopped for lunch, it was at the Coinjock Marina Restaurant on the Intercoastal Waterway.
We opted to eat on the deck where signs noted, "Do NOT feed the dogs. They are on a diet!" The one chihuahua we did see was not only overweight but had such long toenails it appeared she'd never walked on concrete.
Our server overheard us discussing the tripling of the toll on the Chesapeake Expressway and immediately offered a "shortcut" that would only take ten minutes but save us the $6 next time.
Her route involved turning at any number of Wawa's and 7-11s and sounded best left for locals. But it was a nice gesture nonetheless.
We watched boats go by and people take off on jet skis (including one guy who couldn't hook the last fastener on his life jacket because of his belly) slowly, so as not to cause a wake in the current-less water which changes direction with the wind.
Meandering down the road after lunch, we stopped for produce at the smallest stand we could find, scoring watermelon, North Carolina peaches that had just arrived yesterday, Silver Queen corn and, best of all, freshly shelled butterbeans. No beach vacation is complete without them.
Between getting settled in at the cottage, spending time on the beach just as everyone else was leaving and savoring a simple supper on the porch, I didn't even crack my first beach book until well after the over-eager neighbors finished setting off (illegal) fireworks around 10:00.
So I failed at my first day of beach reading. What's the point of being at the beach besides the view and the sound of the ocean, if not to be reading non-stop?
I'll try to do better tomorrow.