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A day trip to Ocean City that definitely felt rushed…

October 23, 2016, 1:20 PM

On Monday, October 10, I finally visited Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  You would think, having lived in Maryland for nine years, that I would have gotten out there before this, but better late than never, I suppose.

This was a trip where the journey was probably more interesting than the destination itself.  I’m also pretty confident that we did not meet my usual rule for a trip where you should spend as much time at the destination as it takes to get down there and back.  I also felt rushed when we actually got to the destination, but I suppose that such is what happens sometimes.  However, with this being an “overview” trip, where the goal was just to get a feel for what was there for future exploration, meeting my time rule wasn’t as important as it might otherwise be.

In any case, we left a little later than I would have liked, and the trip began fairly uneventfully.  Things went smoothly until we made a planned stop at the Wawa near Annapolis.  There, my low tire pressure light came on as we were getting ready to leave.  Okay.  Wawa has free air, so no problem.  The way that I figured, it had been a while since the last time that I had checked the tire pressure, so one of them may have reached the threshold for the warning light from normal whatever.  So I topped off the tires.  The left rear tire was a bit lower than the others, but the light went away.  Cool.  Problem solved.  Continue on trip.

After going over the Bay Bridge (my first time), I learned far more than I expected about center pivot irrigation systems from Elyse.  If it tells you anything, I’m no longer surprised when I learn that Elyse knows a lot about something medical or industrial.  But her information always checks out.  In this case, I learned about the different brands of center-pivot irrigation systems, and how to distinguish between them.  The main brands are Valley, Reinke (pronounced like “rinky”) and Zimmatic.  Those names, for whatever reason, made me think of the Pacman ghosts: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde/Sue.  I said, “Valley, Reinke, Zimmatic… and Sue.”  Maybe you had to be there, but we got a laugh out of it.  In any case, though, you saw a lot of them, as the Delmarva Peninsula has a lot of farmland.

For that matter, Route 50 is one of those roads where you can really “see America”.  The road stops being a freeway after the Bay Bridge, and you go through a number of little towns on the way to Ocean City.  I could totally see doing a trip out this way just to photograph the small towns along the way.

Then as Elyse and I approached Salisbury, the tire pressure light came on again.  One time could be as simple as needing to top off the tire.  Two times means that I have a problem.  Considering how much distance we traveled before the problem came back, I knew that it was a slow leak, and therefore I likely had some time to play with before the tire went flat, but didn’t know exactly how much time.  Thus it was time to quickly get the car to a shop to get this fixed.  Elyse knew that there was a Walmart with a tire center nearby, so we started making moves towards that, but we ended up finding a Sears Auto Center before we got to the Walmart.  I normally refuse to patronize Sears because they’re mean to Elyse (and seeing the same behavior toward Elyse at multiple stores tells me that this is standard practice), but in this case, any port in a storm.  They were able to get me fixed and on my way for $18.  Deal.

And in the meantime, Elyse and I got to check out a new mall, The Centre at Salisbury.  As far as malls go, this was a fairly unremarkable one-story facility.  I did, however, find a few interesting things in the mall:

Spotted this sign at Picture People, and if I were looking for a job, this sign, with a grammatical error, would probably give me pause.
Spotted this sign at Picture People, and if I were looking for a job, this sign, with a grammatical error, would probably give me pause.  To me, it’s like how they say that if your resume has a single error, it automatically hits the trash.  Same thing applies the other way as well.  When I was on the job market a few years ago, if I saw a typographical, grammatical, or spelling error, it made me question the level of professionalism that I would find in an organization that couldn’t even be bothered to proofread its job advertisements.  When I was at Food & Water Watch, the job ads that I got were routinely loaded with simple errors.  Part of what I did before posting was to go over them very carefully and fix all of the errors that I found, because you have to put your best foot forward at all times.

Someone needs to tell the person who wrote this sign at the Auntie Anne's that (A) the public does not need to see these sorts of communications, as this sign was in plain view of everyone walking by, and that (B) "quote marks" are not used for "emphasis".
Someone needs to tell the person who wrote this sign at the Auntie Anne’s that (A) the public does not need to see these sorts of communications, as this sign was in plain view of everyone walking by, and that (B) “quote marks” are not used for “emphasis”.

Mystery bags, especially at this sort of price, seen here at Hot Topic, seem like a ripoff waiting to happen. Especially with the all-sales-final note on the bag.
Mystery bags, especially at this sort of price, seen here at Hot Topic, seem like a ripoff waiting to happen.  Especially with the all-sales-final note on the bag.  Trust and believe that if it were me, and I was contemplating the purchase of one of these things, I would absolutely open the bag in the store before purchasing to verify the contents.  If an employee complained about it, I’d tell them to go buzz off.  My thought is that this is the exact opposite of standing by your products, if you have to conceal them to move them, and then not allow returns.

Then once the tire was done (turns out that I had run over a nail), we were on our way.  Our next stop was a planned side trip into Delaware, to go to The Military Exchange, which is a military surplus store in Delmar.  Elyse is also interested in and knows a lot about MRE packs, and so she took a look.  Among other things, she found Menu 19, which is the one that contains beef patties.

Elyse holds the beef patty MRE.
Elyse holds the beef patty MRE.

Trying on a helmet and goggle set.
Trying on a helmet and goggle set.

She ended up buying three MREs from them, including the beef patty one.  Look for a review of some of these on her YouTube channel at some point.  This place also did handwritten receipts, which we were both surprised to see.  I commented that I expected to see one of those old manual credit card imprinters as well, but alas, the credit card machine was modern.

We finally made it to Ocean City around 5:00.  As far as the kind of time that we made, I think “terrible” covers it quite well.  But I suppose that such is what happens when you have a tire problem midway through your trip that costs you about two hours.

In any case, we parked on the street, and headed to the boardwalk, and then to the beach, seeing what there was to see:

Elyse stands on the beach.
Elyse stands on the beach.

Beach selfie.
Beach selfie.

Two chairs set up on the beach.
Two chairs set up on the beach.

Spotted this eroded mound of sand near the water, and my guess is that this was once a sand castle of some sort, that has since been reshaped by nature.
Spotted this eroded mound of sand near the water, and my guess is that this was once a sand castle of some sort, that has since been reshaped by nature.

Waves breaking on rocks.
Waves breaking on rocks.

More waves breaking on rocks. Look at the horizon on this photo, though. That's the only thing about photographing around the ocean: the horizon is supposed to be level. This photo looks pretty nice, except that the horizon is all cockeyed.
More waves breaking on rocks.  Look at the horizon on this photo, though.  That’s the only thing about photographing around the ocean: the horizon is supposed to be level.  This photo looks pretty nice, except that the horizon is all cockeyed.

The boardwalk in late afternoon/early evening.
The boardwalk in late afternoon/early evening.

Spotted this tip jar in an Auntie Anne's on the boardwalk.
Spotted this tip jar in an Auntie Anne’s on the boardwalk.

Sky at sunset.
Sky at sunset.

Guy in a wetsuit, about to go surfing.
Guy in a wetsuit, about to go surfing.

Coming off of the beach, we then headed north on the boardwalk for a few blocks.  We then walked back towards the car along Baltimore Avenue.

Also got an unexpected trip down memory lane on this walk.  Remember in College Life, there was that photo where Bridget was wearing that “Bad Ass Cafe” shirt?  We found the cafe:

Bad Ass Cafe in Ocean City. Good to know that they're still doing well.
Bad Ass Cafe in Ocean City.  Good to know that they’re still doing well.

I don't know about you, but this sign struck me as tacky. I get the need for lodging facilities to preserve their parking lots' spaces for their guests, but the "PERMIT MUST BE VISIBLE!!!" (with three exclamation marks) part just rubs me the wrong way. This could have been done far more tastefully.
I don’t know about you, but this sign struck me as tacky.  I get the need for lodging facilities to preserve their parking lots’ spaces for their guests, but the “PERMIT MUST BE VISIBLE!!!” (with three exclamation marks) part just rubs me the wrong way.  This could have been done far more tastefully.

Returning to the car, we moved down to the far south end of the town, and visited Marty’s Playland, a boardwalk arcade. Most of the games were the same as you would find at Dave & Buster’s, but what made this place interesting was the presence of several vintage claw machines.  Check these out:

The vintage claw machine

The way these worked was that you set the crane to the position that you wanted, and then you put in your money to activate the claw.  I can’t imagine these claws’ actually being able to grab anything in the machines due to their shape, but it was fun to watch.

We then headed around to check out the fishing pier, which had already closed for the night by the time we got over there.  Something for next time, I suppose.  But I did get a photo of Elyse with this traffic light that was flashing yellow, presumably to warn pedestrians of bicycle traffic:

Elyse poses with the traffic light.
Elyse poses with the traffic light.

Elyse stands in a giant tire outside the Ripley's building.
Elyse stands in a giant tire outside the Ripley’s building.

From there, we headed back to the car and turned north.  Time to go up to Rehoboth.  Surprisingly, when we put Rehoboth Beach into Google Maps to navigate us over, it dumped us into a random apartment complex near the ocean.  We then had to backtrack to find the resort area, locating the area where we were supposed to be on the map, and then dropping a pin and having Google navigate us to the pin location.  When we got there, we walked around the boardwalk a little bit, and I got a photo of Elyse in front of a dolphin statue:

Elyse with the dolphin statue

I was also surprised how close we were to New Jersey.  I knew that the Cape May-Lewes Ferry was nearby, but I never realized that it was this close:

See those lights in the distance? That's New Jersey.
See those lights in the distance?  That’s New Jersey.

Then from there, we were done.  We had dinner at Rehoboth Diner, and then headed back.  Surprisingly, Google Maps sent us down every back road imaginable towards Route 50.  Certainly got to see a lot of “slower lower Delaware”, that’s for sure.  We got home around 2:30 AM.

The impression that I got from these two towns is that Ocean City is very much a dumpy resort town, similar to Virginia Beach, in that it’s a bit run down and dated, though still doing well.  Rehoboth seemed like a much nicer town than Ocean City.  All in all, this was a fun trip, even if the execution was less than ideal.  I definitely want to come back here in the future.

Categories: Elyse, Maryland