Cape Cod 2011

August 28, 2011

We just finished our vacation in Cape Cod. This is the fourth year we’ve gone to this same beach house, so regular blog readers can pretty much refer to any of the last three year’s posts, (2008, 2009, or 2010) to get the general sense. This year’s post will be mainly pictures.

This year we had absolutely spectacular weather except for the very beginning and the very end. We knew we were in for a rainy ride up, but it looked like just a regular rainy day. So we took off without really checking traffic reports. Not a good move.

As we were driving, major roads had lanes closed due to flooding. As we approached the Whitestone Bridge to get out of the city, traffic suddenly comes to a halt. We see people turning around and going the wrong way off an on ramp to get away. Never a good sign.

A little further we see the big traffic sign:

Flooding conditions ahead. All lanes closed.

Suddenly the people going the wrong way on the on ramp made perfect sense. So we did the same. We find an alternate route and get across the bridge.

A bit later, going up I-95, we see a traffic sign saying:

Accident at Connecticut Exit 2. Major delays.

Well, great. We turn on the traffic report to hear that a tractor trailer has flipped and I-95 northbound is completely closed. Time for alternate route #2. But we get around that craziness, the rain subsides and a normal 5 1/2 drive is just 6 1/2 hours. Really not bad, all things considered.

We had to put up with one more day of rain. But we still manage to have some fun on the beach. This is Danielle doing handstands. This will be a major theme of this vacation:

Tori watching Danielle do a handstand

Tori watching Danielle do a handstand

But after that day, the weather was perfect every single day. So it was all beach, all the time. Our beach at low tide:

Skaket Beach

Skaket Beach

There were minnows and hermit crabs to catch:

Danielle catching minnows

Danielle catching minnows

Victoria catching minnows

Victoria catching minnows

Victoria with a tiny hermit crab

Victoria with a tiny hermit crab

Seashells to find:

Danielle with sea shells

Danielle with sea shells

Danielle, Tori and me collecting shells and crabs

Danielle, Tori and me collecting shells and crabs

boats to ride:

Tori trying to row

Tori trying to row

and of course, more handstands:

Danielle (right) and a friend

Danielle (right) and a friend

Danielle (again)

Danielle (again)

For the second week some friends joined us. They have twins (boy and girl, Cooper and Marieé) age 6. The kids play well together and the great thing about this beach is that the water gets deep so slowly you can give the kids a lot of slack without worrying:

The four of them as I watch from the deck

The four of them as I watch from the deck

And aside from handstands, there was a lot of hula-hooping:

Danielle and Cooper

Danielle and Cooper

Tori and Danielle draw a crowd

Tori and Danielle draw a crowd

and fun meals on our deck.

Cooper, Danielle, Marieé and Tori

Cooper, Danielle, Marieé and Tori

The only time we left the beach was to go bike riding on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, usually with an ice cream shop as the destination:

Tori and her ice cream (not to scale)

Tori and her ice cream (not to scale)

Elly and an appreciative Danielle

Elly and an appreciative Danielle

A silly Marieé and Tori

A silly Marieé and Tori

During a walk on the beach, we saw an older guy with his adult daughter digging. Tori of course, immediately goes up to them and asks what they are doing. They were clamming. Digging for clams right there. So the guy explains how to look for the little holes that result from clams squirting water so you know where to dig and the kids help out. They help find several claims and we have a great time.

So the next day Danielle says, “I want to go dig for claims”. Now we have no clue if there’s a certain time of day or spot or what. The tide is different so we can’t just go back to the same spot. So we find as similar a spot as possible and look for those holes. And guess what? Clamming is easy. We’re finding clams bigger than your fist and we fill up a big bucket. My wife made clams casino.

The next day we are out there doing it again, and people are asking us how to do it (hey, we’ve done it twice now, we’re experts). So now we have other people giving us clams and having a grand ole time.

Victoria watching Cooper dig a claim

Victoria watching Cooper dig a claim

Danielle gets a clam

Danielle gets a clam

What else? Well, of course there was dancing…

Victoria showing her moves

Victoria showing her moves

Danielle and Cooper

Danielle and Cooper

and ridiculous sunsets…

Every night was like this...

Every night was like this...

The only downside was Hurricane Irene coming just a bit too early. With it due to hit Brooklyn late Saturday night, we knew that we couldn’t stay until Sunday. We left around 1:15 PM on Saturday afternoon. Most people must have heeded the warnings, because we’ve never seen such little traffic coming home from Cape Cod. We were home before 6 including a McDonald’s stop, just beating the beginning of the heavy rain.

All in all, a fantastic vacation for me and my girls…

Elly, Danielle, Tori and another sunset

Elly, Danielle, Tori and another sunset


Bikers in Brooklyn

August 3, 2011

Riding a bicycle in Brooklyn or any of the boroughs can be a challenge. Traffic is crazy, cabs and buses are total hazards and the whole thing feels like a video game, except you only get one life.

Mayor Bloomberg has been a strong bike proponent and bike lanes have sprouted up all over the place. While some have grumbled, I’m definitely a fan.

But bikers overall are the most lawless group from traffic rules perspective. We all do it, roll through the red light when we can, go the wrong way on a one way street to save a few blocks, etc., etc..

While it is a bit challenging for a parent of an 8 year old learning to ride a bike to explain all this (Papi, why didn’t that guy stop at the light? Papi, I thought grown-ups weren’t allowed to ride on the sidewalk…) I totally understand why bikers do this. I do it too.

But bikers in NYC are like the Tea Party. Ideological, militant and if you give them a concession they just ask for more.

The part that drives me crazy is how bikers yell at everyone else if they don’t follow the rules. And I mean literally scream at people. Pot, meet kettle.

Today I think I saw the craziest example.

On my commute to work, I scooter in a bike lane down Jay Street into Dumbo. It’s a popular bike route because it leads to the Manhattan Bridge, which is a good bridge to ride over. On the way you have to cross Tillary. This is a major intersection. Cars are coming one way on Tillary to get to the Brooklyn bridge and going another way to the BQE. Four lanes of traffic each way with a median in the middle.

People who know the traffic pattern (i.e. all of us) know that you can edge halfway across the street safely before the light turns green (due to a left turn arrow). So there’s a few bikers and me crossing half-way on the red light.

There’s a way to try to sneak across the other half just as the main light turns red and before the left turn arrow turns green. Again, for us the light is completely red at this point, we have no business being in the intersection at all. And this move is beyond what I will try, because you are counting on (1) the drivers going straight not pushing to get through before the light turns red and (2) the drivers turning left not jumping the gun on the left turn arrow.

So this morning a guy does it. And sure enough, a car is trying to push it and get through the red light. From the driver’s perspective, you are trying to beat a light to get to the Brooklyn Bridge and a bike comes out of nowhere (let’s recall, we’ve been waiting halfway through the intersection). So the car stops and honks at the bike.

And what does the biker who is in the middle of an intersection, running a red light in a rather dangerous manner do? He screams at the car. He actually stops in the middle of traffic to yell at the guy, while running a red light.

Bikers in NYC, an interesting breed…