Tales From The Ipe!

I sit by and watch the river flow. I sit by and watch the traffic go.

Author: Joel (page 1 of 163)

Our Road Trip to the Outer Banks 2017 – Part 5

With Saturday and Sunday, our big summer vacation was coming to a close.

Saturday consisted of much lounging around for most people, with some time on the beach before it started to rain again..

Last dinner in OBX (or was it?)

Last dinner in OBX (or was it?)

I decided to squeeze one more bike ride in and make it over the 100-mile mark for the week. I went south one more time, and rode about 1:15 towards Roanoke Island. I was sorely tempted to ride all the way to Roanoke Island itself, but the bridge across the channel had no sidewalk or shoulder, and cars were zooming by at 60 MPH. I wouldn’t say I was sacred, but I had a bad feeling that this was “a bridge to far” (if I am allowed to reference that classic WWII film), and I was taking a large risk trying to make it across. So, I erred on the side of caution and turned around. I rode 20.08 miles that day in a little over an hour, and my total for the week was 110 miles. Pretty awesome.

While everyone else ordered out dinner, the Ipes decided to strike out on our own for a family dinner at the Outer Banks Brewing Station. After a week of being with everyone, it was nice to get a little change. After we came back, we finished washing the laundry, packed up our luggage, and loaded most of our stuff in the car.

I woke up early Sunday morning and went out to check out the sunrise and the beach. It was beautiful. Just beautiful. How come we had to wait a whole week for this? I mean, look at it!

OBX 2017 (131 of 141)

What to do? We were leaving in a few hours. We finished loading the car, made sure the house was clean, said our good byes, and then we were off. The plan was a quick breakfast and coffee nearby, visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, then get on the road. We unexpectedly met the Fernandez family briefly at the same coffee shop, then went to the the Wright Brothers National Memorial. First we listened to a park ranger give a rousing background on the Wright Brothers, then we took a walk to the actual memorial on the top of Kill Devil Hill (A ha! That’s the name of the town.) It was a beautiful day — all sun, warm breeze. Where was this weather all week? And we’re going home?

OBX 2017 (139 of 141)Well, on the way back down the hill, Namita pulls me aside and asks, “What if we stayed another day?” It wasn’t a crazy idea. A quick check found available rooms at the Holiday Inn in Nags Head right on the beach for a reasonable fee. So made a non-refundable reservation, refueled the car, hit the hotel, got a parking pass, changed in the hotel lobby restroom, got our stuff, and walked onto the beach. We spend an amazing day at the beach. We had lunch on the beach. The kids used their boogie boards. I joined the kids in the water for a long while.

Best $249 we’ve ever spent.

We checked in officially around 5 pm, and then freshened up for dinner. We had dinner at Tortuga’s Lie, then came back to watch a little TV, chill out, and sleep. In the morning, we grabbed a quick hot breakfast downstairs, then we got on the road for home. We did hit some traffic driving through Maryland and Delaware, but got home in the late afternoon to find two cats mildly happy to see us.

Our Road Trip to the Outer Banks 2017 – Part 4

We spent Thursday doing random stuff. During the morning and mid-day, the sun was out, so a bunch of us went out to the beach. The red flags were out, so everyone was limited to going ankles or knees deep. This was my first time on the beach, and it wasn’t bad. A bunch of kids got tired of the beach quickly, and went back to the pool. Namita took a long walk with a friend along the beach. I took some video while the kids were out.

20170831_114203 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

20170831_114506 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

20170831_114544 from Joel Ipe on Vimeo.

In the late afternoon, the kids and I went out for an 8 mile bike ride south along the main road. On the way back, we stopped at Surfin’ Spoon for a frozen yogurt treat. In the evening, we grilled up some dinner.

On Friday, most of us went to check out the Bodie Island Lighthouse (one family went go-karting), then lunch at Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant (it’s okay.)  After lunch, we checked out the proverbial waterfront, then went to the Jockey Ridge State Park. This is a national park featuring massive sand dunes. Reading some of the information at the Information Center, the sand dunes were created a long time ago by the wind. I thought we might only walk around briefly, but people were feeling adventurous, so we climbed a few sand dunes. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and I’ve never been on a sand dune before. It was pretty cool.

Our Road Trip to the Outer Banks 2017 – Part 3

Wednesday was probably one of the two nicest days we had the entire week, weather-wise. The four of us jumped into the car for a quick trip to Duck Donuts in nearby Kitty Hawke. The donuts are good, but wow, super rich. I may have picked at a couple of pieces, but way too much for me guilt-free.

OBX 2017 (58 of 141)While everyone was making minor plans to go out and/or hang out in the house, I was experiencing a little cabin fever. The day is nice, and it was probably going to rain again on Thursday so this was my one chance for an extended bike ride. I had gone riding on Monday, but only made it 20+ miles that day after getting caught in the rain. I suited up, and decided to ride north along the main road (Route 12), and kept on going and going. I didn’t really have a plan either. Somewhere along the way, I decided to make it to the Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary, but that was easier than I thought. I figured I’d keep going, and rode through Duck. At 20+ miles out, I saw signs for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, and I thought to myself that it would be pretty cool to take a photo at the lighthouse. Personally, I find something like that is a big motivator when you’re struggling out on the open road. That’s good life advice too.

Once I arrived at the lighthouse, I walked around briefly, took some pictures, then made my way across the street to a pizzeria. I had a nice meatball parmigiana hero, fries, and a beer. While I was there, I found out the bartender (and two patrons present) were  all original NJ residents. What a strange coincidence. Anyway, I reloaded my water bottles, and got back on the road. With reaching the beach house as my only goal, I felt energized and kept an average speed of 16.7 MPH, and raced the 30.23 miles home in 1 hour and 49 minutes. If you see the screenshots below, it took me 2 hours and 12 minutes to ride north, but I shaved 24 minutes off on the way back. I was feelin’ it on the way back — getting home is also always a good motivator.

I came back to find everyone in the hot tub and pool, and that seemed like a cool idea. I quickly showered, then joined the hot tub crowd. In the evening, we all dressed up for dinner at Dirty Dick’s in Nag’s Head. It was such a nice night, we decided to walk over. Food was okay. I don’t eat seafood often, so I had a NY strip steak. Afterwards, we all took a quick Uber ride home, then chilled out.

Our Road Trip to the Outer Banks 2017 – Part 2

The next two days (Monday and Tuesday) were a little overcast, rainy at times, so we spent a good portion of our days inside, with the occasional running outside to soak up the good weather when the sun poked itself out from behind the clouds.

On Monday, after breakfast, it wasn’t raining yet, so I decided to get my first bike ride in, and a few others went for a walk outside. I went south along the main road, and wanted to ride at least 25 or 30 miles out. However, it started raining around mile 11, and I was worried about getting caught in the tropical storm expected to arrive in the late afternoon. I hightailed it back in the rain, and ended up riding a total (and wet) 21.43 miles that afternoon. It was probably the rainiest day of that entire week. We spent the rest of the day and night inside, played on the PS4 (yes, I brought my PlayStation), board games, and watched TV/movies.

Tuesday was a little better, so we got more time outside at the pool and hot tub.

Our Road Trip to the Outer Banks 2017 – Part 1

After a year of on and off planning for a year, our big trip to the Outer Banks was at hand. I am happy to say that it went mostly according to plan, though we wondered what sort of hiccups we would have to anticipate for. Four out of the six families were now leaving on Saturday afternoon, staying midway (overnight) in Virginia Beach. We and another family still planned to leave early Sunday morning. In the week before departure, we were ordering last-minute supplies, getting a cat sitter, and installing our new Saris bike rack

The big hiccups as the clock inexorably ticked down to Sunday morning:

  • The weather wasn’t looking so great for the week (rain on and off), but nothing we could do, and we’re still going on vacation, dammit!
  • One last-minute Amazon order was delayed in delivery, and ultimately lost in transit somehow. I was looking forward to new cycling socks and that Led Zeppelin t-shirt.

OBX 2017 (3 of 141)Since the Ipes usually stay up all night long with last-minute packing before a trip, and then spend an hour trying to load up the car, and trying to squeeze forgotten items, my wife forced us to do better. We finished all of our packing and loading the car late Saturday night around 11 pm, including the bicycles. This way, we could sleep, then get on the road by 5 am as planned. Good idea, because we left on time (believe it or not.) Namita ended up driving the entire way down, because she was “feelin’ it.” We made two pit stops somewhere in Virginia for gas and then snacks, and it was smooth sailing overall. We arrived in Kill Devil Hills early (before check-in time), so we hung out with everyone at Mama Kwan’s for a late snack/lunch/drinks.

Once we got the go-ahead to get into the house, we all drove over, started unloading the cars, and people were running around checking out the house, picking rooms, and whatever. To keep it simple, we ordered pizza and wings from the Pizza Hut around the corner, and let the kids run wild because, hey it’s day one of vacation.


Managing the homestead while my wife was in Austin

My wife went to Austin for meetings last week so I took off Tuesday – Thursday. Had to take watch Josh, take Lily to and from vacation bible school, take my mother-in-law places, and run other errands. I wouldn’t describe it as the most relaxing of vacation days.

wp-image-663540144.jpgWednesday turned out to have the nicest weather so I agreed to take Josh to Hurricane Harbor for a few hours. Even though they only opened the park at 10:30 AM, and we arrived at 10:50 AM, the park was packed! Once we managed to get passed the entrance, and stow our stuff in a locker ($15 for the day), he and I were off to try the rides. I haven’t been to Hurricane Harbor in 2 or 3 years and we only tried the lazy river and the wave pool last time.

This time around Josh and I were able to try a few rides. The park isn’t that large, and plan to stand on line even on a summer Wednesday.

We had to cut short our water park fun around 1:30 PM so we could get some lunch outside of the park, then drive up north to pick up Lily from VBS by 3 AM, and help my mother-in-law out with stuff.

We didn’t want Lily to miss out on all the amusement park fun, so the three of us went back to Six Flags in the evening. We ended up staying until 9:30 pm, then we went home and I made mac and cheese for dinner.

Thursday was a quite day. Much running around, rushing myself and the kids to vacation bible school, karate class, and orthodontic appointments. I was certainly glad when my wife got home that night.

A Sunday afternoon bike ride to U.S. Joint Base MDL

While Saturday was pretty overcast (and threatened rain), Sunday was beautiful. I made some time for myself, got on the bike, and decided to challenge myself to find out how far I could go. Along the way heading south, I decided to veer southeast, and try to make it to the outskirts of Joint Base MDL (used to be Fort Dix – McGuire AFB – Lakehurst Naval Base.) Now it was far, and I had a single bottle of water. However, I persevered, and 22 miles later, I made it all the way to  the Wrightstown Gate entrance. I couldn’t believe it.

[BTW, the town of Wrightstown ain’t so pretty.]

Before I started my return trip, I stopped at a nearby Wawa for a quick snack, a Diet Coke (naturally), and two large fresh bottles of water. Around mile 24 or 25, I realized how far I really was from home, and started to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew. It’s been a long time since I’d ridden 40+ miles in one day. However, I’ve never shied away from a challenge, and besides, what choice did I have at this point? I pedaled around 14 MPH instead, kept it slow and steady, and made it home in slightly under 3 hours total ride time.

Reached a new milestone. Burned over 2200 calories. I’d call that a win.

We celebrated Livia’s Hawaiian-themed 1st birthday — “Aloha!”

Our friends Kanishk and Sofi had a 2nd child, a baby girl, about a year ago. This past weekend, they invited friends and family to celebrate Livia’s 1st birthday. They did a really nice job decorating the backyard with a Hawaiian Luau theme. Aloha!

The HVAC project is all done

That’s right, folks. We’re all done. We spent over $20K but at least we’re done. A tech came last week to finish up the last of the project – installing a vent and moving the downstairs thermostat.

Overall, both systems are working well. We’ve noticed both systems are much quieter than the original systems. Also, we don’t have to put the AC all the way down to 72 degrees to get comfortable – 75 is plenty comfortable now.

I hope we’ll be all set for a while. This was an expensive unplanned project for 2017, but good for the long haul.

Went back to Asbury Park last Sunday

Last Sunday, we hung out in Asbury Park, on account of the good weather. We didn’t account for the humongous number of people, as I spent an entire hour searching for parking. I eventually parked near what I think was Sweden, and walked 25 mins to the beach. In any case, it was a quiet simple day at the spray ground, an hour at the Silverball Museum, maybe 30 minutes on the beach after 5:30 pm, then dinner at Langosta Lounge.

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