Next Stop: Points West

Back in the clubhouse checking email before heading out for points west. Going to try to visit Mamma and maybe my cousin’s family before heading to mom and dad’s. Life at the beach has been relatively uneventful. We’ve done a great deal of nothing, punctuated by long periods of more nothing. It’s been relaxing.

We did hit up Jockey’s Ridge yesterday afternoon after lunch at Stack ‘Em High and some window shopping. Tiger and I climbed the ridge and had a lot of fun sliding down the dune. We had so much fun we did it twice. I had sand drifting in every crevice the rest of the afternoon. Nothing like jumping and sliding down a fifty foot sand dune for shoveling sand into your underpants. It was good times.

Charlie on the slopes of Jockey's Ridge, before the pants-load of sand.
Charlie on the slopes of Jockey's Ridge, before the pants-load of sand.

Dinner last night was “Red Drum Grille and Taproom“. It was another disappointing experience. With a name like Red Drum, you expect some great southern sea food, complete with piles of hush puppies. It was not to be. We inquired about hush puppies but there were none to be had.

I am developing a theory that the ethanol-fueled shortage of corn is driving the price of corn meal so high that restaurants are no longer able to afford hush puppies. If this is indeed the case, I will immediately contact my representatives to have the ethanol subsidies revoked. I was find with the high price of corn as long as it was only affecting the price of tortillas but when it starts to affect my fried corn-meal products, it’s hitting too close to home.

My alternate theory is that the transplanted Yankees do not know the value of a good hush puppy and, therefore, they have been removed from hush puppy serving establishments. If this is the case, my poor opinion of your average transplanted Yankee will sink even further. As it is, I think this was just a case of poorly managed expectations. The Red Drum bills itself as a “Grille and Taproom” and that’s what it is.  Only the name led me to expect good southern seafood.

In actuality, I got decent pub food and that really seems to be the focus of the restaurant. They had a great beer selection (some Highland brews, Fat Tire on special and a smattering of other stuff) and the food, while not what I expected, was decent. I ordered the fried flounder, expecting something floured and pan-fried. What I got was fish and chips: battered and deep-fried flounder fillet served with vinegar and fries. In other words, I got pub food.

We seriously considered driving around looking for hush puppies after the meal. If it hadn’t been so late, we probably would’ve. Instead, we stopped into the Dairy Queen for ice cream. It quickly dissipated any lingering disappointment in the meal or the menu of our chosen dinner place. I got a vanilla blizzard with Butterfinger and Heath Bar.  Yum.

Anyway, seeing as how I’ve been accused by many on Facebook of being addicted to the internet, I should probably sign off and go enjoy the sun and sand whilst I’m able. I’m leaving here after lunch to go spend a few hours with my grandmother and then heading on to see my folks. The one negative about vacation in North Carolina is that I have to spend the greater portion of it driving the length of the state in order to see everyone I have to see. It’s a good thing I like driving.

It’s also a good thing that gas is relatively cheap. I didn’t tell this story earlier but I nearly ran out of gas on the way to the beach. I left Durham with about an eighth of a tank and made it somewhere near Rocky Mount before the low fuel indicator lit up. I didn’t feel led to gas at any of the stops in Rocky Mount, striving instead to reach the Raceway in Tarboro.

Did you know that there is a relatively unpopulated stretch of highway between Rocky Mount and Tarboro? It’s true. It stretches for what seems like 25 or 30 miles, especially when you’re low on fuel. I was so worried about running out at some point that I shut off the air conditioning and reduced speed to 55 (in a 70 m.p.h. zone).

As it turned out, I exited the highway at a relatively remote exit, hoping against hope that I could find some out-of-the-way gas station.  Little did I know that, had I continued, the Raceway would’ve been at the next exit. I prayed and kept my fingers crossed and managed to come up on the back side of the Raceway by an accident of turns and circumstances.

Once spotted, I even passed two more gas stations to get there. Raceway always has the cheapest gas and I’m cheap enough to risk running out of gas to save thirteen cents a gallon. Anyway, the half-a-tank remaining should get me back there. Hope so, anyway, as that’s my planned stop for fuel on the way home. For those on the other end of my travels, I’ll see you soon, barring unforeseen circumstances. Like running out of gas.

And Happy Birthday to the Romanian!