Since August the focus of archery practice has been 18-meters. Morning, noon and night it has been 18-meters. Thousands of arrows shot into targets 18-meters away.
Across the way, a few can be seen in the distance; foam 3D targets stand unmolested by arrows for months.
Part of the reason for the 3D range’s reprieve from use has been hurricanes. Hurricanes come past, knock down trees, limbs, and blow debris everywhere – the animal practice field no exception. The mess created by an ocean born cyclone can take weeks to clear. Hurricanes Julia, Hermine and Mathews kept the range cluttered and under repair for a long stretch of the end of summer and early fall.
This past week, the last of triple crown of storms cleared, I took a break of 18-meters and shot some 3D.
I used a range finder to verify distance. It figured I’d be a bit rusty judging yardage and didn’t want to chance a miss. With the confidence of know yardage I shot out to 50 yards. The long shot yielded a five and an eight. The shorter yardage, 25 – 40 yards resulted in better marks.
What was best was getting into the woods to shoot 3D. It was a nice break from 18-meters. And now that the hurricane downed debris has been cleared, for the third time this year, I can get back to a 3D routine.
We’d just about gotten back to normal following Hurricane Hermine and Julia when Hurricane Matthew drove up the east coast. Living near the Outer Banks of North Carolina is not the best place to be during hurricane season. Actually, since we purchased this property six years ago we’d had tropical cyclones visit us on an annual basis.
Hurricane Matthew looked like a serious storm, to me anyway, from its onset off the coast of Africa. I’d been watching it from the very beginning. Eventually it formed into a Category 4 storm and was a big one. If you’d placed the cyclone in the center of the Caribbean it would cover that entire sea.
The weather forecasters were suggesting this massive hurricane was going to poise little problems for those of us near the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the exception of a brush past Cape Hatteras. Many of my friends felt otherwise. Brenda and I decided we’d secure our property, load up the Winnebago and head northwest.
If you’ve followed the news you know the forecasters got this storm wrong. Even though we’d selected a campground 102 miles away from the coast we still got the storm. In fact, we’d discussed driving further west before it hit. However, the forecasters seemed confident our maximum impact might be 1 to 2 inches of rain. Man, by the time Matthew had passed I was thankful we didn’t have a tree on top of our Micro Minnie.
The flooding and damage to North Carolina isn’t 100% the blame of Matthew. Within weeks of Matthew Hermine and Julia had hit us. A lot of folks had forgotten about the water those two storms dropped on the State. When Matthew hit, and Matthew did pack a punch, the already saturated low country couldn’t handle any more water. The result was one of the worst sets of conditions for a hurricane imaginable.
After the storm we added a few more days to our campsite stay. The reports of flooded roads were enough to keep us off them. When we did drive back to our home near Hertford, NC was passed areas that were severely wrecked.
There were houses with water up to their first floor windows. Cars in water leaving only the roof of the vehicle exposed. Two of the roads leading to our house remained underwater and cars could only pass driving single file, slowly, in the middle of the road.
A week later we drove into Elizabeth City. Their flooded streets and homes remained blocked and barricaded. Friends in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach told us that in their area ditches are now creeks and creeks are rivers.
Hurricane season 2016 is nearly past. Currently, Hurricane Nicole is moving away, never a danger to the US, and a yet unnamed (but numbered) storm in the Caribbean may develop as it moves toward the Bahamas. Like many others, I hope this is it for 2016 and that we get a break in the future.
When we purchased our vacation home here on the coast of North Carolina I called my Uncle Dan. I was excited about the property. It is on the Little River where it joins the Albemarle Sound. From there I can look out and see the Outer Banks. The first words from Uncle Dan weren’t congratulatory. He paused then asked, “What were you thinking?”
We’d both grown up on Tybee Island, Georgia. At least I was there until I was eight when we moved to Isle of Hope, Georgia. Dan remained on Tybee. When he inquired as to my considerations for the purchase he was thinking, and I hadn’t been, Hurricanes. As soon as the asked, I remembered and upon recognition all I could think was, “Oh, shit.”
Since I’d left Savannah I’d pretty much put hurricanes out of my mind. Now, I had a vacation home in a place more likely to get those Atlantic Cyclones than where I’d been raised. And today, having sold our home in Easton, Maryland, we live on the Little River full time.
As Hurricane Matthew approaches we’re loading the Winnebago and heading west. We’ll make a stop in Williamsburg, Virginia until Friday. On Friday we’ll drive west some more staying well away from the mess coming up the East Coast.
When we return, should things go badly, perhaps we’ll be getting that new roof I’d been planning.
It was just a 5K. I run a lot of 5K races. This one was canceled last year because of a hurricane. Runners that had signed up were given entry to this year’s race at no charge – other than what we paid in 2015. They had my money, so I ran.
A 5K is fast. They hurt from start to finish. It’s not the same hurt as a marathon. What is nice is they are over in minutes not hours. You run, you hurt and you’re done.
In most 5K races I finish high, I can hurt with the best of them. Because of my age group, in the 60 – 69 year segment, I rarely hang around for the $2.00 medal. It takes longer to wait on the medal than to run the race. They start handing out the awards for the younger age groups first. I checked the medals out after this race and didn’t pause as I passed them. Mardi Gras beads are more impressive. What I really wanted was the t-shirt. Oh yes, I got my thin neon yellow crappy t-shirt. Man, if it wasn’t for races I’d have very little to wear.
I’ve got stacks of race t-shirts. They don’t give t-shirts to archers, which I think is a rip -off. The fee to compete in an archery tournament is more expensive than a 5K yet there is no swag in archery.
I’ve gotten so many t-shirts I began having them made into quilts to give away. These days my family members remind me how happy they are with their t-shirt quilt and no they don’t really need another. Even my wife, Brenda, has tactfully pointed out we don’t need another, even though I’ve suggested we could always use another quilt in the winter, Brenda has offered to share a quilt with my dog. I declined her offer.
Since most of the competitive events I’ve done thus far in 2016 have been archery I’ve sadly only collected 7 new t-shirts. All are really tacky looking. Heck, tacky t-shirts and willing sponsors are abundant for running and triathlon. Seems like archers could get in on the t-shirt give away.
Since I left my hometown of Savannah, Georgia I have traveled to 5 continents, 25 countries, and 49 US States. Along the way, I have run into hometown friends in unexpected places.
Once, in Spain, I was eating alone and heard a familiar voice trying to order a meal. In the nearly empty restaurant, it was early for a Spanish dinner, sat a good friend in the same boat as me – a hungry American trying to get a meal on American time. His Southern accent was a striking sound to ears thousands of miles away from family.
Most recently, on a road trip to an archery tournament, I stopped along the drive to see another native Savannahian at his Spanish restaurant, MAS Tapas, in Charlottesville, VA. I’d practically grown up in his family’s home.
Tommy’s brother, Michael and I became friends when we were in the 4th grade, my first year at Isle of Hope Elementary School. Prior to that my family had lived on Tybee Island, Georgia. In our junior year of high school, Michael and I began racing bicycles. Tommy and Michael’s older brother Stephen were soon on our wheels. By 1974 Michael was in Florida, Tommy was in New York, and I’d moved to Atlanta. Stephen remains in Savannah and Michael passed away last year. I had not seen any of them since 1974.
Michael and I had talked a bit on the phone during the decades that followed our leaving Savannah. I hadn’t spoken with Tommy since 1974. After Michael’s death Tommy and I reconnected.
Tommy I learned is on his third career: athlete, architect, and now restaurateur. Tommy owns MAS Tapas and has for the past 14 years. As I was passing through Charlottesville on my way to an archery tournament, we made arrangements to meet has his restaurant.
Tommy, who now goes by Tomas, still has his uniquely Savannah accent. We Savannahians have our own Southern sound. It is a little more like a New Orleans sound than a Texas twang. The families native to Atlanta sound different, more of a Southern drawl, than those of us from the coast.
Tomas arranged to meet at MAS, I was treated to the most amazing foods. As I mentioned, I’ve travel extensively. The result of that travel is that I’ve enjoyed some of the best meals restaurants can provide.
MAS is a Spanish cuisine offering lots of small plates. Of course, I had this cuisine and style in the past. What impressed me was that every plate offered a clearly unique and powerful flavor. There were no blurred tastes – that is no single bite tasted similar another food on another plate. You get those blurred tastes at many “chain” restaurants where everything is ‘salty’.
Tomas and I ate for hours. The entire time I couldn’t stop thinking that this was one of the best meals I’d ever eaten. Weeks later, I still reflect on how nice it was to see Tomas after 42 years and how incredible the food was. I can’t wait to make the five-hour drive back to share a meal there with my wife, Brenda.