Saturday, April 27, 2013

We're Home!

Just arrived home this morning about 9 am

Yes folks, we are back home! And glad of it.

Early this morning Bill was knocking at my door at the Hampton Inn in Chesapeake, Virginia (in Suffolk, near Norfolk).  The time was 3:30 a.m.  Bill wanted to get an early start.  Man oh man.

The Hampton Inn Suffolk, VA early this morning while we were loading up the van to get out of Dodge

This is the problem with Bill, he can't sleep at night (usually gets up at 2 or 2:30 after going to bed at 7 pm). Then when we go away on vacation like this he gets all worked up on the last day that we're not going to get the rented van back in time. Enterprise closes at 12 noon on Saturday. Don't ask me why they don't stay open all day on Saturday since that's when most people bring their rental cars back.

Bill walking pushing the cart into the hotel early this morning even before the birds were up

I would have like to have had breakfast at the Hampton Inn (which starts at 6) but decided it was just as well we didn't because the hotel was invaded by a horde of Golden Oldies (one of those giant tour buses for senior citizens) last night.  I can just imagine what breakfast would have been like this morning at the Hampton Inn.  All those old folks doddering around (not that I'm not one of them of course).  

Front desk checkout this morning - apparently we weren't the only ones up before the birds
So we take off early in the dark.  Rev up our new Garmin GPS and we're off on the darkened Norfolk roads real early in the morning.  We always have trouble getting through Norfolk but this morning, other than on missed turn (Bill turned too early as he is wont to do)we got out fairly easy with our new GPS and we were on our way to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  Even though we left early, there were still LOTS of cars out on the road.  More than I expected.  We have always found traffic very heavy in the Norfolk area.  Must be all that government Defense Department largess poured into the Norfolk Naval Station.

We enter the tunnel.  By the way, the fascination of driving underneath the Chesapeake Bay has long since left me.  I don't like it.  No, not one bit. I am so glad when we come up out of that tunnel....twice.

Driving through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, not for the faint of heart
Eventually we arrived on land on the other side of the bay bridge tunnel.  We were now on the Delmarva peninsula which we would travel the length of, approximately 2 1/2 hours.  The sun was finally beginning to rise.  I told Bill "Can you imagine what that breakfast area looks like now at the Hampton Inn with all those old gray and white haired people doddering about looking for sugar packets an coffee stirrers?"  When I worked at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, PA we used to get those busloads of seniors.  I dreaded it.  Where I work now, we don't have that many rooms.  I can handle a couple or more seniors but not a busload.  They change when they get together in a hoard like that.
But I digress.

Early morning on U.S. 13 in Virginia on the Delmarva peninsula

Shortly in on the sparsely populated lower Delmarva peninsula we see an Arby's glowing in the morning darkness.  Bill says "Want some breakfast?"  Well....yeah.  So we stopped in the cold (they must have just opened it) Arby's which already had a few local farmers parked at a couple tables.  For the first time on our vacation, we as two men, did not elicit That Stare.  You know the one I'm talking about.  The star two men get when walking together in one of the "family resorts".  That star that says "Do you think they are gay?  They don't look gay.  I hope the gays aren't planning on taking over our 'family friendly'  (like gays don't have families) resort." You all know what I'm talking about .  That Stare that says "Uh oh, they're coming!"  Hey folks, Disney is the only family resort I know now that has a "Gay Days" and I don't recall God turning the Disney folks into pillars of salt because some gay people were having fun at DisneyWorld. Well, anyway, it was nice not to get That Stare. We were entering friendly territory.  Those farmers that were in Arby's know we're not going to threatened the "sanctity" of their marriage or turn their kids gay.  But again, I digress.

Arby's - somewhere in the lower Delmarva peninsula right after the bay bridge tunnel

Bill and I had one of those biscuit and egg sandwiches with smoked sausage.  Each biscuit probably contained about 1,200 calories, 850 fat calories.  They tasted yummy though.  Probably because I was HUNGRY.

I slept most of the way back.  We arrive at "the house" (Bill refuses to call where we live "home". He says "home" will always be our former house in Pennsylvania.  He never misses an opportunity to express his dislike of living in Delaware which does become tiresome after awhile but he is not to be deterred).  

We arrive home. Now for the "fun" part, unloading the van.  

We unload the van and I follow Bill down in my Subaru to Enterprise to return the van.  I had to wait awhile once in the office.  The Enterprise folks were dealing with a couple of customers who were in accidents and were returning damaged vehicles.  While standing in like I thought "I am SOOO glad that's not me."  I'm a good little boy, I return my rentals clean and undamaged.  You know where this is going don't you?  Uh huh.  

Now it's my turn.  I hand the keys over to the Enterprise clerk.  He takes them and says "I'll be right back."  He goes out to check the van.  Just a mere formality folks, a MERE formality. Then, as I am standing there in my smugness, he reenters the office and says "Mr. Tipton, could you step out here a moment?"  Uh.....what is this?  You guessed it.  My rear bumper was damaged.  WTF?  I didn't see that before.  Must have happened last night in the Hampton Inn parking lot.  I was mortified, my "good little boy" image slowly fading into nostalgic memory.  

Well, the good news folks is that I'm one of those people who take the max insurance out that Enterprise offers.  Sure, it's expensive ($15.99 a day) but well worth it this time.  Phew!  No contacting my insurance company, no deductible, no nothing.  Dodged a bullet there folks.  And there is someone Out There, and they know who they are, who obviously backed into our van last night in the Hampton Inn parking lot.

I finish up that bit of unpleasantness and we both head back home.  Bill to mow the grass and me to put our things away.  Cameras, chargers, dirty underwear, the five short sleeve shirts that I didn't wear once, the polished pebbles I got from the Tallulah Gorge souvenir gift shop.  

So we're back folks.  I took a nice long nap this afternoon, a really deep sleep.  It was one of those sleeps that when you wake up momentarily you don't know what time of day it is or where you are.

Nice to be home.


Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful trip. I just wish I had someone like Bill to share the fun with. Glad you're back in one piece and out no extra money.

The tunnel pic is AWESOME! I love the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel! We took it up to the bloggerpalooza.

Peace <3

Ur-spo said...

After all , there is no place like it !

Jon said...

You've provided us with a thoroughly enjoyable account of your trip and I'm glad you're home safe and sound.
As for the dent in the bumper - - it's very fortunate that you had max insurance.

I've had a fair share of dents in my bumper.....but that's another story entirely.......(*smile*)

Randy in NEB said...

Ron, I'm so glad you and Bill made it back home OK! Too bad about the van, would have been nice to catch the a$$ who hit your van. Wasn't one of those seniors staying at the hotel? A friend of mine calls them the blue haired, bloody mary croud. Also I haven't gotten the stare too often,still not fun. Some times you'd think we walked into a place dressed like Jackie Beat. Again glad you and Bill made it back safe and sound. Take it easy.

Ron said...


For once I am glad I got the total insurance. I never thought about someone else hitting us. I always assumed it was for me (or Bill) hitting someone. I doubt it one of the seniors were responsible for the damage, they came in on a HUGE bus. I think it was the folks who were parked next to us with the bike rack on the back of their car.

I miss the "Jackie Beat" reference. You'll have to bring me up to date on that.

Living here in Southern Delaware, with it's large gay population (we call our little slice of freedom here "Gayberry", we don't get the stares that we get when traveling outside our bubble.

I am too glad we made it back in one piece. Bill is very hard to travel with. He is 84 now and losing it. Has has very little patience and is one of those people who is unable to recognize that he ever makes mistakes. This will probably be our last road trip. I'm getting to that age too where it's getting harder for me to handle Bill and his panic attacks (or whatever you call them.) At least we had a good trip this time and a lot of memories. This trip was mainly to give him an opportunity to visit his hometown again before he dies.


Ron said...

Thank you Jon! "Dents in your bumper?" I bet. :)


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

I love our home in Delaware. Bill rarely misses an opportunity to tell me how much he hates it. He won't even call it a "home." He refers to it as "the house." To me, living here is like everyday is a vacation day. Nothing matches it. I mainly go on these trips to please Bill who wants to visit his old hometown before he dies. But these trips are so stressful because Bill has very little patience, is losing it, and refuses to recognize it. He a very stubborn man. I'm just glad we made it back without too much damage. I don't think we will risk another trip. We have a lot of memories from this trip.


Ron said...


A lot of memories were made with this trip. However, this is probably our last one. It's too stressful on both of us. Bill is a very impatient man and the stress is harder for me to take each year we do this. I want to make him happy by enabling him to visit his old hometown but I fear that one of these trips will end up in disaster. We had a couple of close calls this time. I'm just glad we got back home in one piece. We have a lot of good memories from this trip.


Stan said...

I remember when cars had real bumpers and not these plastic poor excuses for them.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled into your BlogWorld through another blog from another's that for round about? What attracted me was
"Retired in Delaware" ! I lived and worked in Ocean City, Md and Georgetown De for 15 years in the 80's and 90's moved
to Florida in 98 to take care of my aging parents( only kid and Dad was terminal with cancer ). I owned an Audio Video Store
in the area and did large whole house systems but also put systems in almost every restaurant and bar from Rusty Rudder's
Ruddrtown to the Brass Balls Saloon in OC. My store was on Coastal Hwy at 58th street next to 7-11 now a scooter store.
Fagers Island complex is on the Bay behind the store. You and Bill should venture down there for a drink at Sunset it is beautiful!
They play the end of the 1812 Overture as the sun drops into the horizon. Also down there I reccommend BJ's on the water Bayside
75th st area( been so long I forget exactly but they have big sign on the hwy). At lunchtime they offer special dinner platers of the
night before specials. I think Wednesday is Prime Rib. The owners are Billy Carder and wife Madeline and Marco was the manager
recently and they know me ( send them greetings from Stuart Adams ) . They were very good customers of my store. We were great
friends. They have a band Teenage Rust and sing all the oldies.
I also could relate to your wonderful trip south. Went to college in North Carolina in the late 60's at Elon University in Burlington, Nc
and had roomates from Winston-Salem and have made many trips to Asheville, NC. Really beautiful in those hills! Made that Bridge Tunnel
ride a few times myself back in the one lane each direction days! That was scarey.
One question about your blog - how come it scrolls so slow for me? Is it all the large photos( I like those)? Oh and before I forget
reading the old posts of your childhood and those photos got me digging out my old photos which brought back lots of memories.
You are a good writer and story teller. Really enjoy your view of things.
Note: I hate that Narfolk gauntlet too !! Never went through there enough to get the hang of all the tricks to coming out the other side
without at least one wrong turn ( which can take 45 minutes to recover from). Often thought I'd take photos of all the overhead signs
to get those in my head but there's too much traffic for that and trucks often block the signs.
Love the "Gayberry" term. That's great.
Good luck with your Prostate Seeds - I want to ask a million questions( Dad had Prostate Cancer - I will likely have it too; Mother had
Alzheimers( that was a tough 4 years ).
You've got me hooked.

anne marie in philly said...

3:30a? OH HELLZ NO!

no bridge-tunnel driving for claustrophobia and fear of water would never let me!

a good trip, yes; but pretty stressful conditions. I cannot blame you for hanging it up after this one.

have a good sleep in your own bed and ease back into your familiar routine! :)

Randy in NEB. said...

Ron, Again glad you guys made it back OK. I guess I should clue you in on Jackie Beat, she is an over-the-top sometimes racy drag queen played by a guy named Kent. And Bill being hard to travel with I guess is what I would the price of admission, meaning you love him so much you let little stuff like that go. I was going to ask you what Delmarva was, but I think I figured it out. DELaware,MARyland,VirginiA right? As always enjoying your posts.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

That's Bill, always worried about "not being on time." Oh it felt so good to sleep in my own bed again last night. I slept the Sleep of the Dead.

Now to get back to my regular routine. Of course I have that little item of seed implants on Thursday. Not looking forward to that. At least with all the activity the past weeks, it has taken my mind off of this impending "doom."


Ron said...


Welcome! Always good to have a new follower. Even though we live close by, I rarely go to Dewey Beach. Bill and I have driven through there a few times on the way to somewhere else. Our usual routine is Millsboro, Milford, Milton (the Three M's), Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. We avoid Dewey Beach because we have to plow through the Rehoboth Route One traffic to get there and once there, what to do? We're not college kids or drinkers.

To answer your question "why does my blog scroll slow for you?" It's probably the computer you're using. I've never had that complain before.

Next year we don't do the "Norfolk Gauntlet", we taking a breather from the Annual Trip South and going instead to Gettysburg and Pittsburgh, my former home in a previous life.

Again, welcome to my blog.


Ron said...


When the Enterprise guy told me I had bumper damage, I went out and my first thought "Bumper? I don't see a bumper." You're right, most cars don't even have bumpers these days. I guess the manufacturers save a few bucks per car by not putting them on.


Ron said...

I am so happy to get back home. While we enjoyed our trip and it created a lot of new experiences and memories, it's always good to return to familiar routine. Oh yes, Bill is difficult at times but I do love him and try to work with him and let "the little stuff" go. You understand.

So you figured out what "Delmarva" was? It is that little peninsula of land that we live on. It is ironic but the two places I considered retiring too are both peninsulas - Provincetown in Cape Cod or Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Delaware won because of the milder climate and low taxes. However, I do love Provincetown.

Thanks again for all your generous compliments!

Your friend,


Anonymous said...

In your videos with Bill in them, he always seems to have a camera in his hands. What becomes of the photos/videos he takes?

Ron said...

That is a good question Brian! Bill insists on using an old video camera. He likes to watch his videos on his old TV. He doesn't want me to publish them. I would have a problem publishing them anyway because I would have to convert them to a digital format. I don't have the time for that. He could take videos with his iPhone but he's stubborn. He refuses to and instead wants to use his old camcorder which he can't even find a battery pack for anymore.


Anonymous said...

It amazes me that you and Bill have been together so long, you seem to be so different! It would be nice if we could see his videos but I have no idea how you could convert them even if you could get his permission.

Ron said...


I can convert Bill's videos but it is a long process. I have a lot of old films that are on VHS that I would do first though. It is a very time consuming process.

Yes, Bill and I are different in almost every aspect. In fact I can't think of anything we have in common except that we love each other.