Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oak Island, North Carolina

Scottie and friends

Just back from a week at the beach in Oak Island North Carolina – that’s Scottie up there with a couple tiny sharks he caught fishing in the surf – I think they may be dogfish I’m not sure. I do know the little buggers have got some tiny but sharp teeth.

I’ve been going to the beach NC almost every year now for over a decade – Sara has been going longer than that – in fact she’s the one that got me started. This is our one vacation of the year – even though we travel so much for our jobs we are still working and coming back to the beach annually is something we can look forward to where we really can just relax without having to worry about classroom exercises or PowerPoint presentations.

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I brought my bike down and put on just under 200 miles during the week there. My longest single day ride was about 52 miles and it was kind of on accident as are a good majority of my adventures. I got up each morning with a target distance in mind and would ride half that distance then turn around. One morning right near my target half distance of 20 miles I came across a brand new stretch of road closed to traffic with a sign that read “ Oak Island 6 miles.” This would have brought me back to our beach house after a 26 mile ride or so – but if there were any reason I had to turn back the ride would be double that length.

 

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The road felt as smooth as an endless basketball court. I whizzed past mowing tractors and a couple guys driving heavy equipment who waved at me as i flew by in the morning heat which has already climbed into the nineties.  Even though I was riding into a headwind – the pristine road surface and the fact that i could just take the whole lane made the ride almost effortless. That was until I came to the bridge that connected Oak Island to the mainland. More accurately I came to the edge of where the bridge would someday be.  I kinda knew my shortcut was too good to be true  and as I headed back I ruminated on how this little diversion was another life metaphor – that when things are going too smoothly – when there is no traffic and the road is smooth and even though all signs say you're headed in the right direction chances are there is an insurmountable obstacle up ahead.

On the positive side – this little misadventure did prod me to my longest ride of the season and the 12 miles on the brand new road was a great experience – even if it was out of the way. Like a certain Cleveland performance poet who shall remain unnamed said while driving in the wrong direction on the freeway in Chicago, “At least we’re making good time!”

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lexington South Carolina

lexington01 Just back from a trip to Lexington South Carolina – a town just outside of Columbia. This is an encore appearance for Sara and me. we were invited to speak to a kid’s writing day camp and a group  of teachers under the auspices of the Midlands Writing Project. The MWP is a branch of the National Writing Project.

Their mission is: The National Writing Project focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation's educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners.

lexington002 Sara and i have worked with this organization all over the United States and have always found the participants to be eagerly motivated. What makes this branch of the program a little different is that they include students along with the teachers involved. The two programs run side by side for a week – but then the teachers and students come together not as instructor and pupil but as fellow writers for a day of idea sharing and conferencing. This a really cool idea as is the whole Writing Project program.

writing project Of course while we were there we managed to squeeze in a South Carolina style BBQ dinner. Even though the outside temps were in the high 90s with similar humidity, our visit was as refreshing as a tall glass of sweet tea. We look forward to working with our friends Janet and Vicki again in the future.

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