Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mazur Group Trip - Martha's Vineyard 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 6:00am meeting time

Another fun adventure with the Eric Mazur group. Our program this time included heading to Martha's Vineyard and biking about 25 miles, both on and off-road, with a beach break for lunch and sun, although we pretty much had lots of sun all day long. Later we heard it hit 100 degrees in Boston. It was rather hot at MV, but with the wind in our hair, er, helmets, and being on an didn't feel quite as hot, thank goodness (but then again, I start sweating with minimal exertion).

We had an early call time since we needed to get to Woods Hole by 7:45am since the ferry leaves for MV at 8:00am. While driving, which was provided by Diebold, Mark, Sam & Jeff, the weather was not looking good (dark, grey and overcast), but by the time we boarded the ferry, the sun was shining. With the anticipation of having sun all day, most of us applied sunscreen while on the ferry, and we jumped at the opportunity to sit in a small area that was shaded.

We were a large group of 22 but paled in comparison to a group of 60 that would be renting bikes from the same store later that day.

Logical thought can be elusive, especially when strapping a bag to the back of a bike, as it happened with me, and essentially toppling over, almost taking out Jess in the process. The result: a bruised leg and ego. At least that would be the only error that day...or so I thought.

The biking part was actually fun - when the seat wouldn't slowly sink back down. Other folks didn't quite have the same experience since their seats were being uncooperative or just plain broken or uncomfortable. Nothing you could really do about it...other than calling the store and have someone come out and take a look at it and fix it, which we found out you could do as we returned the bikes later that day.

Brian, Mark, Jess & I completely lost the group on our way to the Victorian "gingerbread" cottages of the Town of Oak Bluffs since we got stuck behind some parking traffic. Good thing we turned around and saw some of the group pop their heads out of an alley as they were on their way to pick up some lunch and snacks. It was around 10am.

The area we were in was super-cute and quaint, and the gingerbread cottages were amazing. I felt like we were in Munchkinland, being surrounded with colorful, small houses. They were very cartoon-like with their out-of-the-ordinary colors and trimmings, something like out of a fairytale.

After synchronizing three cameras for a group photo, we headed off again, and it was during this stretch of the ride I decided to whip out my coordination skills and photograph while biking. This part of the trip was pretty cool, having bodies of water on both sides of this small strip of land.

another example of the refreshing summer treat being called "Italian Ice" as opposed to "Water Ice"

Being a large group, there was a tendency to fall behind especially if you weren't avid bikers. We came to an area where you HAD to walk your bike, and it was there where we decided to split into 3 groups. It seemed a bit chaotic as no one was sure of where to go without Mazur leading the charge, but we eventually re-grouped and off we headed to our destination: South Beach.

Okay, if you've ever participated in an event that involved your searching for photos of yourself, like a marathon, this kinda has the same feel...

Oh, I love the wide angle...except for the slight distortion with this photo - I certainly look weird (or at least I think so)

Aaaah. The beach.

Sofie fills the "being buried" requirement for this trip (see last year's August 2005 deep sea fishing trip)

Anyone up for a game of frisbee...



The beach was rather crowded to throw one around, but we managed for a short time, before basically hitting everyone around us - not really hitting per se, but definitely invading their space. It was a sorry sight to see.

This is the second attempt at frisbee, which this time, we really competed with the wind and while we didn't "hit" anyone, we did experience "the ball ending up in a mean neighbor's backyard" feeling. Meaning, the frisbee ended up going several times into roped-off areas, roped-off not only for preservation reasons, but for ticks.

aaaaaah...tick-infested zone!

there it goes...again

The last throw by Diebold ended up beyond our sight and over a small hill. There was some debate as to retrieve it since it had some sentimental value to Jeff. I left before it was resolved...but yes, Diebold did eventually get it back after much hesitation.

Okay, so here are the results of the waterproof camera. It's too bad that some of them did not come out as well as others. Maybe the pounding of the waves had something to do with it...

Well, here is my other error of the day: not wearing a sporty bikini top, but we won't go into it. Let's just say that I wish I could have done more body surfing...

It was the perfect weather to just run into the ocean and cool off, especially after biking for several miles. Well, while the water was refreshing, it turned out to be quite a workout.

Holy cow, were those waves vicious! I tumbled not once, but twice, backwards with my feet soaring above my head, like a ragged doll being tossed in a washing machine. The sand was so stirred up that my hair was full of it, even after trying to rinse it out. You couldn't escape it.

Even when you think you've escaped the wave by going under as it passes above you, you get sucked into the riptide, and next thing you know, your knees are scraping the sand, and you're left exposed and battered.

Sam was definitely a trooper who insisted on charging the waves, but we all knew who won that battle.


I preferred the "okay, come and get me" approach.


Ming-Yen's quest to avoid the sun...

After about two and a half hours on the beach, we continue with our biking. But not before refueling and refilling with water from a random garden hose near a house being reconstructed. Hmm, a little suspect.

And we're back on the bikes...

We stopped off at the Morning Glory Farm where inside, the produce was displayed quite beautifully.

This would be the last stop with civilization before we head off-roading, which although I would have loved to take photos of us biking, this time, two hands on the bike were quite necessary. The sand was the worst since you could barely move in it. But for some reason, I could not keep my wheel straight, so it was a little trying. It was rather refreshing to be back on a paved bike path.

We did discover that both bikers and drivers on MV are quite abrasive, yelling at us to move or to get on a bike path or to stay in a single line. "Hellooooo, can we get through??" in an obnoxious tone, and when the path clears, "Thank you" in a sweet voice.

Eh, que sera sera...

Our final destination was the Black Dog Tavern.

Sam and Diebold went for the cake and ordered the Clambake Bucket for 2, which starts with the Black Dog Quahog Chower (Shou-dah!)

Then a bucket of two whole lobsters, two large sausages, two corn on the cob and a bunch of mussels and steamers - yum yum!!! It was quite the production.

Sharing a bowl of the chowder and steamers, I went for the Codfish with tasty mashed potatoes and Brian went for the grilled 18 oz. Delmonico Steak.


Amidst enjoying our meal, we hadn't realized how late it was until Mark pointed out that the next ferry would be leaving at 7:15pm. The next one would be at 9:30pm. It was 6:50pm.


We had gotten to the restaurant later than expected, so there was a bit of a scramble deciding what to do. The Mazur family decided to relax and catch the 9:30pm, while most of the group wanted to catch the 7:15pm. So after gobbling the last of the few bits of the food, we were in a mad dash after the ferry, which felt like we just caught in time. It was a shame that the day on the island couldn't end more calmly and that we left some of our own behind.

We did get a chance to watch the sun set in the sky.

It had been a LONG day, but some of us decided to head to one of our favorite ice cream spots in Falmouth: Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, where they serve lobster ice cream and small cups that could pass for large. Luckily we found out that there is a kiddie size, which could pass for medium, although it was after-the-fact for some of us. We got there just in time, because minutes later, the line was out the door, stretching to the next store.

Triple Chocolate was a hit with Brian and Mark, while Elena and I went for Cookie Dough, though I also had Cookies 'n Cream mixed in. I can't remember the other choices made, but Diebold again, who admitted that he freaks out when put on the spot in making a decision, goes for one of the more bizarre combinations: Pralines & Pecans with Peppermint Stick. People's reactions were classic when he said what he chose.

And in serendipitous fashion, a Black Dog store was located directly across the ice cream store, where we decided to stand in front of while enjoying our ice cream. We learned about the history of "Black Dog" and found out that the Black Dog t-shirts were the second most sold shirt in the U.S. behind Hard Rock Cafe.

Good times...

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