NJ and Baltimore .

922tomstriprptI’ve had a great couple days. After leaving Toms River seeing Bill’s new house, I drove down US-9 to Cape May. I learned the term South Shore.

I had scallops at sunset overlooking a marina, after touring the kitschy motel resorts of adjoining  Westwood NJ. Too cool. Zoning requires new construction (walgreens, wawa) to adopt 50’s Jetson’s styling for their signage.

Like this whole trip, when possible I stay at a 1940s-50s strip motel that is independently owned and refurbished. Oddly, they have universally been owned and run by families from India; husband, wife, grandfather, etc. 100%. Don’t know why.

922wwdaveAfter dinner I did my best to meet Larissa’s goal for me to “dance with a stranger”. Only one place in Westwood had music on a Thursday out of season. Everyone was in couples, watching the football game, ignoring the musician. I made friends with him, teasing that he had one fan, but I went home foiled again.

923wwbkfst

Friday morning I used Yelp and the GPS to find a beach cafe for an omlette with an ocean view. I finally put together a plan, surrendering all inland travel; thus tossing Charleston WV and Ashville with Pittsburgh and Nashville on the “Next Year ” list. I will go directly to DC, then east to Norfolk and south to Charlotte.

923ferryAfter a calm and thoughtful breakfast, I headed to the Cape May ferry, heading to Delaware & Maryland. On the ferry I used the power, wifi, and first class seats to blog and make hotel reservations in Bethesda (to see Rev Abhi at Cedar Lane UU).

On the Delaware side, I drove into nearby Rehoboth Beach for another pleasant surprise. A bustling main street on the Atlantic, it was easy to see how pre-A/C these places were necessities, not options.

Yelp led me to a little coffee/ ice cream / waffle shop, where I looked on the internet for a Friday event. I am signed up for contra dancing Saturday in Annapolis and Sunday in Bethesda (after attending UU). I have Monday to see DC museums. But what about tonight???

923reboh3
Rehoboth beach DE. Free parking after season.

I searched the web and found a meetup for a ballroom group in Baltimore “with the largest dance floor around”, so I cancelled my room in Bethesda for Friday and booked a room in Baltimore instead. I still toodled down the Delaware coast some, on US-9, knowing I’d be back Tuesday, but then headed inland for Baltimore.

The ride was long! It starting in graceful rural Delaware and Maryland, fields of harvested corn, barns, fences intermixed with those estate houses. Traffic imperceptibly increased as I headed west such that when I crossed the bay bride to Annapolis, the road became five lanes both ways and the Friday outbound DC traffic was bumper to bumper. Thank goodness I was inbound.

I set my GPS to calculate using real time traffic, and it was amazing. Instead of routing on packed I-97, it routed me to ‘old’ Generals Rd. And when traffic backed up that road, I was routed off on to what was once country lanes around a lakes district, hilly and wrapped in trees. Now large estates of wealthy executives replaced those once tiny cottages. To my surprise I automatically popped out onto Generals Rd, then onto the now racing freeway. At times, I Love Her, she saves me.

After 40 grueling min on the freeway I found the cheesy motel and checked in, exhausted. I showered as a service to any dance partners. I was running late, so I delayed dinner until after dancing and headed to the studio.

Of course, I had just orchestrated another dance disaster.

Like my day in Rochester NY, I can’t ride 200+ miles for 4+ hours then jump off the bike and onto the dance floor ready to go. My legs were cramping and exhausted. My brain was foggy and confused. I couldn’t carry a beat in a bucket. I looked like and idiot and danced like Big Bird.

The room was HUGE! Essentially a wedding hall size, located in a business park. And they had 2 hours of free lessons followed by 3 hours of open dancing. My heart was crushed! The instructor was fantastic so I did my best, sat down and scribbled notes. It must seem silly that I learn dancing not by dancing but by writing. But think about it, I didn’t learn Roman history by dressing up in a toga and marching on Gaul.

I danced one “mercy waltz” (actually only two-thirds of a waltz) before my legs actually gave out. My partner was so very gracious as she accepted my apology. I glumly changed my shoes, complimented the teacher, and left. I got the idea to hit the gym to stretch my ankles, thighs and lower back on the machines. I had to do only 8 reps set on 15 lbs where I once had them up to 15 reps of 50. Ouch!

924stkeggI found a late night pub using Yelp (a bit tricky ) and noshed and blogged then headed to bed at 2am. In the morning I headed down to the corner diner. Honest to goodness shiny stainless, right on US-40, the national road. Of course I had steak and eggs.

Now it’s on to Bethesda.

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