Don’t walk away Irene

26 08 2011

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on New York and I’m. . . thinking of hitting the beach.

C. and I are, in fact, if we can manage it.

No, we don’t plan to be fools—we’d hit Brighton Beach Saturday afternoon, at the latest—but hey, if we can safely bike down and check out the waves, why not? We both like the ocean, we like waves, so here’s a rare chance to see big waves in the ocean!

There were a coupla’ nasty storms in the Boston area when I lived there, but I never made it to the beach (the one on the north side, with the famous lobster roll joint) at the sweet spot of any oncoming storms: close enough to see that, in fact, a storm was coming, but not so close that the water crashing over the breaks on the highway would wash away your car.

No, my only real experience with ocean weather occurred years before, when L. and I road-tripped to Alabama to check out a master’s program for her. After looking at the school in Daphne and poking around Mobile, we set up camp at Gulf Shores State Park in advance of what turned out to be a tropical storm. (Being the good Midwesterners that we both were, we had no clue what that meant.) I don’t recall any rangers telling us it might not be the best time for a couple of small women in a (water-resistant!) nylon tent to kick back on the gulf. We did at least plunk down the tent on the highest ground on the site, joking that the preferred site under the tree could “turn into a big puddle”.

Ha ha.

Anyway, that day was gorgeous. While the campground seemed pretty full (plenty o’ RVs, at which we shook our heads), there weren’t many people at the beach. The sand was white, the beach wide, and the water warm. At one point a water spout formed and we had a good laugh at the panicked look on a woman’s face as she rushed her kids out of the water.

Ha ha.

That night we broke out a bottle of vodka and poured some into our lemonade, then strolled down to the beach to look at the stars and watch all the clouds and thunder way out there across the water. What a show!

We crawled into our tent, looking forward to another day or two at this lovely, lovely park.

You know what happens, of course: That water spout was likely an auger of the storm, that nifty show moved ashore, and yes, it was a very lucky thing that we hadn’t pitched the tent in what was now a pond which waters reached my knees. We had managed to stay relatively dry in the tent, but that highest point was at the far end of the campsite, some distance from the car. We broke down the tent and ran our gear to the car, tossing it in without packing and peeling the hell out of there. There was a nice, solid bathroom nearby, so we took our gear in there and managed to impose some order on our belongings. (There may have been hand-dryers, and we may have tried to dry our gear/ourselves, but I don’t quite remember.)

Then away from the Gulf coast, away from the park, and an early departure for Wisconsin.

Yeah, we were safe and we didn’t lose our gear and it all turned out blah blah, but damn, we coulda used those extra few days at the beach. . . .