Taking our show on the road means whittling down the list of material goods we have on-hand, and then cramming said goods into the perfect ride. But beyond cargo space, our chariot needed to be decent on gas mileage and cheap to maintain. So, what did we pick? Here’s a hint:
Looks good so far, yes?
Yeah… here’s a more depressing hint:
We bought a minivan.
I wanted to cry, but this thing is so damned practical that after a few minutes of snooping around in it, I realized the only thing I had to fear was fear itself. That, and mom jeans.
What we’ve got here is a hundred-thousand-mile 2007 Honda Odyssey. It’s dumb, beige, and reliable. So, given Hailey’s childhood love of the Garfield cartoons, it was only natural to name him Odie.
We shook the surprisingly non-greasy hand of our car salesman, Jerry, as he asked, “are you guys driving back to Brooklyn now?”
No, Jerry. We’re immediately taking this thing on a 5-hour trip to Cape Cod for Hailey’s belated birthday weekend. It’s what the kids call “the Kennedy test drive.” I don’t know whose kids, but surely some of them do.
And so, without the slightest whiff of intention, this apparently became our inaugural leg of Rogue Trip 2017.
We stayed in a quaint Eastham guest house via Airbnb, hosted by Arthur — a Brooklyn native himself. From the house, you walk about five minutes down a sleepy neighborhood road, and voila: private bayside beach-going.
The subject boat here was named Fishin’ Impossible; I’ll take this opportunity to proclaim there are few things in life more enjoyable than reading a carefully crafted dad joke off a boat’s ass.
So yeah, this was a wonderful spot for home base. But Cape Cod is both bay and ocean, the latter being the preferred side for watching a sunrise and listening to the sounds (and squawks) of nature. Hailey, being the sun-chasing veteran she is, reminded me that a 6:27am sunrise means you have to get out there around 5:57am to see the good stuff. So, that’s what we did.
Odie even got in on the action, breaking the shackles of soccer mommery and nervous kid vomit we can only assume he was subjected to throughout his past life.
Fun fact about this location, Nauset Beach: it’s the only piece of American land to have been hit with enemy fire during WWI. Never knew that! Seems a strange move by ze Germans, but give ’em an A for effort.
This was Saturday’s sunrise, and one of the great features of the Cape is how easily you can swing over to the other side for sunset, and even do some stargazing later on; the coastline was declared a national treasure by JFK himself in 1961 and therefore exists free of the light pollution which often prevents city slickers from getting a glimpse of the world beyond our own.
Would you believe this is the first time in my life I’ve seen a sunrise, sunset, and starry night all in one 24-hour span? Even more surprising was Hailey’s claim that it was only her second or third time doing so. Odie declined to comment.
Sunset: Sasket Beach. We weren’t the only ones who Googled “best Cape Cod sunsets.”
We stargazed on Marconi Beach, which is indeed named for the guy and the achievement you’re thinking of… and if you’re thinking of macaroni instead, you should pause here and head to Wikipedia for a history lesson.
Speaking of history: I already mentioned that JFK turned Cape Cod into a protected seashore as one of his first orders of business. The protection order means no private construction is allowed, but there’s one restaurant on the entire outer Cape that was grandfathered in since it preceded the congressional act by 8 years and has stood in place since its origins as a lifesaving station for the past century and a half.
In typical Hailey fashion, this place — The Beachcomber — employed some friends she had previously made on the other side of the world. Alas, it was closed for the season and not afraid to tell us so.
Worth noting is how we reached The Beachcomber to begin with: the outer Cape has transformed an old railway into 25 miles of paved bike/ped paths, much like other cities have done recently. It’s a great way to explore the area, especially if you have kids, and even more especially if you have freakishly tiny kids who can fit into these bicycle baskets.
We rented bikes from Little Capistrano, an extremely friendly bike shop in Eastham.
You’ve gotta wake up pretty early in the morning to beat Cape Cod’s historical significance, as it lays claim to some of the most prominent moments in America’s young life. For one, the Pilgrims landed here (not on Plymouth Rock, but further out on the Cape), and we took a moment to visit First Encounter Beach, where it’s believed the Native Americans and Pilgrims first met… assuming we all agree that someone breaking into your house counts as a “meeting.”
They also have windmills from three hundred years ago, back when it made sense to erect a fifty-foot tall contraption just to churn a single vat of butter. Okay, I’ll admit I may have forgotten to read the bronze plaque.
Food stuffs: Arnold’s for its restaurant/ice cream shop/mini-golf combination, of which we sampled all three. Rock Harbor Grill and Land Ho for dinner, Laura & Tony’s buffet for breakfast, Hot Chocolate Sparrow for fudge and caffeine, Sesuit Harbor Cafe for the last lobster roll of the trip. All of it quite good, none of it necessarily worth taking a photo of and being labeled as “that guy taking pictures of his food.” Of course, rolling up in a minivan to any establishment gives us karma to burn, so perhaps in the future we’ll make a more conscious effort to snap our snacks.
As we polish off this blog post from an ice cream stand picnic table (easily the best office I’ve ever sat in), it’s easy to imagine living in Cape Cod. Then again, the fact that Hailey and I are both so readily swayed is one of the reasons we decided to launch into a U.S. road trip to begin with. So far, so good, so full of lobster.