|The parents of one of Robert's classmates invited us to join them camping at Assateague for the Fourth. A group of friends had a spot reserved. We didn't realize quite how large a group it was. It turns out that when you have a 21 year old tradition of birthday bash at the beach, the group tends to grow.|
|The 150 or so folks attending the 21st Sacrifice Your Body (to the mosquitoes) annual celebration of Simon's birthday were very well organized. It was clear that they had been doing this for a while. And everyone had a great time. It's going to be really hard the next time we go camping with Robert: he's going to miss the other kids to play with, the other adults to talk to, the beach, the never ending cooler of juice, the Gatorade, the Arts and Crafts tent and, yes, the live band (more on that later). Our home on the edge of "Dowling Town" is below.|
(Note that Robert got his own tent.) We opted to drive down after work Friday; got in about 1am so ended up on the outskirts of the encampment. That worked out well since we didn't have much traffic to deal with and Robert slept a lot of the way there.
The group camping section of beach sprouted these sun tents during the day. But the beauty of Assateague is the way the island's visitor population is limited so it's still possible to feel like you have the beach to yourself.
|The ponies were there and we only saw one stampede. About 6 of them decided to cut through our afternoon beach session one day. There were enough folks with loud enough whistles that they were redirected away from the visitors with no damage.|
|Robert showed off his culinary skills helping out in the prep tent. Here he is discussing the virtues of quality corn shucking vs. going for quantity. Several folks remarked on how helpful he was both during dinner prep, and in general. He was having a great time and really enjoyed helping out others.|
|I thought one of the coolest ideas considering current events was the world cup twister game. Some of those flags are hard to keep straight, but the kids were correcting the adults after a round or two.|
|Surely the least expected thing was the live rock band playing in the shade tent. This being Simon's 50th birthday, it was a big deal. So the band followed him down from Vermont to enjoy the fun and play for his birthday. In May of this year, Sarah picked up a kid-sized eclectic guitar at a yard sale down the street. And I was inspired by Robert's enjoyment of that to pick up a keyboard on sale when we got the missing cord to connect the guitar to it's amp. So Robert has developed a thing for bands, rock bands in particular. The little red dot right in front of the band is Robert, soaking it all in.|
|We took the canoe and a kayak with us. The kayak stayed dry but we put the canoe in water on the back bay side. Robert invited Arainn, his classmate's older sister and then proceeded to show her his newly invented technique of being towed on the boogie board behind the canoe. (The day before, they both had a lot of fun on the boogie boards in the waves breaking on the beach -- Robert said the most fun was "going underwater" in the surf; I would say window shaded.)|
|He managed to only fall off a couple of times. And he did join the rest of us in the canoe, and even gave Arainn a turn on the boogie board (but she was more comfortable in the canoe). We stopped for a pre-lunch snack in a tiny patch of shade on the mainland side of an island we circumnavigated. Note my use of the boogie board as a drink holder.|
|With smiles like that, I'm sure we'll go back to Assateague.|