Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vacation 6: Martha's Vineyard, and Aquinnah!

You may recall that ever since a cas show last spring, my antique car had carburetor issues.  Getting them repaired was a major task, since most of today’s mechanics are trained on fuel injection systems and computer controls.  Being a 1967, mine has neither, and to complicate matters, it also has an intact prehistoric California smog control system . Fuel-injection and computer emission training is useless on old-fashioned antiques.  

And trying to make a 1,200-mile trip in a freshly-repaired car, without some significant shakedown runs, would be a "real fool's errand."  Thus I decided to take the daily driver on this trip, and extend our agenda exponentially.  What started out to be a simple antique car tour for my better half and myself, with a bunch of friends, ended up being an epic vacation.  We were gone for so long (two full weeks) that it was easy to lose track of time!


Today dawned sunny, but with a rainy forecast

On the docket for today was a quick morning return visit to the Nobska lighthouse, then off to the boat for a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard.  We elected to take the car over with us. because we had too many sights on our to-do list, to rely on walking or taking their public transportation.  When we checked the car in at the dock, the attendant used no pronouns when we talked.

Martha’s Vineyard was discovered in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold, a British fisherman.  He named it after his firstborn daughter and the thick vegetation, which resembled a vineyard.  The island is roughly triangular-shaped, with its base the straight south shore, and northern points facing Cape Cod.  It’s 9 miles wide and 26 miles long, and the total area is about 96 square miles, with 124 miles of shoreline spread over six small towns,   About a third of the land mass is protected from future development.

At departure time, It was quite cool and windy, and I chose to ride on the front observation deck of the Island Home,  My better half elected to stay inside, not wanting to be chilly.  Since I was determined to have a picture taken outside, I shamelessly asked a guy who was standing there next to me if he’d mind taking my picture..  “I’d be happy to, Ma’am.”  

Mandy on the Island Home

The above was his creation.  He did well.  Funny thing was…it all happened in full view of the better half.  I simply said to her afterward that it was nice of him to take the pic, and she said that if he was willing to stand out there in the wind and cold, then it was fine that I asked him – she chose not to deal with it.

There were no further public interactions until we arrived at the Gay Head Light in Aquinnah.  (Yes, Gay Head Light really is its name!)  During our tour, the guide referred to us as ladies.  “Where are you ladies from?”  The rest of our conversation was of the same nature.  

This beautiful and historic lighthouse is in danger of falling into the sea within the next decade or so, because the clay cliffs it is built on are eroding at about 6 feet per year.  If the process is not begun within the next year or two at the most, there will not be enough solid ground to bear the weight of the machinery needed to move it, and it will be doomed.   Plans are to take it out of service at the end of 2014 and proceed with the move, but they are still short of funds to finish it, so the fundraising continues.

 Gay Head Light, Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts, USA

The light itself in operation...notice the red reflections on the window sashes?

The colorful, but rapidly eroding clay cliffs, which will doom the lighthouse if it is not soon moved...

When we inquired about restrooms, the tour guide at the lighthouse said “Ladies, the restroom over there in the park is open, but there is a small charge."   So, I suggested to the better half that we both use the women’s room, since there was nobody else nearby at that moment.  She looked over at the little building standing alone in the big field, and said “ everyone thinks we’re two girls, so why not.” 

It definitely was a first – entering a public women’s washroom with the better half.  Though in hindsight, I wonder if she might have seen it as a safety thing for herself…due to the isolated location, anyone “could” have been in there waiting for a woman to enter.   There wasn’t, however.  And for me, it was quite an experience! 

While waiting in the women’s room for her to finish, I could see through the slightly-ajar window, that three really grubby-dirty-looking, bearded, twenty-something males walked by - and went into the men’s room next door.  Now, I'll never know for sure - they may have been perfectly honorable.  But it's also within the realm of possibility that my own safety that day had been guaranteed, by virtue of my being in the ladies' room. Life certainly has strange turns of events!

The famous Oak Bluffs Cottages - so many colors!

In walking around the cottages in Oak Bluffs (picture above), we came across a gaggle of 50-something ladies in a commercial bus tour group.  As I was waiting for the better half to check some of the cottagesI asked one of the ladies where the group was from (Alabama).  And that led to a few minutes discussion, in which we related as women.  There was no evidence that they thought I was other than what I seemed to be.

And in other interpersonal relations that day, I was addressed as female.  All in the presence of my better half.  With no comment from her, either way….   On the way home, I was addressed as “Miss” when checking the car on the ferry boat, capping my finest feminine day of the trip so far, if not the year!

But wait, there's more....

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