The last day of any fun time is always a little bit melancholy, but we were determined to make the best of it anyway.
We had planned to spend a little more time along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk but were thwarted again. Not because it was closed as everything else has been but because there was something in the way, specifically, Shriners. Lots of 'em. Shriners in little cars! Shriners with little hats! Shriners on flatbed trucks! Shriners on horseback! Shriners on "Magic Carpets." Egyptian Shriners! All headed to a parade down the main drag. They were adorable even if they kept us from doing something we wanted to do.
So, we started at the Virginia Aquarium with high hopes but the main facility is undergoing an extensive renovation that will result in an excellent new main exhibit. But what that means right now is that there isn't much inside said main facility. So while we enjoyed what was there, there really wasn't that much to enjoy. Couple of jellyfish, couple of sharks, a tankful of silver-gray fish native to the area, a whole lot of graphics (including an interactive exhibit where you can design your own fish - Mary was disappointed when her creation wound up being similar to an existing species called the Bay Minnow), that was about it.
There is a second building but it was a 10 minute walk away on a "nature trail" and it didn't seem to hold much more. The result was a pleasant diversion albeit one that should consider dropping its price while they are undergoing renovations but nothing particularly special.
From there we went to an early lunch Rockafellers, which had been recommended to us by a local. The restaurant specializes in fish (is there any other kind in this town?), but just about everything on offer was fried, which seems like a waste of fresh seafood. Rick - who you'll recall is not a fan of the fins - had what was nonetheless an excellent fat California Kobe cheeseburger topped with fried onions and Mary had a not-bad set of fish tacos with the flounder broiled rather than fried.
On our way out of town we noticed the signs that represent, what we found out later, to be an anti-profanity law. You can actually get fined for swearing in Virginia Beach. Our reaction to this is encapsulated in the caption of the picture of said sign to the left.
After that it was simply a matter of making our way back to Dulles in time for our flight. We mentioned this before and on this trip, but its worth repeating: interstates certainly get you where you need to go in a hurry, but you don't see much of interest along the way.
Sure the trip thus ended not with a bang but a whimper but as we drove those final couple of hours we played a game of "Personal Highlights from Each Day of Red, White, and Plucky." And you know what? There were so many on every day that we never could decide on just one. And you know what else? That means it was a really, really good trip.
Unlike previous Pluckies no overt theme emerged this year, except perhaps for this: in addition to being Plucky, aren't we so lucky? We're lucky to have a country as deep and wide and rich as this one where a passion for the details of life have driven its people to erect monuments large and small and museums from the Smithsonian to Plastic Bricks. Aren't we lucky to have not just abundant food but also ham. And people, both old friends and new, to share all of it with. Not to mention each other. It's been a lucky and Plucky 20 years and counting.
See you on the road.