Kiptopeke to Myrtle Beach

Kiptopeke is yet another beautiful VA state park at the tip of the peninsula that separates the Chessepeak Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The campground features full hookup RV spaces, (unusual in public campgrounds) and tent camping, yurts and cabins.  The RV spaces are crowded into a central area,  the tent sites are more secluded and wooded.  Kiptopeke has lovely well marked walking trails and a great big beach.

Possibly the strangest breakwater is the impressive 100-meter long sunken concrete ships, that served in WWII.

Kiptopeke State Park's famous concrete fleet. Kiptopeke State Park on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

“The ships were ordered by the US Maritime Commision in 1942 during a steel shortage brought on by the second world war. Steel was scarce, but concrete was inexpensive and readily avaialble. The contract was awarded to McCloskey and Co. and construction began in July of 1943 in Tampa, FL. All in all, two dozen concrete ships were built and served throughout WWII. Two of the ships even saw combat missions. “

October is a beautiful month for camping on the Eastern Shore, no humidity and cool evenings perfect for campfires.   As a campground host one of the fun duties was selling fire wood to campers, they loved it when we brought wood directly to them at their campsites.  I loved it when they had exact change.  The hosting duties were easy the usual cleaning of fire pits, and checking site tags.  

Maggie and I enjoyed a beautiful October with several 80 degree days.  Biding farewell at end of October to head sound for the winter I was happy to make a weekend stop back in Cary, NC with sister Becky and brother-in-law Chuck.  We all did some election poll greeting for the Democrats and watched the evening poll results together.  Tuesday night was very disappointing, but aren’t we all happy the election turned our way later in the week.  Becky’s pumpkin pie mate election night delicious if not celebratory.

But our collective bad dream is finally coming to an end.  And, thank goodness for vote by mail and early voting.

In the fall of 1998, I lead the AFL-CIO program to re-elect Senator Harry Reid, and elect Democrats to the state legislature. Ten full-time walkers and bus loads of Californian’s coming every weekend in late September through the election.  Our ground game was to get voters to early vote or vote by mail.  I have been an advocate for both ever since.  

After weeks of 12 hour days, all I wanted to do was go to bed the minute the polls closed.  My cell phone rang early Wednesday morning to report we were going into a statewide hand recount of ballots.  It was another couple of weeks before the election was finally called for Senator Reid by a landslide of 428 votes statewide.  The majority of those votes came out of Washoe County so our work paid-off, but I would live to regret getting Harry re-elected.   

The very next year I would move to Washington D.C. and become a Legislative Advocate for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Over the next 17 years I would attend many meetings with Majority Leader Reid.  He would tell the very same story at every meeting, and ring his hands as to why he couldn’t do anything because he didn’t have 60 votes.  Rather than fight a good fight, he would just move on to the next bill.  Rather than,  “GO TO THE MATTRESSES!”  Not good old Harry.  

Remember Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart standing on the Senate floor?  That movie depicted when Senators would really filibuster,  giving speeches, reading nursery rhymes and recipes for hours in an effort to wear the other side down.  Not Harry, he’ll go down in history as one of the worst majority leaders, giving up the 60 vote rule.

Oh well, the U.S. Senate is badly broken for many reasons, and I only hope President Biden can work with his old colleague McConnell and get real stuff done for the American people.  Compromise isn’t a dirty word, but the newbies think it is.    The real news is Trump’s recounts won’t amount to anything,  Biden will be POSTUS and Harris will be VP.  Yippee!

We can only hope for a return to civility, respect and good public policy.   Let’s hope.

I am now enjoying Myrtle Beach State Park.  Here the hosting is a bit more serious, working 8 hour shifts in the camp store, ranger station or cleaning fire pits.  There are over 300 campsites, in addition to public use picnic areas.

There were horses on the beach Veteran’s Day weekend, and this week we are experiencing some rain. I plan to play at least one round of golf each week.  I am going to stay at Myrtle Beach until February 2021 and head south to Florida for the winter.  I am looking forward to 2021, saying goodbye to Trump and 2020.  

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