Go east on Route 50. That’s it. You’re there.
First this meant the always fun crossing of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Then through the stretches of rural marshland, interrupted by Easton and Cambridge and then Salisbury, where, despite running a little bit late, I figured I’d stop off to see the alma mater.
You know, they dropped “State” from the name in 2001 (against the wishes of basically everyone, despite any media about the change claiming students wanted it because we were sick of “Salisbury steak” jokes, which we really didn’t care about since nobody made those mindless jokes except for maybe a family member that thinks they’re funny but actually couldn’t find clever in a wet paper bag saying it once, receiving only a glare that means “are you being serious right now?” which they mistake for confirmation of their non-existent hilarity), yet even in 2016 the recycle cans still have it.
After overloading myself with nostalgia, I got back on the road, on the final bits of the eastern end of Route 50, and got into Ocean City. April 30 is a good day to go, being close enough to season that everything is open but not in season yet so there aren’t very many people, and they therefore don’t particularly care where you park.
Ah, the Ocean City boardwalk. Seems to be some sort of kite thing going on.
A slice of pepperoni pizza from the Dough Roller later, I wandered the boardwalk, the shops that have been there even since I came here with my family when I was little. Same tacky souvenir shops, with beach buckets and shirts and toys.
And Confederate flag shirts, declaring it one’s heritage. Despite this being Maryland, which was not part of the Confederacy (even if it was very sympathetic), so such a symbol here is just racist.
Then there are the Rules for Dating My Daughter shirts. How I wished I’d thought to print out a bunch of the “She Makes the Rules, Her Body Her Rules” counterlist to that and taped it to every one of those shirts and if any store employees complained they’d get a rant that anyone such a shirt appeals to really should be in jail.
And, to combine the topics of exacerbating racial tensions and dads feeling creepy quasi-incestuous ownership of their daughters, there were also a disturbing number of Trump shirts. A couple of stores had Clinton shirts and even some Sanders, but Trump was just about everywhere. Didn’t even see anything for Cruz or Rubio. Maryland primary was just this past week, with Trump and Clinton winning their respective parties as soon as polls closed.
In any case, you know, the kind of stuff for sale at a family vacation destination.
But when it comes to Ocean City apparel, you can’t forget the iconic and so very cringeworthy…
M.R. Ducks. That saying there is the explanation of the name. It translates to “Them are ducks. Them are not. Oh yes they are. See them wings? Well, I’ll be. Them are ducks.”
That probably just killed more brain cells than the Trump shirts. Sorry about that.
Next I went to Fun City, one of numerous arcades along the boardwalk, and played SkeeBall for a while. I won a handful of tickets, which I redeemed for a couple of pieces of candy that I’m pretty sure were well past their expiration date and a little plastic dinosaur. Yay.
Then I just wandered for several blocks, looking at the stores further north that I remembered being there a long time ago. More questionable apparel.
Enough of that. Let’s go down to the water.
Four weeks ago I was walking along the Atlantic shore. Two weeks ago I was walking along the shore of Lake Michigan. Now I’m walking along the Atlantic shore again. April has been a month for walking by bodies of water.
So nice. I should build a sand castle. Except I don’t have buckets or anything else to facilitate the process. It would just be a sand mound.
Oh, wait, I know…
Anyway, after the obligatory visit to Candy Kitchen for way more salt water taffy than will ever get eaten, it’s back to my car and onto Coastal Highway, the town’s main road, to see some more sights and find some food.
Oh, look, a castle.
Pretty sure someone lost their geographical feature naming privileges for this.
North, north, north along Coastal Highway…
Too far! *makes U-turn*
After checking a number of menus and making my growling stomach despise me, I finally settled on one of the many seafood buffets around the town and stuffed myself nicely.
And once I was done with that, just beside the place was the last obligatory Ocean City activity…
Nothing like some nighttime mini golf just off Coastal Highway. Got a hole in one a couple of times.
After popping back into the restaurant to see the rest of the Capitals game on the bar TV, it was time to head on out, south on Coastal Highway, and under the “Sacramento, CA 3073” sign and over the bridge and onto Route 50. The trip home was a lot of watching carefully for hidden cops on the many speed traps along the way and getting rerouted near Kent Island because of road work or something and back across the Bay Bridge.
So that’s Ocean City in all its tacky kitschy beach town glory.