Taking our van on its first road trip, not to mention our first road trip together, we loaded up our gear along with Caleb and Emma and headed to Centreville, Maryland for a social gathering of 27 individuals who share a relationship involving the surname Neighoff, but don’t call it a Family Reunion.
We left at 1am on Friday August 2nd our Wagon Train consisting of us in our van following Mama Mueller, Bob, Andrew, & AJ who stayed awake until just moments before our arrival at Jim and Linda’s some 10 hours later. The only downside to the drive down was the frequent torrential downpours we were plagued with in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We stopped on the way down at the TA in Willington, CT a rest stop in New Jersey and finally in Middletown, DE where Katie recalled there was a Chik-Fil-A and after a moment’s debate we hit the drive thru for sweet tea and chicken biscuits!!
Jim and Linda hosted us in their beautiful home that is right on the Corsica River. In total there was 27 us and they were, Gran dad, Jim & Linda, Allison, Eric with Faith, Steve & Laurie, Carolynn & Jack, Krista & Bret with Landen, Caiden, & Camryn, Seth & Erin with Will, Mama Mueller, Bob, Andrew with AJ, Emma & Caleb and Kate and myself. On Saturday and Sunday Uncle Jack joined us.
Even with 27 of us, their home was more than adequate to accommodate all of us as we congregated in various rotating groups on the dock, the pool, back porch, kitchen, living room, and what I’ll call the music room.
Food was never an issue as Friday we had giant vats of pasta, Saturday was a Taco blow out of epic proportions and Sunday, those not allergic, indulged in a steamed crab feast. Saturday’s breakfast was a fleet of muffins that Mama Mueller brought down with her and Sunday morning Krista prepared a delicious pancake and bacon breakfast. Couple this with coolers of ice cold beer and how could it not be a great weekend!?
Saturday and Sunday found me with Aunt Carolynn spending hours on the dock with some very productive fishing! We weren’t the only ones as most everyone tossed a line in the water and they were met with a successful catch. I myself over two days pulled in 36 fish, however Mama Mueller’s only day of fishing, Sunday, netted her 31. Landen got the biggest catch, a good sized catfish, that I bet I would have beat had my line not snapped as Seth and I tried to get this Denison of the deep on the dock. Other than catfish we hauled in, Sunfish, yellow perch, white perch, striped bass, “rainbow” fish and crab. That’s right crab!
You can tie a line around a chicken neck and toss it to the bottom. The crab will commence to eating and you slowly pull the line up to the edge of the water and someone nets with crab with this metal net. Apparently the crab does not notice they are being lifted off the bottom of the river. We managed to haul in 7 and a couple were keepers, but getting them in the net resulted in some pretty hilarious mishaps. Many there that were familiar with catching crab said that this was the worst they had ever seen. It was not uncommon to haul in dozens in the past.
Saturday night was family band night as we all gathered in the music room to hear Caleb’s “Rafting Song” an original song by Steve, and covers of Let it Be, Yellow Submarine and others. It was a hootenanny if there ever was one!
Steve has been in several bands over the years including playing at the World Famous CBGB’s in New York City and he’s released a couple albums. Caleb managed to get his hands on them and ripped them to his computer. He was in such bands as (and I’m probably spelling them wrong) The Gyros, The Delphins, and Dirt Club Heroes. On a trip to the store Caleb and I listened to a few tracks and they were solid! He plays it down like it was nothing, but I think it’s pretty cool!
One hilarious aspect with the vacation is in the evening when it was time to call it a night 21 of us would head back to the only motel in town, The Hillside Motel, where we rented 6 of the 7 rooms and proceed to hang out on the porch a bit longer or traverse from room to room where an open door was an open invitation to enter. Saturday night there was even a rather poor band playing horrendous covers at George’s Restaurant which shared a parking lot with the motel.
We left at 3am Monday Morning to return home and even though we missed out exit and had to take the George Washington Bridge, we hit no traffic and made it home in good time. Emma’s EZ Pass made the journey even better when it came to the tolls. The Ipod battery survived the whole trip with no recharging and provided some great entertainment save the couple hours on the way down and back that Kate and I listened to Coast to Coast.
Here's a link to the entire photo album of the trip located on my face book page.
Here's a link to my You Tube page to see all the video's I recorded that weekend.