Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ahoy There!:

Our tour guide in front of the HMS Bounty

Continuing on our nautical theme, one week after our tour of LST 325 and after hearing about an actual War of 1812 ship on Lake Erie I bullied everyone into the car at an ungodly (for Saturday) hour and trekked northward. Actually everyone was kind of eager to go which disappointed me for some reason. The drive up to Erie PA was a lot shorter than we'd thought it would be, and nearly on schedule (normally just wishful thinking around us) we were at the Erie Maritime Museum... along with half of NW Pennsylvania and a sprinkling of NE Ohio. It seems that not only was the Niagara there (it's a training ship and not always home) but seven other ships were there to be toured and ogled at. The Tall Ships Erie festival was on and there was even a Captain Jack Sparrow look-alike (sort of). But the real movie stars were the ships. There was the actual ship used in the making of the Marlon Brando version of 'Mutiny on the Bounty', and the Flagship Niagara itself was used in 'Pirates of the Caribbean, Curse of the Black Pearl' as the HMS Interceptor. You know, the one Depp and Bloom stole after they faked stealing the other one..... or something like that. There were way WAY too many people there for us to actually consider touring one of the boats, but that didn't seem to matter to anyone. Just seeing that many 'Tall Ships' was experience enough. So we wandered the dock and Dude was loving it, I didn't hear GameStop mentioned all afternoon, instead I kept hearing pirate references and Spongebob Squarepants quotes. I love the kid, but there are only so many crabbypatty references that one man should be subject to, don't you think?  Oh, by the way, the Bounty is for sale (has been for years) and not only is it a working ship, but the cannon are real so it's also a handy platform to conquer any small island you might come across. (just something to keep in mind for that 401K money)

Flagship Niagara

After we'd walked around all of the ships we went inside to tour the museum and almost walked right into a rigging demonstration on a full sized yard and mast in the museum. The demonstrators were all in period (1812) costumes, and they made a lot of nautical noise for a while. None of which I really understood, and I've sailed. Dave seemed fascinated by the Fresnel lens demonstration. We finally decided that we weren't becoming line-slugs and there was no way they were going to let me make Dude walk the plank, so we packed up and wandered off to new adventures.

When you live in a new area there always seems to be a place
that everyone is shocked that you haven't been to yet. (in Orlando there were a bunch) I mean people here were genuinely surprised that I continued to be able to walk, talk and breath air, let alone show my face in public since I hadn't been to Presque Isle.  Presque Isle isn't actually an island, in French the word for peninsula is presque-isle , or literally, almost an island. (thus endeth the lesson). Now let me tell you something: Lake Erie is HUGE. For one reason or another I've been through every state in the lower 48 seen both oceans and the Gulf more times than I could count and I'm still stunned every time I stand on the shore of one of the Lakes. Erie is almost the smallest of the bunch but still 
Calm down Dad, there's a guard rail
awesomely large. Dave, of course is fascinated by open water, it moves by itself, and it's always changing. There's also the element that he gets to make his dad paranoid about him leaning over the water. I'm sure that's the funnest part. The dock on the bay passage was nicely guard-railed, but the walk out to the Point Lighthouse was frighteningly open. Besides which, there was a brisk wind blowing and David is a pretty skinny kid. But he managed not to get blown into the water or become a kid-kite and the view was spectacular. We continued around the road (there's only one road) to the other lighthouse on the 'Isle' and that's pretty much where the problems started. You see it's not only a working lighthouse, but a park residence. So the only way to actually see the house is to walk several hundred yards down and then along the beach to an opening between the dunes. Dave had been pretty cool up to this point, he's got problems with his legs so extended periods of walking aren't the easiest things in the world for him so a trip across the sand was definitely not among his favorite things in the world at that moment. Besides which, I never let him get close enough to the water to fear his dropping in. But the real problems came when I'd taken my pictures and it was time to walk back to the car. I think he was prepared to camp out on the beach, or move into the lighthouse at that point rather than walk back through the sand. I'm almost certain I heard "So this is what a chick feels like" somewhere in there. But by the time we'd gotten home all had been forgiven. Mostly through the application of bread sticks and the Endless Pasta Bowl at the Olive Garden on the way back.

You mean I've got to walk back?

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