John Beagle

People, Places and Things

Take A July Ocean City Bike Ride With Me

It’s cold this morning in Cincinnati, Ohio. What brought me to this Ocean City Photo set was that someone had made a comment.

As most of the nation is cold today, especially those in Alaska, its nice to take a bike ride on the beach on a nice warm day, wearing only your bathing suit. It’s too early to get ‘boardwalk food’ such as Thrashers Fries. (I don’t know why they taste so good. I think its the time, place and the salt air that makes Thrashers taste so good).

So take a ride with me, down the Ocean City Boardwalk early on a warm July morning, before all the people, trams and traffic. It’s a peaceful ride on a quiet morning in Ocean City, Maryland.  The Boardwalk, officially known as Atlantic Avenue, dates back to 1902, when several oceanfront hotel owners got together and constructed a wooden walkway for the convenience of their guests. At high tide, it was rolled up and stored on hotel porches. Around 1910, a permanent promenade was built. It ran about five blocks and was expanded to 15th Street in the 1920’s. After being leveled by a storm in March of 1962, it was rebuilt to its present 2.5 mile length, ending at 27th Street. – Source: Chamber of Commerce

There are 274 photos in the slideshow. I took these pictures on July 13, 2008 with my Canon PowerShot A560

Notre Dame ‘Holy Land’ Trip

I made my way to the holy land last weekend. The trip to Notre Dame  included a pep rally, prayer, a tailgate party, hailstorm and a football game against Navy.

My friend Steve calls the journey “The Trip to the Holy land.” And I might agree after all we did, felt and saw. It was truly and inspirational venture with three of the best guys in the world.

Touchdown Jesus
We started out Friday with a trip to the Notre Dame campus where we saw the famous mosaic of Jesus. Touchdown Jesus as Steve calls it. From the photo you can see why.

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Notre Dame Dome
Regarding the dome, Rev. J. W. Cavanaugh in 1925 had this to say, “Whoever looks at the beautiful campus now and considers how different the whole thing would appear without the dome will not hesitate to entertain any other suggestion. The truth is that the dome upon the Administration Building assembles all the other buildings on the campus around it and contributes to each a dignity which, otherwise, it would not possess.”

Notre Dame Gold Dome

The Gipper Steps
In 1920, returning late to campus and having been locked out of his dorm, George Gipp, Notre Dame’s legendary gridiron All-American, allegedly slept on the front steps of Washington Hall, contracting the pneumonia that would take his life on December 14, 1920. On his death bed, he made this famous plea to Coach Knute Rockne: “Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.”
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Concert On the Steps
We were at the “Concert On the Steps’ as the band marched to the Stadium, parading in front of 20,000 Irish fans. In the Stadium tunnel, they say you can hear the echoes of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, and the Four Horsemen.
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Basilica of the Sacred Heart
We visited the Sacred Heart Church. The history of the Basilica dates to the last quarter of the 17th century when the French were attempting to establish both a colonial and a Catholic presence in the St. Joseph River Valley in northern Indiana.
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The Grotto
Immediately behind the basilica sits the famous, yet intimate Grotto – a Marian place of prayer and reflection. It is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. I lit a candle in remembrance of my Mom and Dad who passed in 1985 and 1993. Dad raised us as Catholics. I miss them both. This trip was a nice reminder of them.
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The TailGate
We were very close to the stadium. Surrounded by throngs of Notre Dame football fans, tailgating has taken on a life of its own on game day. We sure had a great time with people we just met. Notre Dame fans were allot of fun.
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The Hail Story
Like a scene from God’s playbook, the bible, a hail storm appeared from nowhere and was gone just as quickly. It was an amazing storm but the tailgaters didn’t seem to mind. Everyone just huddled under tents and continued God’s work of making new friends and building old friendships.
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The Notre Dame Navy Game
Probably the biggest reason we visited Notre Dame was the football game. Navy got sunk 56-14, on what was left of a beautiful sunny day. Here is a view from our seats.
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Maryland Blue Point Crabs with Old Bay

It’s a family tradition, eating Maryland Chesapeake Bay Blue Point Crabs cooked with lots of Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay is a staple ingredient for steamed Chesapeake Bay crabs, crab cakes, and other seafood recipes.

Blue Point Crab is the Maryland State Crustacean and the subject of an extensive fishery.

How to Pick a Blue Crab

Flip the crab over
Flip open the apron
Flip off the top shell
Pull out the gills and innards that are hanging out.
The yellow stuff is called the “mustard.” It’s actually the crab’s fat and many people enjoy eating it.
Break the body in half, leaving the legs and claws on.
Squish down the flipper end (backfin) and twist it to produce a big piece of backfin meat.
Pull off the swimming legs and claws one by one. Suck out the little piece of meat at the end of each. Save the claws.
Take a paring knife and split each half of the crab through horizontally, exposing chambers of crabmeat. Use the knife to pick out the meat.
Take a claw and break it apart at the joint. Break the claw with a mallet and pick out the crabmeat.

Doing the Duval Crawl

If you like to drink, eat and be merry, the Duval Crawl is something you ought to try. Great for groups of friends.

Bars line the entire length of Duval Street, Key West, Florida, 33040. As you crawl from one bar to the next, you hear so much live music coming from just about everywhere!

On the street there were street musicians and in the bars there was an excellent variety of mostly late 60s to late 80s music. Note: the Irish bars still played their traditional folk music.

Here is the Duval Crawl List

Bull & Whistle
801 Bourbon Bar (had the drag queens out front)
Bourbon Street Pub (had the shirtless bartender)
Green Parrot (live music, funny signs)
Virgilio’s (stuffy, can’t eat in the window seats)
Rum Barrel (where we had great onion soup)
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café (foofoo drink land, packed all the time)
The Top (roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, see slideshow for photos from the roof)
Hard Rock Café (ok place, but nothing that special)
Fat Tuesday (wall o frozen drink machines, many flavors ready to go)
La-Te-Da (where we had shrimp cocktail, shrimp good coctail sauces, not so good)
Rick’s Key West (live music, draft beer, long bar next to Durty Harry’s)
Captain Tony’s Saloon (suprise entertainer at Hemingway’s place)
Sloppy Joe’s Bar (loud, crowded, young and fun)
Hog’s Breath Saloon (folk music, older crowd, nice place)
Pier House Resort (really nice hotel at the end of the street)

Here are a few of the bars on the Duval Crawl List:
Green Parrot
Key West 091Draft Beer Selection at the Green ParrotNo snivelling, excess in moderation, hippies use side door, enforcing the two-tooth minimum at the Green Parrot. Come inside and see the invisible men the signs all said. We went inside, I had a Newcastle. This bar is NOT on Duval, but its on our list. This place has live bands.

Fat Tuesday Crop
We had frozen drinks at Fat Tuesday. They had a whole wall of frozen drink mixers. I had a Rum Runner – 151 Rum, Banana, Blackberry and Tropical Punch with Pineapple Juice. Got a brain freeze.

801 Burbon Street
If you like drag queens, then you need to go to the show. Don’t look now but that one wants to talk to me. I said hi, then we went inside the bar portion of the place, we didn’t make the show. There were two bartenders who were serving a full bar like it was a walk in the park. They were fantastic as they waisted no moves mixing complex blender drinks. It was as if they were in a ballad and we were watching them dance around and make drinks. Oh, did I mention that this was a gay/transvestite bar?

Hogs Breath Saloon LIve Performers
These guys were great at the Hogs Breath Saloon. They played 60s folk music such as Simon and Garfunkel.

The Whistle Bar over The Bull
The Bull and Whistle bar are two bars in one. The Bull had nice live entertainment and a good variety of draft beer. This was our first stop, I ordered a Key West Pilsner, it was ok.

The Bull - Live Entertainment
These guys were great, one played a 12 string guitar, the other, a 6 string.

Sloppy Joe's Stage
Sloppy Joe’s was a young crowd with very loud music. The place was packed, yet the service was good. But this was not the Sloppy Joe’s that Ernest Hemingway frequented when he lived in Key West. If you want to have a drink at Hemingway’s favorite watering hole, you have to go to Captain Tony’s.
Captain Tony's formerly Sloppy Joes
The live entertainment was just ok. But when this patron asked if he could play a few songs, and then did, the place came alive with appause. I guess he was better than most.
Here is the unknown entertainer’s photo take at Captain Tony’s.
Live Entertainment at Capt Tony's

I am sure Hemingway sat right where I sat at the bar. It was a lovely bar and the people were all nice and friendly. Many of the people at Captain Tony’s appeared to be local.

From Captain Tony’s to Jimmy Buffet’s Margarettaville Cafe to The Bull, even drinks in the 3 gay bars on the list, the walk along Duval and its side streets gave us three nights of fun bar hopping. And yes, we conquered the entire Duval Crawl list, having a drink at each one, but it took us 3 nights to do it.

The best thing was really the food. There were so many restaurants, great seafood, steaks, salads and more. I think we might just do this again.