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TRIP REPORT
...but the tube takes no air, kinda feels like it's destroyed in there. tubeless tires with tubes on spokes...soon to be tubeless tires on sealed spokes, ain't foolin' with this no mo'....
GOOD plan Dave. I was always happier on my KLR once I'd done that (seal the spokes w/ silicone), and then put about 10,000 kms on (also running SHINKOs) before I sold it (...AND bought my first V650).
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,322 ·
... I was always happier on my KLR once I'd done that (seal the spokes w/ silicone)...
there was renewed interest in sealing spokes when the Africa Twin came out with tubes. lots of wheels got taped, but the tape didn't last as expected, so now it's usually a combination of sealants.

i'll probably write a little about what i'm doing to seal them up. pulling the wheels and tires tomorrow, hopefully.
 

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...from my abbreviated day trip, c'mon folks, fess up, do ya think i was wasting my time plunking 2 bucks into the air compressor pedestal at 7-Eleven?...
Nope. You did NOT know how trashed that tube was.
 

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the only reason i found the valve stem was that it had a retainer nut, but even that was about ready to come apart. now i'm out the door to test my sealed spoke wheels.
One of the "enduro-tricks" that I learned, riding enduros in E Ontario and W Quebec, was to use that 'retainer nut' as a LOCK NUT for the valve cap, as our experience showed that (running low pressures, of course) IF you used it as a 'retainer nut', AND your tire 'slipped' on the rim, the FIRST clue you got was when the valve RIPPED from the tube and instantly deflated.

IF you did as we learned to do, when you were checking tire pressures you'd look to see IF your valve was at an angle other than at 90 degrees. IF it was you'd just air-down MORE till you could move the tire on the rim (till the valve was again vertical) then air it back up.

Those enduros were generally muddy/rocky things!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,327 ·
i didn't have mud or rocks, just 70 something shaft HP applied to a flat tubed tire at 45mph for 3 miles, might have hurt it some. i was still kinda optimistic, and tried to air the freakin' thing up. yeah, i know, it was 7-Eleven, but i swear i wasn't on drugs, although most everyone else might have been.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,328 ·
leisurely 150 mile ride, i don't get the opportunity to ride with a pirate very often. stopped for lunch, and the owner recognized the white frame V649 from two years earlier. i'd been to the same place not long after putting it on the road.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2,329 ·
never a dull moment in the shop...

a long time client made an unusual request recently here in Virginia, replicate a set of barn doors from the old family ranch in Oregon. hmmmm, i'm not a barn door guy, but these are very good people, and i was happy to do this little favor. all 2x pressure treated construction mounted on 6x6 posts, assembled on the ground, then tipped into place...need i say it was a struggle to stand it up, must weigh 500#. i need to pick up some old fashioned door handles and add caps for the posts. the owner about shed a tear when i stood the doors upright, they were exactly what she remembered from back in time on the ranch. other than the 6x6s, the doors are made up from weathered scrap i had behind the shop. the neighbor came over to the property line to see what i was doing, all i said was "Yard art", and left it at that.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2,330 ·
Yard Art update...

the client really liked the first yard art project, so they commissioned two more pieces that will flank the barn doors. at this rate, by spring i'll have constructed a facsimile of the entire ranch headquarters. they're going to be needing quarter horses and a herd of cattle.

no wonder i can't get any bike work done in the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,331 ·
early in the week i found time to get out for a leisurely ride around the immediate area, beautiful fall weather, and i found myself at the Narrows which separates Gwynn's Island from mainland eastern Virginia. i've often said that it still amazes me that European explorers and settlers were first here over 400 years ago, and although the history is still a little fuzzy, a Spanish coin was picked off a storm washed beach 2 miles away with a date that was 100 years before Jamestown was established in 1607 just 50 miles south from where i was standing. Captain John Smith famously stepped on a stingray and nearly died on the shoals of Stingray Point 2 miles north. the last land battle of the Revolutionary War, the battle of Cricket Hill, was fought right here when the Colonials dragged canon cross country and routed the British garrison and fleet. that's the relatively recent history, but a half mile away, i picked up bushels of crude Woodland Era pottery shards that were thousands of years old. made from local clay and crushed oyster shells, one rim section had a very clear thumb print on the reverse, and i couldn't resist placing my own thumb over the top of it.

now there is a bike parked in the middle of all that history.



behind the bike you can see a barge mounted crawler crane in use for a rebuild of the 1939 era swing bridge connecting the island. the bridge is reported to be the busiest of this type found in the States, and has a bridge tender house on top for 24/7 operation.



the parking lot, boat ramp, piers, and adjacent cafe are all subject to constant ongoing arguments in the county, lots of drama, no solutions. today at the pier is an old deadrise workboat converted to a party boat, a perfect location for a bunch of drunks to embark. i don't think you'll find me on that boat. deadrise refers to the design and construction of the bow section, peculiar to the Chesapeake waters. they're aren't many good examples left, many abandoned, rotted away, or burned. the motor yacht at the pier in the back ground is stuck right there for about a year while the bridge is repaired, the channel to the southeast is shoaled in with no dredging scheduled yet.



the cafe building is county owned and leased to the operator. the guy added a big deck that didn't match up with the plans that were submitted for approval, here comes the building inspector and shuts the cafe down on the spot. the owner sends all the employees up to the county administration building to picket and demand reopening. they were allowed to reopen after a little temporary remedial work. makes ya want to get on top of that deck with 100 other people and party hard, dance, dance, dance, apply those dynamic loads to the back beat.



there are still a few operating commercial docks scattered around, maybe one in a hundred compared to the height of activity in years past. this dock historically was a landing for both fin fish and shell fish by local watermen, but now only lands farmed oysters from the owner's floating cages. the owner fought for years to get the operating permits, then fell over dead two months later. one thing for sure, you don't want 600 floating oyster cages in front of your valuable waterfront property, it looks like an industrial landfill operation.



(TO BE CONTINUED)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,332 ·
the east/west road through the island has been there since horse drawn wagon times and connected a large plantation to the east with the Narrows to the west. midway across the road is a large well kept building i happen to know well, the Gwynn's Island Museum. i hadn't been by here for a few years, the museum was closed, gotta stop anyway, have a look.



some 30 years ago, i was one of a small handful of guys who decided we should should have a museum. we didn't have a clue about starting a museum, no building, no funds, no director, no nuthing. we were determined to do the entire project without a dime of public funding, but we did get the county to give us a falling down old building that was about to be auctioned for back taxes. now we had a building, donations started rolling in, a volunteer director stepped up, and the entire museum project was coming together. took some years to renovate the building, but the museum finally opened. the historic items on display have been donated over the years, and now the museum has more items cataloged than there is room to display.

the last time i was in the museum, the present museum director asked me if i was a local man, and when i said yes, he asked my name. "It's right over there on the Founder's plaque.", and i introduced myself. i'm not sure if any of the others with names on the wall are still with us, it's been many years, and they weren't young when we started. some i know have passed, but others moved away. i might be the last, but still riding around on a sporty motorbike.



turning south, i wanted to check out a piece of county owned waterfront, much in the local news. like many places in the country, public access to the water is scarce here. a few county residents have been pushing the county to establish a new park on this waterfront, while all the residents with property in the same area are opposed and ready to fight. ain't anything simple these days. beautiful piece of real estate with a desirable south/southwest frontage, but the FEMA design flood elevation would put the underside of the first floor framing at 10' above grade. that's life along the coast, even the Chesapeake.



the east side of the island is actual Bay frontage, beachy and fun, except for the hurricanes, nor'easters, and other un-named storms, all determined to wash away anything sitting on your property. there's another disputed public access here, property owners on both sides fighting about it, i think there are multiple court cases right now. the signs might be a give-away, access the beach, but y'all better walk there because there's no place to park. before the signs went up, locals used it freely for a century.



have fun at the beach, watch your step, stay between the "No Trespassing" signs, ya got all of 40' to work with...but wait a minute, there is no beach, it got washed away. just sit on the armor stone, work on that tan.



I had a client whose father owned 2 miles of frontage here at the turn of the last century, but when i asked about his father, he said he never knew him well. "Gosh, why not?", and he replied "Well, he was just married for the fourth time, and 82 when i was born." I've got other stories from the guy, some funny as hell, others not funny at all.

i stopped half a mile south to look at a client's beach house, post War2 concrete block construction, i did a whole house renovation on it back in the '90s. twenty years ago, the surge from a hurricane washed right through it, but also knocked down almost all of the 80-100' loblolly pines on the property, a dozen landing across the roof. if those trees come down without snapping at the third point and have the root ball attached, many times the trees will lift off the house themselves if you buck the tops. that's where i found myself, up on that roof with my crew, cutting through a mess of tree tops. when you started a cut, there was no positive way to know whether the tree would lift or keep falling. they had to come off, eventually the roots would release, and the trees would crush the house. y'all want danger, it was right up there on that roof.

everything looks so serene and peaceful today, the property has been sold and resold 2 or 3 times since. well maintained, cared for, i wonder if they know a surge can wash right on through. there are three new beach houses under construction along the road, apparently code complying, but with construction materials and methods that would not be approved in any other coastal location from North Carolina to Texas. i'm a construction guy, i know stuff.



post hurricane, i brought in two excavators for cleanup along about a quarter mile stretch of this road. 90% of the pines were down, beautiful saw timber, but with millions of trees down in eastern Virginia, there was no market. i knew a logger, and he did me a favor by getting his trailers in there, and i loaded the trailers with an excavator. i had big stacks of prime logs piled up along the road, quite a sight, about made me cry to give it all away. i had a site close by where i could burn, traded for some cleanup on that property, and i think i burned up 2500 tons of treetops and other junk from that quarter mile.

(TO BE CONTINUED)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,333 ·
i was called back for an encore, more panels. this little project is in an upscale waterfront neighborhood, there are no privacy fences, and no fences of any kind at more than 4' above grade, i did take a look around, a survey of sorts. so how is a privacy fence not a privacy fence, the answer is obvious, it's commissioned yard art with xyz offsets. a barrier, but not a barrier...y'all get it. the big bonus is that the owner will enjoy the project, landscaping and plantings, vine wreaths, and so on. the whole thing was kinda fun, but only after half a ton of concrete was mixed up and placed around those 6x6s

i gotta say, these damn things were beasts weight wise to get in the ground, i should have brought in a machine, but the tracks would have made a mess which i would have to fix. the barn door section is aligned with the property line, no problem, and elevation didn't need an index. the flanking panel offsets were indexed from the center panel but also had to match in elevation, and that meant it was laser time, gotta set subgrade in the post holes. it was a one shot deal, once the panels were in the post holes, face it, they ain't coming back out. in the end the elevation variance between panels was only 3/8", call it good.

ya know how it feels trying to lift that 1250GS upright when the bike is lying on a down hill slope, same weight and slope with the panels...tough work, lots of cussin', wishing on the Bobcat.


 

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Discussion Starter · #2,334 ·
back in the olden days...

at the midpoint of the last century, it was not unusual for the free range kids of that era to be shoved out the door in the morning with a tinfoil wrapped potato, a handful of wax dipped kitchen matches, and a War2 surplus canteen. that potato was lunch, be home for dinner. that's the way it was in rural parts of the States, i don't know what kids did in the big cities, but kids were not welcome underfoot all day. do your chores, see ya later. i was a free range kid, never a doubt on that score. if not in school, i was roaming around out there somewhere. luckily, mothers back in those days could both sew and use a sewing machine, repairs on my kid's clothes were a never ending job.

now back to the present day, i'd been cooking on the grill all summer, but now with cooler weather had transitioned to campfire cooking. i'd bucked and split some oak specifically for camp fire cooking, cut short and split thin. i still have most of a cord on hand, enough for plenty of fires. here i found myself watching the fire burn down to cooking coals, and i'll be damned if there wasn't four tinfoil wrapped potatoes sitting on the grate, cheese stuffing kept hot, the center section reserved for the meat. no War2 canteen these days, i was sipping on a generous cocktail, but those potatoes were a reminder that there are some constants in life, you carry them close.



i've mentioned the book 7 Fires by Francis Mallman previously, and one of these days i want to fabricate an Argentina style parilla to perfect my wood fire cooking. i have enough steel on hand, and also a 1" thick piece of stainless for the griddle section. maybe when the bike work is complete, i can get going on the parilla, grill those 1 1/2" steaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,335 ·
i turned the bike around, then headed back across the island to the Narrows bridge. crossing the bridge i was looking at the Coast Guard Milford Haven station, when it was built i guess they didn't mind destroying the colonial era breastworks of that last Revolutionary War battlefield. John Murray, aka Lord Dunmore, had his ships anchored a short distance away in Hill's Bay, easily within range of the colonial's cannon. his troops were garrisoned on the island, a sorry disease ridden lot, also within range. Dunmore thought he would fire his ship's cannon a few times, and the raggedy colonials would run away. the opposite happened when the colonial cannon started firing, the Brits were the ones who ran away, leaving in such haste that the ships cut their anchor rodes rather than taking the time to recover the anchors.

there are some lonely public beaches far down the county, and that was the new destination, i hadn't been there for a few years. you have to know where you're going as you wind through small county roads, there are no beach signs with an arrow, it's like the location is kept secret. within a half mile of the end of the road at the beach, i expected to be looking out over the salt march at the wide expanse of the Chesapeake waters, but instead found myself riding through a tunnel, 8' phragmities lining the road.



i'd seen this invasive specie in other area marshes, but wasn't expecting it here. phragmites ruins a salt marsh by crowding out all the important native plant life, and is impossible to control once established. there was a slight breeze today, the seeds from this plant were on the wind like snow. phragmites is dormant over the winter months and is highly combustible, the new favorite of our local arsonists. a wind driven phragmites fire looks like a western wild land fire, and can move way faster than a human being can run.



only one vehicle here today, probably because there's not much of a beach left, the erosion is relentless with the sand heading south. this beach has been studied multiple times, diversion structures and armor stone added, but nothing has helped. a single unnamed storm can undo years of work over 24 hours. let me say it again, you don't want a long water view from your property around here, it's all on borrowed time. there used to be 30' tall sand dunes here within the memory of elderly locals, now the dunes are gone along with the barrier islands they were sitting on. the old channel from the Chesapeake into Milford Haven had been in use for hundreds of years until recently shoaled closed, and was known as the Hole in the Wall because the passage looked like a hole through the tall dunes sitting north and south of the entrance when approached from the open waters of the Bay.

note the armor stone in the background, that's to prevent the parking area from washing away. the fence around the porta potty is to prevent it from blowing over, which can be kinda inconvenient.



the second beach is a little farther south, and i'm riding through a maze of little roads to get there. there are no straight roads here, the road locations wind around the marshes and creeks, following the only sections of land that don't easily flood on a high tide or storm, and have been here for centuries. in the 19th and early 20th century, the county had a multiple of the current population, maybe 20,000 citizens instead of the current 6,000. this county is one of only two in Virginia with a declining population, the other being on the opposite side of the state in coal country. signs of the people exodus are everywhere, abandoned homes by the hundreds, many not seen from the road through overgrown woodlots. the phragmities is creeping right up to the house here.



the roads here are only slightly above sea level, the ditch water being a good tell tale, the water there is brackish, not fresh. the county was pretty well drained at one time, all property owners had drainage ditches and kept them maintained, but not anymore. at least some of the ditches have been there for so long that they could have been dug by slaves prior to emancipation. i have very old hand dug ditches through my woodlot that might be from those times. my land was once part of a historic nearby plantation, and the property would have been farm land or pasture, not a tree in sight. everything had been clear cut for ships timbers or building structures.



(TO BE CONTINUED)






 

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"...i have very old hand dug ditches through my woodlot that might be from those times. my land was once part of a historic nearby plantation, and the property would have been farm land or pasture, not a tree in sight..."


And I BELIEVE Mr jdrocks was actually here, then....


;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,338 ·
my beach tour was headed south, figuratively, the reality was that the beaches themselves had gone south. this beach sand had over washed into the salt marsh south of the access road, a common scene.



old deadrise work boats deemed rotted beyond repair were often run aground out in these marshes on a high tide and abandoned. i don't know if this method of disposal was condoned, or just ignored, but you can find the bones of these boats all over the place. looking across this wide marsh, i'm thinking that there was an old hull off in the distance, to far for a photo without some zoomy glass.



maybe the third beach on the tour would be the charm, and i was riding farther south again, passing a recent clearcut that had be abandoned without completing the job. the trees had been felled and bunched but not loaded out. the deck and hardwood mats had been pulled except for those too busted up to reuse, if i was the landowner, i would be hopping mad. i passed another cut where the entire woodlot had been felled and abandoned, i'd guess 80 acres. i have a friend connected to the timber industry, i need an answer as to why this happened.



i turned on the Canoe Yard road which would connect to my beach access eventually. the canoe reference does not mean that some guy had a yard full of Old Town canoes, it means that a century or more ago a boat builder was building Chesapeake log canoes somewhere along this road, usually right next to where he lived. five large logs were pinned together to form the hull of the boat, then shaped from there, planking added above the waterline. originally sailing craft, some were converted to power later on.



the beach at my next stop was easy to find, it was right in the small parking lot at the end of the road, get out that umbrella and beach chairs, don't have to lug all that junk far.



some beach tour this turned out to be, what a bust. to get an idea of the strength of the over wash, trees that had died due to erosion close to the water had now been windrowed half a mile back in the marsh. man, i need to gather up those branches, make some driftwood Christmas trees, 'tis the season, ya know.



the beach tour had worn me out, ain't going near another one without cerveza frias, but now i had to cross the pass to get home. the pass was rugged as heck the last time, and i was expecting no less today.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2,339 ·
i had some bike business 65 miles west, let's combine it with funny business and ride the bike over there. a perfect fall day for a ride, crisp, but not cold, bright sun. the out bound leg was the back way west, very rural paved roads, little traffic for a work day. the in bound route was the way back way, small paved roads and gravel.

i found the gravel in great shape to start, these roads get some attention due to logging activity, and now hunting season.



i stopped for a break, took a photo of the bike, and was about to mount up when i realized that a vehicle had pulled up at my elbow, a small SUV was only 2' away. i hadn't heard it on the gravel, my earplugs were seriously jammed in there. the passenger window came down, and a smiling woman started talking, i guess she wanted to know if everything was ok. earplugs, couldn't hear a word, but i gave the universally understood thumbs up, she smiled again, and they drove away, the same direction i was headed. i would regret finding that car in here within a quarter mile.



the SUV was moving slowly, probably 10mph slower than i like to run, no problem until our tiny caravan hit the freshly graded gravel. when i say fresh, i mean graded within hours, as far as i could see we were the first vehicles through. the mold board had brought all the fines to the surface, and the SUV was raising so much dust that visibility dropped to about 50', i had to slow to a crawl to get some space. the driver must have realized what was happening, so he doubled his speed to increase the interval, now you could probably see the dust cloud on weather radar.

the SUV went straight at an intersection, and i made a turn to a new series of gravel roads that did not intersect with their road. that didn't mean i was rid of the the grader, all my new roads had just been graded too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2,340 · (Edited)
midway down the county, i found myself at Mobjack, another very important commercial landing dating back over 300 years. a wharf was built here to serve trade throughout the immediate adjacent lands as plantations were cleared for cultivation. Mobjack is another of the seemingly unaccountable names found all over the county. this name stems from the first visits of the Europeans when they encountered the vast timberlands found here, important naval stores, dense stands of 100' plus tall pines bordered this large bay in front of Mobjack. the name comes from "Mock Jack", the teasing echo of sound from the treed shoreline when the Jack, or sailor, shouted towards land. there is no historical explanation as to how Mockjack became Mobjack, but i blame the whole thing on the Jamaican rum carried by the barrel on those ships, and the resulting slurred speech. speaking of Jamaica, there was a huge drug bust right here when a sailboat came in overloaded with Jamaican weed. the main perp turned, didn't do much time, and is a successful businessman in the area to this day. Rumor has it that he has never needed to borrow a dime to fund his capital costs.

the county name is the only one of the Virginia counties on the Chesapeake with a name not directly connected to England, mainly because the county was created through a division of the large adjacent county, and by that time the residents had quite enough of England and named the county after a Revolutionary War hero, Thomas Mathews.

at Mobjack, Mobjack Bay in the background.



the big wharf and warehouses have all been swept away by storms, particularly the 1933 hurricane, and never rebuilt. the last remnant of these large wharves sits right in front, i'm guessing the base for a boiler, or some other heavy piece of equipment. old creosote pilings and remains of a bulkhead are still here, you could draw those old pilings and the remnants would be as good as the day they were driven. the bulkhead indicates that dry land was farther out than the present day shoreline, and the fender piling location show that the commercial wharf extended to deep water so that larger ships and steamboats could offload directly. a substantial amount of land has been lost to erosion, sea level rise, and the land itself subsiding since the colonial era, thousands of acres in this county alone, the early explorers would never recognize it now. the only piers and mooring pilings located here now are recreational.





there are no local stone quarries anywhere around here, in fact the nearest is over 80 miles west. no crushed stone, no riprap, folks had to make do with what they had. one of the things they had plenty of was oyster shells, and that was the substitute for aggregate, used both for buildings and roads. these shells were also used to produce lime, and when beach sand was added, now you had mortar. suitable clay was available, now you had bricks. oysters were so plentiful that it was difficult to navigate the Bay without running aground on oyster reefs, locally known as oyster rock. some of the rock was 100' deep, and when equipment became available these shell deposits were mined, the shell was a valuable commodity. the tall sand dunes on the near shore barrier islands were hauled off for commercial use, and coupled with mining all that shell, y'all had a first rate ecological disaster. nobody considered the consequences.

sometimes property owners aren't too particular about appearances, and will use anything for a riprap substitute, any old junk will do. here there bones of some of the old wharf buildings and equipment. along the top of the bank is a row of bag mix concrete from the big box, left to harden in the bag, the bag weathers and eventually blows away. beats the cost of hauling stone from that Martin Marietta quarry way west.



heavy sections of the old concrete slabs are here, now bottom side up, showing the concrete was originally placed over an oyster shell base, the same as we would do today over a free draining crushed stone base.



the concrete itself was batched right here, there were no ready mix plants, no all weather roads either. i've had my hands on some of this old site batched concrete, and it would not test to any modern day specification. the design mix was probably a 4-2-1, being 4 parts crushed oyster shell, 2 parts beach sand, and 1 part cement, except i'm betting they really stretched the cement because it was expensive and tough to get. there's still a section of slab in place, you can see the exposed crushed oyster shell. sometimes pea gravel was screened out of the beach sand, and this was used instead of shell.



an old jack shaft from the wharf's steam boiler powered exposed wide belt drive system, i'd hate to even stand next to it when it was running, lots of moving parts, no guards. an OSHA inspector would have a freakin' stroke.



this odd looking apparatus is a pair of crab dredges used for harvesting hard shell crabs during the winter months in waters at the south end of the Bay. the crabs had migrated down the Bay as the waters cooled, then buried themselves in the mud. along came the dredges and scooped them right up. nobody was real concerned that a high percentage of those crabs were adult females, and predictably, the entire practice came crashing down right along with the crab population, now winter dredging is prohibited. it took a whole bunch of PhD melon heads to figure this out, duh. all the watermen knew what was going on, but in the best tradition of the Bay, still wanted to catch every last crab. better i catch the last one, otherwise that guy in other boat might. the crab population in the Bay is now the lowest since records have been kept.



since i was standing at Mobjack, i couldn't help but remember another British invasion, the Beatles. i know what you're thinkin', but i don't smoke. in one of those curious moments in history, who should show up in this very neighborhood but John Lennon and Yoko. the year was 1980, and they spent a little time that spring touring a few historic plantation properties that were for sale. a small entourage, heavy on security, and the couple ended up purchasing two historic National Register properties nearby. after their purchases, there is no record of them coming back for a visit. we all know how that song ended in December, 1980, and the properties were eventually resold, with the Lennon name featured prominently in the sales brochure.
 
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