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Pirate Fest, June 2010 - Put-in-Bay, OH

Mission with girl holding the amputation knife
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
My editor requested better pics
'with that surgical crap.'
Introduction: Being the journal of the Good Surgeon Mission of the Mercury vessel (which is once again nowhere in sight) accounting his journey to the island of South Bass wherein lay the fair city Put-in-Bay which was holding their annual Pirate Fest. Of the time teaching and carousing and the odd locals in that community.

Chapter 1st: Including thoughts on traveling, a Delorean and how it was mentally connected to a nuclear power plant, finding ferries at the stoplight, unphotographed cougars, getting lost, setting up and other random things that may flit into the surgeon's mind as he tries to recall what happened.

The Put-in-Bay Pirate Fest was a no-brainer for me. I am a little over an hour drive (and a ferry ride) away from the place and when I learned that there would be opportunities for displaying my medical stuff with the potential for an attentive crowd, I knew I had to go. I also decided that my bike needed to make the trip because it hadn't been anywhere fun since I shipped it down to Key West in two thousand ought eighteen. The poor bike had been whining about wanting to stretch its wheels and ignore such a pitiful appeal? I mean to say, what? (We've been together for about 20 years and I hate to see an ignorant thing suffer. (That would be me suffering because the bike kept whining.)) So I loaded up the truck and moved toward Put-in-Bay. (Island, that is.)

It was a nice drive on Ohio State Route 2, a route which was apparently been named an Ohio Coastal Route when I wasn't looking. (This is sort of odd given then I never once saw the coast until I got off the Ohio Coastal Route, but I guess that that's the sort of thing that governments do in an effort to improve the economy: they increase the number of signs that are put up on State Routes.) Ohio SR 2 and I go way back, starting about the time my folks used it to truck us all out to Cedar Point to avoid turnpike fees and going all the way up to the time when I was searching for a Delorean to buy and test drove one right near the Davis Besse Nuclear Plant (below left).

Road past Davis Besse Nuclear Plant
(Photo: Someone, somewhere)
A Delorean on the grass
(Photo: On loan from the Louvre)
I can still remember the guy wouldn't trust me to drive the thing without him being in the car. He was very specific to note that he had changed out the door handles from the original plastic to black anodized aluminum when one of the plastic ones broke off during a cold snap.

Needless to say, I didn't buy his car, but I will always link Nuclear cooling towers and the Delorean. My Delorean came from somewhere in Michigan.

People waiting for the Jet Express
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
Arriving shortly before the Jet-Express ferry boat was scheduled to leave, I hurriedly ran for the rest-room. (Lesson #1 for the traveler: Never drink a large coffee during an extended car trip.) That settled, I purchased my ticket and indulged in the kind of photos only amateurs take (At left - Who are these people? Why would any Journal reader possibly care?)

We were soon permitted on the boat, so I stowed my carefully over-engineered gear (designed to allow me to ride my bike without damaging my Patrick Hand Original Planters hat, below left) and settled in for the ferry ride. I wanted to make sure I could tie the hat down in a way that the brim would not be completely warped out of shape as you see. Later you will also see that I failed and added several new waves to the brim of the hat. (It's character!) Once everyone was aboard and the stop light turned green (below center ), we were off! It was quite the exciting trip, with all the tourists 'Oohing' and 'Aahing' (below right). I took several photos of those in the cabin with me, but I will show mercy by leaving them out.

The Patrick Hand Original strapped to my pack (Photo: Mission's Collection) A view of the bridge out the boat window (Photo: Mission's Collection) Girls sleeping on the Jet-Express (Photo: Mission's Collection)

Amateur Pirate Flags on the businesses (Photo: Mission's Collection)

Another amateur business pirate flag
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
What do you suppose it says on that skull?
Arriving in the downtown of any island via ferry is usually an exciting thing, especially when you're trying to wheel your bike through the surging throngs of people all ready to get the hell off the ferry and find the rest rooms. (Coffee. Good for waking up, bad for travel. Particularly on a boat that rocks up and down and up and down and up and...) The downtown has a charmingly large park, which I would later discover was the site of our pirate display. I wandered around the large park, gawping at the sights. Many of the restaurants and bars (and there were many, many restaurants and bars) were festooned with pirate paraphernalia. Much of this paraphernalia was what could only be optimistically be described as 'homemade.' When I got home I searched the internet for info on the event and learned that this was the signal to tourists that they offered discounts to people in pirate gear. I must say that this was a really useless time to learn such an important thing.

Woman laying on a concrete dolphin in the park
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
Thanks to my frozen-shoulder, I had a heckuva time getting the carefully engineered Hat Brim-Saving Backpack™ on my back, so I wound up walking my bike around the very large park. I was immediately struck by two facts: 1) There were a inordinately large number of older, fit, blonde women hanging around this morning and 2) I had no flipping clue where I was going. (I thought the whole cougar thing might make for an interesting photo essay in the Journal, but by afternoon they had gone into hiding or something.) Since it might seem weird if I stood around photographing older, fit, blonde women, I have only the badly taken photo at left to offer. But to point! The 'no flipping clue' thing weighed heavy on my mind. Two things helped: First, I figured out how to sling the backpack over my head and arm Chewbacca style allowing me to give ease to my poor shoulder, while still looking jaunty. Second, my cell phone rang. Oh, that's right! I had a phone! I could call someone and find out where they were instead of wheeling my bike around like a a ninny!

The Put-in-Bay Pirate Campsite
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
So I called Michael Bagley (after explaining to my confused friend who had called that I would be almost impossible to attend their picnic since I was on an island in the middle of Lake Erie. His comment: "Should we contact the Coast Guard?") Michael gave me succinct and incorrect directions, which allowed me to tour the South end of the island on my bike, a treat I might not otherwise have had. On the trip, I found Heinemen's Winery, which will serve as a footnote later in the narrative if I remember to mention it. I also came across a couple more fit, older, blonde women out jogging. Realizing something had gone amiss, I decided to try the other end of town. (Michael said to look for a golf cart rental place, of which I hadn't found more than twenty.) Happily, I managed to find the right road in only three blind tries. I knew it was right by the haphazard placement of canvas (at right.) You'll note the odd grey sticks in the center of the camp. This will also be explained later, so consider it foreshadowing.

The crew was busily packing for the excursion to the park. This was done by loading everything into Mark Gist's boat, the Green Black Sheep (below left). I needed a place to lean my bike, so that seemed like the best option. (When they designed my bike, they apparently mistakenly thought the purchaser would use it for racing rather than anything practical, so they left off the kickstand to save weight. If they had only known what would become of this one.) Since everything else was in the boat, I decided to throw my hat & pack in (below center - That's Trish preparing to heave in the kitchen sink.) The crew had generously been allowed the use of a golf cart. This let them to blend in while also getting exercise. I say 'blend in' because golf carts are as ubiquitous on the island of Put-in-Bay as imaginary ghosts are at Fort Zachary Taylor. They are also useful for holding up traffic and assuring that everyone in a real car will be required to safely go several miles under the 25 mph speed limit. I say 'get exercise' because our golf cart had a comical problem getting started that required the people in the front to rock back and forth before the motor would catch. (As an engineer, let me just say that there is no mechanical reason I can think of for this, so I suspect it was intentionally added as a feature to make the tourists look silly.) Jay affectionately named the cart the Barneymobile due to this Flintstone-like feature. (That's Jay, below right, with Michael getting ready to rock.)

My bike by the Sheep (Photo: Mission's Collection) My hat in the Sheep (Photo: Mission's Collection) Michael and Jay on the Barneymobile gold cart (Photo: Mission's Collection)

The bike in front of concrete blocks
(Photo: Mission's Collection)
All this stowing of gear made my spidey sense tingle - work would soon be afoot! So I chose this moment to announce my intention to get some bicycling in before I donned my pirate garb. No one seemed to mind, so I headed north.. This actually proved to be a fairly short ride - I'd guess it was about a mile or so.

The bike whined about being in a photos as proof that it had made it to the North end of South Bass Island, so I took the shot at left . For some reason the natives had painted the concrete blocks as if they were children's blocks. As you see, they spelled the word EVOLVE. Huh. Social commentary? A random word that happened to have as many letters as they had blocks? Or what? On the way back, I saw a really nice vista which I swear looked much better than the resulting photo (below left). I did get a shot of the tall ship Niagra across the bay (below right.)

Put-in-Bay from the opposite end of South Bass  island (Photo: Mission's Collection) The Niagra seen across the water (Photo: Mission's Collection)

The bike ride was a nice jaunt which also allowed me to acquire a sheen of sweat that would last me through the rest of the day. (Correction - allowed me to acquire a nice coat of perspiration. Shay of the Keys informs me that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.) While I was avoiding work...uh, riding my bike, the guys were back in the park unloading the Green Black Sheep. I wish I could report that I am sorry I missed this, but I don't like to lie in these accounts unless I warn you in advance. Fortunately Kate Bagley was there to catch the guys hard at work as you see below. From left, we have Sam (in white, behind Mark), Mark Gist (blue coat), Jay (black hat and scarf), Michael Bagley (in green), M.A. d'Dogge (brown waistcoat) and Shannon (red coat) tugging on the Sheep. In an unusual series of photos (unusual being code for "hard to follow'), we show the unladening of the boat. (Don't you just love the word 'unladening'? Microsoft doesn't think it's a word, but I can find it on-line and we know the web is always accurate and truthful.) Various people stopped to appreciatively watch the six pirates at work and take photos.

The boys unladening the Sheep 1 (Photo: The Bagley's Collection)
The boys unladening the Sheep 2 (Photo: The Bagley's Collection)
The boys unladening the Sheep 3 (Photo: The Bagley's Collection) The boys unladening the Sheep 4 (Photo: The Bagley's Collection)

This series of photos also effectively answers the question, "How many pirate re-enactors does it take to unladen a boat?" (Answer: All of 'em.) On that insipid joke, I'll have mercy on you, dear reader, and close the first chapter.

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