Friday, October 7, 2011

White Stripes -- "The Air Near My Fingers" (2003)


Don't you remember? 
You told me in December 
That a boy is not a man 
Until he makes a stand
Well, I'm not a genius 
But maybe you'll remember this 
I never said I ever
Wanted to be a man

It's October -- about six weeks after I returned from my annual August trip to Cape Cod -- and this is only the eighth of the ten Cape Cod-related posts I'm doing.

2 or 3 lines operates according to its own peculiar logic, of course, and like the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it's not going to be easy to regain control.  (Houston, we have a problem.)

The "Lower Cape" is the traditional name for that part of Cape Cod that is most distant from the mainland.  It's called the Lower Cape because the numbers denoting the degrees of longitude for locations in the Western Hemisphere get smaller as you go east.  (By the same logic, the eastern part of Maine is called "Down East.")

The Lower Cape -- usually called the "Outer Cape" these days, but 2 or 3 lines is an old dog and somewhat reluctant to learn new tricks -- has fewer trees and fewer people than the Upper Cape.  About 40 miles of its Atlantic-facing shoreline belongs to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was created in 1961 and is celebrating its 50th birthday:

   
The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs north-south between Orleans and Wellfleet, parallel to the Atlantic beaches but a couple of miles inland.  Here's a map of this part of the trail: 


I started in Eastham, at mile 14.6 of the rail trail, near where the trail takes a sharp left and heads due north towards Wellfleet:


(Kids, don't try this at home:)

video

The trail ends at mile 22.0 in Wellfleet, and that's where I turned around and rode back:


On the way, I crossed Marconi Beach Road, which leads to the place where Guglielmo Marconi built the radio station that transmitted the first transatlantic wireless message in 1903.  (It was from Teddy Roosevelt, then the U.S. President, to King George VII of England.)   


A few miles south of Marconi Beach Road, there's a paved hiker-biker trail (it's the little squiggly red line that runs east-west on the map above) that connects the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham to Coast Guard Beach, which is named for the now-closed Coast Guard lifesaving station that operated there for many years.  

This picture was taken on a wooden bridge that carries the trail across Nauset Marsh to the beach:


By the way, Coast Guard Beach was where the Mayflower made its first landfall on November 9, 1620, some 65 days after leaving Plymouth, England.  A few days later, after anchoring in what is now Provincetown harbor, about a dozen of the Pilgrims set out to explore the area.  A few miles south, they found some 36 ears of Indian corn buried in a basket.  Since the Pilgrims had no seed corn of their own, they "borrowed" the Indian corn so they could plant a crop the next spring.  The fact that the Indians would have no seed corn to plant didn't seem to trouble the Pilgrims.   

Coast Guard Beach is a very accessible public beach, and it attracts big crowds in the summer:


It's too bad I arrived too late to help this young lady apply a generous dollop of sunscreen to her poor unprotected back -- I'm not sure how much you can tell from this picture, but she was cooked to a perfect "medium rare."  


That reminds me:


I had never seen beach wheelchairs before, but they had a couple at Coast Guard Beach.


"The Air Near My Fingers" is one of my old White Stripes favorites:



You can use this link to order the song from Amazon: 




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