Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... it's
Getting In Touch With Your Inner Tube
The inner tube float on the James River will begin about 12:30-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 at Hatton's Ferry. If we number 25 or more, the cost is $12 apiece, less is $13. For that you get a tube, a life jacket and a ride up river. Cooler tube rentals to float the beverages are an additional $5 and we will need 2. We have reservations for 25. Peyton Coyner is paying up front for all, so send him your $12 (e-mail Peyton for mailing address) and if there are more or less of us, adjustments will be made at the river. For a map and more info/hype, go to Jamesriver.com* on the net.
The Top Three things river novices are afraid of :
3. Oversexed losers
The Top Three things that actually may ruin our trip for you :
2. Poison Ivy
3. Oversexed Losers
Don't forget to apply #25 or higher sunscreen in the lot at JRR on Saturday. We will carry along one container for reapplication along the way. Also, bring sandals - the kind that is securely fastened, NOT flip-flops - or old tennis shoes. Wide-brimmed hats and shades with keeper straps are helpful, too.
Beer, Beer for Old Page F2
In celebration of Loserfest '99(tm) Peyton and Brian are brewing and bottling a keg of beer, complete with special, one-of-a-kind labels designed by Afton, Virginia's foremost festival beer-label designer. The suggested donation is $5.50 per six-pack. Please let them know whether you are interested in purchasing one or more. Supplies are limited--the keg will make only about 23 six-packs. If it appears that Losers will only be taking away 19 or fewer six-packs, then we will put part of the keg into a smaller pressurized, keg-like vessel that we can float down the James with us. Otherwise, Peyton and Brian will be buying canned beer Saturday morning for the float.
Charlottesville Omni (15 rooms, one king OR two double beds--perfect for sharing--for $109. 804-971-5500) for July 10, with firm booking by June 10. This hotel is C'ville's best business class hotel, has an attached parking garage, renovated rooms, etc. Nicest place one can stay around here unless one wants to book a room at a B&B. It's in what passes for downtown Charlottesville, which has some nice new and used bookstores, linen stores, coffee shops, cafes, running along pedestrians-only Main Street for about 6 blocks. The University is about a mile away, is easily walked to, and the walk is safe for a group of people at any hour of the night. 3 or 4 of the restaurants I'm looking into for Loserdinner are very close by, although all would be in walking distance. On a summer night, there will be plenty of people on the pedestrian-only portion of Main Street--lots of outdoor dining or a possible chance to hang out and drink even more after Loserdinner. There is an ice rink. Lots of twentysomethings live in second floor blocks in this district. Rooms for July 17 at this place are $140, which explains the July 10 booking.
At least one appetizer and main course selection will be vegetarian. The cost of the dinner will be about $30.00, not including alcoholic beverages.
Sez Brian Broadus: The Monticello-UVa tours are optional, unless people suggest that we do those tours INSTEAD of the tubing on Saturday. (So far no one has.) Monticello opens at 8:00am, which is way before Losers will want to tour it, I figured. But if there is sufficient interest, we can do an 8:30 or so breakfast, or grab something quick to eat and meet at Monticello sometime between 8:30 and 9:00, or we can nuke the thing as a Loser event, eat later, and whomever wants to stay and see Monticello on their own can and other Losers head home. It takes a couple of hours, and earlier is better, although I will aim for a special group tour if enough people show interest. Ditto UVa, only there is no formal touring (unless you count the farcical ones the student University Guides give), no crowds, etc. Monticello and UVa together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a big deal, so they're worth seeing. A Monticello trip can take, from ticket to departure, about 2 hours. UVa about the same. I am trying to force no one to do these. I just want to make the opportunity available to Losers as a group IF there is interest.
Loserfest 99(tm) Q & A
Q. Direct me to Loserfest '99(tm). I live in or near Washington, D.C.
A. We assume you'll be travelling by car. Drive Interstate 66 (westbound) to Exit 143 (Gainesville). Take that exit going south-it connects the Interstate to Route 29. At Warrenton, don't take Route 29 Business through the town unless you have reason to do so-traffic can be congested there. Drive the Route 29 Bypass instead. When you reach Charlottesville, choose one of the two routes described below and either go to Hatton's Ferry (for the tubing) or to the Omni Hotel and the Eastern Standard Restaurant (for lodging or dinner).
We recommend that those going tubing allow a minimum of three-and-one-half hours for the drive from the District of Columbia to Hatton's Ferry. A drive directly from downtown Washington to the Omni Hotel will take about two-and-three-quarter hours.
Q. Are there any exciting cultural monuments along Route 29?
A. Not really, but the old towns of Warrenton and Madison are quaint.
Q. Tell me about the radio stations between Warrenton and Charlottesville.
A. Their playlists suffer from an excess of "twang." Pack compact discs.
Q.Ok, I've made it into Albemarle County. How do I get to Hatton's Ferry?
A. Keep driving south through Albemarle's strip wasteland of fast-food frypits and big-box commerce. Pass Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Better Living, Colonial Auto Center, Staples, Comdial, Litton Marine, Blockbuster Video, Holiday Inn, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (each of which you'll see on your right as you pass it). Merge into the right lane near the Kentucky Fried Chicken, then take the right lane entrance to the Route 29 South/Route 250 West Bypass. The sign above the entrance ramp reads "Lynchburg" and "Staunton." Stay on this bypass for about four miles, following the signs for Route 29 South to Lynchburg and those directing you to Interstate 64 until you reach the intersection with the interstate. (Do not exit the bypass before Interstate 64. Follow the signs to it.) Take Interstate 64 east toward Richmond. From Interstate 64 take Exit 121-A and Route 20 South toward Scottsville.
Route 20 winds through the shanties and horse farms of southern Albemarle County on its way to the formerly prosperous river port of Scottsville. It will offer you few opportunities to pass slower drivers. Be patient.
About 17 1/2 miles from the exit, just after you pass the brick-and-slate "Welcome to Scottsville" sign on your right, take a right turn on to Route 726-James River Road. (If you reach the town of Scottsville, you've driven too far.) Go straight to the second stop sign, turn right and stay -that's right, stay-on the James River Road. Drive three more miles to a "tee" intersection. At the intersection, turn left onto Route 625 (Hatton's Ferry Road). Drive two more miles to the James River Runners office.
Q. Ok, I've made it into Albemarle County and I'm not going tubing. How do I get to the Omni Hotel?
A. Keep driving south through Albemarle's strip wasteland of fast-food frypits and big-box commerce. Pass Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Better Living, Colonial Auto Center, Staples, Comdial, Litton Marine, Blockbuster Video, Holiday Inn, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (each of which you'll see on your right as you pass it). Merge into the center lane near the Kentucky Fried Chicken, Drive under the overpass, and immediately take the right lane entrance ramp to the Route 250 East Bypass. The sign above this ramp reads "Richmond." Stay on the bypass for about two-and-three-quarter miles. Pass through one standard traffic signal, pass through a flashing "fire station" traffic signal, and make a right turn at the next standard traffic signal (McIntire Road). Drive down McIntire Road, passing through two traffic signals-bearing left at the first one-follow the signs directing you to "Downtown Charlottesville" and "Historic Area." After passing through the second traffic signal, get into the left lane. The small sign for the Omni Hotel should be clearly visible on your left. (If you reach a third traffic signal and a statue of Lewis and Clark, you've driven too far.)
Losers who are only attending dinner should park in the Omni's parking garage. The Eastern Standard restaurant is very, very close to the hotel. Walk through the Omni's atrium, out the hotel's "Downtown Mall" door, and turn left. The restaurant is directly in front of you. The downstairs bar features wide doors that fold away, opening the whole bar storefront to the street. You shouldn't be able to miss it. If you do, the clerk at the hotel's desk will help you find it.
Q. Will you tell those who go tubing how to drive from Hatton's Ferry to the Omni Hotel?
A. Yes. We will give out directions before we begin tubing.
Q. What's in Charlottesville's popular, pedestrians-only district near the Omni Hotel?
A. There are two very different coffeehouses, each with an outdoor cafe. (The sleeker of the two coffeehouses-Higher Grounds-is managed by a Style Invitational fan and may host an unofficial Loserfest Sunday breakfast!) There are four shops selling used books, and one selling new ones. There are two drug stores, one of which still has a terrific soda fountain that serves good milkshakes and old-fashioned deli sandwiches. There is an ice rink, two movie theaters, an ice cream parlor, and the usual cross-section of locally-owned boutiques. There are plenty of bars and restaurants-each with outdoor dining.
For an outdoor aperitif, try Miller's-a fine old "locals" bar converted from a pharmacy. (We spent far too much time at Miller's when we were younger, when "happy hour" was legal in Virginia and we ended every working day at an outdoor table, sipping a gin and tonic, reading the Post, watching people walk by, and talking with friends. But, sadly, we digress.) Or one could have a pre-dinner drink at -the trendy, hospitable bar affiliated with the Eastern Standard restaurant.
Q. Tell us more about the dinner.
A. The Eastern Standard restaurant was renovated from a store built in the later 19th century, and is furnished tastefully and comfortably in a style that somehow recalls movie sets from "Sunset Strip." The energetic restaurant owners and their imaginative chef arrange their "Pacific Rim" cuisine to take advantage of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Our four-course dinner will have beef, fish, and vegetarian selections, and water, and tea or coffee. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the fixed price, but each table may run its own cash bar tab. If diners bring wine to the dinner-and the nearby Market Street Wine Shop offers a wide selection of wines at excellent prices-the restaurant will charge a per-bottle corking fee, as it will if more than a very few of us choose to drink Loser Lager there.
Don't believe that Eastern Standard's excellent food and elegant decor will put the Dueling Loser Band's traditional Loserfest performance even more glaringly out of place than usual? Then visit the restaurant's website (www.easternstandard.com)!
Q. How much will Loserfest '99(tm) set me back?
A. The tubing will cost $13.00 per person. The restaurant is charging $30.00 per diner, excluding tip, tax, and alcohol. Adult admission to Monticello costs $9.00. A six-pack of commemorative Loser Lager is $5.50.