Delaware – Ebright Azimuth

Spanky Proudly Sitting On Top of Delaware

Spanky and I bid farewell to the state of Virginia and headed northeast along I–81 to meet social obligations that we had coming up in New York City. The Shenandoah Valley weather had finally cleared giving us some picturesque parting shots of the landscape. The clear, sunny morning in Virginia gave us no clue of the maelstrom that we were headed for in New York.

Speaking of the Northeast……..our drive started in Virginia, took us through West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and on into NY. Only in the Northeast can you hit six states on a mere 400 mile trip. It makes sense that the northeastern states are smaller – much smaller than anything out west! Remember that it all started in the northeast. You know, Plymouth Rock (pilgrims), Washington, Jefferson, and all those other founding father dudes – they all hung out in the northeast. That’s where the US was first settled.

It was a major undertaking just to get from NY to Philly back in days gone by. Horses and carriages and stuff. I’ll bet the original colonies/states seemed plenty big to folks back then. Took them several days to cross any of them. And……I suspect, the founders being as independent and rebellious as they were, all wanted their own state. So we end up with a whole bunch of states, much smaller than the rest clustered in one area of the country.

Back to the trip…..we were very graciously offered lodging by another lifelong friend of mine. My pal Urmas, his wife Karin, their daughter Aleksa, and their dog Comet (that’s the part that intrigued the Spankster) live in Chappaqua, NY (home to Bill and Hillary). Also staying at Urmas’ for the weekend was another great friend of mine, Mati (there are pics of us playing in a sandbox together as infants – and our dads were buddies in the old country) and his wife Lisa. We all arrived at around the same time Friday afternoon and were treated to a most excellent steak dinner.

Most of the weekend was spent telling liberally embellished stories of our youth, watching the dogs play, eating, and on Sunday, sitting inside and watching and listening to the worst rainstorm to hit NY in 100 years. Me and Spanks did sneak off at one point to Bill Clinton’s. We had a draft Dog Bill Of Rights that we wanted to run by him and to propose that he be the spokesperson for the Doggie Rights movement. Sad to say, no one came to the door. I think he was home though – there were a couple of freshly emptied KFC buckets and McDonalds wrappers on the front porch. I’ll bet he saw us coming and ran inside to hide.

But seriously, the highlight of the weekend was Saturday night. I mentioned that the main purpose of our NYC jaunt was to go to a 92nd birthday party. I was originally going to leave out the details but that just wouldn’t cut it. This was a big event for me and my Estonian (if you never heard of the country Estonia – look it up) friends. Many years ago, Paul (the 92 yr old dude) owned a liquor store in Queens, NY. In its heyday, it was one of the most successful liquor stores in all of NYC (that folks, is saying something).

Alright, so he was a good businessman. Why am I going to his 92nd? Over the course of several decades, Paul provided employment to scores of young Estonians in the NY area while they were going to school (high school and college). It was kind of a pseudo scholarship thing. Spending money, book money, maybe even a little tuition money. He was very flexible with hours depending on peoples academic and athletic schedules, bought meals for us, let us sample the wares once in a while, hell, if a few of us were going somewhere for the weekend he’d always tell us to take a little something from the store.

Bottom line, Paul is a great guy. Who else would take in a bunch of long haired, hippy freak misfits? So……my buddy Urmas, upon learning that his 92nd was coming up organized a combo birthday/Rego Drive Liquors Reunion at the Estonian House in NYC. I’m telling you, it was the event of the century. Needless to say, the guest of honor, on top of being surprised was taken aback by the whole thing. Picture this, 30 or so former liquor store employees, from the 60’s through the 80’s, some from as far away as California and Florida, show up for their former boss’s 92nd birthday – that says something about the guy.

Some of us had not seen each other in 30 years! But once we got talking, it seemed like no time at all had passed. Telling stories from the old days, laughing like a bunch of kids, catching up on what everyone was doing with their life. I can honestly say it was one of the best evenings I’ve had in years.

I hope I have not bored you non Estonians (99.9% of you) with this stuff. It’s important to me and just maybe my feeble attempt to put into words the camaraderie that my Estonian American friends and I enjoy has been conveyed.

Even if you found this interesting, educational, are just putting up with it, whatever, I would hazard to guess that you are wondering about the highpoint of Delaware. We’re getting there, don’t worry. You see……..Delaware’s summit (with all due respect to the citizens of that lovely state) is just not a big deal. There is not a whole lot to say. I can’t, in good conscience, try to glorify or embellish this one.

But before we get to Delaware, let’s talk about New Jersey, shall we? Me and Spanks left Chappaqua on Monday morning in the midst of the flooding and traffic chaos caused by the rainstorm of the century. Major roadways were closed, train tracks were flooded, New Jersey had declared a state of emergency. A mess! We struggled through it all, got the hell out of NY and made our way up to High Point, New Jersey.

Guess what, it’s snowing up there and the damned place is closed! High Point is a state park. There was one person in the visitor’s center and she explained that due to the state of emergency, no park workers were around and that no one was allowed to go in the park. I explained that we were perfectly willing to hike, not drive, to the summit. No, that would not do at all. Apparently NJ is worried about liability for people hiking in a closed park.

Hmmmmmmmm, no one down further south seemed too worried about a guy and his dog headed off into the woods. I surprised myself and did not go into a tirade about how stupid their policies are. But I couldn’t help but think about what we’ve become – society teaches us that nothing is our own responsibility or our own fault. If you get injured somehow, in some way, someone else must be to blame so we must litigate!

We’ll get NJ later in the year on our way up to New England.

After our failed attempt at Highpoint NJ, Spanks and I caught up with another friend of mine, Frank, in Bernardsville, NJ. Frank, his wife Pam, their son Max, and their dog Pete were more than kind to us and provided the Spankster and me with food and shelter for the evening. Spanky just loves this stuff – he gets to explore new houses, run around in a new yard (Frank has a big yard) and play with another dog. Spanky is definitely into this road trip thing.

Finally, see I got back to the point of this story, we left NJ on the morning of April 17, 2007 for Delaware. The summit, Ebright Azimuth, is 448 feet. It is the second lowest, behind Florida, in the US. But it is a summit so Spanky and I had to go. Many of our summits have had road access. Delaware’s summit takes it to another level. The highpoint is only a few miles off I–95 down a four lane suburban road with the “final approach” being a turnoff on to a residential street.

The mighty pinnacle is marked by a nice big cast iron historical marker. It is right next to a subdivision of regular, middle class, white bread, suburban homes. Ebright Azimuth is totally unremarkable. But I must take into account that there are no rules for summits. Who says it can’t be in the middle of suburbia. Spanky didn’t dig it much either. We were on street with a fair amount of traffic and I had to keep the lad on his leash. He’s good at walking on leash but I know he doesn’t like it.

And what’s up with the name? Ebright Azimuth??? I believe that Ebright is derived from the name of the road where the summit lies (a local family name from what I could find out). Azimuth, do you really wanna know? OK, an azimuth is an arc of the horizon measured between a fixed point and the vertical circle passing through the center of an object clockwise from the north point through 360 degrees. I knew that!

More summits to come in a few days.

Thanks for your support.

Ebright Azimuth - The Suburban Summit

Panoramic View From The Summit


Anonymous said...

You should have used stealth to bag the New Jersey summit. Heck, what's a few years in a New Jersey prison!

Tom T said...

Sorry we no longer live in NJ. You could have stopped. See you when you get to Nevada. There is a room waiting for you and Spanky.

Ken said...

Happy birthday to Paul, I’ll bet you had a great time. As we get on in our age, sometimes reminiscing is as much fun as the actual event; you tend to forget about the bad stuff that happened. I’m glad you were able to make it. Too bad about the summit but hey….there’s always next year.

Estonians and liquor stores rule!!!

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