By Lisa P.
Kandi previously posted a very nice recap of a trip we shared in September 2022 (“Lola and the Navy Guy,” October 17, 2022). The anniversary of that wonderful trip suggested to me Lisa’s version of the trip, because even though an experience is shared, it doesn’t mean it is the same experience.
My wife was planning a rare trip by herself to meet friends out of town for a few nights in September 2022. She was leaving early on Tuesday and arriving back home on Friday. Her time away meant that I would have extended Lisa time. From that realization came the germ of an idea to fly pretty for the first time and visit Kandi. Although she was juggling many balls in the air at the time, Kandi readily agreed, but it was clear to me that she needed my help to arrange the logistics. She had hoped that we could reserve some time for dinner/drinks with her bestie, Sherry. But I couldn’t work out the logistics, because I wanted to visit someplace new for me, rather than spend time in Cleveland (a city I already know fairly well). I suggested a “get-away” for both of us that would involve a trip to Sandusky, Ohio, a resort town on the shores of Lake Erie midway between Cleveland and Toledo. I arranged an Airbnb for 2 nights and we agreed that Kandi would pick me up and return me to the airport. We were all set!
As all girls know, packing is either an all-day affair or one simply throws into a multiple bags absolutely everything one owns. As an experienced traveler, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I planned my outfits and packing carefully, so I positioned important items well before my wife departed and then raced through my checklist so that I would be ready for my own mid-day departure on Tuesday. I used my traditional airport offsite parking company and shuttled to the airport plenty of time in advance of my flight. I was happy the TSA line was short, as I had no idea what was going to happen when I approached the counter dressed very pretty (if I don’t say so myself), while presenting my male photo ID. Before you think I was overreacting emotionally, it is important for you to know that I live in the southern United States these days, where attitudes towards CD/TG folks are decidedly mixed. In any case, the young female TSA agent looked once at my ID, then looked again and seemed flummoxed. She then called over her supervisor, who must have had experience with folks like us, because that fellow looked at my ID, used the ultraviolet flashlight to make sure it was authentic and then passed it back to her, waving me through as he did so.
I chose to fly on Southwest Airlines, which can feel like a crowded Greyhound Bus, but which allows you to pay extra for “Business Select” (giving you the right to be among the first 15 people to board). That was a smart move on my part, because my connection was so short I might have missed my connecting flight if I had been in the “back of the bus.” It also allowed me to easily store my overhead bag and to sit on the aisle so that I could easily use the airplane bathroom, as needed. That too turned out to be a wise move, because my swift connection did not afford me time to use the ladies room and the hop to Cleveland was too short for me to go on the next flight.
Kandi met me in guy mode, which surprised me (I must admit), because her schedule did not give her time to change before picking me up. At first I felt a bit awkward, but by the time we went to a local Walmart to buy some food I was playing right along as “his” female companion. We talked about all sorts of things all evening, through dinner at one of her favorite Poke Bowl establishments, while having drinks together in the evening after we had settled in to our condo and she had a chance to get into Kandi mode, and while she focused on her website and other work concerns and I caught up on my own work emails.
Wednesday morning we had coffee and ate banana bread and dressed in our bathing suits and coverups, with plans to visit Lake Front Park and Beach. My planning was deficient choosing that beach, however, because it was a pocket park and there was no place for two bathing beauties to walk along the beach. Instead, we found the Huron Lighthouse a short distance away and we took numerous photos. Kandi shared some last year, but you may enjoy seeing one of me and a boat (they must be racing to see who is so photogenic).
On the walk back to Kandi’s car, an older man on a bench with a little dog said “hello” to us. When he encouraged us to do so, we stopped and introduced ourselves to the dog, Lola (a perfect name, as Kandi pointed out in her post), who was 13 years old — the man clearly was in love with his dog. I secretly thought the fellow was enamored as well with Kandi, but I didn’t tell her!
Close by Huron Lighthouse we found Nickelplate Beach. It had a much longer and deeper beach area, allowing us to dip our beautiful red toes in the surf and show off our beach bodies.
When we returned to the condo, I took advantage of already being “bathing ready” and took a swim in the condo’s pool. Being TG, I had to take some photos (of course), which led to a funny episode where I balanced my iPhone too precariously close to the pool and a gust of wind sent it “splash” right into the drink. I was momentarily frightened, imagining I had lost my entire “world” at the bottom of the pool. Thankfully, I remembered that my version of the iPhone was designed to withstand just a mishap, and when I retrieved it, the wonderful little device worked perfectly. Oh, the wonders of modern technology!
Following the swim, I cleaned up and then put on a very nice spaghetti-strap dress. I realized quickly (in truth the realization may have come after a comment by Kandi) that I was a tad overdressed, so I added a jean jacket despite the warm temperatures to dress back down a notch). We then headed to an early dinner. Again, my planning failed us at first. We tried to visit a bar/restaurant called “Boon Docks” on Catawba peninsula. It had a nice marina but was wedged back in behind a trailer home park and there was not a single car in the parking lot, so dinner there was nixed. We tried other local places, such as the Crow’s Nest and Crabby Joe’s Dockside, both of which were nearby, but neither of which had outside seating with lake views. Since my iPhone still worked (thank heavens!), I found Dock’s Beach House in nearby Clinton. It was a perfect combination of Lakeside seating and good restaurant/bar. Even the seagulls were fans. The little guy below came to check out the cool chicks drinking in the lake views.
We finished dinner early enough to visit Port Clinton Lighthouse, which made a wonderful backdrop for more photos. Again, I will supplement the ones that Kandi shared last year at the lighthouse because it made such a lovely backdrop.
We thought we were too cute. Why risk swimming when you could prance around in a summer dress on the beach?
After we returned to our condo, I walked around the dock area of Sandusky by myself, absorbing the evening view.
Kandi missed the beautiful sunset because she had to focus on this website. Aren’t you glad she spends so much time perfecting it?
The next day (sadly our last), I started with a run around Sandusky (about 3.5 miles). I ran by the first church in the County (1810, Methodist), as well as many other church buildings (at least 7). I stopped to read a sign about the underground railroad (to free slaves), which apparently had a strong base in Sandusky and another sign about corrugated boxes being invented and first manufactured in the building with our condo. It was a refreshing way for Lisa to start her day.
After the run and a quick breakfast, we checked out of our condo. We planned to visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum, but it wasn’t open yet, so we went shopping at Fabulous Female Boutique. The sales lady was really lovely. I ended up buying gifts for my wife and daughter, helping me to feel a little less guilty about taking this side trip by myself. You will recall Kandi’s photos at the Merry-Go-Round Museum. I have included another. Makes you want to hop on and gallop off, doesn’t it?
The carousel in the middle of the museum played the Ghostbusters theme music. I remarked that I felt like it reduced my age by 10 years just with that one ride. I think you can see that I had fun!
I signed my name on a carousel horse they have set up for that purpose. See if you can find “Lisa” right where she belongs on the backside!
I also bought a couple color-changing pencils with carousel horse erasers on the end for my grandchildren.
Our final pleasure was lunch and a drink at Shore House Tavern. I was sad about the trip ending, even though it wasn’t quite over yet. Kandi drove me back to the airport in Cleveland, where the TSA agent took my ID and then handed it back to me and asked if it was me. When I said, “yes, of course,” he waved me through. He didn’t seem too fazed by my presenting differently than on my ID. I had some time before my flight to buy some nibbles from one of those overpriced airport stores. The sales lady was very sweet and wished me a good flight, which sort of made up for the prices she charged!
When I got home a text was awaiting me from Kandi telling me she “very much enjoyed our visit.” Me too Kandi. Thank you for all the wonderful memories!
Ladies don’t let anything stop you. Get out and enjoy everything the world offers.
Thank you Lisa for this experience and the joy of reliving it one year later!