Posts Tagged ‘Glamping’

I’m crossing off two days at once here because Day 6 was spent on the road and as I’m going through all of our zillions of photogs, it appears that nobody shot any on Day 6 (GASP!!).  But hold on to your undies, kids, cuz Day 7 is totally gonna make up for it.

Well, it will after we get the map out of the way…(Oh stop!  You know you love the map!  Geez!)

Map

Day 6 took us from Point D (D is for Dildo…c’mon…you remember this…) to Point E which is a spot called Holyrood.  We chose this place to camp for two days for a bunch of reasons, the first of which was that it offered us a chance to visit with our wayward friend, Wanda.

Wanda came to our campground (Blue Fin) under the lure of a campfire weenie roast.  Who could resist that?  Not Wanda, obviously.  Sadly, it was rainy and freezing, so we had to ix-nay the eenie-ways.  We huddled up inside the trailer while our friend regaled us with hilarious tales of her recent assimilation into Newfie society.  I guess you’d call her a Nouveau Newf, but she is still a work in progress.  So far, she’s managed to twang her long I’s but she has yet to master that odd H business.  

Wanda, girl, if the massage thing doesn’t work out, please consider stand-up as an option.  This ole world needs more laughter.  XO

The next morning, Shari, Bob, and I set out to explore.  We had a 1:30 reservation with Gatherall’s for a Puffin (!!!) and Whale Tour.  In the meantime, though, we had poking about to do.

One of the things we encountered was a small herd of Newfie Mutant Mallard Ducks.  They were unlike any mallards I’ve ever seen before.  Aside from their physical modifications, they were all sound asleep right beside (almost on) the road!  In fact, we had roared right past them before I managed to yell, “Stopppp!!” (Which is code for “I saw something interesting and I’m gonna leap out now and shoot several thousand photogs of it.”)  And, how the heck do you fall asleep standing on one foot right beside the road anyway?  You’d think the cars whooshing by would topple them, wouldn’t you?  It’s just weird, I tell ya.

Later on, after a lovely lunch of I-can’t-remember-what, we headed on over to Gatherall’s for our wee boat ride.  If you happened to be along on last year’s adventure to Maine, you’ll recall that I go a little off my stick when it comes to puffins. I can honestly admit that there has been no improvement in that area.  I can try to be cool about it, but it just bubbles up and explodes.  There’s a lot of grinning involved…and worse.

Happily, there weren’t very many people in our group. Happilier, almost immediately one of the crew spotted a humpback whale.  It was hilarious trying to get a shot off while clinging to the railing for dear life, not to mention that by the time you see the blow, it’s waaaaay too late.  The best I could do was this lovely blowhole shot (I know! I’m amazing!):

JDSC_0356ARShari had a bit more luck:

SDSC_0830RSo did Bob:

BDSCN1483RUnfortunately, this beautiful creature was just cruising and not eating or playing, so no action shots. Still…a humpback! How cool is that?!

On our trip to Maine last year, I was beyond excited about the twenty or so puffins we’d seen.  On this tour there were thousands of them!!  I was in puffin heaven!  Still and all, the lil rascals make it nigh on impossible to get a decent shot – for footballs with stubby wings, they sure can move!

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“Pisstank One to Base, over?”

“This is Base, PT1, go ahead.”

“Base, I’ve been assimilated.”

(Oh lord…)

“10-4, Pisstank One, resistance is futile.”  (eyeroll)

Yep, he’s wandered off again.  That’s not even the scary part.  This park where we’re currently moored is the scary part.

When we first pulled in last night, the place was just a’hoppin’.  There were people everywhere – hoards of kids running around, adults clustering with their polypropylene-encased beer cans.  A very festive scene that rapidly went weird.  As we rolled to a stop, the entire park seemed to come to a grinding halt.  People pivoted around to stare at us.  The silence was eerie.  The staring, worse.  “What are they staring at?” I wondered aloud.

“No idea,” said ole Bob, vaulting from the car to go register us.  I locked the doors and stared back.  They just kept on with their staring.  I began to wonder what I’d do if Bob never came back.  Eventually he did and we proceeded to our designated camping spot.  As we pulled in, the same darned thing happened.  Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared.

An hour later, we were all set up.  I had opened up all the windows and blinds and just gone about my business.  Then.  I happened to glance outside.  There was some hillbilly just standing there like a statue.  Staring.  Y’know, most people, when caught gawking will look away or blush or pretend they were looking at something else.  Not this guy.  He just stood there.  Staring.  Even when I stared right back, he didn’t budge.

I couldn’t swear to this but I’m pretty sure I heard banjo music in the distance…

Okay, ya got me:  I posted that last bit for the sole purpose of distracting you from the fact that I didn’t actually write anything on Day 1.  To my credit (or maybe just to validate my laziness), pretty much nothing happened on the first day of our Newfie Adventure.  The sad truth is that the highlight of our entire day was a small flurry of excitement caused by a “low tire pressure” light coming on just before we pulled in for the night.  We figured we were screwed.  As it turned out, we were right.  (Oh, you’re so gonna groan.)  We had a slow leak caused by (yep, you guessed it) a screw in the right rear tire.

If you’re expecting an apology for the foregoing gratuitous corniness, fuggedaboudit.  It was a very slow news day and corny is all I got.

It was stinking hot yesterday –  90 degrees F, plus a honkin’ humidex making it actually somewhere around 125 F (I just made that up – uneventful day, remember?).  Dear ole Bob figured out how to work the air conditioner in the trailer without blowing stuff up, a skill I have yet to master.

You’ll recall (or perhaps not) from our Southwest Adventure that Bob is the Doer of All Things, while I am the Designated Turnip and, as such, am not to be trusted with even the simplest of tasks.  We’re working on that.  By “we,” I mean me.

Permit me to illustrate:

This morning, when we were breaking camp, I finished up my few meagre “inside” chores so I went out to help (HAH!) Bob with the outside ones.  He was busy tweaking something vital (I’m sure), so I said, “I’m gonna go shut off the water.”

“Uh huh…” he replied (distractedly).

As I rounded the back of the trailer and headed for the post with the hookup stuff on it (is there an actual name for that post?), I heard his little light come on in the form  of a tiny squeak.  Then there was a sort of a whoosh! as he blew by me headed for the post.  “NO!” I shrieked, “MY do it!”  He skidded to a stop and tried to hide the look of horror on his face.  “Nuh…nuh…okay….” he spluttered, eyes darting feverishly between the post and me.

Just to clarify here, I wasn’t about to disarm a bomb with my eyebrow tweezers or perform neurosurgery with my sewing kit, I was about to turn a knob.  If you’ve ever turned water either on or off, then you’ll have mastered this move yourself.

So, with an almost euphoric sense of suffragetteness, I, under the hawklike scrutiny of  The Supreme Bobness, shut the water off.  Alas, that was the extent to which my newly acquired skill set was to be tested – he stepped in and unscrewed the hose himself because gawd only knows how many ways that could have gone sadly awry.

 

When we arrived in Verona, Virginia, first stop on our way back home, we were completely charmed by the Shenandoah Valley Campground.  What’s not to love about this:

Waterfall 1R

And these:

Bunnies R

Some of these:

Bunnies 3R

And a bunch of these:

Bunnies 2R

Temperatures in Virginia topped out at 89 F so when we set up, we had every vent and window wide open.

As soon as the sun went down, our nightmare began.

Noseeums (nasty little biting bugs) by the score began pouring in through our screens.  There were thousands of them – they couldn’t resist our lights.  We didn’t wanna start blasting bug spray around so we figured we’d just shut off the lights and go to bed early.  We wanted an early start in the morning anyway.

As it was still pretty early and our neighbours were having a fire and being rambunctious, we shoved earplugs in and went to sleep.  Because we both had our ears plugged, neither of us heard it start to rain.

It was, in fact, a downpour of biblical proportions.  We slept on.  It wasn’t until I rolled over into a big squishy patch of bed that I discovered that water was pouring in through the vent in the ceiling over my side of the bed.  It was all being merrily absorbed by the sheets, blankets, mattress – all things just made for sucking up water.

Cripes!” said I, or words to that effect.  I bounded out of bed, darting madly to and fro, closing open things and feeling about for wet bits.  Because I am so unusually alert when I first awaken (I wish I could have said that with a straight face), I reported back to Bob that all was well – no water had gotten in.  At least none that wasn’t currently occupying my side of the bed.  I got back in the sack, gave Bob a wee shove, curled awkwardly around the soggy zone, and went back to sleep.

A while later, I awoke, as I often do, wondering why the hell Bob has to be so flaming noisy in the morning.  This seemed worse than usual, so instead of just pulling a pillow over my head as is my custom, I got up to see what was happening.

Remember when I said that no water had gotten in?  I was wrong.  To my credit, the one spot I really did check while I was (ahem) sleep-walking and closing things was dry.  The rest of the trailer, however, not so much.  Suffice it to say my deluge detection skills are not quite up to snuff.

As I shuffled out of the bedroom, there was ole Bob on his hands and knees under the table.  He was attempting to sop up a lake with a bath towel.  He was already on his third towel and he really didn’t seem his usual cheery morning self.  He had upended most of the upholstered cushions and when I grabbed one to move it out of the way, it seemed a lot heavier than I remembered it being.  It also peed on my foot which I thought was a bit rude.

We had to eat standing up the rest of the way home.

Sigh.

 

This is gonna be a post without an actual point. Just some bits and pieces of cool things we saw on our adventure.

I hope you don’t think me weird…nah, that’s a lie – go right ahead and think it if you like…but I really love love love old cemeteries. The one in New Bern, North Carolina is one of my favourites. It has graves and tombs dating back to the 1700’s. Some are very elaborate, and some are flat out bizarre. The ambiance of the place is amazing: trees draped with Spanish Moss, pathways paved with crushed oyster shells, giant tombstones, and so on.  

Gate R

I love the little bits of ornamentation that look sorta like faces.

Lamp 1R

What the heck does that mean: “Her lamp was burning?” You couldn’t give us a clue at least? Like, “Her lamp was burning, but her candle wasn’t?” Or, “Her lamp was burning so fiercely that it burned her house down and that was the end of her?” Was she a pyro?  C’mon, I have questions, dammit!  Don’t leave me hangin’ here!

And here’re some pictures of our awesome campsite on the Outer Banks that I forgot to show you earlier (or possibly I was at a loss for a decent segue, which is more likely the case):

Outer Banks Campsite 1R

Here are some of Bob’s famous (amazing) sunset photogs. We had to look at this mess every evening (sad, eh?):

DSCN0905R

DSCN0420R

DSCN0602R

 

I meant to tell you this earlier but life got in the way.

At Easter time, all the grocery stores in the south bust out huge displays right as you walk in the door.  If you’re thinkin’ chocolate bunnies, colourful eggs, or lilies, you’re thinkin’ wrong, amigo.  If you guessed sweet potatoes and marshmallows, you are now the proud owner of a cupie doll.  Sometimes the displays are embellished with packets of pecans or walnuts and sacks of brown sugar.  How’s that for a gag-worthy combo?  Wait, it gets worse.

While we were enjoying a beyond-scrumptious Easter dinner with our friends, Chuckles and Murphy and their family (everything you’ve ever heard about southern hospitality is true), I happened to mention this mysterious grocery configuration to our hosts.  As luck would have it, Chuckles (not the name his mama gave him),  is a good ole Suthun boy (who talks funny).  He gave us the skinny.

Apparently, these are the ingredients for sweet puh-taytuh pah (“yam casserole” for those of us who speak normal English).  It involves combining sweet potatoes, which are revoltingly sweet on their own, with brown sugar or maple syrup, sometimes raisins, probably jelly beans (I may be exaggerating slightly).  I can’t remember what the nuts are for, but you are next required to dump an entire bag of marshmallows, which I’m not entirely sure are actually food, on top, and chuck the whole mess into the oven for a bit.  Then (get this) you’re supposed to….ugh…I can’t even say it….you’re supposed to eat it!  ACK!  Patooey!  I’m going into diabetic shock just thinking about it.

(Speaking of taters, I have a question:  What the heck are “tater tots?”  Are they anything like corn children?  From Iowa maybe?)

Oh geez…now I’m gonna have to ungross myself with a nice bird photog (HAH!  Never saw that comin’, did ya!

Boat-tail Grackle R

We only ever get the common variety of Grackles at home so these Boat-tails are a real treat.

Okay, okay, one more (since you asked so nicely):

Snowy Egret RSnowy Egret (farting feathers?)  😛

We haven’t died.  Nothing quite so melodramatic.  In truth, we’ve been visiting with dear, dear friends and having WAY too much fun to think about blogging.  A thousand appropriate apologies, yadda yadda.  The other reason I haven’t been blogging is because my (STUPID!!) computer is malfunctioning badly.  Long story short, it crashes and burns without so much as a “by your leave,” and it doesn’t have enough RAM (Rumply Angstful Misgivings) to open my bigass 32 ziggaquad camera card.  (My computer-speak is impressive, no?)  It simply refuses to do it.  So, not only can I not sort out my photogs and choose ones that I think you might like, I can’t even look at any of them without my computer having a contusion…or a conniption, or whatever you call it.

In happy news, though, I think I’ve managed to outsmart it.  I won’t say how because if I type it out, my computer will read it and know what’s going on.  We can’t have that.  So shush, okay?

By way of an update, we’ve now left Florida behind and are holed up on the beach in North Carolina (Yeah, life sucks).  I’ll fill in the details shortly.  In the meantime, here’s a fluffy bird in case you were in need of one:

FLuffy R

We decided to head to the beach today.  The plan was to go to Clearwater where we’d been before.  It’s just such a gorgeous spot to walk in the surf, collect shells, or just loaf.  Unfortunately, it’s not as gorgeous when it’s over-crowded.  I have no idea why it would have been – Spring Break is over now as far as I know – but it surely was.  Happily, we found another beach nearby that the hoards of sun-worshipers hadn’t yet discovered.

Even though you can’t see me, I’m actually hiding in this picture:

Hiding R

And, here’s a picture of Bob, finally not thinking about work:

Bob Chillin' R

And, just for schitts and giggles, here are some turtley things – I think they’re actually showers:

Tortuga R

Tortuga 3 R

Since I promised that there would be absolute NO bird photogs in this post, here’s a nice picture of a guy fishing:

Fishing R

I have no idea what that grey thing is in the foreground.  I swear that wasn’t there when I shot this.

And, finally, here’s a shot of a tree:

Heron R

Note the interesting foliage.

So, that was pretty much our day.  We got back fairly early, so after a big taco blow-out for dinner (and the ensuing flatulence fest), we did some laundry at the campground facility, and now I’m off to bed.

Okay, Okay, I know I’ve been sorta carried away with the bird photogs, but seriously, there is just such a smorgasbord of birds in this place!  It’s pretty mind-blowing.  Every day we are seeing things we’ve never seen before.   I promise I’ll try to shoot something non-birdular tomorrow, okay?  But, in the meantime…. (oh, don’t look at me like that)…

Anhinga AR

In other non-bird news, we sort of saw some manatees today.  I say “sort of” because we mostly just heard them coming up for air.  Bob saw a nose.  I saw nuffin’.  Well, no, that’s not entirely true.  I saw some bubbles.  Still, it was pretty cool. If we could just persuade them to swim in nice clear water so I could get some photogs, that’d be good.  Sigh.

I know you don’t particularly care about my bird buddies, but that one up there is called an Anhinga.  These guys are really interesting because they swim in a weird way.  The body is submerged with just the head and neck above the water.  The first time I saw one I thought it was a snake.  I think I read somewhere that it has to do with their bone density.  I have no idea.  They can apparently only stay submerged for so long until they have to climb out of the water and dry their feathers.  That’s what he’s up to in this photog.

The Great Blue Heron in this next shot was having a heck of a time with whatever that long skinny fishy thing is in his mouth.  It was thrashing to beat the band.  I was so intent on watching him that I didn’t notice the Little Blue Heron in the background until I was uploading my photogs.

Great Blue Heron and Little Blue HeronBR

No, don’t leave!  Just one more!!  No birds tomorrow – I promise!!  (What?  My fingers are what?!  Pfft!)

Kingfisher on a palm tree:

KingfisherBR

We had a wonderful Easter Dinner today with our very dear friends Whatsisname and The Missus.  Excellent food; excellent company.  And maybe just a couple of Easter eggs.  I’ll have a good waddle around tomorrow to make up for it.  Hey, maybe we’ll find some birds!!  🙂

I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that it finally stopped raining!  The bad news is that this has happened just in time for us to go home.  Happily, our last day in Maine was spectacular, both weather-wise and fun-wise.

I know I’ve been a little vague about The Great Puffin Quest.  My reasons for doing so may seem odd to you, but, like that California Condor business, “See puffins” has long been a Bucket List item for me.  I was loath to jinx it by saying “we’re gonna go see puffins!  Neener neener!” just in case the whole thing went to hell like the whale-watching plan did.  I think I can speak for us all when I say that nobody likes to end up looking like one of those dorks who brags about all the stuff they’re gonna do and then end up with nothing but a handful of lamo excuses.

Anyhoo, the thing about puffins is that the little wheezers only come ashore for a very brief time each year to…er…well, y’know…beget puffinlets upon each other and whatnot.  When they do this stuff, they don’t really want us to watch, understandably, so they hide.  Most of this hiding goes on way out in the ocean on little rock-pile island-ettes.  As you might surmise, this makes the whole “See puffins” thing a tad dodgy as Bucket List items go.

For some reason, I had been under the erroneous illusion that one could simply arrive in Maine and say, “Yo, Where’re the puffins at?” someone would point, and we’d all live happily ever after.  Sadly, this was not the case.

The first roadblock came when we arrived in Maine initially (early last week) only to learn that the puffin tours weren’t scheduled to begin until June 13th, and that there would be only one tour per week (!!) for the course of the puffin mating season.  I feel we adapted rather well to this news:  I pouted pathetically and Bob rearranged our entire trip…once his query of “Do we really need to see the stupid puffins?” was met with…let’s just call it “hostility” and leave it at that, shall we?

So, already long story slightly less long, we headed over the border, as I mentioned in my last post, with the aim of being back in Boothbay Harbor (ha-bah) by Tuesday so that we’d be in plenty of time for the Wednesday morning puffin tour.

Unbelievably, it was STILL raining in Maine upon our return.  But, I was determined to see those pesky puffins so I checked and double-checked the weather.  No matter which website/TV channel I checked, the verdict was the same:

Precipitation:  Oh hell yeah!

Probability of it stopping:  In yer dreams, Skippy!

Boating conditions:  Sea – rough;  Waves – bring a barf bucket (it actually said that!) (I’m lying…again…)

Additional weatherisms:  FOG!  Visibility:  Nil to nada, with periods of zilch.

Perfect.

Now, I’ll have you know that I’m no weenie.  I’d have been willing to barf for the cause, but I sure as hell am NOT barfing if all I’m gonna see is fog.  My disappointment was complete.  Until…

I had begun to think that those puffins would just have to stay on the stupid Bucket List a while longer when Bob looked at me and said, “Well, there must be other puffin tours…”  You’re probably wondering why this had never crossed my mind.  I know I was…

La-la-long yadda-yadda-short, we found a tour going out last evening from a little harbor just up the road called, imaginatively enough, New Harbor.

You’ve been very patient (assuming you actually read your way to this point, and, if so, bless your heart!), so without further ado or inane babblage from yours truly, I give you….  PUFFINS!!

(Hiding among a pack of killer black guill…mumble-something-or-others)