Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 8

Thursday, April 18: I left Ellen and Ormand Beach after a leisurely breakfast, not being in a huge hurry. I planned to stop and kayak at Alexander Springs Run, where CR 445 crosses the run. The access is unmarked, but knowing it was there I was going slowly enough to make the turn. There were a couple of young couples making a day of it, but no other boaters. Or rather, all the other boaters were coming downstream from the state park where the Alexander Springs originate. I eventually caught up with this canoe.Alexander Sp. Run view 1Alexander Sp. Run view 2Alexander Sp. Run view 3The life cycle of a water lily flower:

It’s only a little over a mile to the park; I spent about 2 hours going up and back, with lots of stops for nature – the water is very clear, and while I wasn’t able to take photos, I did see several schools of good sized fish swim under me. There were also turtles,

anhinga, green heron, limpkin;Alexander Sp. Run AnhingaAlexander Sp. Run green heronAlexander Sp. Run limpkin and spider lilies:

I could hear the people in the swimming area long before I could see them. It’s about $5.50 to enter the park; there were a lot of people there! Alexander Sp. Run sourceAfter paddling back to the bridge, I loaded up the kayak, then went down for a quick swim before making some lunch and getting back on the road. The next stop was a quick care package drop, not too far off my route, and then on to the Trinity area of New Port Richey, where my youngest granddaughter and her family live.Trinity Lakes moonrise


Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 7

Tuesday, April 16: Up early, wanting to get around Jacksonville before rush hour, I pulled the Roadtrek back on I-95 at 5:45, leaving behind the Florida Welcome Center. As a place to spend the night, it was level, but not either dark or quiet! It was a cloudless dawn; I was beyond Jacksonville by the time the sun came up, but it was a very uneventful sunrise. I angled over to St Augustine, stopping on the draw bridge while a parade of boats went through, and working my way south on A1A, the coastal route. I enjoyed glimpses of the Atlantic, pulling over sometimes to let all those poor commuters who had to be in a hurry rush by.  Before leaving the barrier islands I overshot the turn, and found a place to park so I could walk and get the kinks out, by this mosaic fountain. Sun’s not very high, yet!Ormand Beach fountainI pulled in to Ellen’s driveway in Ormand Beach at about 9:00, and it was great to catch up with an old friend and my e-mail! Her house is surrounded by native plants; it looks like Dr Seuss was here: Powderpuff, Herbaceous Mimosa - Mimosa strigillosaIt seems as though each Powderpuff/Mimosa flower lasts only a day or two – but the supply next to where the camper was parked seemed to never end.

Wednesday, April 17: While Ellen was off at her late afternoon poetry group, I took the kayak to the Ormand Beach Central Park Canoe Trail. There are five lakes connected by navigable channels; I toured four of them.                   Ormand Beach Central Park launchThese fish were swimming just in front of the launch – I saw larger ones, but this was the best photo. They were about 6 – 8 inches long.

Ormand Beach, fish at launch,

This is definitely NOT New England! Ormand Beach view 1Ormand Beach view 2Ormand Beach view 3

Ormand Beach view 5Ormand Beach view 6Ormand Beach view 7

These egg masses belong to the Florida applesnail – wonder how it got that name! And if I’d known that was what they were, I would have tried to get a photo of the snail that goes with them – but I hadn’t identified either the egg masses or the snails, yet.

Anhinga, osprey on nest, limpkins:Ormand Beach AnhingaOrmand Beach osprey on nestOrmand Beach limpkins betterand the non-native Muscovy duck:Ormand Beach Muscovy duckThis was the first time I’ve seen bananas fruiting since I was in Hawaii over 10 years ago:

My sister came through with the name of this plant for me – nothing like having a plant physiologist in the family! Its common name is rattlebox; it’s Sesbania punicea. Sure is pretty, even though invasive –

Ormand Beach red

There were a couple of dead ends, and a fisherman in the middle of the narrow channel to the last of the five lakes; I didn’t get to that one. The two corrugated culverts made interesting reflections in the water.

Ormand Beach culvertBack to the house after a couple of hours on the water, with perfect weather, getting there with just enough time to take a quick shower before Ellen came home.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 6

Saturday and Sunday, April 13 – 14: After a pleasant night’s sleep (accompanied by rain and wind, but the Roadtrek is snug and cozy) I headed off early to get the propane refilled while I was still in civilization. Then back to eat breakfast and attend the working group meeting – the reason I spent the night there in the first place! We got out about 2, and by 2:30 I was headed out, dealing with traffic on the DC Beltway until I could head southwest. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular, but I didn’t want to risk pulling in the the campground after dark, so didn’t stop for photos. Hone Quarry Campground, in the George Washington National Forest, was a couple of miles up a very potholed and rough sometimes paved road  For a whopping $2.50, I had a level, dark and quiet campsite. My one regret is that I forgot I wanted to check out the waterfall rumored to be next to the campground. Another trip… There’s a lot more to explore here.

Sunday morning I had the kayaks loaded, breakfast ready to eat out of hand, and was headed back down the road at 7:05. Unfortunately, the route I’d mapped had a Road Closed Ahead sign, and rather than try it anyway, I went around. That meant that I ended up taking the longer but much faster interstate highway route to Lynchburg. It was overcast, drizzling sometimes, sometimes foggy, and I was concerned the delays, so again didn’t stop for photos. I made it to worship with Lynchburg Friends only about 5 minutes late, and then stayed and visited with them after for another hour or so. Then back on the road. By the time I got to the North Carolina border, I knew it was foolish to try to make it to the national forest in South Carolina I’d been thinking about, so I went to the Uwharrie National Forest. My first choice for camping was closed, and I ended up at the Uwharrie Hunt Camp. That night it was dark (except for the lightning). It was flat. (It was hot and humid.) But quiet? Not so much. Being the end of a weekend, at about dusk the large pickups, often unmuffled, and towing rattling trailers with their mud-splattered ATVs started coming through. The last vehicle came through the parking lot about midnight. Then at 2AM the heavens opened, with rig rattling strong winds, pouring rain and thunder (and lightning), necessitating getting up to close the top hatch. That only lasted about 15 minutes – but was long enough so I was thoroughly awake, being aware of the possibility of tornadoes in such a violent storm. And then cars started coming past about 5AM, headed out to work?

Monday, April 15: The morning was glorious, clear and bright, cool enough again, and once I’d eaten, and loaded in the kayaks, I went looking for a place to put one on the water. It was still very windy, and I wanted somewhere sheltered. Seeing a kayak launch sign by the roadside, I made a quick turn, and found the Uwharrie River.

It was very swollen, muddy, and with lots of floating tree pieces in it. I probably could have paddled against that much current, but it wouldn’t have been fun, and I had no way to get back to the Roadtrek if I went on downstream. This is apparently part of a canoe trail; this was near the endpoint of about 15 miles of river trail before it spits out into the larger Tadkin. But there were more options ahead.

I stopped at the very large and busy Swift Island access on Lake Tillery, and had something to eat, and took a nap to make up for the previous night’s lack of sleep. There were too many power boats, and the surroundings weren’t enough to tempt me. On to NC Lily's bridge signalso, I believe, on Lake Tillery – but with maybe 1/5 the parking spaces and much less traffic. Long sleeves were welcome, but the sun was shining brightly and it was sheltered enough that the wind never built up much in the way of waves. Scenery: NC Lily's Bridge up creek

NC Lily's Bridge new leavesWildflowers:NC Lily's Bridge azalea


That isn’t close to all the turtle pictures I took! There were lots and lots of turtles, singly and by the half dozens, on every sunny piece of wood. There were only a couple of herons, though.

Cliff dwellings:

There were swallows (?) flitting in and out of these nests – but moving too fast to capture the images. All of these, and many more, were under the bridge. It was an excellent outing, well worth the stop. Going out toward the lake, there were many more dwellings and docks, but inland it was mostly natural world.

Then it was back on the road, aiming for Route 52 down to I-95, to make time. I stopped for another nap – after so little sleep, I certainly didn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel! and I finished the day at the Florida Welcome Center at about midnight. With 384 miles driven, plus a couple of hours kayaking, it was a long day!



Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 5

Solomons cloudsThursday and Friday, April 11 – 12: Julie went off to an appointment, and the parts for Joe’s shades were not due in until later in the day, so I organized my stuff and took the kayak out from the floating dock again. I managed to stay dry this time, too!

I went the other way this time, with gloriously beautiful weather, into all the nooks and crannies that make up this end of the creek. Solomons calm cornerThis boathouse had two boats in it – probably is worth more than my net worth!Solomons boathouseThere were, sadly, some dead wooden boats lying in the water:

Solomons dead boat 2

Across from Julie’s condo herons are nesting in a tree – or trying to! There seems to be some competition for the nest; several times I saw a heron fly in, chasing one or two others off. Then that bird would stand on the nest a while before flying off again.

Then it was over to Joe’s, where I worked a couple of hours, came back to visit with friends, and went back to work late into the night. Joe and Halit had left, so I didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone; when I’d had enough I went out to the Roadtrek and slept in the (dark, quiet, level) driveway, then in the morning completed what needed to be done. Then back to load up the kayaks, help with a couple of Julie’s shades, and head off to have lunch with cousin Kathy, whom I’ve not seen in years. And on to visit and have supper with Mark, in Takoma Park, and a night spent in the Sandy Spring Meeting parking lot – flat, dark, quiet.

One more of one of Joe’s tulips:Wake Robin tulip

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 4

Ooops – I posted the last one without adding in the last photo – we noticed the clouds were getting thicker and darker, and for the first paddle of the season, we’d been out long enough anyway. A stop to visit a friend along the way, and we were back and had the kayaks out of the camper just as it started to rain. And it poured! This was taken from Julie’s deck – it doesn’t quite catch the heavy wind-driven rain, but there it is.Solomons heavy rain

Tuesday, April 9: In the morning, I walked down to check and make sure Jaunty was riding well in her new slip, and this bluebird was checking out the end of the boom – for a nest, maybe?

Solomons bluebirdAnd these bluets were among the most blue I’ve seen!Solomons bluets

The commitment for the day was to go over to Joe’s  house, where insulated shades I made many years ago needed a tune-up. There were parts I hadn’t know I’d need, so Joe ordered them, and then we went on a tour of the gardens. He is an amazing gardener, specializing in azaleas, but as far as I can tell, if it flowers or has interesting foliage – or both! – he’ll find a place for it and nurture it.

These camellia blossoms were probably blown off in yesterday’s storm:

Wake Robin camellia

Wake Robin tulips

So, as I wasn’t able to work until parts came in, I went back to Julie’s and we took Jaunty out for a first sail. I hope I’m spelling the name the way Julie intends – she’s not had the boat long enough to actually apply the name on the stern, where it belongs. We sailed out of the slip, out the creek a ways, and then against the wind to return. It was a highly successful – if not always graceful! – voyage. Both of us have quite a bit of sailing experience, but every boat is different. This one did not glide as far as I’d expected, so we took the sail down a little too soon and had to raise it again to get back to the slip.

Wednesday, April 10: The adventure of the day was kayaking again. This time we went off the floating dock at the condos. This is not something I can always do successfully; I am not as agile as I once was, and often land in the water. But this time I stayed dry, both entering and exiting the kayak. It helps that the boat has a huge cockpit! We paddled out the creek and past the Marine Museum, looking at boats, enjoying perfect weather. A few from that paddle:

Solomons geeseSolomons hullSolomons sunset treesThe sun was setting as we came back in. It became the most glorious sunset of the trip – at least so far! Many were either out walking their dogs, or out for the photo op.Solomons sunset 1Solomons sunset 2Solomons sunset 3

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 3

Sunday, April 7: After going to Quaker worship (where I caught up with many friends, and delivered many containers of maple syrup) Julie and I took on the task of the day – moving her new-to-her boat from one slip to another. We did that under power – which meant getting the teen son to come start it. Once started, we had no trouble getting it to its new home. Under way:

Oyster Bay condos

And Jaunty at her new dock:

Solomons Jaunty in slip

One task while at Julie’s was to make valences for two insulated shades I’d made my last trip down, so we puttered on crafting stuff around other activities.

Monday, April 8: Kayak season is here again – “Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” I’m stealth camping here in the condo parking lot, feeling it better to ask forgiveness than permission, and being pretty sure the condo rules don’t allow camping. Which means we had to load the kayaks back into the Roadtrek to take them to another piece of water. We chose Nan’s Cove; I’ve paddled there before, and it’s not far from Solomons, but Julie had not been there. A beautiful day, not too windy, with some sun, we launched off the roller for kayaks and went around the edges of the cove. It looks like the ospreys have taken over the eagle’s nest.

Nan's Cove gooseThis turtle head was about the size of my clenched fist – the shell must have been huge, but it was shy and the water murky, so I didn’t get a good look.Nan's Cove turtle head

One of the neighbors here is Patuxent Naval Air Station. It is not the quietest of neighbors! Some of the aircraft drown out any pretense at speech, and this helicopter was pretty loud, too.Nan's Cove chopper

We went out into the Patuxent River, admiring the waterfowl:

And I liked the name on this boat.Nan's Cove No Doubt

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 2

Saturday, April 6: Spring is here in Maryland. Having so recently been surrounded by ice and snow, I spent some time walking around my aunt’s community admiring the blooms. Blakehurst forsythia

Blakehurst daffodilsBlakehurst maple

Having had good visits with both my cousin and my aunt, I left mid-afternoon. A friend in southern Maryland had tickets for us to attend an empty bowl supper. Traffic was mostly OK – except when it wasn’t! There were a couple of spots where we came to a halt – but the roadside was paved with daffodils. The photo leaves much to be desired, having been taken through the side window – but you get the idea!MD drifts of daffodils

Having visited with people I knew, and some I didn’t, and eating my fill of a variety of quite good homemade soups and salad, we headed on to Julie’s condo. That evening we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset.Solomons first sunset


Roadtrek Roadtrip, Spring 2019

CT snowdropsIt’s been a busy few weeks! A couple of trips to Connecticut (Snowdrops above, 3/12) to visit Mom, take her to appointments, and go to knitting group. Another trip to the Burlington area. And over a week spent trying to pry the Roadtrek out of the snow and off the ice that covered my driveway! I hopped in it the first time – and the brake peddle went to the floor. Not good. And one reason it didn’t want to move was the dismal tread on the tires. I was able to back it up until it got mired in about 10″ of snow – then it dug down to the ice beneath. I hauled countless buckets of sand up the hill on the sled, in addition to the sand I already had at the top, and spent over a week throwing sand around, trying to extract the beast, throwing more sand, putting a couple of old floor mats in front of the wheels, throwing sand, letting it sit while I went off and lived my life, throwing sand. Eventually, after returning home from Burlington the evening of 3/31, the snow had melted enough and there was enough sand down to get the Roadtrek out, turned around, and headed downhill. And after driving down the hill on Monday, I was able to drive the car all the way up for the first time in months – the camper packed down enough of the snow so the little Hyundai wasn’t having to plow its way! But Monday was also April Fools day – and when I went to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles to get the registration renewed, they gave me someone else’s – no, it’s not a Honda; no, I don’t live at that address – and no, that’s not my name! Which I didn’t realize, of course, until Tuesday evening, when I went to put it in the glove box. But Tuesday I was able to get new tires on the rear of the RT, and get them to bleed the brakes, which with a little more fluid was all it took to have them working correctly. I made it to Tuesday evening book discussion group. And started packing. And so –

Abruzzi Stables signWednesday, 4/3: I spent the morning packing and loading, having spent nearly five hours Tuesday getting vehicle repairs done, so I could travel safely. Then there were errands – pick up fresh eggs, drop off car keys with a friend who will use the car, go back to DMV and get the correct registration card – and then I was able to really leave. It was extremely windy – along one of the highways the hemlocks looked turned inside-out. Streams were full, and the milky green of glacier melt as they tumbled over the rocks. I thought about stopping for a photo, but didn’t. Instead of driving all the way to Baltimore, I stopped in Bennington, where my friend Jane lives. This is a family compound – Jane has the old farm house, her son and his family have built a newer house, and her daughter runs Abruzzi Stables, with an apartment somewhere up around the barns. I had to use all my weight to push open the driver door against the wind, and walked down to the entry drive to watch the trees thrash.Abruzzi Stables wind!

Crocus were blooming here – again,  no photo, as I was too busy visiting.

Thursday, 4/4: I showered in their unoccupied Air B&B rental unit, had breakfast, and went up to say good-bye to Jane, pulling out shortly before 9AM. It was a beautiful day, a little less windy than Wednesday, and I went over to New York State and down the scenic route. This classic Caddy was in front of me for quite a while:

Classic carI don’t think the LEDs in the rear window are original. I was able to get this photo as we were stopped for a single lane underpass – wouldn’t have wanted to meet that tanker truck coming the other way!

By dinner time I’d pulled in to my aunt’s retirement community; I had dinner with Anne, then went to cousin Theo’s to spend the night and visit with her, and cat Charlie – he was featured in a post from last year.

Friday, April 5: It’s my late husband’s birthday. He would be glad I’m still making good use of his beloved Roadtrek. He would be glad I’m making this trip to see his youngest granddaughter in Florida, and visit his North Carolina cousins. His spirit will go kayaking with me, and wandering the back roads. I’m very grateful for all he added to my life, in addition to the RT and grandchildren and family. Thank you.

Northern Vermont

Jericho soufleSoufflé by Bill – Friday night dinner

Friday, March 15: After lunch with friends, I headed up to the Burlington area in northern Vermont, particularly to go to a concert that night. It was Québecfest – a combination of two Québecois traditional groups, Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan. Between the eight musicians, they played 10 different kinds of instruments – three fiddles, a couple of bouzouki, a few guitars, a piano, a hurdy-gurdy (first time I’ve seen one in real life!), a couple of button accordions, mandolin, harmonica, jaw harps, and sound boards to amplify the foot tapping rhythms. To say nothing of vocals – they all sang, individually and in combination. There were two pairs of brothers. But they all acted like brothers – egging each other on, playing what seemed like word games – although I don’t have French, so who knows?!? The energy of this group was non-stop, and while the noise level was a little louder than any of our group found ideal, I really enjoyed the performance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the camera. Usually one cannot take photos of performers at the Flynn, but it was OK that night as long as you weren’t using flash. And the Flynn is a gorgeous refurbished art deco theater, built in 1930. I wish I had a couple of photos of the interior. Next time…

Saturday I spent knitting and catching up on e-mail and blogging. Sister and brother-in-law went out to another concert, classical this time; I stayed home and went to bed early.

St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday March 17: We awoke to a couple of inches of light fluffy snow on the ground. It was off to Quaker meeting with Burlington Friends, for a discussion followed by worship, with fellowship before, after, and in between. The guys went out and pushed the light snow out of the way.

BFM Quakers shovel

Then grocery shopping, and home again. On the way we stopped so I could get photos of the mostly frozen Winooski River – my usual launch is just to the right of the bridge from which the first photo was taken. Winooski R bridge

Camel’s Hump is the mountain sticking up in the left photo. And below is the stretch I most frequently paddle:Winooski R open waterSo no. No paddling yet! There are a few patches of open water between the solid icy spots, and spring is coming –

Around New England

It’s been a long time since I last posted. It’s not like I’ve been kayaking – this is what the poor boats were hiding behind yesterday, and that’s after a very warm day and lots of rain in yesterday’s thunderstorm! All that knocked the level of snow down by about 8 inches.

But not much longer now – and my body is so ready to stretch itself out paddling! If I’d thought to tag along with my sister and brother-in-law this morning, I’d have been able to take a photo of the mostly iced Winooski River – another reason to not have the boat on the car.

Still, I’m putting many miles on the car – weekly trips to Connecticut to see Mom, a couple of trips to the Burlington area to see my sister, and a trip back to Portland in late February to deliver a pile of small knitted toys for the Friends School Portland auction, coming up in a couple of weeks. And hang out and knit, and help hang a couple of insulated shades in the guest bedroom before the exchange student comes.

stuffed toys

Some of these I’ve knit multiple times now – I’ve nearly finished the third owl, and I have a second alien. (Owl number two was given to one of the Quaker Knitting Goddesses when I stopped in Concord, NH to visit on my way home.)

I spent a day helping a friend with chores and visiting; Russell Royalty thought that the thing to do was to toss his fresh hay in the water tank – which was freshly filled. And I thought it was raccoons who washed their food!

Tommy Esty

One busy weekend, I volunteered at the library, went to a presentation about the history of a local airport, and gathered for pot luck with a group of friends on Saturday, then Sunday worshiped with my Quaker community, met friends and carpooled over to Weston, where there was a group show of local artists, one of whom is a good friend of our crowd. Weston is an old Vermont town; I admired this door as we walked over to the art exhibit.

Grafton door

Of course, with the snow comes the opportunity to take some interesting photos – when I remember to put the camera in my pocket, anyway.


But spring is just around the corner – maple sap is flowing, sugaring has begun in the local woods, and mud season is making driving on some back roads more of an adventure than I need. Soon I’ll be able to pry the kayaks out, and get the Roadtrek out of its snowbank and on the road!