The Roadtrek and I are Home Again

My last night on the road was spent in the Green Mountain National Forest, on the town line between Sunderland and Stratton. The road was closed to the campsite I wanted, so I ended up right next to the road. But there were only two vehicles between bedtime and dawn, so it was very quiet, and level enough, and certainly dark! There were some raindrops in the night, but the sun was out in the morning. There were some wildflowers around; this was all within a few feet of the camper. I know the one on the left is wild strawberry; I think the one on the right is a vibernum. I’ve never seen the one in the center before; as far as I could tell without damaging it, it had no leaves.

I went on to Chester, to Six Loose Ladies, for Wednesday morning knitting group, then, with stops at the Post Office to collect my accumulated mail, and the library to return the book I’d taken on this trip, I was home again. I don’t have the statistics with me; I know it was over 2,000 miles, but don’t have the total fuel or cost for my two and a half weeks on the road. I do know that the gas mileage was a disappointing 13 miles per gallon; time to go see the mechanic.

And today it is raining – I’m hanging out with friends, and later will head out to knitting.

Leaving Maryland, Starting North

Yes, I have left Maryland, heading for home. The first rose photo was taken when I arrived in Maryland, and was the only one blooming on that bush. I love the color! When I left four days later, the entire plant had burst into bloom!

I got a late start yesterday; there had been ferocious thunderstorms Sunday night, making for interrupted sleep. I didn’t pull out until about 11. Then road construction sent me on an unlabeled detour at Baltimore, and then there was a major accident (three police cars weaving their way through four lanes of stopped traffic! At least three fire trucks, and more police cars.) well east on Route 1. I did make it to my planned camping spot before dark – barely! – and was pleased; I stayed in a free Pennsylvania Delaware State Forest campsite. They do have to be reserved, but this time I was able to do it by phone. The reservation was supposed to show up on my e-mail, but didn’t, but no one came by to check, and I had a dark and level and mostly quiet (an occasional car on the road past) night. And slept exceedingly well!

This was a former CCC site, and there was not much evidence that they’d been here, just this lump of concrete, and what might have been a foundation – but there was too much poison ivy for me to go check it out! I’m itching now, just thinking about it and seeing it in the foreground of that lump of concrete:

There was a small stream just behind the camper – but the photo I took didn’t do it justice. Can you even see that there’s a stream?

I pulled out shortly after 8 this morning, and it’s not far to New York. Or New Jersey, for that matter, but I’m not going that way!

Family Filled Weekend

Tulips in front of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland

This weekend was the memorial service in Baltimore for my uncle (who died just after Thanksgiving at 101!) and his wife who died shortly after. Yesterday had intermittent rain and drizzle, but it never rained hard while I was walking from place to place, and it kept things cool. These tulips were in front of the church, adding a bit of cheer to a dreary day. Then we walked a couple of blocks – even my 96 year old aunt! – to the Maryland Club for the reception; lots of family visiting, with cousins coming in from the northeast, southwest, and west coast, and his wife’s family from North Carolina, and maybe other places. And there is still family in the Baltimore/Washington DC area. The food was amazing – there was one station with crab cakes, and I did my share; there also was a Middle Eastern table with roasted veggies, a couple of kinds of hummus, a few kinds of pita bread, stuffed grape leaves, etc. Waitstaff also circulated with trays of small munchies – mini beef Wellington, cheesy little bites, spanikopita, etc. There was also an open bar, but mostly I stuck with ice water. Their idea of a glass of wine was a large glass, filled to the rim – fine for those not driving, but I didn’t need it!

Today was the burial for them in the family plot in Prince Frederick, at the church across the street from the ancestral homes, where my grandparents and great grands raised their families.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Prince Frederick, Maryland

The reception that followed was at Linden, which was purchased by my great-grandfather in 1888, and where my grandfather and his siblings were raised. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and more spiffed up every time I visit. Two of my great aunts lived there until their deaths, roughly 100 years later, and at that time my grandfather gifted it to St. Paul’s; about 10 years after that the county acquired it for the use of the historical society and they manage it today. And they roll out the red carpet when the family wants to host events there – the director had brought out binders of clippings and photos of our family and Linden through the decades.

It has been great to spend time with the extended family, of several generations, telling stories, comparing memories of our grandparents and great aunts. I was able to hand off the green sweater ( to my cousin; talk to the next cousin in line for a sweater about style, trace one he brought that fits him well, and have him choose yarn; discuss with his daughter what she wants, and she has chosen yarn. So I have more knitting projects lined up from the yarn my aunt passed on to me!

Irises in the Garden

My friend here in southern Maryland was given more bearded irises than she knew what to do with – she gave many away, but there are still two large iris beds with very happy flowers – especially with last night’s rain! 

Finished Sewing Projects

This was the first priority; my granddaughter had given me three lengths of sari fabric. The color of this one is perfect for my sister, and she requested a wrap skirt – something with plenty of room for her cello to nestle amongst its folds. So here’s the finished product. I completed everything but the hem in South Carolina; that happened today. I also completed the simple dress below; I picked up the fabric (of unidentified fiber content, but probably natural) at a friend’s yard sale last year. My friend ran it through the washing machine while I was in Virginia, and today I ironed it. It’s something with no front or back; the pockets will go either way, and the neckline is the same.

So yes, I have moved on. I left Virginia late afternoon, and got in to my friends’ house in southern Maryland at about 7.

Morning on the Patio

Yesterday was a driving day; I took not a single photo. But this morning, back in Richmond, we are sitting on the back patio, in perfect temperatures, with sun and blue sky, looking across the wooded ravine, listening to the mellow tones of the new wind chime. And note: one can make art from anything: here’s the owl.

Kayaking in South Carolina

Monday, May 9, Conway, South Carolina: Today was my first day on the water this season. The Waccamaw River winds through Conway; there’s a boat ramp on it not far from the cousin’s house. That’s where I started out. I opted to go upstream/current and up wind.

The dominant tree along the river is cypress; I’ve always loved these trees, with their knees and buttressed trunks.

There was one small creek that I followed until a sunken tree blocked my way.

And some of the cypress had very sculptural parts.

There were lots of very shy turtles – one small one was shy enough to get itself stuck between cypress knees trying to get into the water to get away from me! I went back and pulled it out, and it shoved itself off my hand and into the water before I could get a photo. Back out on the Waccamaw, the turtles were not so shy.

The other notable wild things were the spider lilies. I’ve seen them in Florida, but not here – they are spectacular wildflowers!

There were several of these little pocket beaches along the river.

I went up as far as downtown Conway, and the parks there, and turned around at the old Route 501 bridge.

This No Wake Zone marker was lying down on the job:

And this fern was growing in its own little garden.

I was out for a lot longer than I thought I would be for my first time out – about 1 3/4 hours. it was a perfect start to the season, with new places to explore, old favorites like cypress and spider lilies to see, and some great wildlife sightings. The best of those happened too fast to get out the camera: a Great Blue Heron flew in front of me – with a snake for its next meal in its mouth!

Mother’s Day Weekend in South Carolina

This was the progress made on framing the garden shed, on two partial days over the weekend. Everyone is pleased – including Amber, who had many people around to throw her ball for her!

This morning, we went for a drive to check out a couple of kayak launches. One I’d seen before, and one is only appropriate if you want to fish; I may check out the third tomorrow if the weather’s good.

Another South Carolina Day

The magnolia in the back yard is really starting to hit its stride in terms of opening blossoms – more every day. It is just large enough to provide shade for a couple of chairs – although we tend to stay on the deck under the awning.

Today was a construction day here, with the lumber delivered this morning, and the guys getting the walls framed for a garden shed. Four generations of family gathered in the evening for ribs, salads, asparagus, watermelon, deviled eggs, and Boston Cream Pie, with food provision done by about five of us. With four working on the construction project, the only ones not contributing were the year old baby – and the dog. The dog was more interested in taking exception to the birds daring to enter her yard!  This mockingbird was in and out of the space numerous times.