Roadtrek Roadtrip, Vermont – Maryland and on to South Carolina

Friday, October 14: I joined my Bennington, Vermont friend for breakfast (and reattached a button to the sweater I knit for her a while ago), and headed west through Troy, New York and southwest down to Pennsylvania. The above photo was taken at a New York rest area; the colors were great. Driving does get in the way of photography, though – I would have liked a photo of the tree that was so bright a hot pink/red/dayglo orange I had to close my eyes when I looked directly at it! It was in a small suburban yard, with busy traffic and no place to stop, though. Great color continued into Pennsylvania, with the leaves becoming less intense as I drove further south. My goal for the day: a friend in Montgomery Village, and that’s where I spent the night.

Saturday, October 15: In the morning, we went our separate ways – but not before I took photos of the red tree in his front yard,

and the “fox” hunting the neighbor “geese” –

I was headed to Bowling Green, Virginia, where three of us converged, from Vermont, southern Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia. It was Harvest Festival in town – wall to wall people, a car show, live music, crafts and local farm products, and fair food. We shared the most odd egg rolls I’ve ever met, filled with chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens!! Dipped (gently) in a spicy sauce, they weren’t bad, but not something I’m likely to crave. I walked a little further than my joints were happy with – and one of my friends caught a golf cart ride for me back to the camper, for which I was very grateful. And then on to Interstate 95 – boring boring boring driving, through Richmond and Petersburg, and exiting Virginia into North Carolina.

I really like how North Carolina highlights symbols of their state in the terrazzo floors in their welcome centers – this is not the first time the cardinal and dogwood have appeared in the blog. I slept in a couple of rest areas, making it about half way through the state – I wanted to be in Conroy, South Carolina by late morning. And I was; the driving was much more interesting once I left the big highway and headed down the secondary highways. 

Japanese (?) Maple winged seeds at a North Carolina rest area

Sunday, October 16: It was HOT! I sat outside with the cousins for a while, but the heat (82 F, 28 C) – even in the shade – eventually chased us inside. (I am not posting the photo I took of the three of them, two adults and dog, all napping while I knitted!) We went out to dinner in Murrells Inlet, seeking and finding seafood at The Claw House; great food, excellent service in a very busy restaurant with a water view. This is one of a couple of large fish tanks.

These are the greeters as you arrive:

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Spring Edition

If you were wondering what the state flower and bird of North Carolina are, the floor of the Welcome Center is happy to show you – dogwood and cardinal. Yes, I’m on the road again; I left Monday, and by Tuesday morning was in Richmond to visit friends there. Then yesterday drove down to South Carolina to visit cousins. I’m sitting out on the back deck, in the shade with a nice gentle breeze, and a nice gentle dog, and a glorious, just starting to bloom magnolia.

Kayaking the Cashie River, North Carolina

North Carolina benchHaving spent a week longer than planned with the North Carolina cousins, while the response to the corona pandemic evolved, I headed north, for home, rather than continuing on to Santa Fe which had been my plan. Driving the Roadtrek means I have my house with me, and physical distancing is really easy – and kayaking is, by definition, a distancing activity.

I missed a turn in Windsor, NC, which led me past a boat launch sign – so of course I had to stop!   NC Cashie River signIt was another beautiful day. When one leaves the launch, the first thing of note is a boardwalk with rentable tree houses – closed, presumably because of Covid-19.

NC Cashie R. view SENC Cashie R. under bridgeGoing under this bridge, things became more confusing; the course of the river was not clear. I wandered into several dead ends,   NC Cashie R. backwaterNC Cashie R. dead endNC Cashie R. poison ivybefore getting tired of dodging the rampant poison ivy! I did find the primary course of the river, and headed up it. There were lots of turtles, but only a few were willing to have their photo taken.

The river is nothing like straight – I only went a mile or two, as the crow flies, but I was out for hours and must have gone many times that! I turned around at NC Cashie R. wetlands walk signNC Cashie R. boardwalkNC Cashie R. prayer of woodsThere were lots of interesting reflections:   NC Cashie R. cypress reflectionNC Cashie R. shadow reflection

NC Cashie R. duck box reflectionThe water was high – this dock was under water both coming and going, the entire time I was out.NC Cashie R. under waterNC Cashie R. irisNC Cashie R. orange climberNC Cashie R. GBH in treeAnd a return to the launch – and the Roadtrek.   NC Cashie R. kayak launch

Kayaking the Newport River

Signs of the times:

Newport River launch

I spent several hours on the Newport River. It was very windy, so I wanted a sheltered place to paddle. It was a glorious day – again – and for once, I timed my paddle right for the tides. The current carried me up, and then carried me back downstream. Newport River heading outThe river is lined with cypress trees, and their knees.Newport River cypressNewport River cypress kneesAnd the water was the color of coffee, with milk – anything more than a couple of inches below the surface was hidden. Newport River view

With the tide high, water was flowing in among the trees. Newport River into swamp 2Newport River into swampI couldn’t resist the reclining recliner –  Newport River recline I turned around when Momma and her 10 or so babies were clearly unhappy with me behind them. No point in stressing out a new mother! Those little guys were really kicking up some spray. Newport River Mom & flockIt’s obvious that humans have been wielding chainsaws to keep the river open. Or maybe for firewood, as clearly not all that was cut is still there. Newport River cleared logBut there are also beavers at work here. Newport River beaver chew

Newport River beaver lodgeAnd then there were more reflections:  Newport River claw reflectionNewport River palms reflectThere was a lot of bird life: some hawks and vultures, owls calling loudly at each other, lots of woodpeckers that I heard but never saw. I could see some of the results, though. Newport River peckedWhile out, I saw one other kayak; there were boat trailers in the lot, but they were clearly heading downstream, not up. Social distancing made easy, fun, beautiful.

Kayaking Calico Creek

Calico Creek Conchs Point signIn Morehead City, one of several launch sites: Calico Creek public water accessI went upstream/up tide/up wind up Calico Creek. Good exercise! This is very inhabited, although less so once one gets up beyond a small bridge – Calico Creek upstreamThere were lots – LOTS! – of gulls and terns and cormorants. Calico Creek old dock/birdsCalico Creek laughing gullsNot all were practicing social distancing.  Most impressive were the egrets, both Great and Snowy: Calico Creek great egretCalico Creek snowy egret plumesI wonder who dresses his hair?!? I sat and watched him fish for quite a while, although I had to wedge myself between some of those mollusks Calico Creek mollusksto not drift rapidly out with the tide. It made photography challenging.

This heron was more shy, keeping its distance.Calico Creek GBH

Calico Creek indecisionIt’s hard to read – it says “DOCK OF INDECISION” at the head of the dock. Calico Creek view 2And then it was back to the waiting Roadtrek. This is definitely not a ramp in the civilized sense of the term, but made for a great place to launch. I wouldn’t want to do it without shoes, though – lots of sharp shells, and some glass.  Calico Creek RT awaits

Kayaking Bogue Sound, West

Bogue Sound NCLast time I went east; this time I went west. Again, I was out as soon as the sun was up.

Cormorants:

Bogue Sound palms

Bogue Sound gooseSmall craft warnings – it’s metal, so looks like it’s always blowing!  Bogue Sound small craft warningsApartments and condos:

Bogue Sound apartmentThis is the same Atlantic Beach bridge from the other day – but about five miles further west! It was taken in color, but it doesn’t look it! Bogue Sound Atlantic BeachAnd the snow birds are heading north.