Saturday, November 21, 2009

RPC YA RoadTrip

Out with the RPC YA Group to Philadelphia Premier Outlets, in Limerick PA. Close enough to theLimerick Nuclear Power Plant to see the cooling towers up close. RoadAbode made for a comfy lounge for people to grab some soup, or for a little one to watch a movie, or do some homework. I even did did a bit of web surfing. We had a great spot along a patch of lawn that Molly could enjoy. It was even warm enough, unlike last year, to sit out and enjoy the sunshine.
Was nice to enjoy time together.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taking in Lancaster

In Lancaster at one of our favorites, Country Acres in Gordonville. This time we have along Brenda, Amy's cousin from Kentucky. We decided to try the tour offered by the campground. The Tour leaves from the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant and Inn, and takes about two hours.
When Amy first reserved, we tried to get the 11am Tour, but the 25 passenger tour bus was already full. We opted to go to the earlier 8:45am tour. We were all glad we decided to go!
Chris Lapp, our tour guide was a young man who is a Mennonite. He brought along his young daughter who was an angel, and very well behaved ( a good singer too!). When not giving tours of the Lancaster area, he is a teacher at a Mennonite school. He taught us a lot about the area, and history of the Amish, along with a lot of antidotes from his own family background growing up in the area. Chris showed and explained some of the differences of the Amish lifestyle, and how to tell an Amish farm from an "English" farm. Things we learned we did not know before included that the farm wagons cannot have rubber tires (must be steel) that diesel or air driven machinery can be used, and that the Amish can have cell phones for business use. These rules are set by the particular bishops for their area. On the back roads and routes that Chris chose, we were able to see many examples of the beautiful and simple lives of these faithful people. We also stopped at a few farm and family run stores, including the Quilt shop owned by Chris' mother. He explained the intricate details of these works of art. One one or two quilts are created by a woman in a year.


Dolls on the shelves at the Quilt Shop
We also stopped at a candle shop and petting zoo, and a farm bakery, where we had fresh-made pretzels and homemade root beer! Was a great treat! We had fun talking with Chris, the other passengers, and seeing the beautiful Lancaster Countryside!
After our tour, we had lunch at Bird-in-Hand, a great buffet including some local specialties. Then we walked around the Farmers Market - which was very crowded, and checked out their wares. Then a quick trip to the Quilt Museum by the Kitchen Kettle complex. Finally around 1pm we headed back toward home base.
Right now resting up to go eat later at Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant for dinner. A busy but great day!


On a Amish tour today

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RoadAbode's Checkup

Made an appointment and took RoadAbode to Bergy's Truck Center for her annual checkup and inspection. We've had RoadAbode five years now, so I wanted to have a good thorough going over of her engine and chassis. As I thought we needed new brakes. in fact, I had burned a rotor - probably the hills of Skyline Drive were the last straw. New filters for oil, air and fuel, and since the one rotor was burned with it's pads, had all the wheels pulled and the calipers lubricated. Oil change - and had all the fluids checked- antifreeze was still good for another year.
She's all ready for another year.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Slow-Moving Sunday

Chilly night! woke to find you could see your breath, though snuggled under covers, couldn't feel it. A hit the heater switch on, and was first up and out with Molly for a short walk around the campground. She started breakfast as well - pancakes- and we still weren't stirring. Finally started to move, the girls looking at some cable TV, and setting up the breakfast table. spent the morning pulling ourselves together as it started to warm up. Hit the showers, and then started packing up RoadAbode. - no rush, but got everything stowed and either disconnected, or connected by Noon. Decided to take it home leisurely, and just followed Rt. 202 all the way to RoadAbode's home. Stopped in King of Prussia at a Subway for lunch, and enjoyed our meal in RoadAbode sitting in the Parking lot.
A great weekend of de-compression.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chester County Weekend

Thismonth's adventure with RoadAbode is in Chester County, at the KOA of WestChester. Not sure if this is really West Chester, but we are in the Brandywine Valley, home to horse farms, the Wyeth Family, the Duponts, and mushrooms. Usually when we vist this area we stop in to see Longwood Gardens, but this time we actually came to visit the KOA. E wanted to go canoeing again, and this time A and K wanted to give it a try as well. The KOA has a small rental fleet of canoes, and the Brandywine that it borders is slow moving with shallow water to give them a safe and relatively easy taste of paddling slow water.
Friday Night
We left Friday Night after a full day at work or school for each of us. Drive down was mostly painless, just a bit slow on the blue route (476) after exit 9 for Route 3, and right before Route 1 passes thru Ridley Park area.
We arrived at the KOA by 8:30pm, and were escorted to our site. The Campground's (or "Kampground" in KOA parlance) office and activity center are beautiful, as is the pool and newer looking cabins (kabins). The roads and sites themselves, however, could use some more gravel or paving. Still, the campground has a nice setup, with a central location to what we wanted to do.
Our evening was taken with leveling and setting up the basics, and getting Friday Nite Pizza going. After dinner, we enjoyed a little cable then off to bed. Fell to sleep to the sound of a light rain on RoadAbode's roof.

Saturday
Everybody slept in for the morning (except A and Molly) and we got a late start. Had a great breakfast of eggs and sausage to start the day, then got cleaned up and dressed. Most of the morning it drizzled or rained on and off. Once the weather broke, we took a walk around to check out the surroundings. Even with a decently steady rain, the Brandywine seemed fine for canoeing.
First though, we wanted the sun to come out and warm things a bit.

We headed out to a place I've wanted to hit for some time, Cajun Kates. Voted both Best of Philly and Delaware County for 2009 for Cajun food, is a small counter front resturant in Booth's Corner Farmers Market in Boothwyn PA. Turns out this place is as much a draw as the food at Cajun Kates. About 40 minutes away from the campground, the time passed quickly as we passed the horse farms and the girls sang their favorite tunes - acapella. The farmers market was filled with a mix of dry goods, Amish meats, candy counters, baked goods, vegetables stands, antiques. If you couldn't find it here - you may not need it! After wandering around and buying a few things, we found Cajin Kates. Only 6 stools in front of a small, almost inconspicuous stand. Behind the counter four guys filling orders as fast as they come, with a frenzy of customers coming to pickup pre-ordered meals, or jumping onto a stool as soon as it's vacated. We ordered Jambalya, and Crispy Cajun Mac & Cheese with Crab & Andouille Sausage to go. We also got two "gator on a stick" to sample on the way home. After getting the prize I came for, we set off toward home base. The gator was basically a sausage speared on a stick . more greasy than expected, but spicy and delicious. Worth the ride for sure!
The girls liked it also, but not as much as I did.

Once back, we took Molly out for a walk, and headed to the office to start our Canoeing adventure. Once we got our life jackets and paddles, we walked down the hill to the river. I gave a little lesson on how to steer, then sent K & E off to paddle upstream, while I setup A and myself at the launch. The girls needed a little more instruction on how to paddle and keep pointing where you want to go. While doing this, my wallet and phone (together in a zip lock bag) ended up missing. Looking downstream, about 50 yards we saw something plastic shine in the water. We turned and headed toward, and sure enough, it was my package of important items that had slipped out of my pocket. Blessed break!
We turned back and headed back to the girls and continued on our explore. The water was very clear, and the girls were excited to see some catfish swimming by. We had this part of the river to ourselves, as we past railway, old horse farms, and palatial McMansions, all sharing the banks of the Brandywine. Before we knew it, it was time to turn and head back. No one fell in, no one got overly wet, and all enjoyed the ride. They all want to try something a little longer next time - perhaps like Wading Pines in the NJ Pine Barrens.
We returned our rented gear, picked up some firewood for later, then went back to RoadAbode and took Molly on her own explore. Met a few other dog owners and chatted a bit. Then back to RoadAbode and warmed up our selections from Cajun Kates. Great Jambalaya and the mac and cheese was like none I've had before. Another great meal. Topped it all off with ice cream from the campground, and then a fire to bring in a beautiful sunset. Saw a line of over 50 geese fly ovehead as the stars started to show - quite a sight! Met Baily the Golden Retriever - Who get's around on four wheels - lost a leg to cancer Very friendly and walked over to meet us. Soon the temperature was dropping it got cooler, and the girls headed in to enjoy some of Mike Rowe's adventures on the Discovery Channel.
A cup of coffee, some snacks, and checking on here brings an end to the day.
Great day!



Monday, September 21, 2009

Hershey Weekend

Headed to the "Land of Chocolate" - Hershey PA, this Weekend. I really enjoy Hershey in the fall, and this weekend did not disappoint. Added bonus was the RV Show was at the Giant Complex, and was for us the featured attraction. We drugg some friends along as well. Had a Water and Electric Cable Spot, and they a cabin.
Even though I took a half day, we still didn't make it up there til after 8pm. K stuck at school, and picking up my buddy Kev and son L slowed us down a bit (His wife Leanne came up Sat after lil K. Swim Lessons) After figuring out how best to strap a car seat to the dinette (a feat accomplished by AM) we were off down the highway to Hershey. Taking the Turnpike to Lebanon/Lancaster, then following the signs to Hershey was a pretty direct and easy route. Passed plenty of farmland, but they are building a bit of it up with new homes. Passed the Milton Hersey School and Hershey Medical Center along the way, both pretty impressive for being out in the "country".
After setting up the basics, and Kev got acclimatized to the cabin (Was one spot further away than expected) I picked up dinner at Pizza Hut - Two cheese crust-filled pizzas - and headed to the porch of the cabin to munch. The cabin is a nice setup, a porch with table, a front room with Bunks, Table, and refrigerator, and a rear bedroom. They have air and heating as well, but no running water.
We all settled in after eating by around 10:30pm or so.

Saturday Morning, we got Molly out for her walk, and got coffee and tea water on. Am made a great breakfast of eggs, sausage, and pancakes - some even with chocolate chips or walnuts. After breakfast cleanup, we headed to the RV show. Caught the shuttle over and made it to the show by about 10am or so.
It's interesting when you see a sea of people waiting in line, but get to zip by - the campground shuttle had it's own entryway, so we were in pretty quickly. First place we hit was where K wanted to go, Newmar. Sadly, we found out they are discontinuing her favorite Model - the All-Star. The mid-engine Spartan chassis are no longer being manufactured, so the line needed to be discontinued. It was a really innovative platform to design a motorhome on!. They did have Baystars and CanyonStar available to check out though - some with bunks like what we are currently intrigued with.
The girls wanted to show Kev the Seasonals with the second floors for kids, and we also got to see some ultra lite hybrids and Winnebago's offerings. Between potty breaks I picked up some New England Brochures in the Giant center for next years trip up that way. Didn't really see anything vendor-wise that interested me. We received word that Leanne and K were just about at Hershey, so we hit back toward the shuttle to the campground. Once they got their things in the cabin, we enjoyed a light lunch together and just caught up a bit. After lunch, it was on the shuttle again, but this time to ChocolateWorld, where you learn how Hershey's Chocolate is made. A fun ride thru the "factory" and best yet at the end - free chocolate! This time around it was a handful of kisses that we each received. After our ride, lil K and E became "factory workers" and packaged up some kisses - with some special love thrown in for good measure. After our chocolate adventures, we went back over to the RV show, and took in some of Tiffin's and Roadtrek's offerings. Tiffin really had some great features at their site - beautiful motorhomes! Roadtrek, which specialized in B class motorhomes, had interesting concepts, but still a lot of money for what you get. But if I won the lottery I'd get a Tiffin with a RoadTrek Toad! We wandered around just a bit more, but the little ones got tired pretty quick, and that leads to either nap-in-place, or a bit of the crankies. So, didn't see all of the show, but how many slide out/dinette table bedroom/bath combos can you look at?
One cool little A class we saw was the Avanti by Damon This little diesel-powered wonder had a decent amount of space, with a cool pull down bed over the driver and passenger. Great wrap around booth as well. They called it "Yacht Styling". Claims to get 14mpg - not to bad for a home on wheels! Wonder what the ccc on it was.
We headed out and home for dinner between 4 & 5 pm. The little ones got their first ride on a "yellow cheese bus" - our shuttle was a commandeered school bus. After I chucked some charcoal in the fire pit, Kev channeled his inner chef and made some great brats and cheeseburgers for everyone. Coupled with some salads, beans and chips, made for a good meal. Topped off with a little zinfandel or wine coolers, was a nice night. And for dessert/ s'mores, and a little later a treat of ice cream at the camp store, on Uncle Kev and Aunt Leanne. Thanks guys! Grabbed a shower at the office shower house (think it's nicer - and warmer than the others.)We all retired pretty early, and covered up as the stars came out and the cool night air made us snuggle under the blankets or sleeping bags. Slept pretty well, except for the train or two that passed in the night. An active freight line passes by the campground - and this year seemed nosier than other times we've been here.
Sunday had another great breakfast of pancakes egg and sausage. Seemed there was more of a chill in the air than the previous morning. The kids didn't seem to mind, but parents chased after to keep 'em warm anyway.
We headed over to ChocolateWorld to do the ride- again - and do a bit of shopping. We also decided to do the 3-d movie they have. It was much more fun, but every bit of hoke-y that I expected. Girls really got a kick out of it. After buying some snacks for on the way home, we hopped a shuttle again, and headed back to camp to pull out. Kev, Leanne and family left before us and we shared hugs and goodbyes all around. (we still had to dump and hook up RoadToad, no use in waiting for that)

Ride home after hooking up (dumping and Hooking RoadToad took about a total of 30 min) was nice and easy. As we passed signs for Hopewell on the Turnpike, I tried to entice the girls to play hooky and camp out another day and do some hiking. They wanted to get back to go to school! What's wrong with kids today? =p
After dropping of RoadAbode, we were home and comfy by about 5pm. Great weather, Great Time, Good eats, Good Company. That makes for a Pretty Awesome Weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More blueberries!

Multimedia message

Blueberries from our campsite!

Promiseland S.P. Explore

Late morning, took a walk with Am and Molly @ 8am very foggy and misty - like we were walking thru clouds. Am made a Great breakfast of pancakes! Plain, blueberry - even walnut! Coffee and fresh orange juice complemented for a great breakfast.
Didn't sleep well, keep dreaming about how to get the RPC Rainbarrels to be more efficient in collecting and storing water.
Around 10am we finally got ourselves together to take a hike at Conservation Island, a beautiful area with moss covered rocks, fields of fern, and plenty of high-bush blueberry to snack on the way. After Conservation Island, we checked out the Promiseland Store, and the Concession Stand @ the Lake Beach. Drove to the Bear Wallow Nature observation area, and Did a full drive around the lake. Back by around 1pm for a simple lunch of soup and crackers. May check out the Concession Stand for a quick dinner later.
Had a shower (The best showers I've ever seen in a state park) then caught up on some reading.

Right now the girls are picking more blueberries right at our campsite, as the perimeter of our site is edged by high-bush blueberry. Good eatin', and great fun!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rainy Ride and Dining in Promiseland

This weekend's adventure is a trip to Promise land State Park, near Greentown, PA. A large state park, it has gotten some great review at RV Park Reviews on the web. Ended up having to state at work longer that expected, we still got on the road by about 2pm. Slow ups on the Northeast Turnpike caused us to take about 3 1/2 hours to get to our campsite. We stopped at the Park office, and Am inquired about a local pizza joint. Before the ranger could make a recommendation, a fellow camper blurted out - Oh, you gotta go to Promiseland Inn! We took him up on his recommendation.
Was a new experience for the girls, they had never been in a small-town bar/eatery before. They were a bit uneasy at first, but took to the place once the food came around. We dined on appetizers of Perogies and "Nacho Grande" The perogies were wonderful, slightly crispy on the edges with doughy goodness on the inner parts, filled with mashed potato with a hint of bacon. Yummy. The Nachos were the strangest Nachos we've ever encountered. a fried tortia bowl, on it's side, filled to overflowing with a mix of lettuce, salsa, black olives, kidney beans, chili ground beef, and drizzled over with cheese sauce. strange, but we enjoyed every bite!
Then came out our main course, an x-large half pepperoni pizza. Thin crust, with the pepperoni almost crisp, it was very tasty. Washed down with either fountain coke, or local made birch beer, it was a great meal.
I'd recommend stopping by if you are camping in Promiseland.
Once back at camp, we watch a little TV, and then off to bed, falling asleep to the sound of the rain. Good start to the weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Monday

Slept Late, had a pancake breakfast Am made, then after a short walk to the lake, and hanging around camp headed out to Good's Store & Shady Maple. We did the Smorgasbord this time around, but the lunch menu. Everyone enjoyed their meals, especially the girls whom created some inspired Gelaitis. Made a trip to Shady Maple's Gift Store to look around, then to the grocery to pick up a few favorites.
Back at camp, took Molly on the trails, and then we all went to play mini-golf. At the last hole, it started to drop a few big drops from the sky, and halfway home the rains came. The tree cover helped us stay a bit drier, but we were still quite damp. Got settled in, had some snacks, and then settled in to listen to the rain roll into a thunderstorm, and watch a little tv. soon, everyone is snooozing - except me. Was a good, restful day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Skunk!

Not Actual Skunk
Am took Molly out for her last "outing" for the evening, and out front of RoadAbode, saw a "cat" scurry across the street in front of her and Molly. Heard the neighbors dog give chase across their site in the darkness. Am continued up the street and then circled back. Found out from the neighbor it wasn't a cat. Their dog got a good shot from a skunk - and you could smell it in the neighborhood too. Shook Am up a bit, was almost her or Molly!

Quick Trip to Lancaster

After church services, packed up and headed to RoadAbode. Had lunch then K and I headed toward Lake-in-Wood Campground, not far from Shady Maple. E had play rehearsal, so Am and her will meet us after up there. Easy ride up - Molly seemed to enjoy the ride as well.
Once everyone was at the campsite, (Newer concrete pad and gravel - laid out well) We had dinner at the Gnome cafe, chicken sandwiches and burgers - pretty good.
Now Back at RoadAbode - watching some cable favorites.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Picture SlideShow from French Creek

Six Penny Day


After Breakfast and a little cleanup, Molly and
I started on our Six Penny Adventure. The ranger on Friday night said there were still remains of the buildings and lake from Six Penny, and I wanted to see if I could find them. I checked the map, and found we could pick up the Six Penny Trail (orange Blaze) by following a service road near the entrance to Loop D of the campground. As we walked the wide grassy service road,





Molly must have sensed my excitement, because
she started playing her "chase me" game, which I obliged.











After a bit, arrived where Six Penny trail crossed our Service Road, and greeted a few mountain bikers on the trail (Which are forbidden on this part of the trail) We didn't pickup the trail
there, as had seen our service road became a dead end - right int
o the trail. Sure enough we picked up the trail there, where also a large water tower not on the maps resides. Soon we were into the forest, where the only noise seemed to be our footfalls. The trail started to thin, and seemed to be less used than others I've been on at the park. We also started to descend, and I new that on the way back, one way or the other - we'd need to climb again. On a water break with Molly, we spotted Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipes)














On the trek downward, all of a sudden Molly stiffened, then ran behind me. I looked at the trail below, and a large "Labradoresque" dog was galloping toward us. Fortunately he was friendly and just wanted whiff of Molly. The elderly owner panted and puffed up to us Apologizing that he
didn't "hear" us, or he would have put him back on a leash. (Molly's always on her leash - it's the rule in the park) We continued on.
Soon we heard a road, where the trail leveled off, and turned left. The trail had also started to show signs of the sandy soil of Six Penny I remembered. For a while the trail meandered on, full of various fungi and lichen. We saw a unmarked trail to the right, going down the hillside. Intrigued, I almost took it, but wanted to stay on course.
A stream ran under a footbridge, and then our trail . We saw the purple blazed Kalmia trail with it's dilapidated water fountain landmark

(the home of the Six Penny Diary) I felt we were almost there. We went through the undergrowth, and found our first remnants of the Recreation area.
















A foundation for the area you could check your belongings while you swam. You could still see the cubbies and baskets they would use to hold your belongings.














Then what I came for, Six Penny Lake itself. After descending a stone stairway we came to where I spent some summer weekends with my brother more than thirty years ago. Not much is left of the lake, it's more of a marshy, cattail filled area. I could not even make out the beach area. But the Dam area, even overgrown by wild rose, raspberry and grasses, was distinctive. I walked around the dam, and found the
macadam roads are still there, though in some places partially overgrown. There was plenty of water going thru the spillway of the dam, but I wonder if this was because of the downpours from the previous evening. Plenty of floating grass seemed to make this seem feasible.













A deteriorating footbridge was downstream of the dam, and led to perhaps other trails and views that could warrant a return trip.















I followed one of the macadam roadways up to the old entrance off of Route 345. There would be parking to be able to check out the old picnic and swimming area without the long trek.
After a water break, Molly and I started our trek back. We continued on the Six Penny Trail, until it followed along with the Horseshoe Trail.















Here was our uphill, and I stopped once to catch my breath. Molly was also looking a bit tired. After the hill, the Six Penny trail took a turn left, and after another short climb, leveled off. We cross both forested and a marshy area. Within another half hour of so we were back at the service trail we had started from, and when we got back to RoadAbode, after a long drink, we both took a nice nap!
Then, time to pack up and leave. Great hike!

Sunday Morning Mist

This morning, on Molly’s walk, a mist hung in the air. We had breakfast (A small helping of mini-wheats, I’m still full from yesterday) Then we’ll get ready for today’s hike.
Solitude is interesting. Don’t have to concern myself with what other’s needs are. Just think about what I”d like to explore, eat, or accomplish. My thoughts fell a few times to Tioga and George, and how he does this every day. Not that I couldn’t, but I like hearing what the girls or friends on a trip are enjoying, and sharing their enlightenment of discovering a new perspective, or view.

Our Saturday Evening

Around 7pm, started a nice campfire, and prepped for dinner. Had brats over the open flame. Enjoyed watching the blaze as I snacked on pistachios. Started thundering in the distance, and I began topicup and clean up from dinner. Most of the other campers, though, were just sitting, or playing, or dining. Rains came, and I watched through the window as campers scurried to cover, move or pack away things getting wet. Soon, the rain fell so hard, had a hard time hearing the dialog from the TV (Woody Allen’s Annie Hall was on PBS) Glad we have RoadAbode to relax in. Downpour continued throughout the night.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Saturday Afternoon

After my Shower, Molly & I did a road trip to Elverson, using Lola’s help on the back roads. Plenty of cattle and corn on the farms. Some beautiful Homesteads as well. I let Molly enjoy the wind in her hair, just secured her lead to the seat so she couldn’t try to visit with a steer – while going 30mph down the road. We ended up at Sonic Burger, and I enjoyed a cheeseburger, while Molly enjoyed the scents all around. Even got to see a glider land at the small airport across the street. I took a Blast (Sonic’s take on DQ’s Blizzard) for the road, and took a leisurely ride back to camp. While enjoying my Blast, studied the park map, and tomorrow may try to find the remains of Six-Penny Lake. For now, perhaps a little reading and a nap sound good.


RoadAbode, Molly & Me

At French Creek State Park Campground for the weekend. Was suppose to be a “guy’s weekend” but other obligations kept Frank and Kev away. So it’s just Molly and I.
Got here around 7:30p Friday, and had a basic setup done by 8:15p. I had left RoadToad by the Amphitheater, so we walked down to retrieve her. Just then a ranger was giving a slide show on the “Four Seasons of French Creek” so we stated. Molly was very good, not barking or bother people.
Afterward talked to the ranger about Six Penny Lake, and also asked if the beavers were still active onHopewell Lake. She let me know they are, and that they moved to a new lodge on the west side of the lake. We took RoadToad back to camp, and got to bed about midnight.
Woke at 6:30a Saturday, put on a pot of coffee, and took Molly out on for her morning walk. After cleaning up breakfast (Nice egg, cheese, and sausage bagel) grabbed a bottle of water, helped the neighbor move his table, then started a hike. Decided to do the Boone Trail (Blue blazes) which passes by the entrance to the campground, and leads to the western side of Hopewell Lake. Along the way, a deer bolted across the trail 50 feet in front of Molly. After that, she seemed to look back at me more, as if to ask “this part safe to walk on?”

The trail was very peaceful, and I was surprised to see no one else on the trail. Every site at the campground is filled – no vacancies – and no one is out on the trail? When we got lakeside, we saw a few fishermen in boats, and walked along water’s edge toward the dam, thinking the new beaver lodge would be in the small cove there. Plenty of water lilies, but no evidence of beaver.




We continued along and around until we were at the top of the dam, where we took a short water break. From here, I tried gaze along the opposite bank, looking for the beaver lodge. I saw an area that might be it, so we doubled back around the lake and followed the Lenape trail (green blazes) past where it connects with the Boone trail. Finally were passed by two joggers at that point. Guess not seeing anyone on the trail is both sad and a blessing. Sad for others, blessing of solitude for me. Further up, were three young men fishing, who said they hadn’t had any luck and were moving on.

Near there I started to see evidence of beaver! A few more yards, and the beaver lodge was on the bank. The water was even a little cloudy on the one side, like a beaver had just scooted in. Quite exciting! As we continued on the path, it opened up wide enough to be a service road. It started to look familiar.
Then it opened up into a mowed meadow on both sides, and I knew where I was. This was the location of the dreaded “ants in the pants” story from my childhood! Also the place where Oma and Opa use to pick birch mushrooms, and if I was correct, around the corner was the blueberry patch. I saw the small beach, almost just as I remembered it thirty some years ago, and the path to where the blueberries would be. As I walked this overgrown path however, the landscape seemed different. The woodlands were sparse of undergrowth. In fact, signs were posted not to wander off the path as they were trying to let the vegetation reclaim the forest floor. Then I came upon a sight that looked exactly as I remember it as a boy.

A small footbridge over French Creek. The same rocks I would trip over on the side of the bridge. I spent many hours playing in the creek by that bridge, while Oma & Opa would pick blueberries. Was also the place I saw my first water snake. Molly and I took a water break sitting bridge side. This is a find I need to share with the rest of the family, now that I know the trail that leads to it.
The hike back was not as scenic, as past the footbridge, the trail opened up again, and there seems to be some water treatment equipment now there. I use to remember interesting small vales here, filled with rocks, where you could find colorful salamanders. The trail then follows Park Road, and we took that back to the campground entrance. An interesting hiking loop. Molly was a tired pup, and is napping right now.
For the afternoon, debating what to do for dinner. Perhaps a shower is in order!

RoadAbode, Molly, and Me

Weekend @ French Creek - Frank + Kev had other obligations. Talked 2 a ranger last night, the beavers have moved

Monday, June 29, 2009

Home Again

Left from Crisfeild about 2pm or so, after a morning of good-byes, packing up, and a last bit of crabbing. Was fun, and enjoyed the hospitality of friends, and the beauty of where we travelled. Won't miss the mosquitoes though! Made it home about 7pm, after dropping RoadAbode @ Storage.
A Map of Our Adventures:


View June 2009 RoadAbode Whirlwind Tour in a larger map


And Some Pictures - a work in Progress....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dinner with friends

Homemade blueberry pie made by R on the riight

Lazy Day

Lazy Day - staying near camp, although the little ones and Moms are going to the Y to swim. Enjoying the meadow this morn, reading, snacking, and may do some more crabbing. Tonight - dinner at our friends abode.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Night Pizza

As per the family custom, we had Friday Pizza Night. Our friends provided us with the phone number of the only "true" pizza place in Crisfield, The Pizza Shoppe. K and I picked up the pizza, and our friends brought salad and Colas to our campsite. A denser dough than home, but rich with cheese and our other toppings. the sauce was not as sweet, but very enjoyable!
We took an evening stroll around the park, as the the girls collected pine cones to be added to the already well-stoked fire. We then hopped into our cars and headed toward the docks of Crisfield, where, hidden up a narrow alley, was a ice cream shop with some enticing flavors. We walked and took in the beauty of the bay from the city dock, and then departed for, each to our own homes.
Sat up and watch a bit of the Simpson Movie DVD. Another great day of camping !

Crabbing

Crabbing at Janes Island
A package of "chicken necks", a washed out old joint compound bucket, some string, and a few nets; stir in some friends, and you can have a great time on the Chesapeake! At Jane's Island, the Daugherty Canal is only a short walk from our campsite. From late morning to about 3pm, we caught about 30 or more crabs. Most were too small, but a few would have been size-worthy for the pot! But, we were here only for catch and release. The method is simple, and for the girls more fun than fishing - Tie a chicken neck to a length of string, then drop it into the water. Watch to see if the line seems to start "walking away" then slowly pull it in. As the piece of chicken rises, (hopefully with a crab handing on) someone helps by positioning a hand net under your catch. And crabs seem to be greedy little fellows! The girls were quite entertained, filling the buckets - then releasing on the grass and watching the crabs run for the water. I was entertained at least!
K and L were deemed as winners of the "Biggest Crab Contest" - And when this size, they do have some beautiful coloration of Blues, mixed with cream and green. And watch out for those claws!


The Meadow

Woodpeckers and wrens, robins and cardinals, and more I've spotted in the small meadow behind RoadAbode.

Quiet Morning

Our campsite at Janes Island

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chincoteague, VA

Followed our friends over toChincoteague, VA this morning. First stop was theNASA Wallops Flight Facililty. A testing and research site, is located just outside Chincoteague. It's open to the public, so we stopped in to learn about the History and what goes on at the facility. They typically send up "sounding rockets, and balloons, with payloads of research instruments.
We then drove on, and had lunch at McD's right outside the Natural Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Chincoteague NWR, located primarily on the Virginia side of Assateague Island, consists of more than 14,000 acres of beach, dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Chincoteague Refuge, originally established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds. Refuge staff manage this barrier island habitat to allow many species of wildlife to coexist, each establishing their own place in the environment. More than 320 species of birds are known to occur on the refuge. There we also found a herd of the famous Chincoteague Ponies, which each year are herded off the island and sold at auction during the yearly fireman's carnival to benefit the volunteer fire company there. We then headed out to the beach, and the girls got to enjoy the surf and sand. I took a walk along some nature trails, and enjoyed watching pelicans, egrets, sand pipers, and poking at fiddler crabs. After our time on the beach, we headed to a scenic drive around the marshland.
After some souvenir shopping, we headed home, got showered and changed - and headed out to the Cove Rest. in Crisfield. Great Crabcakes!
E is doing a sleep over at our friends, and we've all had another fun-filled day together. Tomorrow, the plan is to stay a bit closer to camp.
A few pictures from today:


















































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With a pony

Wallop Flight Facillity

@ the Wallop Flight Facillity

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Berthed at Janes Island

We've again been blessed with easy travel, following a few quiet ribbons of roadway from Queen Anne's County, Maryland, crossing into Delaware for a bit - then down Route 13 into Maryland again. This was a bit confusing for Em, and we had to remind her of Maryland's unique shape.
We had Left Tuckahoe somewhere around 9:30, and arrived at Janes Island approximately between 2 and 3 pm, only making one stop to pickup a few provisions at a Red Lion - a market chain we've seen throughout Virginia and Maryland. We started to set up, and called our friends to let them know we had arrived. This is a great state park, but the site we have is one of the most un-level we've had in some time. We've got 3 levels of blocks under RoadAbode's rear wheels, and could have gone for a 4th. Although the view is not as picturesque as last time we travelled here, the bugs are a bit better away from the water. (Oh, but that view!)
Our friends stopped by, via bike, and we had a great time just chatting. We made some plans, including having our evening meal together. They road off, and we checked the cupboard for the best combination of ingredients. They returned with a wonderful salad, of a fresh and colorful mix, and Am was able to create a wonderful tomato based penne pasta with grilled chicken dish. Combined together, we had a superb meal! Dessert consisted of s'mores until we were stuffed.
Great evening!
Tomorrow - a day trip to Chinqoteague VA

@ Crisfield, Maryland

Relaxing @ Janes Island

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Travel Day - Tucked in @ Tuckahoe

Right now in Tuckahoe State Park in Queen Anne, MD. We left from our diggs in Virginia about 11am today. The route took us up Route 81, to 66 skirting around Washington DC via 495, past Annapolis, and via 50 and 301, over the Bay Bridge of the Eastern Chesapeake. most of the drive was stress free, with the exception of the congestion on 495. Tuckahoe is a nice small state park, and we pretty much have the place to ourselves. We setup, and Amy and I took a ride to the park office to get the "lay of the land". On the way Am saw, and I ran over, a black snake about 3 foot long. I may have just gotten it's tail end, and if so, it was pretty lucky. Did see it slither into the grass off the road.
We took Molly for a walk to the playground area, and then had a dinner of stuffed shells and salad.
After spending a good portion of our day traversing from Virginia into Maryland, we all just lounged around a bit, and read the books we brought along. Tomorrow we'll leave leisurely, and head to Janes Island - and friends in Crisfield!
A few photos:




Monday, June 22, 2009

A Full Spelunking day

Long day, fun day - and I'm tired!
Started off about 7am - earlier for Am with Molly. Had pancakes for breakfast, some fruit, and then on our way to Luray Caverns. Huge, with thousands of formations, this probably was the most ornate cavern I've ever seen. They now have guides along your way, and the tour is done via a small mp3 player and headphones. There are two versions of the story told at each stop along the way, adults and children. Of course I listened to both! A really recommended stop, and they had a car museum that was interesting as well. After viewing both the cavern and the auto museum, we stopped at Wallmart, picked up some additions to our lunch menu, and went back to the campground for a small feast. The girls + guy helped clean up, then played some cards. Finally, they went on the Endless Cavern tour - sans adults. They had a young college age man to lead them - and enjoyed his commentary.
Soon we had to return our guest to his home, and tried to let his parents how much we enjoyed his polite and courteous ways.
Later, a dinner to clean out leftovers in RoadAbode, to get ready to be travelling again - destination Maryland.
Then into the twilight, we started a campfire, and enjoyed some S'mores, and the overhead stars. We all faded fast, and I'm alone as the one still awake. My time to sleep has come!








Sunday, June 21, 2009

Harrisonburg, VA

Great Sleeping Weather! Today! We all awoke by 7:30am or so. Breakfast was egg, sausage and cheese on english muffins. We cleaned up, dressed and headed out for services at First Presbyterian of Harrisonburg. We were a little early, so took an exploratory run past our friends home - whom we are having dinner with this evening. Once back at curch, it was a wonderful service, with a good message for father's on Father's Day, following Psalm 127 . A mix of young and old were at services, but like most congregations, were slow to greet the outsiders. Worship music was moving, and brought a sense of God's presence. After services, we scooted over to Walmart to pick up a few items we needed, and a few we did not, then to KFC to pickup lunch. We brought our poultry goodness back to camp, and enjoyed it under our canopy. After cleaning up, we all enjoyed some time to read books we brought along. I even got in a little nap! We headed to our friends aagain in Harrisonburg. Enjoyed a great meal of Pizza, then sat and chatted about old news, and new - both in Virginia, and home. Felt bad that they had just gotten back from a retreat, and were quite tired. But glad to see they look more relaxed, and comfortable in these surroundings. This beautiful place suits them! Thankful that they belong to a strong congregation.
Before it seemed possible, it was time to head back, and we gathered up belongings, and their son, to spend the night and then tomorrow with us. As I type, the girls and he are enjoying a "moviefest" in RoadAbode, as I sit beneath a star-filled sky, enjoying the night air. Another glorious day! Pictures of the church, and the movie watchers below.