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 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.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Annual Trip RoadTrip started Friday Night - this time starting out heading toward Skyline Drive in Virginia, and ending up in Crisfield, Maryland by the end of next week.
We thought we'd try a different approach to departure this year. We decided to leave late Friday night (about 8pm) and try boondocking at a rest stop in Maryland. It actually worked well, except for two things. One, they decided to close route 95 in Delaware for about a half-an-hour Friday night. At least RoadAbode made the wait comfy. Two, I chose to stop for the night in Maryland at Chesapeake House Rest stop - instead of Maryland House. If I would have waited and drove on for another 30 minutes, we would've had less road noise from 95, and better amenities at the rest stop. Live and learn.
As it was, it put us in a great position Saturday. 7am we pulled out from Chesapeake house and headed toward our first destination point, Skyline Drive. Only stops we made along the way were for gas at a Sheetz, and at a Virginia Information Center for maps (for the collector in the family - she didn't have a Virginia one yet). It rained off and on along the way, with a visibility-blocking downpour along a portion of Route 66. However, by the time we hit Front Royal and the entrance station to Skyline Drive, (Which was free this weekend - Thanks Ken Salazar!) the skies were starting to clear. We stopped in at the welcome center at Dickey Ridge, and enjoyed our first "Blue Ridge: vistas. We also enjoyed learning about black bear from one of the rangers, including some great personal antidotes.
We continued on, stopping at a few scenic vistas. The plan was to stop for lunch at Elkwallow picnic grounds- and glad we did. Coming to the turn in at Elkwallow the smell that hit our noses was not a passing motorcycle like I thought, but my brakes. Seems coming down, either I was hitting the brakes too much, or the caliper stuck on the driver front. As I pulled in, a cloud of smoke came up on my side, and as I pulled in to spot that fit RoadAbode and RoadToad, it plumed up a good bit. I hopped out, popped the hood, and made sure we weren't burning any fluids. But the only place smoke came from was around the driver side front tire. We ate, and let the brakes cool down. It started to rain a little also, and that helped cool things down as well.
We started out again after about an hour or so, and had no other difficulties, going down the mountain, or getting off Skyline Drive at Thornton Gap - to head toward Endless Caverns. I did downshift on a few long, winding downhills though this time - relied less on the brakes.
The rest of the ride to Endless Caverns RV resort was uneventful, and the route was easy.
Once there, we were greeted most welcomingly. First time ever - we were taken by golf cart to view and select our site beforehand. Was kind of an nice touch. (And I was not in a rush to setup - we got there by 2:30pm/3pm) The Resort is not quite a resort yet - but getting there. The pool looks beautiful, but is not done. the Gameroom is huge, but still being built. The tilework in the showerhouse is better than a home, but the building is being rehabbed. The best part is the sites are large, level, and the hardscaping around them is beautiful. This will be a beautiful resort once they get everything done. But the neatest part is the cave tour. After setting up, and talking to the nice couple next door for a bit, we strolled down to the office to take in a tour of Endless Cavern. I've alwayes loved Crystal Cave, but for size and types of formations, Endless Caverns "Wowed" me more. The "Crystal Room" at the end of the tour - with it's light show timed to music, was the top hilight of the tour, with dept, aand sheer amount of stalagties on the ceiling. Beautiful.
A full day, and now that everyone's showers are done, time to sleep and be ready for tomorrow's adventures!
Below - a few pictures from the RoadTrip so far:
Waiting out Traffic in Delaware

Morning Walk at the Chesapeake Rest Stop

The route of Skyline Drive

Panaramic View from Dickey Station

Cute Bear cub! Part of the exibits at Dickey Station

A "waterfall" formation at Endless Caverns