Trip’s End

Sunday, Apr. 21

We finally got a break in the weather, but most of the Alto crowd had left. Jack and I headed to South Hill for foodstuffs enough to fix dinner for John (arriving without Mary, who has fallen under the weather, or possibly the pollen) and additional Floyd friends, Brad and Ellen. 


Because we’re settled and they’re arriving in the afternoon and likely won’t be set up before dinner time, we texted with them to let everyone know we’d handle dinner for all of us. We found the fixins for the fennel chicken dish we like to cook in the Dutch oven, and we also got some pork loins to grill for Mary and Allen who were coming to the campsite on Monday. 

I began cooking circa 5:30, completing it by around 6:30, and served directly from the Dutch oven, with Omnia heat-and-serve rolls and roasted potatoes. Afterwards, we cranked the Solo fire, and the Karl & Hari crowd came over from loop C to share.



It was another glorious sunset, with the sun peeking below the clouds and shining brightly on the end of our peninsula, making the trees look like they were about to combust.


No good sunset is complete without a good reflection photo off Roomba (it’s a thing with the Alto models that have lots of windows).


Here’s a gallery of photos I’m calling “Sunset After the Storms”

Monday, Apr. 22

First thing in the morning, I watched an adult bald eagle fly over. The day dawned cold (47 degrees) but I was outside watching for birds and enjoying the clear morning by about 7. I wasn’t the only early bird, as a couple of fishermen were plying the waters near our site also.


Before lunch, we took a bike ride with Brad and Ellen while John took a kayak paddle-about. We toured around the campground, and across the hydro dam, where we stopped both coming and going to watch bald eagles and osprey and enormous fish near the dam. I could have watched the birds all day.


Instead of going back to the campground, we turned right at Rt. 4 and headed to the tailwaters of the dam, where there were tons and tons of birds all doing wondrous things, just carrying on with their birdy lives. We got off our bikes again to watch eagles and osprey and herons and cormorants and so many more. Saw this heron trying to hide while roosting in a tree.


Returned to eat a late lunch and enjoyed the sun. Even though the breeze picked up as we ate, the sky was incredibly blue-blue, and the sun was toasty hot.

Allen and Mary came for dinner around 6, and we grilled a pork loin. John, Brad, and Ellen brought their own dinners and we all ate together. Everyone enjoyed another campfire, topped off with a celebratory dram to mark the end of our trip, as well as Brad’s (Apr. 24) and Jack’s (Apr. 26) birthdays.

Tuesday, Apr. 23

Naturally, on the day we must leave, the temp soared to 52 degrees and the wind stayed dead calm. Heard several lonely loon calls in the early AM.

We enjoyed a leisurely morning and said goodbye to Brad and Ellen around 8:30. Watched a contest between a lone loon with a fish, versus an entire gaggle of cormorants. The cormorants were doing a tag-team “harass the loon so it drops its fish” game, with much of the action happening under water. The loon would dip below, with 2 or 3 of the cormorants flying over to where it dove and diving after it. The loon would pop up again and other cormorants would fly over to it and dive after it when it dove for cover again.

Finally, the loon surfaced and up-ended the fish so it would go down its gullet, and suddenly, all the cormorants looked like they were bored, as if they’d had nothing to do with the loon at all. They all went different directions after the game was won by the loon.

Once the water warmed up a bit, John took a final kayak tour before he began to load up for departure. We ate an early lunch and began breaking camp in earnest around noon.


Just as we were nearing our own departure time, we saw a Canada goose family swimming by. The water was a bit choppy by then, but the little goslings were pretty easy to see. The hard part was getting the youngsters and both parents in my camera’s frame at the same time. But I finally managed.

It was an uneventful drive back home, and we parked Roomba in the driveway near his garage overnight. All was well with the house and critters and we were thankful for Surya, our house sitter. Naturally, the first thing Mischief wanted to do was play ball. 



I grabbed some meat and went out to see how Beebs (redtailed hawk) was doing, and she seemed quite keen on the food, but not so sure about me.


Thus the 2019 Spring Trip comes to a close. It was wonderful and fun and so very exciting to share with so many of our friends and to meet new friends along the way. 

More adventures to come—watch this space for the next peregrinations we undertake with our Alto camper.


Tootling About

April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday. Most folks are leaving the campground today. We thought it would be a good idea to stay close to take some small advantage of the “changing of the guard” during the day.

The neighbors on both sides are sticking, as are we.

But I walk around the place late on Sunday and find that it’s a bittersweet feeling, with everyone who was packed in here yesterday gone today. Nice to have the quiet and the extra “elbow room” but I walk by the now-empty spot where the folks were celebrating a birthday in a great gaggle of friends; I walk past the empty spot where the “base camp” for another great mass of folks distributed among 3 or 4 sites now sits forlorn at the end of the row, a large group having an absolutely splendid time, all managed by the wife of the guy who was “hale fellow well met” to everyone he saw; the big dog with the perfect manners in the spot near the bath house . . .

Still, the quiet is truly special, so I don’t dwell on the lack of bodies surrounding us today.

Did I mention the pollen? We had just enough rain last night to wash some of it off the car, and it all puddled on the road. I included my foot so you might get some perspective.

The road shows at the top of the photo, the gravel of the campsite below, near my foot.

Earlier, while most folks were breaking camp, we took off on a dawdle around the campground, and then left via the main drag (Plantation Rd) to head toward Crisfield, for a low-key tootle. Here are some photos from the campground area, followed by pix of what we saw along the way in and around Crisfield.

Gulls along Daugherty Creek.


In the far reaches of the photo, you can see white-roofed condos in Crisfield from the Janes Island SP dock at Dougherty Creek.

These images are from our ride into and around Crisfield.




Defunct crab restaurant specializing in steamed crabs, a remnant of which lay abandoned in the parking lot (below).


Those self-same condo/apartments visible from the state park’s dock, shown from the bay side here.

No photos, however, of some interesting sights. A guy in what appeared to be a sheriff’s cruiser was feeding an enormous flock of chickens, geese, ducks, seagulls, etc. from his car, in an empty lot. I’m guessing he was throwing bread to the birds, and they were fighting, tussling, vie-ing for crumbs, and procreating all over the place.

Took some video of the turbine that I cannot upload because it was pretty loud, although in the vid, the regular wind off the bay was loud enough for the camera mic.

A sign on a paddock that read, “Please don’t feed fingers to the horses.” (I thought that was brilliant).

Lots and lots of cemeteries, large and small. The United Methodist Church seems to be the dominant group hereabouts.

New birds spotted along the route:

  • Snowy egret
  • Pelicans
  • Great blue herons
  • Laughing gulls
  • Northern harrier
  • Cormorants
  • Wood ducks

Returned for a relaxed time at camp in the quiet, and grilled brats with grilled summer squash and rice for dinner. Lovely warm night with Roomba showing off his best with the lights shining.


Troop Movement to Prince Edward Island

Thursday, August 27: Troop Movement Day
All of this day of the tour was devoted to getting our bicycles, gear, suitcases, and selves off of Nova Scotia and onto Prince Edward Island (PEI). We left the Victoria Inn pretty close to our target of 8:15AM, and the final task of Freewheeling until we get back from Cape Breton was to haul everything to the Ferry at Pictou Harbor, and Caribou, NS.

It had rained overnight, and the sky was thick with impending rain. Still, it managed to hold off until after we made the ferry crossing (saw a seal and a porpoise, but no whales). As the enormous ship entered the PEI dock, about a bazillion cormorants were sunning on the pier and as we approached, some of them got nervous enough to fly away.





Our bicycles were parked on the lowest level of the ferry, next to all the semi trucks and huge tour busses headed our way. It was interesting and somewhat frightening to be with these enormous vehicles — happily, they let us off first.

We met with our support crew, George and his son, Daniel, with a trailer into which we stacked our bicycles and all piled into the vans for the ride to Charlottetown. Allen and Mary drove the “Starship Enterprise” so we made quite a convoy.


As we rode, the heavens opened up and all the pent-up rain came crashing down. George recommended a local eatery, so we donned our various rain gear and all ate lunch at Pappa Joe’s — a fave of the locals. The food was quite good.

Still raining and filling the streets like bathwater as we left, but by the time we crossed Charlottetown, it had stopped, and we left all the bikes on the trailer but unloaded our suitcases at The Great George right in the heart of historic Charlottetown.

The Great George
The Great George

Once the rain let up, it was fun walking around Charlottetown. There was a blues and jazz festival happening down by the waterfront, and the restaurants appeared to be packed with visitors and tourists.






We paired up with Gaye and Woody, Linda and Bruce (although Bruce went to hear a jazz concert and only joined us later) for our dinner, and we had a fun time walking around. Finally settled on dinner at John Brown’s, on what they call Victoria Row.




We ate outside and Jack and I had some of the best meals of the trip so far, while the others felt their seafood chowder was a little to creamy and thick and a little to light on seafood. I had a pulled lamb sandwich with a salad, and Jack had perfectly cooked salmon and some of the famous PEI potatoes.

Just as we were paying the bill, the rain began again, so everyone eating outside along the entire street was picking up their meals and heading into the restaurants or under a larger umbrella. It only lasted a small while (even though it got seriously heavy at its peak), and we managed to capture the rising full moon over the glistening night streets.


Charlottetown/PEI History: The largest city on PEI and the capital of the province, Charlottetown is widely noted for being the seat of the Canadian movement for unification as a nation. Between September 1–8, 1864, Charlottetown hosted what is now termed the Charlottetown Conference. a week in which delegates from PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the colony of Canada met to discuss ideas, challenges, and agree in principle to the unification of the colonies.



Although many of the meetings and negotiations which would lead to Canadian Confederation were held in Charlottetown’s Province House (closed now due to renovations), various social events spilled over into the surrounding community. The Dominion of Canada was declared on July 1, 1867, with the passing of the British North American Act.

An exiled Acadian community came to PEI from NS but were a small group mired in poverty in the profoundly British PEI for many years until the Farmer’s Bank started up and became a micro-lender for the Acadian farmers so they could rise from their destitution. This became the first of what we now know as “credit unions” in North America (more on that tomorrow).

Prince Edward Island entered Confederation/Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1873.

Aside from being the seat of colonial government, the community came to be noted during the early nineteenth century for shipbuilding and its lumber industry as well as being a fishing port. The shipbuilding industry declined in the latter part of the nineteenth century. In August 1874, the Prince Edward Island Railway opened its main line between Charlottetown and Summerside. The railway, along with the shipping industry, would continue to drive industrial development on the waterfront for several decades to come.

PEI was the first Canadian province to finish its section of the Trans-Canada bike path, and has converted all possible rail beds into bicycling/multi-use paths. There are still some sections that do not “meet” across waterways, but the infrastructure and attitude toward cyclists is quite good.