Janes Island State Park MD, Part 2

As you might have noted in the most recent post (Part 1 of this section, sharing April 7-10) I was slightly hurried to be done, without time to double-check. You see, I was in a library that closed 15 minutes before I was done, and I rushed to finish the post by 5PM.

In my description of April 9 of that section, I neglected to include two important photos: That of the library where we visited for cell and wifi several times (a very nice library, indeed—much nicer than the one I was working from when I had to rush the finish of the prior post), and the laundromat in Crisfield, which also was quite clean, roomy, and well-equipped. So these two pix are from our April 9 excursion into Crisfield for some “obligatories.” (By the way, I dearly love libraries!)

April 11 in Jane’s Island was laid back as we listened to music, Jack washed Roomba’s windows, and we tidied the living spaces a bit. Our morning began at 46 degrees but didn’t take long to warm a little. 

Jack headed to our fave seafood retail/wholesaler, and got enough shrimp for an excellent grilled (skewer) shrimp meal, with go-withs to satisfy the tummies. 

Another thing I forgot to mention was the situation at these campgrounds surrounding a dishwashing station. Surprisingly, many campgrounds don’t offer this amenity, which I think is an unforgivable oversight. They’re always going on about not dumping gray water or food scraps around your site, but they force those of us in small rigs (and tenters) to wash dishes on site and dump the used water afterward. 

Anyway, we always look for dishwashing stations, and (to backtrack a little) Chippokes had one at the “secondary” bathhouse in our loop, but it did not offer hot water. Pretty sure this was the normal situation (not just a seasonal thing) as it appeared to have no hot water feed at all. 

Janes Island, however, had a very nice hot-and-cold-running-water, very clean and accommodating dishwashing station (“counter” space on both sides of the sink). That said, there was an enormous hole where, in a “normal” kitchen, there would be a garbage disposal, so you had to be careful not to lose your spoons down there. Also, they’d evidently had some trouble with campers walking off with their drain plugs, so they wired them to the sink with twisted-strand wire and lock nuts. At the plug ends of the tie, when you reached under the sudsy water for a dish, you had to be careful not to stab yourself with the wire tips beyond the fasteners that had come untwisted with use.

On Friday, April 12, Jack and I took a long ride to a little place called Westover, following the “Crustacean Causeway” north of Crisfield. (Only getting a little lost along the way, and coming back along a different path).


During the ride we passed a broken-down, sad old church, belching vines and weeds from its once-sculpted windows. I could imagine pretty stained glass in them during its heyday.


We also saw a cute tiny house, unfortunately, right next to the big highway, but I had to stop and get a picture of it anyway.


We got back from our ride just as John and Mary returned from another long kayaking trip. After we’d all showered up, we gathered for a Dutch oven jambalaya fixed by John and Mary (with additional shrimps from Jack’s purchase the day before). It was delicious, and J n M wanted to “host” us inside their trailer for dinner, so we arranged ourselves into “Little Debbie” for our meal comfortable, satisfying meal.

Bike Stats

  • Ride time=2:20
  • Stopped time=57 min
  • Distance=30 mi
  • Average speed=13 mph
  • Fastest speed=22.5
  • (There was a truly lovely stretch, straight and slightly downhill, with the wind at our backs just outside of Westover, where we really cadillacked along with little effort and got that “fastest speed” number pretty high)

Our final day at Janes Island State Park (April 13) was rainy. First thing in the damp morning, we discovered a tiny toad, ensconced in the folds of Jack’s camp chair, that had been collapsed the night before and was leaning against the trailer. He was a cutie.


Since it was raining, we spent all day finishing the first of the three jigsaw puzzles Jack gave me for my birthday. 


Difficult to tell here, but the puzzle represents a painting of a Paris marketplace in summer.


On April 14, we were sad to leave Janes Island, except for the fact that the mosquitoes, which had not made an appearance at all during our week, showed up with some vengeance a couple of the days before we left. All of us were somewhat surprised, as it was pretty cold and breezy. But who knows? Maybe there was a nearby hatch or something. Anyway, we got away by about 9:45 AM with heavy hearts and a promise to return. Next stop: Kiptopeke State Park near Cape Charles, Virginia.


Janes Island State Park, MD Part 1

It was an uneventful trip up to MD and one of our fave spots, Jane’s Island State Park. We snagged the site we’d had a couple of years ago when we came here for the first time and John and Mary set up beside us (sites 22 and 23). Contrary to our prior stay, we found a nearly-empty campground. As before, however, the waterfront sites are simply without parallel. Electric available but no water at the sites, although spigots are nearby. As was our former experience, cell service was spotty at best and, being near a military base, we theorize that some blocking activities might have contributed to cell service inexplicably dropping out totally on occasion. Happily, we found the Crisfield Public Library handy (just a 2-3 mile bike ride or drive away) and they had robust, free wifi and cell service.

But I get ahead of myself. Our transfer day was my birthday (April 7) so we settled into our sites and then headed straight out to The Watermen Restaurant for a celebratory (and delicious) meal. I thoroughly enjoyed my shrimp scampi on linguini with black olives. 


On our first full day at Janes Island SP, John and Mary headed out to do some kayak touring.

I had fun taking pix of a loon fishing in front of our campsite.

We’d hoped for some grill-able seafood, but none to be found, but when we looked at the place where J & I had found excellent shrimp last year, we did note that they’ve got shrimp again.


But we had to settle for some really tasty grilled burgers, with hassle back potatoes made by J & M in their dutch oven. Seriously delicious.

Then the rain and wind came and nearly blew us all away. We were relatively dry eating in the screenhouse, but when the wind sent the rains horizontal and it began dripping on us, we retired to our respective sanctuaries.

The next day (April 9) John and Mary took another kayak tour of the water trails around and were thankful for less wind. Jack and I ventured to the local Food Lion to stock up on necessities, and we did laundry at a local “duds n suds.” Had to hit the Crisfield Library for a bit of wifi. Returned to camp and enjoyed an excellent sunset that seemed to go on and on.

April 10 was dry yet a bit windy and we decided to take a leisurely bike ride around Crisfield, the harbor town nearby. We had a lovely lunch on the public dock supplied by Bubbies burger joint, and I worked a bit on the blog catch-up. Had a lovely “upside down” day with eggs, hash browns, and hot rolls for dinner, eaten around a lovely fire in the solo stove. 


Chincoteague and Assateague (Ap. 18)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

One of the first things we did the morning after the strange nighttime noises on Janes Island was to ask someone in the Camp Store if he knew what that could have been.

It wasn’t one of the rangers minding the shop when Jack went over there, but someone who’s local who (possibly?) volunteers or has a retirement job. He said it was probably foxes, and that time was in the past when there was a fella’ who went over there and trapped the foxes for their pelts. But that doesn’t happen any longer, and he’s sure there are foxes living over there.

I, of course, haven’t been over to the island, but I’d think it would be difficult for foxes to create dens in the marsh. But what do I know? Maybe that forest over there stands on higher ground than I’m imagining. Still, I cannot think of anything else from which those sounds might have come. Mother foxes, calling their newly-emerged young, and teaching them to hunt, is my guess. The calls were different strengths and pitches and spread over a pretty large area.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, but the next night we didn’t hear anything like it. And we certainly didn’t recall hearing anything like it before Monday night.


Anyway, today was our scheduled day to head over the Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, so we loaded up the car and headed south. We drove through parts of Wallops Island (NASA) on our way, and were quite impressed with the “listening equipment” that is in evidence behind a chain link fence on one of the parts of Wallops Isl. Across from this amazing site that has huge dishes and other weird-looking stuff to watch the skies and galaxies and stars and planets, was a visitor center that we hoped to stop at on our way back to Janes Isl.


We crossed into Chincoteague proper and were quite surprised at how built up and busy (and generally unattractive) it is. I had imagined it as being much more “remote” than what we saw. Very much like Virginia Beach at its worst, about 50 years ago, and most definitely not anywhere we wanted to cycle. The roads were pot-holed, narrow, and shoulder-less, and there were no sidewalks either.

We kept driving around until we got to Maddox Blvd., the causeway to Assateague, where we found more bicycle-friendly amenities, plus some nicer restaurants, in addition to the tropical-themed putt-putt golf “adventures.”

Across the causeway, we found the jewel that is the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague National Seashore. We have a senior citizens lifetime pass to our national parks and treasures, so we didn’t have to pay a parking fee, and once inside, we rode the hiking/biking trails and the roads to our heart’s content.


We saw lots and lots of birds, and apart from the huge numbers of tourists, we were very pleased to be there. At Tom’s Cove Visitor Center we stoped inside and walked some of the board walks with info boards along the way, and then rode toward where all the parking on the sand is located, and peeped over the dune to see scads of people actually frolicking in the ocean, despite the fact that it was incredibly windy (and it was quite a cold wind, too) and only in the 60s.

A trail marked “Woodland Trail” was obviously under construction but there were folks walking around, and it was paved, so we headed in. The surprise was how few “woodlands” appeared to be left alive. We were unsure if the tall, dead trees and deadfall and cut-down trees had all succumbed to a storm (Hurricane Sandy, perhaps?) or if they had been killed off by the pine bark beetle scourge that has beset so many of our pine forests, and then many (but not all) were taken down by storms. It was truly sad to see so many dead trees, some standing tall and others wrecked and cut and fallen.


And of course, we saw some of the wild ponies.


Riding some more, we circled a “snow goose pool” at which we saw no snow geese (probably they had moved north by now), and found a gravel road that said it was appropriate for bicycles but indicated that cars beyond staff vehicles and those that were equipped as Over Sand Vehicles (OSVs) were not permitted. So we rode out there for a bit, and found our own piece of beautiful ocean-side beach with not a soul anywhere, and took a selfie. These pix are my only photos of the Atlantic Ocean for this trip, as this was as near as we’d get.




While we only clocked a little over 16 miles, and our average speed was just under 11 MPH, we had a grand time and it was an excellent warm-down ride to work the kinks from yesterday out of our bones. Even though it was surprisingly cold all day. I’d say the high was about 62 and with the wind chill it would have a “feel like” temp of about 58.

Here are some other random photos we caught while riding around.


An egret in the foreground of the Tom’s Cove Visitor Center.


Heron roost.


Assateague Lighthouse.
Tom’s Cove Visitor Center and public beaches (with parking right on the beach).

Unfortunately, by the time we left the National Park and passed through Wallops Island again, the NASA visitor center was closed. So we headed on back north to Janes Isl., stopping for a few essentials, and had a dinner made up of leftovers and goodies to make a salad topped with shrimp. Yum.

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.


Training and Rest Days

April 14 & April 15, 2017

The campsite and park layout.

Very cool here, but the wind has at last stopped. We slept very well (and a long time) under our blanket with the ceiling vent going on low for “white noise.”

Fixed coffee and tea, and Jack grilled some sausage patties that we enjoyed on slider rolls for breakfast. By about 11, we were cycling toward the “start point” of the mapped route Jack had gotten off the internet, called the “Crustacean Trail.” It purportedly began in Crisfield’s municipal park, which wasn’t much of a park at all, and we were to take Chesapeake Ave. to begin, the internet map said, “and follow the signs.”

No signs were visible either on posts along the way nor painted on the pavement.

We rode all the way into town, and stopped by the Visitor Info Center along the way, to get some advice and maps and recommendations from the nice lady there. Armed with all we might need to carry on, we rode down to the dock at the terminus of Main St. but still never found Chesapeake. No matter. We carried on, retraced our inbound ride, checked various maps, and at last got onto the route.


Reflection selfie in Crisfield


At the end of one of the residential streets in Crisfield, we saw the humongous wind turbine along the coast of the town perfectly framed by the road’s trees.

The sky was slightly overcast, the humidity was negligible, the temps were cool, and the traffic was nearly non-existent. We had a very fine day of cycling, with our ultimate destination being Westover, which looked like a pretty big “dot” on the map. We thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a late lunch there.


A couple of the sad but interesting derelicts we saw along the way.

At just past one and 23 miles logged, we found Westover, and nothing but a couple of fuel stations, one with a no-name (I’m guessing a “Sheetz style”) foodery, and one with a Subway. We opted for the Subway instead of a microwaved hot dog.

Had a decent Subway sandwich, re-filled our water bottles, and headed on the return trip, but without all the gee-ing and haw-ing in Crisfield. There had been a loop we’d missed on the outbound run, that we collected during the return. Basically, the “trail” crossed Rt. 413 back and forth, and the entire route was quiet backroads on the east and west sides of 413. We certainly could have ridden 413, as there was significant shoulder and sometimes even a designated bike  lane, but that is a moderate thoroughfare and we wanted (and found) more calm and serene routes.

And, of course, the wind found us on our return. Not nearly so strong and steady as what we’d experienced the night before as we set up camp, the wind was nevertheless a significant presence along the return route. We took turns “drafting” for one another.

There were several really lovely stretches along the ride, especially one length of road that had hardwoods on one side and a tree farm of tall pines on the other, creating a tunnel effect. Many interesting homes and some derelicts that were equally interesting. I always wonder what stories derelict houses could tell, could they speak (or could I understand).

Along one stretch with a particularly deep pine farm situated next to a green-green field full of a cover crop that was about a foot tall, we heard the distinctive “bob-white” of a quail. Amazing. It echoed through the forest, and we heard it calling several times in sequence. I haven’t heard the call of a bob-white quail in years and years.

We saw some ducks and geese on a couple of inlets, and I spotted one American kestrel on a power line over a stubble field, but other than that, the birdlife we saw consisted of vultures. Lots and lots of vultures. We even saw one sitting on the top of a chimney that was still standing among the ruins of a fallen-in house. Another of his kin rose from the rubble inside what used to be the house as we passed, disturbed by our noticing and talking about its comrade on the chimney.

We also saw some lovely purple wisteria, some beyond-their-prime camellias, and all-in-all some very respectful drivers, offering us lots of room on the roads. The day was punctuated by the aromas of wisteria growing near the roads alternating with the peculiar and distinctive scent of poultry farms. And the occasional dead thing on the road or in a nearby ditch.

Despite the rather unpleasant odors mingling with the scents of spring, we had a completely delightful ride. Cycling stats: 43.5 miles; 12.6 MPH average, ride time 3 hours, 25 minutes.

Back at camp, we rested for a bit, took showers, and re-heated that leftover chili and baked dinner rolls from a couple of days ago. The sunset was just lovely over the water. After dark, we watched another pass of the International Space Station next to Daugherty Creek with the gang of next door neighbor kids and their parents and grandparents, and went to bed.



Tomorrow, we might take our bikes across (via ferry) to Smith Island, if the ferry runs and the weather holds. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

April 15

Did I mention the pollen? It collects inside, outside, all around the town. Kind of amazing stuff. Happy, we’re not suffering too badly from breathing yellow pine pollen all the time, although a bit of extra sinus stuffiness is evident.

Our plan to take the ferry today was quashed by the rather dismal forecast. We really didn’t want to be on a ferry nor stranded on a remote island when the predicted rains rolled in.

Instead, we decided to drive (not cycle) north along 413 and 13 (the main north/south drag along this stretch of Earth) to see what Princess Anne (small, historic but apparently atrophying town) might have to offer in terms of brunch or lunch.

There were some areas of the northern outskirts of the town that had some significant renovation of the historic homes going on. And the University of MD/Eastern Shore makes up a significant portion of the area.

Still, there were no eateries beyond franchises, even around the campus area. Lots and Lots and Lots of student housing, however.

So we moved on north to Salisbury, where it wasn’t long before we found a CRAFT BREWERY!




Yay. So we spent some time and $ at Evolution Brewery and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Jack wasn’t into drinking beer, and I couldn’t decide, so we got a flight to sample.


Really REALLY liked their No. 3 IPA, which was notable for holding its head. I thought of it as a cross between Get Bent and Fresh Squeezed, with more body than either. I saved that for last, and we worked our way through the others during our meal. Jack had a crab cake sandwich and I had a catch of the day (mahi-mahi) sandwich, both of which were totally yum. They had hand-cut fries to go with all their sandwiches, which were also perfect.

The Pilsner, I’d order again on a hotter day (it was quite cool, overcast, and blustery outside, and inside they must have turned on the AC because we were both chilly). The Red, neither of us cared for greatly, and the special 608 that the waitress said was her fave, was totally meh unless paired with food. Then it began to be toned by what you were eating and it was tolerable.

The No. 3 IPA, however, was truly good — in fact, we found some in a sixer at the Acme (used to be Giant) Grocery store, and along with some other necessaries, brought it home to chill at camp.


We found a seafood distribution company along the road coming back to Janes Island SP, and stopped to see if they sold retail, and they did, so we picked up two pounds of large shrimp to cook on the barbie when we got home. Fresh asparagus, rice, and grilled shrimp. It just doesn’t get any better than this. And we took our lovely meal in what Jack has come to call our “tree house,” which I hope is the new name for our screened room, where Jack has been spending a lot of time lately.

Forgot to take a photo before we ate, so here’s the remains of the day.

Good day — and it never rained, after all, except before we got up north (could see it on the roads). By the time we got back to camp, it was in the 70s and pretty hot. After dinner we watched another pass of the ISS, among a cloudy horizon, and saw a hint or two of a coming storm.

During our drive, we also saw our first two osprey flying around en route up north since we arrived in MD.

The storm hit with thunder and lightening after we’d hit the hay, and the rain came down hard for a nanosecond — not even enough to wash off the pollen from the car. Strange stuff, this ubiquitous pollen.

Camping in style, 2017. Life is good.


We strolled over the the Nature Center and climbed the “lookout” but not much to see, except a couple of folks kayaking along Daugherty Creek.

Janes Island State Park, Maryland

April 13, 2017

With a leisurely start, we unbuckled the campsite at Chippokes by about 11. The camp host had come back on duty (first time during our stay) so we were able to get a bag of ice for the Gatorade and other beverages that have been sitting in the ice chest. We also didn’t feel the need to dump, so we headed north straight away.

After a short bog-down in Norfolk due to being in the wrong lane and having to exit into downtown (a bit of a white-knuckle endurance test for driver Jack) we made it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, something neither of us have experienced in a goodly number of years. At 17 miles across and two tunnels connected by 3 enormous bridges, it remains an astonishing feat of engineering. A huge freighter was heading away from the passage above the second tunnel.





We stopped at the other side, still Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and headed for about 100 miles along Rt. 13 into Maryland. Nice drive along a straight, flat road, but little in the way of scenery. And unless you like fast food, not much in the way of charming cafés for lunch. In addition, the farther north we drove, the higher the fuel prices. C’est la vie.



Eventually, we stopped at a market that advertised fried chicken, but we got no help at all from the staff for pumping from #6, which would not take our card, so we paid cash for the fuel and circled around back and made our own damn lunches, thank you very much. Grrrr. But our sandwiches were quite good. 😊

Got to Janes Island State Park in MD and it is a lovely pine-filled area. We found no one at check-in/registration, so we just went in and set up. The facilities are clean and modern, and although there is no water at any site, the fill-up of our onboard tank went smoothly, and we have a lovely site (#23) on Daugherty Creek. Janes Island is across the narrow creek and apparently consists of water trails but no walking trails. There is a nature center wth a raised lookout and wildlife lists and other stuff that we intend to check out while we’re here, though.

Dougherty Creek
Our Set-Up
Our Site (#23)
Our View

The wind off the bay was truly howling and we thought twice about putting up the awning, although staking the poles in two different directions seemed to have calmed our worries that it would all just blow away. There is also tons and tons of pollen all over everything. Even to the point of making the hard horizontal surfaces yellow (picnic table, roads, vehicles, Roomba!). Anywhere that one drops liquid or sprays water becomes like a thin paint smear of institutional yellow. Jack and I are both sneezing. 🤧

We set up and just as we were about done, two rigs with dogs and loud talkers on one side and a pop-up with about four kids on the other set up right next to us. All were very loud.

So we left – just kidding. But we did carry out our plan to head into town (Crisfield) for dinner and some grocery shopping, which we did.

A place in Crisfield called the Watermen’s Inn had come to us recommended from our Alto Campers Facebook site, and we found it and had a delightful and delicious meal.




Afterwards, we strolled down to the end of Main street, which ends at a dock, and watched a two-star pass of the International Space Station across the nearly clear sky, at about ten past 8PM. Just lovely. After night fall, the temps dropped into the fifties, so we both looked forward to a cool sleep under our Rumpl Blanket.

Did our shopping, discovering that MD grocery stores don’t (or at least this Food Lion didn’t) carry wine and beer.

When we returned to the campground, however, the gates were closed and we did not have the key code. A nice gentleman helped us and another emerged from the admin building and we got our registration packet and the code for entry after 7P. And a map and other goodies.

Had a small nightcap in the screen house and enjoyed the night sounds, even though the noisy neighbors (on one side at least — the other folks were off visiting somewhere) were still active. We cocooned Roomba inside and read until snooze time and look forward to a bicycling and seafood and bird watching adventure to remember, cycling the Crustacean Trail tomorrow.