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Making do

I rousted myself out early for the sunrise on my first morning in the Fort DeSoto campgrounds.  From time to time my photo group holds photo walks to see the sunrise between the main uprights of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, when the sunrise will line up properly.  That first morning wasn’t one of those mornings, but it was very worth while to be out there, killing time until the camp store opened so I could get some coffee.  I had solved my electrical problem by plugging my extension cord into the camp supplied power and using it to charge my computer.  My camera battery would be next, and if my phone was charged after driving around that day then the heater would be a very welcome use of that extension cord overnight.  And the next morning?  Coffee!1-20-20skywayatfirst

The sky was blue and clear, and the lights on the bridge were so pretty when I arrived at East Beach.  As it got lighter the lights weren’t visible, and the colors became muddy.  But a lovely sunrise none the less…1-20-20sunshineskywaycloser1-20-20sunshineskywayitrises1-20-20sunshineskywayitrises2

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And so it begins…

Day one at Fort DeSoto campgrounds had me finally set up by 3 PM.  This is a lovely campground but the tent/pop up area has a narrow, one-way, road, with equally narrow and abrupt turn-offs in which to back your camper.  Even with two people directing me it was quite an ordeal, and it has occurred to me that getting it out of here just might be as bad, or worse.  Guess I’ll worry about that later.1-20-20woodpecker

But I was anxious to get out for pictures so I rushed up to North Beach because I could see that the sun would be setting in that direction.  On the way I stopped for the first couple of osprey nests I saw, but I soon realized that they were everywhere, and they all were occupied by at least one adult.  They certainly didn’t have any protection from the wind up there.  And the ranger had told me that there was an eagle nest on the cell tower, you can’t miss it, he said.  It wasn’t the natural setting of the eagles I’m used to seeing so I probably won’t be staking this nest out.1-20-20osprey1-20-20eaglenest

With temperatures in the 40s and a brutal wind, it was almost too much, for a Floridian at least.  And the waves crashing on the rocks were dramatic, but the tide was coming in and I began to worry that the camera would get splashed.  But it didn’t, and neither did I, and the sunset was lovely.  And I drove back to the campground never suspecting that I’d discover that when I plugged in the heater, or the charger for the computer, that the plugs weren’t going to work.  Lights yes, plugs no.  And I must have used my last gasp of propane testing that I had propane, because that heater didn’t work either.  So I’m roughing it until I figure it out, and warmer weather is coming, or so they say.1-20-20slywywithpalmtrees1-20-20sunshineskwayfeature1-20-20wavescrashing1-20-20northbeachsunset

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Skyline Drive…

Yes, I had decided that I wanted to visit Skyline Drive again.  It had been a day trip from my home in Maryland, and we did enjoy driving portions of it and taking pictures, but that was a very long time ago.  And we didn’t do the entire drive.  I had forgotten the details, except that we once got a short glimpse of a bear while we drove through.  And, it occurred to me as I drove it on Friday, that I wasn’t the driver on those trips long ago.  No, Charley was my chauffeur, so the day wasn’t as exhausting back then.  Or it was my age.

I started the day in Coventry, RI, and stopped for pictures at The Community Bridge in Frederick MD, which had me approaching Front Royal, VA, the northern access point, about 2 PM.  And that was before I bounced the car and trailer over some RR tracks and caused the camper to become unhitched.  The trailer jack was now embedded in the road, and before I could even get out of the car to see what the heck had happened two very nice drivers were already on the case.  They got the trailer jacked up, they got me hitched up, and I was on my way in no time.  Physically anyhow.  Mentally I was listening to every squeak and groan of the camper and expecting disaster any second.  I started the 100 mile, 30 MPH drive, at 3 PM.  The light was harsh, there was a lot of haze, and the views from the overlooks were repetitious.  My chat with Bob set me back further, and once I left him I mostly glanced at the overlooks and skipped getting out of the car.  But as I drove further I realized that the overlooks on my right, in the west, were becoming interesting.  The sun was getting lower and the clouds looked promising, so I quickly hopped out of the car, took a couple of HDR images, and moved on.  Eventually the sun was low enough that I worried that it would slip out of view before I got to another overlook.  But I was relieved that I did see the sun actually set, and was able to leave the southern point of the park while it was still light.  I found a gas station where I burst through the door and asked the gentleman.”Where am I”?  He replied, loudly, and in his best Southern drawl, “Ma’am, you are in GOD’s country,  Waynesboro, VA.”  For a tiny little town it had the essentials, a Panera where I could plug in the computer and have a bite to eat, and a Walmart where I could join the other campers overnight.  My issue with the trailer hitch had me heading for home after that.  I had hoped to camp and spend several days exploring, but since I couldn’t unhitch the camper there wasn’t a point.  Maybe next time…9-27FrontRoyal19-27skylinedrive19-27skylineview29-27FrontRoyalbluemountains9-27skylinesunsetting9-27skylinesun9-27skylinesunsettingHDRfeatureThe southern end of the drive is where the deer crossing signs are, and the deer were there, just not crossing.  And a sign that said “high collision area”.  Not a thrill to see when you are tired and hurrying so as not to be in the park on those roads in the dark.  And the last thing I saw was a bear, just off the side of the road, and he scrambled away.  He was a cub, quite small.  I wonder where Mom was???

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Photo ops…

The stop wasn’t supposed to be scenic.  The reason for the stop was to attend a memorial Mass for my cousin.  He died five years ago, as did my husband and my mother, within three weeks of each other.  So not a happy occasion.  But the church sat on a spit of land between two lakes, and seeing that on the map made me happy that I was planning to get there early to assure that I could get the car plus the trailer onto the parking lot.  That it would allow me to walk to the lakes and get pictures was an added bonus.

But there was a small problem in the form of little cottages packed closely together, so walking down to the water for pictures would have me trespassing.  But that’s when the nice zoom lens comes in handy.

And the journey continues…9-22angel9-22arch9-22bee9-22butterfly9-22churchfeature9-22dock9-22fishing9-22hydrangea9-22rafting

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Winding down…

Summer is officially over.  Forgotten toys in the sand on the shore.  Birds in the air, flying south?  My photographer friends in Florida are celebrating the return of the migratory birds who will spend their winter in the sun.  I suppose snowbirds are migratory also.  I will be flying the coop this weekend, leaving NH behind, for now.  But not forever since I’ll leave a little piece of my heart behind with my oldest, dearest, friend.  Next stop is PA, and family…headingsouthfeatureheadingsouth9-16fallscene9-16fallscene2

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Hanging around in New Hampshire…

It was fall scenery that I was looking for, not pirates.  Or butterflies.  I said I needed to see fall and/or a moose before I go, so when I saw a large animal off in the distance I got excited.  But my friend said no, not a moose, darn it. 13thfoliagenotamoosetwomonarchs2twomonarchs

I also didn’t expect to see a neighbor walking his oxen down the road.  I hope I get a little more warning if I see him again. oxenwalk

And we were so sure that the hummingbirds were gone already that we nearly took the hummingbird feeder down.  I’m glad we didn’t.

lasthummersmilinghillfarm