adventure, Camping, connections, finding my way, learning, live and learn, perseverance, photography, road trip, unintended consequences

Life lessons…

Route 6A on Cape Cod is a Sunday drive sort of road.  It meanders, and if you are in a hurry it’s probably not your road of choice.  And when your GPS in your phone stops talking with the GPS in the car it’s not such a bad road to be on either.  Eventually you’ll see something familiar and find your way again.

I was running errands and wanting to take some pictures, but the reality of the Cape in summer is that you have to pay for parking wherever you go during the day.  Getting out early for the sunrise or after 5 for the sunset is fine, no fees for a quick stop.  But when I saw a sign for Sandy Neck Beach I took the turn, even though it was approaching noon.  The fee for the day was $20, but at the little gatehouse I explained that I just wanted to take some pictures, so the gal let me park next to her car and said that she had no problem if I wanted to walk in on the trail.  I thought that sounded like a great idea, and I headed down the path with dunes to my left and marshes to my right.sandynecktrailsandyneck1It was a half mile trail, according to the sign, and I anticipated being on the beach in no time flat.  The trail was covered in beach rocks, always so silky smooth but big enough to make walking a bit uncomfortable.  At least for a person in flip-flops.  Yes, my choice of footwear was an issue yet again.  And then the rocks were done and the trail was easy, until I came to the sand.  Now I was sinking into soft sand and I decided the rocks weren’t that bad, and with every twist of the trail I expected to see the ocean.  But all I saw was more sandy trail, and the sand was burning hot.  That’s when it dawned on me that I probably should have thought this through more.  I hadn’t thought of that beach ritual of a short dash through the hot sand to get to the water, it had been a long time since I’d been to the beach.  And now I was faced with nothing but a trail of hot sand and the promise of the ocean around the next bend.   I stepped on the clumps of grass next to the path when they were there, and stopped in the shade of a shrub when I could, but that hot sand was all I saw.  The ocean could be just ahead, I thought, and I knew that turning around meant more burning sand.  And then a guy came up behind me carrying his dog.  I had just taken the left fork in the path and asked if the beach was ahead, and he said yes.  He got to the top of an incline and put the dog down, telling him, “Almost there, buddy.”  I got to that incline and saw nothing but more trail, and more sand.  I wondered if I was really doing damage to the skin on the bottoms of my feet, and was quite mad at myself by the time I did see the ocean.  I don’t know which was the more welcome sight, the ocean or the port-a-potties right there as the trail met the beach.sandyneckbeachThe RVs on the beach were a surprise, and you can barely see the little truck in the center.  It was rigged with an awning, and I asked the very nice mother and son if I could stop in their shade for a second.  Maybe I looked worse than I actually felt, aside from my feet, because they leaped into action and gave me a water bottle and wanted me to sit, but I was dying to put my feet in the water.  My plan was to walk up the beach to where I could access the parking lot and walk back on the pavement, and they pointed out the flag on the concession stand and said to head there.sandyneck2sandyneckbeach2I’m glad that I did take a couple of pictures because I hadn’t walked far at all when the young man caught up with me and told me that he had flagged down a natural resources truck and they were stopping to pick me up.  Of course part of me wanted to object, I didn’t need help, I thought, but a ride all the way back to the car was just too tempting.  So I swallowed my pride and accepted the ride.  As hot as that sand was it didn’t do actual damage, I’m happy to say.  But my pride at blundering into that situation, that has taken a bit of a beating.  My faith in the people you meet along the way is still in tact though…

'scene' along the way, a second look, Camping, childhood, connections, coping, courage, finding my way, friends, leap of faith, memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Thinking it over…

IMG_1545I have a lot of time to think these days.  Here in the camper with the sounds of the birds outside, even at 4 AM.  And something, pine cones maybe, falling on the roof with a surprising thunk.  And my coffee, brewed outside on the little shelf which has a convenient plug right next to it.  Features of this pop up that I’m just now noticing.

I’m thinking about how homesick I got last year.  How much I longed to be back home.  I wanted to see the familiar places where I had expected to live my life back then.  And I wanted to ‘find myself’ again.  I thought back to the little kid that I think I was, confident and sure of herself, and wondered how I lost her when I let myself fear that I wasn’t good enough as I was.  A familiar theme for all of us I suspect, as we grow older and judge ourselves through the prism of those junior high and high school insecurities.  Everyone else had all the answers, I thought.  Little did I know then that I wasn’t alone.

I thought though, that the homesickness was a longing for the lost places of my youth.  But what I have discovered, now that I’ve turned my life upside-down and become a snowbird, traveling the roads that I longed to travel, is an amazing appreciation for the people I left behind.  Just because I decided that at this moment in time I was yearning for something doesn’t mean that it was the perfect timing for me to turn up on everyone’s doorstep.  And yet here I am, and I’ve been embraced at every turn.  They were as busy living their lives as I was living mine I guess, so maybe they didn’t miss me, but we are all older now and reconnecting to the past seems to be a welcome thing to do.  And maybe I did have a touch of the spunk I thought I’d lost.  After all, I did take off for parts unknown way back then.  I haven’t considered that it took a certain amount of spunk to do that.  Or naivety.  And, all things considered, I really wouldn’t change anything about my life.  It’s just this amazing feeling of coming full circle that I truly love.  I’m so blessed in all ways to be enjoying this adventure.  I wonder where it’s heading…fourthparkway.jpg

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The boondocks…

You’ve heard of the boondocks haven’t you?  The middle of no where?  I know another name for it but I’m too polite to say it.  Of course I already knew that my friend Kathy lived in a tiny little town here in New Hampshire, but I didn’t know that that’s where the black flies live.  And ticks, can’t forget them.  After these last several visits I’m sure I’ve never been here in black fly season before.  Which, by the way, she assured me arrived at Mother’s Day and was over by Father’s Day.  But evidently no one informed said black flies.  I know this because I went out back to see if I could take pictures of the hummingbirds who were doing acrobatics out her back door.  I couldn’t resist.  So I walked out to the flower beds and took a picture of the gazing ball, and then settled myself into a pretty blue Aiderondack chair to be still and let the hummingbirds return for pictures.  I sat and waited for only a few minutes before I realized that my ankles were covered in black flies.  Covered!  I came in and sprayed myself with my bug spray which contains DEET, and was able to survive for the few minutes it took for a couple of pictures.July1hummer1July1hummer2July1hummer3

When it comes to black flies Kathy must be a lot tougher than I am.  Or maybe they just love me.  Kathy says I’m fresh Florida meat.  But when it comes to the summer heat I’ve got Kathy beat by a mile.  She has been complaining about the heat today, and I’m wondering what heat?  I thought it was a perfect day.  We talked, and shopped, and talked, and shopped, and came home, and talked some more.  One of the things we shopped for was an adapter so that I could plug my camper into her barn and open it up so that it can dry since I had to close it in the rain.  We found one, plus a heavy duty extension cord, and as long as it doesn’t rain again I’ll be able to close it up and hit the road tomorrow.  I’m going to brave the 4th of July traffic issues, as well as driving over the Sagamore bridge with the pop up in tow (gasp), and visit beautiful Cape Cod for a while.  And no, I’m not planning on bringing any of the black flies with me…

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Camping in the rain…k

It’s days like today I feel like a genius.  I’m snug in my camper, listening to the rain.  No, not the adorable little blue camper above, but it’s also not the trailer that I originally bought.  I loved it for the layout, but was too much for my Chrysler Pacifica to tow.  In theory it was an okay combination, but other campers chimed in with their opinions, and they were overwhelmingly convinced that the combination wasn’t safe.  The suggestion by the dealership was to switch to a 14 foot trailer, but it eliminated the one thing that convinced me to buy a camper in the first place, and that was the couch.  Someplace comfortable to sit, or to lay back and read, someplace other than the dinette, or on a bed, to spend a rainy day.  When I finally showed up in NH, at the dealership I’d bought from, on display in their showroom were pop-ups, and one of them had the couch I was looking for!  Pretty much the same one that I liked from the first trailer.  That it didn’t have a bathroom wasn’t too much of a worry to me because I hadn’t planned on using the one in the trailer anyhow. Or camping outside of a nice campground with facilites.  I neglected to think about walking to the bathroom in the rain, which I will have to do soon.  And then there is the bear that visits now and then to tip over the dumpster, and whom I would prefer not to run into on a late night trip to the bathroom.  So maybe I’m only a semi-genius.  

But so far I love living in the camper.  I know that for most people camping is about living outdoors mostly.  But I haven’t done this all my life and I’m set in my ways.  I’m on a quest to reconnect with people and places I left behind years ago.  But I also need my cocoon, my privacy, at least some of the time.  This may not be the ultimate on-my-own camping experience since I have family here as residents as well as visitors, but they are a big part of the past that I’m looking to reconnect with, so it’s been great.  I think I’m back to genius status!  

Here are some random pictures I’m finding on the SD cards or in the phone, amusing myself on a rainy day…

campgroundsunrisefenceonthehillgeeseinarowlakefairleeboatslakefairleeboats2pathtowhereupwardtravelVTscene

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Hitting the jackpot…

The Jackpot being all the photos ops that could possibly be crammed into one 24 hour period.  Or maybe it’s the jackpot of having your lifelong friend be the one person who would be willing to pull the car off to the side of the road to capture, or try to capture, the scene that has caught your eye.  What a treasure it is to have someone in your life who has been your best friend since childhood.  Somehow our interests, and also our worries, have always been compatible.  We haven’t lived in the same state since we graduated from college together, but that hasn’t mattered a bit.  And we are now finding our way alone in life, but together.  Yes, I certainly hit that jackpot.

But this particular jackpot took place at the Quechee Balloon Festival on Sunday morning.  We actually went on Saturday, almost all of the photos we took were on Saturday, and it was a perfect day from the cardinal we saw as we started our day (a husband or two stopping by to cheer us on?), the glorious lunch we got at Simon Pearce (gazpacho soup and a fabulous quiche, two grown up ladies such as we may have pictured ourselves years ago when we were little girls together), and the lovely day with blue skies sandwiched between days of rain in the weather forecast.  Yes, all was going well, and then the clouds got heavier and the winds came up, and we started fearing the balloons wouldn’t go off at 6PM.  Which is about when I realized I didn’t have my phone.  I lose things often, but not usually my phone, which currently is my lifeline for  this adventure I’m on.  We gave up on looking, left info to reach us, and went back to the campground with a damper now weighing down the entire day.  Only they did call!  They had my phone!  We decided to wait until sunrise to go back to Quechee and got my phone, and also saw the balloons launch!  Every good story needs some drama, and this was no exception.  We made it back to the campground in time for the wonderful Father’s Day breakfast the owners put on for everyone.

Quechee has a covered bridge, we’ve taken pictures of it before, but it was the kids under the bridge that I hadn’t ever seen before.  Jumping off the cliffs (sort of) and into the water.  Do they really know that there are no rocks hidden under the water?  It was nerve wracking to watch, but of course we took pictures.  These aren’t as clear as I wish they have been but they do show the scene.06_15_19bridge06_15_19the whole scene06_15_19upriverview06_15_19quecheejumper106_15_19quecheejumper206_15_19quecheejumper3

But it was the balloons we came for, the third time I had come to a balloon launch and the sixth time for my friend, but we saw the balloons for the first time together.

06_16_19balloon106_16_19balloon206_16_19balloon306_16_19balloon406_16_19balloon506_16_19balloon6balloonfeature

Quite an eventful 24 hour visit.  Can’t wait for the next one…

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Bridging the gap…

I was looking for bear tracks the other day when I wandered down to the river and saw that the bridge was ‘lit up’, so I took an iPhone photo.  I often forget to check the iPhone even though I take pictures with it frequently.  I have to work a little harder to take pictures with the camera, and here I had the nicest picture right in my pocket the whole time.  Looking at this picture you have VT on the left side of the bridge and NH on the right side.   And at this moment in time I feel as if I’m standing on a bridge and I have my nostalgia for my ‘home’, my roots, for the people I used to know and the person I used to be on one side, and on the other, what exactly?  I have no clue, but I’m working on it…

And yes, there was a bear in the campground the other night.  Which explains why I now drive to the bathroom in the middle of the night…