The heART Of The Eastern Shore

What is it my Mom used to say? Oh yes, “It’s OK to make plans as long as you don’t plan the results.” It should be a mantra for RVers. The cancellation of our stop in northern Pennsylvania meant we had to drive straight through to Maryland. Normally we stick close to the 244 rule (200 miles, 4 hours of driving or arrive by 4pm.) There was a domino effect on plans until we were back in Charlotte. We tried to move up our stay at Elk Neck SP in Maryland but there was no opening for our size rig. We changed our reservation to Martinak SP which is located along the Choptank river near the small town of Denton. This is the first time we’ve been able to  use our Maryland State Golden Age Pass which gives us half price rates Sunday-Thursday. One stay paid for our passes plus almost $50 more. A very good deal!

Originally we’d come here with the idea of kayaking the Choptank. However, the weather turned much cooler (down to 26 degrees one night) and quite breezy. So we chose not to paddle. Biking, walking and exploring the coast occupied most of our time. We drove down to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and out to the Hooper Islands. Loads of birds were in the refuge especially eagles. It was a bit early for the snow geese. Seeing a blast off of these geese is on my bucket list! We also drove 1 1/2 hours to the Baltimore area to see a friend from Charlotte that had moved there.

Crossing The Hooper Island Chain

Crossing The Hooper Island Chain

Cute As A Button

Cute As A Button

Relaxing On The Eastern Shore

Relaxing On The Eastern Shore

One day Steve went to a local liquor store and came back with a photo of a poster. It was advertising an event sponsored by the Caroline County Arts Council for the following Saturday evening. The event was a fundraiser for the Council called an Evening With Edgar Allen Poe. When we went on the CCAC website for more information we also learned of an event in the neighboring town of Greensboro for a music performance about the War of 1812. Who says drinking isn’t good for you? We were lucky to get two of the last five tickets for the Poe dinner.

The music performance was given at the public library by Lee Murdock, a folksinger who specializes in music about the Great Lakes. Most of his performances are in the midwest. He’d put together the show we heard for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. He interwove history, legend and song for a very entertaining (and free) evening. There were only eleven people attending. The War of 1812 has local significance as many battles were fought on the Chesapeake Bay and of course at Fort McHenry. We bought a CD so we could enjoy the songs again. If you are interested in where he is performing check his website http://www.leemurdock.com .

Hidden In Downtown Denton

Hidden In Downtown Denton

History In Denton

History In Denton

The Evening With Edgar Allen Poe was also a great event. Every year the CCAC picks an author and features a variety of speakers about the person, their contributions to literature and culture and selected readings. Before dinner we mingled as everyone tried to find the answer to their Poe related question issued upon arrival. My question was “How much was Poe paid for his poem The Raven?” The answer will be hidden somewhere in the post. It was a great way to meet some local people. The keynote speaker was an English professor from a nearby community college.  A local teacher and musician gave a talk on Poe’s influence on music. The presentation we enjoyed the most was a one man reading of The Telltale Heart by another teacher and thespian. He was terrific and received a standing ovation.

As I finalize this post we are beginning a two week stint in NC for Tweak Week #2. The answer to the trivia question is $9 (about $20 in today’s money).  For those new to our blog, Tweak Week is when we take the trailer in for maintenance/repair and ourselves in for doctor and dentist visits. Repair from our earlier Attack of the Tree Branch post will require us to find time for a new roof before heading south for the winter. During this time we will try our best to get caught up with the rest of our wonderful Canadian Maritime travels.

Where next? Check out our next post.

Our Top Ten Campgrounds For June 2012- June 2013

Today is the first day of summer and everyone’s thoughts are turning to spending time outdoors. So we thought we’d share the top ten campgrounds we’ve used this past year. These are not in any order of preference just listed as we thought about them. We hope you get to enjoy them.

beach, SGI

St. Georges Island State Park

St. Georges Island State Park

   Appalachicola, Florida

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Bandit's Roost On Kerr-Scott Lake

Bandit’s Roost On Kerr-Scott Lake

Bandit’s Roost COE (Corps of Engineers) Campground

Wilkesboro, North Carolina

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kayaking, photography, Kentucky

Energy Lake At LBL

Piney  LBL Campground 

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area

Kentucky and Tennessee

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Atalaya, architecture

Huntington Beach State Park

Huntington Beach State Park

Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

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wildflowers, Vermont

Winhall Brook Campground

Winhall Brook COE Campground

South Londonderry, Vermont

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Assateague Island

Assateague Island

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island, Maryland

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Near Camden Hills SP

Near Camden Hills SP

Camden Hills State Park

Camden, Maine

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Georgia Veterans State Park

Georgia Veterans State Park

Georgia Veterans State Park

Cordele, Georgia

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Promised Land State Park

Promised Land State Park

Promised Land State Park

Greentown, Pennsylvania 

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Historical Site Near Fishermans Memorial SP

Historical Site Near Fishermans Memorial SP

Fishermans Memorial State Park

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Where Next #3

Now we begin our second year as full time RVers.  Many of our stops will be taking us into populous areas and/or popular vacation areas in the northeast and Canada so we opted to make reservations well ahead of our arrival. It’s a good thing we did. Canadian parks are set up for smaller RVs and even at 35′ our rig is considered to be extra large. There are limited sites for this size. Steve and I both have been to the Maritime Provinces for short vacations individually before we were married. This summer we will spend two months there. If any of you reading this blog have suggestions about this area, please let us know. Then we will return to Maine briefly, back to Canada and over to New York State for (we hope) some beautiful Fall color. As we move south once again we will be visiting Baltimore, Richmond and the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we will participate in a photography workshop.

Here is our proposed itinerary.

Homeless And Loving It Travels For May-Dec 2013

Homeless And Loving It Travels For May-Dec 2013

Paradise Saved – A Week At Assateague National Seashore

Dreamchaser At Delaware Seashore State Park Against Bridge Lights

DreamChaser At Delaware Seashore State Park Against Bridge Lights

Assateague campground panorama

Assateague National Seashore Panorama

After spending the Easter holiday with family in Pennsylvania, we towed the Dreamchaser  to Delaware Seashore State Park. Since Steve’s brother and wife would be staying with us for four days we’d looked for a park with full services. To be honest we hadn’t really paid that much attention to anything else. We’d visualized a beach campground similar to Huntington Beach in SC or First Landing in VA. So when we drove in to find a big, open parking lot with spaces as tightly packed as possible next to a construction site… well, at $40/night disappointed doesn’t quite cover it. I hated it from day one and only moved up the scale to barely tolerable after a few days. We’ll give it a 1.5 on our scale of 1-5. Good points were a new tiled bath house, full hookups and a sandy beach. If traveling with pets note that dogs are prohibited on the beach from May 1-September 30. Fortunately we were before that so Opal had good long beach walks even though you had to cross two roads and parking lots to get there. Bad points were tight sites such that if this campground were full it would have been very difficult to park our 35′ trailer, no view, no area for dog walking in campground, no access to the bay from campground, no information about where to find park headquarters, trails or boat launch and no safe place for bike riding. We were supposed to stay two weeks but by the end of the first week we were ready to move on. The only time we did have a view was at night when darkness covered the industrial area and the bridge was lit a brilliant blue.

The DSSP Campground

The DSSP Campground

Delaware Seashore State Park campground

“View” From Our Site

Nature Won This One

Nature Won This One

Picnic On A Windy Day

Picnic On A Windy Day

While Fred and Chris were visiting we drove an hour south to Maryland and the Assateague National Seashore. Located ten miles south of Ocean City, Maryland, Assateague was connected to the mainland until a hurricane in 1933 opened the connection between Assateague and Fenwick Island to the bay. It was love at first sight. The white sandy beach stretches for fifteen miles. This paradise was almost lost. In the 1950s developers had built a road called Baltimore Boulevard with 130 side roads ready for homes and stores. The 1962 hurricane caused the road to crumble and development was curtailed. In 1965 the area was turned over to the NPS and it was saved for us to enjoy today.

Opal Had A Good Time Too!

Opal Had A Good Time Too!

10 Little Cormorants

10 Little Cormorants

Wide Angle Photo Of Driftwood

Wide Angle Photo Of Driftwood

Playing With Shells And Sand

Playing With Shells And Sand

old fish factory graphic grunge copy

Old Fish Factory

Assateague was everything we’d hoped the other park would be except the campground doesn’t have services. Once it was just the two of us again we decided to change parks. We’d never dry camped before but there were going to be times it would be required this summer. Might as well start learning. There was no refund for early departure from Delaware Seashore State Park. We just chalked this up to our learning curve. With our senior pass a site at Assateague was $10/night until the new reservation season began on 4/15 then $12.50/night. With a few changes in our routine to conserve water and using our generator we managed very well. There are two campgrounds at Assateague, the 40 site Oceanside where we stayed and the larger Bayside campground. We were fortunate to get our pick of sites and chose one right next to the boardwalk leading to the beach. We were surrounded by red winged blackbirds and others that sang a chorus every morning.

Head Shot Of Assateague Horse

Head Shot Of Assateague Horse

We spent a wonderfully relaxing week doing what everyone does pre-season at the beach; walking, lounging, biking and taking pictures. Watching for wild horses is on everyone’s list. They roam free throughout the park. You know where they’ve been by the piles left all over. The herd is kept at about 150 animals to prevent overgrazing. Mares that are 2, 3, and 4 years old are given an annual injection to prevent pregnancy via a dart gun. At five years old they are allowed to breed once. The horses receive no feed or vet services except in an emergency. Although there are signs all over saying not to feed wildlife we saw a family feeding and petting a horse right in the middle of the road. We let them know that this was bad for the animal as it teaches them to come onto the roadway. Contrary to what most people think the horses did not descend from survivors of wrecked Spanish ships. They were turned loose on the island by early colonials trying to evade taxes. There is an excellent film at the Visitor Center about the horses.

Panorama Of Wild Horses On Bay Side Of Island

Panorama Of Wild Horses On Bay Side Of Island

Assateague, wild horses

Our First Horse On The Beach

A wild Stallion

A Wild Stallion

Steve Photographing Wild Horse

Steve Photographing Wild Horse

Steve bought an OSV (over sand vehicle) pass that allowed us to drive 12 miles on the beach to the Virginia line. Vehicles must have four wheel drive and you are responsible for carrying safety equipment with you in case you get stuck. Dual wheels are prohibited. Before entering you lower tire pressure to 15 psi and upon exiting there is an air station to inflate them. The NPS limits the number of vehicles on the beach at any one time to 145. During the summer this can mean a wait of 2-3 hours until someone exits. While we were there no more than 15 were in at one time. We’d drive along and see an occasional fisherman. Yes, we are spoiled by being here in the shoulder season.  The pass is good for a year in case we get back this way.

Where Next #2

Time to think about where we will roam during the next two months. Nothing is cast in concrete but we plan to move up the east coast combining stops at National Park sites, wildlife refuges, kayaking trips, beach time and visits with friends and family. What a life!

As we write this post the blog is quickly approaching 2100 views. Not a huge number yet but definitely growing. It took six months to reach the first 1,000 views and only six weeks for the second 1,000. We are thrilled to have so many folks “traveling” along with us. Thanks for following our blog.

On the map below we’ve noted campgrounds in green and areas or sites we hope to see in red. After we added the Google Earth map the first time it was too full to be readable. So we broke it down into three sections. You can double click on the image to bring it to full screen size.

We’ll be busy for sure!

Google Earth, RV

Our February-March 2013 Destinations

Google Earth, RV

Our March-April 2013 Destinations

Google Earth, RV

Our April-June 2013 Destinations