Homeward Bound

As with most road trips, once we start heading homeward, our sense of adventure wanes slightly. But we still try to break up the trip home with a few activities, mostly focused on stretching our legs between long hours of driving.

We left Wilmington, NC, on Wednesday morning, aiming for Dismal Swamp State Park in Camden County, NC. The name itself made us want to check it out. We found a boardwalk loop and other walking trails along a canal. As usual, we heard more birds than we actually saw. A foursome of deer surprised us on one of the trails. Or maybe we surprised them.

The park was on the North Carolina/ Virginia border, so we crossed into Virginia soon after leaving there. Wednesday night, we parked overnight at Chesapeake Golf Club in Chesapeake, Virginia, as part of our Harvest Hosts membership. Their restaurant was closed, so we took a ride downtown to eat supper. Then, we had the parking lot at the golf club to ourselves for the night.

Golfers started arriving early on Thursday morning, so we drove to a nearby Walmart parking lot to make our breakfast in the van. Then, we were off to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel before the traffic got too heavy. It was 79 degrees out, as it had been for days, but the wind was gusting. The bay waters were choppy, but strangely we didn’t feel the gusts while driving across the bridge. The bridge-tunnel spans about seventeen miles. It was an experience, for sure. I unexpectedly found myself a little motion-nauseous by the end. Here are a few pics taken as we crossed.

Just over the bridge, we found the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. We needed to get out and stretch our legs anyway. As you can see, you never know what you’ll find at one of these places…

After that adventure, we made ourselves lunch in the van and got back on the road. We left Virginia for Maryland, made a pit stop somewhere in Maryland or Delaware where Mark made a new friend. Yes, that’s a pedal-powered car!

The temperature dropped from almost eighty to the mid-sixties as we traveled north. We arrived at Fordham & Dominion Brewing in Dover, Delaware, late Thursday afternoon. Just in time for Mark to sample their beer, share some Treehouse with a few people, and order barbecue from a food truck, before the trivia night crowd packed the place.

We retreated to the van where I joined my chorus rehearsal via Zoom. At 10 p.m. we heard faint music which we slowly realized sounded like Taps and was probably coming from the Air Force base nearby. Felt like we were being sent off to sleep in style. We spent the night parked at the brewery as the temps dropped into the forties.

Friday morning, after hitting yet another Walmart parking lot, we drove to Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna, Delaware, for a little exercise despite the cold wind.

From Delaware, we drove up to Poughkeepsie, New York, to stay at a Holiday Inn for our final night. The temperature had dropped into the thirties by the time we arrived and promised to drop into the teens overnight. We left the heat on in the van all night to keep everything from freezing. In the morning, we blew as much water out of the lines as we could before we left the hotel parking lot. Light snow fell as we finished up and pulled out onto the road.

The snow got heavier for a while, but then tapered and stopped completely as we entered Massachusetts via the Pike. We were glad to leave the flurries behind because we knew our driveway at home was already covered in snow and ice from the recent storm. And we’d heard reports that another storm would be coming in a few days. To our surprise, we arrived home to find that some nice neighbor had cleared a spot for us in our driveway.

At the end of another adventure, lest you think it was all fun and games, let me remind you that no road trip is flawless. Life doesn’t work that way. But that’s OK. We may have had a glass jar full of homemade maple-rosemary nuts come flying from an overhead cabinet and smash on the floor, and a leaky cooler that soaked my camera bag and sheet music and ruined my Peterson’s bird book. But it’s all part of the adventure. Hope you enjoyed it. We did. 🙂

Yet Another Wilmington…

If you’ve been keeping up, we left Wilmington, MA, last week on our way to North Carolina to visit our friends, Cathy & Don. You can read the previous blog entry here.

We camped for two nights at Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster, South Carolina, and spent some time at Anne Springs Close Greenway on the way back to Charlotte. I forgot to mention at the end of the previous post that we stopped by Middle James Brewing in Pineville, NC, after hiking at the Greenway on Sunday.

On Monday morning, a week from the day we left home, we awoke to our final day in Charlotte. Cathy & Don were on grandparent duty, so we all drove over to Little Sugar Creek Greenway and walked for a couple of hours. Mark squeezed in a run while we were there.

The weather was beautiful and so was nature all around us.

Monday afternoon, Cathy & Don took us on a brewery walk not far from their neighborhood. We visited Legion Brewing,

Burial Beer Company,

And the favorite, Resident Culture Brewing.

Monday night, we enjoyed a home-cooked meal with Cathy & Don, their daughter, Kelly, and her husband, Mike. And on Tuesday morning we said our good-byes. Time with good friends goes by too fast.

On the way to the fourth Wilmington of our trip, we saw an amazing sight. A huge, I mean HUGE, flock of white birds, probably Snow Geese, flew over the highway, looking like a murmuration of starlings. It was impossible to get a clear photo, as we were driving about sixty mph, but here’s what we saw:

It was mesmerizing! And a little distracting for the driver. 🙂

We continued on to Wilmington, North Carolina, where we stayed overnight at the KOA there.

Our journey south was over now and the rest of the trip would be directed north, toward home.


I’ve been remiss in my blogging. In considering the reason for this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is NOT because I’ve had nothing to say. Quite the opposite. There’s TOO MUCH to say. Family stuff, community stuff, and global stuff bombard me and I struggle to keep up. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Life is messy — like the spent sunflower seeds in this photo. Everyone’s “mess” is a bit different. My mother, who is declining into dementia, has been the greatest focus of my time and energy for the last few years. My own involvement in social activities, like church and chorus, has taken a turn during the pandemic and I’m reassessing my priorities and assessing my own needs. Too many details to mention or even fully grasp are whirling inside my brain. Messy.

Some days, all I can do is focus on the simple things — the things that bring a sense of momentary peace and beauty — like the crocuses in this photo. Today, my “crocus” will be venturing outside in the retreating drizzle to start turning over the dirt in my garden beds. That’s all. The mess of life will still be here when I’m done, but that’s okay. Maybe it’ll feel a little less daunting. I encourage you to do the same if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to focus on the crocuses. And have a blessed day. 🙂

Gratitude Spiral: Day 354

Today, I’m grateful for a cool starry night.

I like to step outdoors after sunset when these warm autumn days are cooling down, and look up at the clear sky full of stars. It’s a quiet beauty that we can easily forget about as we go about our busy daily lives.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 320

Today, I’m grateful for my husband having the day off from work.

He works hard — at least five days a week, for long hours, at a stressful job. It’s nice to have a day to spend together once in a while. Hopefully, a nice hike is in order. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 133

Today, I’m grateful for the moon.

Last night’s beautiful full moon shone on all of us who’ve been doing our best to keep apart from one another. We could all look up from whatever place we call home and appreciate that shared gift.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 49

Today, I’m grateful for squirrels.

Yes, I know, they’re just rodents with bushy tails and can be super annoying at times. But have you ever watched one run up a tall tree with a mouth full of dry leaves to stuff into a nest, over and over again? Or seen them run halfway up a bird feeder pole and then jump off, over and over, in order to shake birdseed onto the ground? They’re a rare and free form of entertainment! 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 14

Today, I’m grateful for my morning walks. Yesterday, I was able to get outdoors in the sixty degree weather which melted most of the foot and a half of snow we got last week. There’s just something about being outside surrounded by nature that lifts the soul and does a body good!

What are you grateful for today?