Saying Goodbye to the Flagstaff

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to our Flagstaff camper.  She’s been home on the road for us since 2004, but having two campers in the driveway is driving us a bit nuts.
I expect it’ll hurt a bit to see her leave behind someone else’s car… About as long as it takes to turn around and see the Airstream on the camper pad!

Raven Rock Walk and Talk

I took a hike one day last week while on study leave at Raven Rock State Park.  Bushwhacking through the woods, my thoughts were still swirling around the Lenten study I’ve been preparing for our churches, so the first half of the hike was thinking out loud and doing a bit of theological reflection.  The 2nd half was essentially just the GoPro picking up how hard I was breathing and how out of shape I am!

Some thoughts about the upcoming “40 Days of Discernment:”

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad – who died in 2020 – would have been 93 yesterday.  Granted, flowers on your grave may not be the best birthday gift of all time, but it’s the thought that counts.

Happy Birthday Old Man!

Dreams Do Come True

According to family folklore, my parents first took me camping when I was about six months old.  Suffice it to say that camping has been in my blood my entire life.

On one trip, we went to New England in our 16′ travel trailer, sometime in the late 1960s perhaps.  I vaguely remember that I was 10 or 11 years old at the time.  Somewhere in New Hampshire, we met a family that had two sons about my age and they were traveling essentially in the same direction as we were.  For the better part of a week, at a couple of different campgrounds, I hooked up with them and we played, hung out, had lunch or dinner at each other’s campsites.  These folks actually invited me to travel with them up to Acadia National Park and then meet up with Mom, Dad and my brother there – a prospect that thrilled me, and left me crushed when Dad decided we might not go that far north on our trip.

What excited me most?  This family was traveling in an Airstream travel trailer!  It only took a couple of card games or dinners with them to firmly establish in my mind that THIS was the ultimate way to camp!  (After that trip, my parents’ got very tired of my suggestion every year when camping season came around that “This year we should get an Airstream!”)

Long story short?  Sometimes it takes a while but dreams do come true.  Yesterday, Judy and I left home for our traditional week after Christmas camping trip; and last night we spent the first night in our new (to us, anyway) 27′ Airstream Flying Cloud 27fb-t.  It took quite a while, but now I understand what the term “Airsreaming” really means!  The best is yet to come!

Paddling Price Lake

An afternoon paddle on Price Lake, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC.  Cool water, a nice breeze, and stunningly beautiful weather for an early fall paddle.

Cheeseburgers at 6500 Feet

What’s the best cheeseburger in the universe?  One you cook yourself at the top of Mt. Mitchell, NC – at 6,684 feet the highest point east of the Mississippi River!

My grand plan was to cook dinner at sunset, in the picnic area about 150 feet below the summit of Mitchell.  57°, rain, wind and fog turned that into cooking in one of the picnic shelters (which just happened to have some wood and charcoal left over at the fireplace), while the clouds descended and fog rolled in. Sitting by the fire enjoying a chili-cheeseburger and new Dos Equis Zero-alcohol brew might have been the best dinner I’ve had in quite a while!  (Even if I did miss the sunset until driving back down below the clouds later in the evening.)

The two field mice living on the shelf to the left of the fire were unhappy I took all their wood to burn, so I made amends by feeding them all my left over potato chips, which they immediately began fighting over!

Earlier in the afternoon, I had hopes of hiking back up to the summit monument and watching the sun go down.  Wasn’t meant to happen; but everything else about the day (and the three days on the Blue Ridge Parkway) was perfect, in spite of rain!

Camping at Linville Falls Campground, mile marker 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  No water, electricity, or showers, but the quiet and view make all that worthwhile.
Hiking the Balsam nature trail back down from the summit of Mitchell.  Several times, I had that wonderful scent of “Christmas in the air” while walking through the evergreen trees!After driving back down Mitchell in fog so think I couldn’t see the other side of the road, I just happened upon this view from one of the overlooks on the parkway;  so I guess I did get to see the sunset after all.

Judy Goes Right

We paddled 11 miles of the New River on Labor Day; from the Wagoner Access of New River State Park to the 221 Access.  The water level and flow was very low, so we ended up slogging over rocks all day.  But at the one rapid below, after suggesting that she not go to the left, by golly, Judy took her boat ALL THE WAY to the right!  Right onto the rocks – scaring the kid wading in the water half to death as she almost mowed him down!

When I asked her below the rapid, “What – exactly – were you trying to do?  Her reply?  “YOU SAID TO GO RIGHT, DIDN’T YOU?”

Fort Sumter Paddle – 8/14/2023

We paddled Charleston Harbor from James Island to Fort Sumter and back last week.  Low tide at Melton Peter Demetre Park meant launching through nasty, thick, black, clinging mud.  Temp was 97° and heat index was a whopping 109°, which translated into many moments of “What the hell are we doing out here?”  Note to self:  This is a great paddle for COOL weather; not so much for the dog days of summer!

Just When You Think You’ve Heard it All

And I truly thought that I actually HAD heard it all with the nonsense that swirls around Donald Trump: a Today his “legal spokesperson” (who just so happens to be a young, attractive, eye-candy type of “assistant”)  goes on Fox News and says something so outrageously false that we should have seen her nose growing on air:

Alina Habba’s own words:  “If President Trump didn’t want something turned over I assure you that is something that could have been done. But he never would act like that. He’s the most ethical American I know.”

Sure toots:  And up is down, hate is love, black is white, the sky is falling, and you all are gonna make America great again… right?  Jeez… I listen to such unmitigated BS and wonder to myself, “How can ANYONE be so stupid and ignorant as to believe and support this sociopath?”  Yet they just keep on drinking the Trump-flavored Kool Aid, publicly showing us how serious the conservative “brain-drain” is.

America may well be doomed.

Paddling the Kiptopeke Breakwater

Paddling the Chesapeake Bay on the southern tip of the DelMarVa peninsula on vacation.  The breakwater off the coast at Kiptopeke State Park in Virginia is a  line of partially sunken ships that were constructed of reinforced concrete during World War II.  Of all things to paddle to… Concrete ships!