Home Again & What Preceeded

May 3, 2016 – we’re home and Roomba is unloaded (only just made it before the rain came), but not in his cozy home because we have to take him for an inspection this month. So the backing into the garage part will come later.

But let me back and fill a bit.

Since my last post, the keyboard for my iPad died, and I forgot to bring its charging cable. This makes typing slow and fraught with errors, as I return to learning how to type on the face of the iPad.

In addition, we got notice from our cell service that we are nearing the end of our data plan amount, so this post had to be delayed until we returned to wifi access. So it is a compendium packed full with our 3 days and 4 nights at North Bend Campground.

With a slow start to our first day in camp (Friday, April 29), and overcast but not raining weather, I decided to head out on the bike for a bit of exercise. Meanwhile Kerry and Gloria set up below our site on the beach for a bit of fishing. Jack was snoozing under the awning and I don’t know what Jack, Martha, John, and Lisa were doing.

I rode basically the same route Jack and I had ridden back in March, through all the loops of the campground, when we had come this direction and camped in Occoneechee. I was able to really gain some speed and crank-turns going across the dam toward the closed (until May 1) area D. That is truly a lovely little area with a beach and pretty sites. I ended up hitting that flat dam road and the camp loops twice during my tour, so I managed to work up 10 miles on the odometer. 

A stop along the D-area dam was also a nice place for pix, and it tried to see Roomba from there, but could only see the roof of our screen house, and Kerry and Gloria fishing below.

    
For lunch, Jack and I cooked the truly glorious chicken, spinach, and cheese sausages we’d gotten from Trader Joe’s. On buns with a bit of mustard, it was a flavor sensation that we can repeat, as there were four in the pack and we ate only two.

Later, Jack, Martha, and my Jack took another, shorter bike tour of the area, and we saw some Canada geese with five little goslings moving along the grassy part of the shoreline. I wasn’t able to capture them very well, but some of those brown blobs in the grass are goslings.  

We also rode to Area B, that Jack and I had eyeballed last month, and with more leaves on the trees now, we could readily see that we’d have plenty of sun for solar gain, but also good shade during the hottest time of the day. It’s an unserviced site, but right on the peninsula, with fresh breezes and very few neighbors. 

   
As dinner time approached, we gathered at Jack and Martha’s site, enjoyed the stories, sunset, and watching the flora and fauna surrounding us. Martha had prepared a delicious meal we all shared and contributed to and we had a lovely time.

   
 The plan for Saturday, April 30, was to head out with bikes on cars to Boydton and check out the Tobacco Heritage trail there. Kerry and Glo decided not to ride, but all the rest of us took advantage of the excellent weather, and we drove the route Jack and I had taken in the fall of 2014: the Beaches to Bluegrass section ride we’d ridden with Alan and Mary’s tour.

We found the rail head, and began strongly, on a pretty and nice under-tire surface, for about a mile. Then we hit the end.

   
   
  
Hmmm. We had thought the trail here was supposed to be about 5 miles long, but, unless we missed something (like maybe a section of the oath that was not cindered, and therefore inappropriate for Jack’s and my skinny tires), it isn’t quite there yet.

So we turned around and found lunch at a little diner called Rose’s Pizza Restaurant, right in what passes for downtown Boydton. It was an excellent meal, well-presented, quickly delivered and much appreciated even though we hadn’t really ridden enough to earn such a meal.

   
 Since it was only about 10 miles from there back to camp, Jack especially, wanted to ride home. I was going to drive our car back while Jack rode, when Martha graciously volunteered to drive our car back so both of us could ride.

We set out and maintained a steady 16 mph pace, reversing the driving route that had taken us to Boydton. In no time, it seemed, we were back having exercised our heart rates and pedaling muscles.

Until dinner time, we hung out under the awning reading and such. I pulled out my binoculars to study the teensy birds foraging in the trees and undergrowth in front of me. I think I got a good read on three warblers, although it’s kind of difficult to tell for sure. While the black throated blue and black throated green females I’m pretty sure about, I believe I also saw a Tennessee warbler, which doesn’t nest south of the Adarondacks in NY (apparently), so this might have been a migrant. I’m quite sure that this is what I saw, but I’m always confused by warblers, so maybe not. Here are the photos I was able to find that most resembled my sightings.

 

Female black-throated blue warbler
  
Female black-throated green warbler
  
This is as close a picture as I could find to what I was seeing in the trees
 
Also, I didn’t actually see but heard several kingfishers plying the shallows around the cove. A while after Jack had disappeared from our lounge area, I began to get chilly. So I closed up the windows and turned on the heat pump for a bit of warmth.

I got everything ready for us to quickly grill some hamburgers to be served on pretzel buns and to heat up the mac-n-cheese with Hatch chilies we’d gotten at Trader Joe’s. After an adult beverage up at John and Lisa’s roaring camp fire, we all departed to “fix n’ fetch” our separate dinners, then re-gathered there to consume more of everything: food, drink, lies, tales, and jokes.

As the forecast had predicted, it began raining in the night, and we awakened on May 1 (happy European Labor Day, and Birthday to my niece, Lee) to gray drizzle.

To celebrate a new month and all that comes with fresh starts and birthdays (and to console ourselves for the bad weather that was forecast to stay with us all Sunday) we cooked cinnamon rolls in the Omnia oven for breakfast. I went on a cleaning spree and re-organized all our various stuff and trappings, high had gotten helter-skelter in Roomba.

Then we sat down in our nook to read and play games, write and plan our final dinner of this trip: bratwursts with grilled onions and peppers, fresh grilled asparagus, and fingerling potatoes roasted in the Omnia with rosemary and garlic. When the rain eased for a while in the afternoon (and the temps rose), we moved our lounging out to the screen house and I did a bit of digital drawing (as yet unfinished). Kerry and Gloria headed down to the beach to try another round of fishing between showers.

Jack and Martha experienced some anomalies with their RV, and the boys beavered during the day to fix or mediate the issues, which were electrical in nature. I stayed out of their way, except to find the electrical tape we’d stored in Roomba for use in the fixes.

After all was calm again, we performed another “fix & fetch”  dinner to gather and eat at Jack & Martha’s site for this last night in camp. Another lovely, cloudy sunset over the water, despite the all-day rain forecast, and we enjoyed our time so much, we began planning for another gathering, possibly adding in another Meadows of Dan couple if they’d be willing, for later in the summer.

   
 Our departure AM dawned sunny, but clouds on the horizon and the notes from folks back home indicated a swift departure might be best to beat out the rains apparently deluging Floyd County. Jack, Martha, Gloria and Kerry all broke camp and left before Jack and I had eaten breakfast. We weren’t quite as stirred up about driving in the rain or even arriving in the rain, so we took a bit more time and got away around 11:15AM. Listened to our audiobook en route and had an uneventful drive home, were greeted by our house sitters, who were packed and ready to leave for the Charlottesville area, chatted with them about this and that. We were very pleased to hear they had taken full advantage of our regional amenities, including the best restaurants in Floyd, the Old Mill Golf Course and their restaurant, hiking trails, Buffalo Mountain, and nearly everything we had suggested they might enjoy. They even straightened up and sorted out our refrigerator storage and spice/herb racks. We hope to have them back again some day.

So ends another Blue Roomba adventure. Until next time, may the road rise up to meet you and your way be safe and joyous.

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