December 4, 2007

Mattamuskeet and the Outer Banks or "Are we in LA yet?"

Our drive from the mountains of western Virginia to eastern North Carolina brought many changes. We left behind the vistas, the mountain side farms and cabins, the cold and drove through flatter and flatter land. Both Sam and I remarked as we drove along how if we didn't know it, we would think we're back in Louisiana. Flat land farms, cotton fields, cotton remnants on the side of the road, live oak trees dripping in moss, marshy waterways, plenty of people in boats fishing, and cypress trees.

We were headed for a campground on the Lake Mattamuskeet. The area is known for it's populations of winter birds - mainly ducks, snow geese and tundra swans.

The view from the campground was so beautiful at sunset and sunrise I totally forgot to get pictures of the campground itself. The campground was nothing much to speak of but was run by the nicest couple. We didn't have to pay till we left. The payment on the laundromat was on the honor basis, just leave your money in the tupperware container. We were given a handful of local tourist info when we arrived.

The next two days were spent birding. One day at Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in the rain and the other on Pea Island on the Outer Banks. We racked up 63 different species of birds in the 2 days we were there without trying too hard.

The sunrises and sunsets in this area were spectacular. More pictures of birds to come...

November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in the Country

Old friends, new friends, good food, great time. Need I say more?
Baby greens, Pepitas, Parmesan Shavings with Balsamic Vinegarette
Susie Lindstrom's Homemade Rye Bread
Bright Farm Pasture Raised Turkey
Minick Farm Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Omega Lane Farm Potato Gratin
Minick Farm Puree of Butternut Squash
Lindstrom's Garden Green Beans
Omega Lane Farm Yellow Squash
Suzie Marie's Bread Stuffing
Dessertby by Suzie Marie
Carrot Cake
Chocolate Pumpkin Torte
Cranberry, Apple, Pineapple Cobbler
Gingerbread with Whipped Cream

November 21, 2007

Visiting in the mountains of southern Virginia....

A few weeks back we thought about where we might end up for Thanksgiving. We had planned on visiting Jan and Linda since the very beginning of our adventure. Being full time RVers traveling in the past, they had set up a permanent camp in the mountains near Glade Springs. We pulled in yesterday afternoon to a mountain top campground next to fields, dairy cows and a golf course. The views around us are like a painting. The purpose of this posting is to show you what we can see from here.

We're celebrating Thanksgiving at an organic farm not too far from here. Friends of Jan and Linda invited us all to their farm for free range turkey and organic vegetables. All I can say is "I can't wait!" Look for a post on that in a few days.

I apologize for my fascination with the herd of dairy cows next door. I find despite the smell they are a lot of fun to watch.

November 16, 2007


From the moment I read Margaurite Henry's "Misty" back in elementary school, I've wanted to see the ponies from Chincoteague Island along the Maryland/VA coast. As with most things I've learned on this trip - not all that I knew was correct. The ponies don't live on Chincoteague - they live on Assateagues which is a much bigger island.

We ended up staying for only one night. The weather was supposed to get pretty bad so we saw the ponies and left. I would like to come back at some point for the round up in July. I wouldn't mind owning one of those ponies. They have beautiful heads and good looking bodies. I've heard they are hardy animals. They have to be - living on the island. I also expected all of them to be pinto in color. Again, another false belief. Most of the horses we saw were of solid color. Most all of them were friendly despite warning that you were not to touch or feed them. Of course, I couldn't stop myself from touching several of them.

Besides seeing the ponies, we saw many imported Sika deer and the history of past happenings.

November 15, 2007

LA friends in D.C.

Barb, Dave and their daughter Kiah have been friends for many years. When I met them they were living in a small farm house not too far from my house in Covington. We shared a common interest in a love of the outdoors among other things. Just before Katrina, they moved to a house in the uptown area of the city. You all know the story. After Katrina hit they spent several months traveling and staying with friends and family in different parts of the country. After much contemplation, they found work and a place to live in the Washington, D.C. area. I couldn't wait to see them. We hadn't seen them since the storm.

We found a wonderful place to camp in a National Park (Greenbelt) not too far from their house. It was hard to believe that a National Park in a major metroplitan area could feel so much like the country. The woods were full of deer and other mammals. We took the Metro into the city for every visit from a stop not too far from the campground.

We visited the C and O Canal ( the Potomac River west of the city. We had a wonderful day riding our bikes along the path on the side of the historic canal. We were amazed at the falls along this river. Despite the crowded path that was sometimes hard to ride in and out of the all the people, we had a great time and enjoyed some spectacular scenery.

On another day we visited a natural area along a river that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. We had hoped to paddle in the marsh but low tide and cold temperatures prevented it. As we were walking the trails in the area, we met a guy who had gone to school at LSU to get his masters in wildlife biology. We enjoyed talking with him about many different subjects.

November 14, 2007

Washington DC

Neither Kim or I had ever visited Washington, so we spent a full week near the heart of the city seeing everything we could fit into those seven interesting days. We were both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by our Nation's Capital. Most fascinating is that Washington is a city of contrasts.....

the old and the new....

the tall and the short ...

signs of money; signs of poverty...

tons of concrete & marble and acres of water...
Wright Flyer's and rocket power....

gasoline racers against human powered gliders....

an endless skyline behind endless fall color...

the roar of the subway and the quiet steps of the deer...

dancing warriors and silent warriors....

preserving history and making history...

the house of the President and the house of God ....

and most interestingly,
within a few miles this jungle of crowded buildings and millions of people lies a beautiful national park....