Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Non exploring projects.

We have not been in places where extended exploration is possible very much this year. While this is unfortunate in that there are far fewer things to write or talk about, it does have an advantage in that there is more time for other interests to be explored. A lack of adventuring also leaves time for important things, like preparing for the fast approaching cold weather.

The Admiral has often mentioned that a good sock is hard to find these days. He tends to make these comments most especially when he notices that I am knitting a pair of socks. Being a very loyal captain, I took the hint. The Admiral's socks have proved an interesting project. He wanted socks that came higher than the tops of his boots. This isn't really a problem, but it is scary to knit socks with long legs. I tried it on a pair for myself once and had to rip out the entire sock and start over because there wasn't enough yarn for the foot. So I knit these toe-up instead of top down. Second, the Admiral does not have really big feet, they are considerably bigger than any feet I had previously made socks for, and I could not find a pattern that catered to his particular foot size, which is really not a big deal, but does require some recalculations. Following some advice that I picked up somewhere or other, I decided to start both socks at the same time. It was excellent advice. When I finally finished the first sock, I really don't know if I would still have had the courage to start on the second if it had not already been halfway through. 

This is the Admiral's sock. 

 This is the Admiral's sock compared with my sock, which 
is about the size sock that I usually make. 

 This is the Admiral's second sock. It is not really benefiting from this post. 

My other project is one that I have been planning to work on for a long time. I never was quite brave enough to begin before, but once begun it turned out not to be so difficult, and thus far, has taken less time than the Admiral's socks. 

Voila! the top piece for a very small log cabin quilt. Of course, it isn't finished yet, it still needs to be quilted, but it is at least started, which is the hardest part. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ten things we've learned. Part 2

#1. It is still a good idea to be ready to dodge when opening the cabinets after a drive. The 1st Mate has really taken beatings over this one.

#2. People honestly think that the summer is hot, wherever they live, and however not hot it is. People in Montana WILL insist on commenting on the heat in July, even if you are standing in front of them wearing a sweater.

#3. When going fishing, it is a good idea not to bring the captain.

#4. The Granary in Norfolk, NE is one of the best places to eat EVER. You can choose from beef that taste like it is from West of the Mississippi River, or chicken that tastes like it is from East of the Mississippi.

#5. People can die from being spiked by a catfish, but usually only if that person is allergic to the venom. Also, it is much better to be spiked by a catfish out of a pond than it is to be spiked by one from either the Mississippi or Des Moines Rivers.

#6. The incredible dumpiness of some campgrounds can be negated by the proximity to an excellent Greek restaurant.

#7. The incredible dumpiness or unfriendliness of some campgrounds cannot be negated at all, by any factor that is present. The only option for these is to get out. Fast.

#8. It is cold in North Dakota. This was proposed by a man wearing shorts in the snow in Minnesota, and confirmed by a Montana track inspector who works in -50 degree weather.

#9. Kitty litter is an excellent deterrent for getting stuck in the winter. It can also come in handy during certain scenarios in the summer. The minute you say "Why are we still carrying a twenty pound bag of kitty litter (in case we get stuck and need traction) when we haven't seen ice or snow in three months" and toss it in the nearest dumpster, you will need it.

#10. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls and a cup of hot chocolate are the best remedy for the day when you wake up freezing cold in September and realize that the first frost date is only a couple weeks away.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A quick list.

So, since the last post, a long, long time ago, our travels have looked something like this:
Baytown, TX- camping on Galveston Bay. Fishing.
Scotts Bluff, NE.
Douglas, WY. Home of the Jackolope.
Miles City, Montana.
Jamestown, ND. Home of the World's largest Buffalo and three white buffalo.
Detroit Lakes, MN.
Minneapolis, MN. This is where the 2nd Mate jumped ship and headed for the home port to strike out on her own. Sort of.
York, NE.
Brookfield, MO.
Hannibal, MO.
Quincy, IL.
Granite City, IL. Terrible campground, nice people. Awesome Greek restaurant.
Keokuk, IA. No terrible fishing incidents this time.
North Platte, NE. The best ice cream cones in the world are sold at Cody Park.
Wheatland, WY. Where we are now.

Wheatland is a nice town. There isn't a lot to do, but it has a great view of the mountains in the west.

And that is where we've been.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Squashed neighbors and two minute thunderstorms.

When we first started traveling, the 1st mate spent about a month going through the atlas finding routes to places where we might be going. Every one of them, no matter where it ended, went through Texas. We did manage a weekend trip to Texas for Triduum/Easter two years ago, but this is the first time that we've made it here for more than a few days.
We began noticing "Southern" things in OK. A mimosa tree or pecan tree here or there, grits, 500 degree heat,  a little boy named Striker, who was called Bubba...etc. Once we got to Texas, things really hit home. The accents, the fact that it never cools down at all, it's all here, very much like Alabama.

On July 3, we were camped on the shore of Lake Texoma. The campground was exceedingly crowded because of the holiday, and the sites were uncomfortably close together, but that could all be got over when one considered the fishing, or so I am told. Our neighbors on the right where a loud, but friendly group, who accorded us plenty of amusement during our stay.
We  decided to have fajitas for supper. Because we were on 30 amp and could not run two air conditioners (the front one and the back one) we decided to cook outside so that we would not heat the house up with our dinner. The Commodore and the crew were down at the lake, fishing, and the Admiral was starting to get really hungry, and so after a bit of discussion, he and I decided to go ahead and cook supper. But we had not the wood for our fire. It had just rained and everything good was soaked.
The commodore returned in time to suggest that rather than building a we fire we should just buy a bundle of wood. I agreed to start a fire while the Commodore and Admiral went for the wood. I was just beginning to light our little fire when the Head of the Neighbors on the Right came over and called out that they had a very hot pile of briquettes that they had finished with, and that we were more than welcome to use. We declined politely, preferring to have a campfire. The Commodore and Admiral left, and I got some small sticks burning steadily. The Head of the Neighbors came again to repeat his offer. I assured him that our fire was well on its way.
Sometime in the next minute or so, something of great importance was spotted  by everyone. A great black thunderhead was looming over the campground. About thirty seconds later the winds began to rise. Persons began hauling in awnings and blow-away-able objects to safety. I calmly continued building my fire. The Commodore and the Admiral returned. Another of the neighbors pointed out that we really were welcome to use their fire. As the first drops of rain fell, the Commodore accepted the offer. We dragged our frying pan and our steak over to the fire and let the rain destroy my infant flames. The neighbors' fire was a two foot long, two foot wide bed of red hot coals. The commodore slapped the steaks on just as the skies let loose. I held the umbrella over the food. The neighbors lowered the roof of their little tent and went on eating their supper. One of them noticed us with our umbrella and brought another so that we would have better coverage. We cooked our steaks. The rain poured down and the wind blew. We finished the steaks and returned the umbrella.

We cooked the peppers and onions in Tallulah.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Essay on the Amazingness of my Sister the Harbor Master

Quite Frankly, I doubt this post even needs to be written. Those who know her know just how amazing she is, and I hesitate to mention her wonderfulness to anyone who doesn't know of it, as they will certainly feel the pain of not knowing her. But I promised her, and so it must be.
I first met the Harbor Master sometime around the time I was born. Her first kindness to me was rendered before my birth; she so thoroughly trained my parents that they had no difficulty whatsoever in looking after me. Later, while the Stowaway was trying to teach me how to fly (an exercise that resulted in my first trip to the emergency room and a concussion) the Harbor Master was helping our mother teach me such important things as How To Clean Up Your Toys So That Mom Will Not Yell At You. Later, when she acquired a tiny, adorable, half Cocker spaniel half Chihuahua puppy, she appointed me to guard the puppy from our then very little, very puppy hugging sister.On our first camping trip, she gently informed me of the many, many dangers that lurk in Alabama forests. Because of this, I (and the Stowaway) wisely moved into the nice safe cabin, leaving her to comfortably defend the tent with the 2nd Mate.
When we were older, the Harbor Master began to pave the way for us. She was the first to cut her hair short, taking the brunt of the Admiral's displeasure (he grumbled for several months) and the first to drive, and the first to go on a date, and the first to get married. These are all difficult things for parents to handle and she was the pioneer for us all.
Most recently, the Harbor Master showed me the kindness of allowing me to spend an entire month in her company. I flew to Florida for her Graduation ceremony (her actual graduation was last December) and from there drove back to Alabama with her and RC (her husband). They have kindly occupied base camp while we are voyaging.
The Harbor Master assured me at once that I was not at all a guest, and should not behave, nor feel like one. While this sounds very blunt when written, it was in fact, very kind in person. One who is not a guest may do as one pleases without bothering to check with one's host. One who is not a guest may eat any food in the kitchen without asking. One who is not a guest may mow the grass and wash the dishes, without any of the awkwardness of the host insisting that it is not necessary. It is absolutely mind boggling how quickly a month can go by when one is not a guest.
So to thank the Harbor Master for her kindness throughout my life, and particularly during the month of May, I have put it here, for ever and ever.
Harbor Master, you are one amazing sister. Thank you.

I will probably now be hounded by my remaining siblings. To them I can only say that when you welcome me into your home for a month and let me rant about everything that ever bothered me, and feed me all of my favorite foods, and introduce me to new favorite foods, and help me get volunteered to help at some dinner thing that I get a free t-shirt for helping with, and just generally give me a totally awesome vacation, I'll write something on how amazing you are too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Warning: Catfish were harmed in the making of this post.

Today we returned to the pond. Never fear, we were very careful this time to remove all of the dangerous fins. Here are the pics.

This is the Fish that Dan caught.

Here it is again.
Not much for a noodler, but not too bad for a kid. 

This is the Fish that the 2nd Mate caught.

And again.

Getting him off the hook. 

Ruler, what ruler?

Back to the pond. 

Wait for it....

Got him. Not bad. 

The fisherfolk and their catch. From left to right, 1st AB's little one, 2nd Mate's, and the 1st AB's big ones. 

AKA, Dinner.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A word over the campfire and concerning Fish.

Well, Spring is here, and has finally brought some warmth, and greeness, inspiring us to try out the newly opened-for-the-season parks.

Last week, we hit a KOA. These were, at one point in time, anathema, "Hotels without walls" and all that. But sometimes, a hotel without walls is exactly what the doctor ordered and this was one of them. A nice place to ease us out of the winter routine and back into the camping life. A pleasant place to remind ourselves that we are a crew, and a chance to air out the tent, who came away with a new name. That's right. The tent's name is now Peggy. The boys spent the entire stay lounging around reading and fishing. They caught several stringers of chubs out of a creek that no one has ever really caught anything out of.We cooked s'mores every night, and tried out s'mores with chocolate-swirl marshmallows. The Commodore says that they taste like coco puffs, but everyone else liked them.

 A fire is a very humanizing thing. almost as humanizing as making bread. 

 The Setup: Tallulah in the back, Peggy, and then the sewing machine on the table so that the Commodore could make some new curtains. 

The First day in the park, we decided to go sightseeing in the nearby town. The Admiral was still at work, and since we had no other mode of transportation, we packed up Tallulah and went to town. We discovered the Starved Rock Lock and Dam and settled in to watch for passing barges. We were wandering around the museum part, when the Commodore's communication device went off. It was the Admiral, wondering where his house had gone. The Commodore calmly informed him that we had left the coordinates on the kitchen table. Hmmm. And then she asked the lady at the desk what the address of the place was. The Admiral's GPS failed him anyway, and he took the very, very long way home. 
The next day, we set up Peggy, and went out again. This time, at least, when the Admiral came back to the campground, he had a tent to wait in. 

Finally, the night before we left, the crew and I (minus the 2nd Mate, who opted for luxury) slept in the tent in freezing weather for the first time. We had done so for four nights by that time, in steadily lowering temperatures and had discovered that air mattresses are perfectly horrid in cold weather. The best way to keep warm is just to all cram in under as many blankets as possible.
By the time we left, we had gotten back into the swing of camping, or at least kamping, so much so, that we had even recovered the skill of lighting the fire with only one match.
Note: It is very important to use only one match. I do not really know why, only that it is shameful to use more than one. It is kind of like the pegs-in-the-board game, only easier. It does not count if the match doesn't light because you scratched all of the stuff off of the top while trying to light the match on the fire ring. It does not count against you if you subsequently use an entire newspaper shredded into tiny bits to keep the fire going until it decides to catch on the sticks. It does count against you if the wind blows your match out. That first flame is delicate and must be guarded carefully.

So then we departed from that pleasant place and moved on down the road to Keokuk, IA. Here at Hicory Haven campgrounds, we have found the usual conveniences along with a bonus. There is a pond, full, the owner assures us, of large, savory catfish. Catfish is a particular favorite of both the Admiral and the Commodore, and most of the crew members.Fishing, therefore, became not a luxurious pastime, but a race for the delicacy. So it began. The Commodore and the younger crew members fished between their school work hours. The Commodore took every smelly food in the house and threw it together to make bait. At last, she went out to catch a catfish, leaving the crew to clean up supper. The Admiral was stricken by a bout of worry, and insisted that it was not safe for the Commodore to fish alone. I, as Captain, was ordered to go and stay with her, and for that reason, I witnessed what happened. The First Mate came down to ask a question, which the Commodore could not answer from the pond. She left her pole in the care of the first Mate, and went to the house. Dutiful sailor that he is, the Mate became entranced watching fish strike the far off surface of the pond. I, as Captain, was paying somewhat more attention to his line. I knew that it was useless to watch my own line, as the fish had been swimming around it and picking bugs off the surface of the water for at least a quarter of an hour. I saw the Mate's line tighten, and called a warning to him. He responded admirably, and hauled the creature ashore with great skill. Knowing that catfish are extremely good at leaping off of a line, and knowing that they are dangerous to touch, he proceeded to pin the beastie to the ground with his feet. I, as the Captain, called to him to hold on, and ran for the Admiral. It was recently stated by one of his co-workers that there are not many things that will make the Admiral run. I am amused to add that a catfish is on the list of those things. At some point during the First Mate vs. the Catfish struggle, the fishing line got broken, and the fish was once again  in the process of escaping, but was held back again by the First Mate's feet. Fortunately, the Admiral arrived in time to secure the fish and we returned to Tallulah triumphant. The Admiral had to leave early in the morning, so he decided to skin the fish at once and have done with it. He was rather in a hurry, and forgot, as anyone might, to cut of the top fin. There was a great deal of banging and fighting the fish, and in the process, the catfish flipped himself off of the table and right onto the commodore's foot. Fin first. There was a great deal of commotion then, as the Commodore was bleeding quite profusely from the wound in her foot, which we imagined must be very severe. Fortunately, I have, for some years been worried about injuring myself and having to create a makeshift bandage. I was ready at once with cloths and a bandanna to staunch the flow of blood. The Admiral hastily rectified his error and removed the dangerous fin, then left the fish to the First Mate to be readied for storage. He then took the Commodore to the closest hospital. The emergency room was very busy at that time. Of course, it was only natural that someone would ask the Commodore what had happened. She admitted that she had been impaled by a catfish. One of the persons waiting then informed the Commodore that he had frequently been spiked by catfish. He caught them by hand, a practice known as catfish noodling. The Emergency room staff were very sympathetic. The doctor googled what to do for catfish spikes, and discovered that although the amount of blood shed looked as though the Commodore had a four inch gash in her foot, she had actually only sustained a puncture wound. Then, the x-ray tech kindly pointed out what a shame it was that she got spiked, because "it's a great night for catching catfish!" And so it was, but we did not care to do any more fishing just then, and we have not got back down to the pond yet. Perhaps Friday, says the Commodore, when she can hobble a bit better.

The First Mate, slightly nervous about his fish.

Just look at that catfish. 

And the official measurement is...umm...well, he's longer than the ruler.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Special Post

A special news alert.
The Commodore has chosen to present her own version of the events of our trip. Her point of view can be found here : Almost by Bread Alone.
The younger members of the crew have decided to offer their opinion on the entertainment available to them while journeying. Their opinions can be found here: 3 Boys and Some Books.

Special note to the Master of Swampwood: All you have to do is click on the colorful words. You will be immediately transported. You really should click, they have some more pictures there.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The First Day of Spring

Back in Alabama, we know that Spring has really arrived when the Pecan trees bud out. The Pecans are the first to go dormant in the winter, and the last to come out in the spring. After they get leaves, there aren't any more frosts.

For anyone who hasn't noticed, things are done a little differently in Nebraska. The beginning of spring is apparently announced by the movement of snakes, of all things. Snakes. At home, the awakening is a time to be dreaded, requiring the use of extreme caution, sprinkling of sulfur and other snake repellents, and just generally hoping that the snakes stay in their place, away from the people and the chickens. Ninety percent of the snakes I have seen in the wild in my life were venomous, not friendly little creatures who slip through the grass. No. Six foot Diamond Back Rattlers, well, they don't exactly inspire warm, happy thoughts. And of course, there is the alarming takeover of Florida by giant pythons.... This might explain the violence with which this crew often reacts to the news of a snake in the yard.

But that is an Alabama norm. When in Rome and all that. so, the Commodore decided that we should take part in a custom of the natives of these parts. So...

Brant is a Western Plains Garter snake. He is about two and a half feet long, which, according to the book that the Commodore dug up is about as large as these guys get. Brant is a very pleasant snake who doesn't mind being handled by a crowd of boys. He proved that he really wasn't bothered too much by eating the worms that they dug up for him.

Although the 1st Mate and the 1st AB look smooth in these shots, it was actually the Commodore who was the first to hold Brant, courageously picking him up off the ground when he escaped from his bowl. Of course, once the Commodore had handled him, the rest of the crew fell in.

Well, except for the 2nd AB who needed a little convincing.

But he got the hang of it.

Only the Ship's dog was really set against handling the snake. She really didn't seem to get the idea that the boys were in no danger, and continued to desire the snakes demise, particularly when he nearly escaped in the house. I suppose there are just some tricks you can't teach an old dog.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Adventures in Doughworld

Lately all adventures center around bread.  A friend of the Commodore's over in the Bonny Glen mentioned a bread book, that after reviewing the Commodore decided that we simply could not manage any longer without. She is tired of the squishy sliced stuff that we have been able to acquire, and yet did not care to fill the galley with the equipment it would take to make bread with the usual method. This book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day promised that it held the answer within its covers. At this point, most of the crew are willing to believe that it has fulfilled its oath.

We began our adventures with a loaf of bread whose name I cannot now recall. It disappeared rather quickly.
The next morning, as a surprise breakfast for the Admiral, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. They were devoured at once, long before a photograph could be taken. 

For dinner Ciabatta bread for dipping. Fortunately, this time, I was able to snap a picture before the hordes swept in. 

Although it was meant as a side, the bread was not all eaten at once, owing to the fact that there was quite a bit of it, and the Commodore also made crab legs, stromboli, and other feastly items. Of course, it is not all feasting. The next day, the Commodore forced us to eat the leftover bread, this time cooked as sandwiches she called paninis. We, a willing and well trained crew, obeyed her orders.

Of course, as with any adventure worth the time it takes, there have been mishaps. The cinnamon rolls, delicious as they were, might have been even better if...um...Someone hadn't forgotten the eggs. And then there are scenarios like this one.

The truth remains that small disasters can be overlooked when the final results of it look like this:

Or this:
(More Ciabatta.)

Voila! Modern day hardtack and gruel.

After the Admiral begged for days, we gave in and made more cinnamon rolls. The Commodore requested a separate tray of them be made into sticky buns. These are the sticky ones. Once again, the not sticky ones vanished far too quickly to pose for the camera.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The 2nd Mate's New Look.

After three long years of growing it, the 2nd Mate finally trimmed her hair, with a whopping 18 in for donation. Here's the picture.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of Vast Importance

The 2nd AB, after a long and noble struggle, has succeeded in completing a marvelous achievement. He has pulled his tooth out. Well, to be perfectly accurate, the Admiral pulled the tooth, but the 2nd AB very kindly refrained from biting. It was a rather trying effort, with many suggestions of tying the tooth to the front door and letting the lovely Nebraska breeze jerk it out for him. as many a youngster before him, however, the 2nd AB remained steadfast, and allowed his tooth to be pulled out more gently. And his reward, the envy of every child with a loose tooth, and many without, a visit from the tooth fairy, and

 A gap.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Something in the Water.

"Adventure is out there!!"

Early one morning, after we had set the Admiral off on his way to work, the rest of us decided that an adventure was called for.

The only trouble with snowy adventures is that it takes so much work to get ready for them. Consequently, there is less time for the actual adventure.
Especially if the entire crew gets hauled back by the Commodore because they forgot to wash the dishes.

But we finally did get under way. It may be noted that the Commodore was not very happy, but she was still willing to come, and the sight was really worth it. We were all just walking along when we spotted them.

We were simply flabbergasted.

And the 1st AB was just a little bit envious. Back at home base, geese either fly through the air, walk on the grass, or swim. Geese in Nebraska have discovered a different method for walking.


Of course, this being a scientific voyage, we were very curious. Was it some skill that this particular flock had learned? Was it because the geese in Alabama are heavier from their less wintry diet? Or was it something in Nebraska's water? The 1st Mate and the 1st AB decided to get to the bottom of it.

Conclusion Number One: There is something in the water in Nebraska.We believe it is called "ice," a thing that only appears in Alabama freezers.
Conclusion Number Two: Once a great mystery such as this has been solved, it is time to head back to the ship for Hot Chocolate.

Chili Verde

Good food and good times go together like bread and butter. It is a fact of life that even modern science cannot find grounds to refute. When one is ill, one wants comfort foods, when one is happy one wants party foods, and when one grows just a bit homesick, one wants home food. Yesterday, wandering around in the cold, watching the snow geese, staring at frozen rivers and, looking at the weather report that calls for a week of snow, we began to miss home. And we realized that it had been a long time since we had one of the meals for which the Master and Mistress of Swampwood are famed. As we are separated by more than a thousand miles at the moment, it was necessary to make do with what we could scrounge up. Chili Verde.

After calling up the Master of Swampwood to ensure that the result of our efforts would not be terrible, the Commodore began by burning the skin off of the peppers. This is a fragrant task, to say the least, and within seconds, Tallulah was filled with the spicy smell of burning peppers, after which these same peppers were carefully skinned. Then the Commodore had to taste them. It is not often that the Commodore is outdone by a pepper. She has a fairly heat tolerant mouth, and usually she can at least fake a smile until she gets something to drink. I do not think it is very much to the crew’s disgrace that we had a bit of a chuckle as we hastily handed our bold Commodore the cheese and crackers that she begged for. In went the pepper, which somehow grew tamer during the process. In fact, even the Admiral ate the finished product.

And when the supper was finished, we sat down to eat. The food did not really taste like the food we get when we are at Swampwood, but it was good enough. By the time we finished eating, we were not so homesick, and today, the sun even came out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Duffers and Owls.

Sometimes while traveling one comes across persons who defy explanation, and whose actions make absolutely no sense. We came across such a person yesterday.

Yesterday we made the move from Pueblo, CO to Junction City, KS. It was a long drive, but not more than we could handle. At lunchtime, we stopped at the Kansas welcome center for sandwiches. We found some advertising booklets with lists of RV parks in them. We narrowed our choices down to two parks, three hours apart. The first was a city park with water and electric, the other a fully equipped campground with the usual amenities. After the Admiral called to check the parks' rates, we decided on the latter. It would make for a long day, but it was advertised as having attractions in the area, and seemed and interesting place.
When we arrived, dusk had faded into dark, and all we could make out of the entrance was a sign.
Covered Wagon RV Park, and underneath the unmistakable and highly unappreciated word:
So the Admiral called the number he had dialed before, hoping that there had been some mistake, that there was another Covered Wagon RV park in , Abilene, KS, and that we had not just driven three hours longer than we wanted to for nothing. The owner assured us that the park was closed. 
"I wish you had told me that before we drove three extra hours to get here," said the Admiral. "Well, goodbye," said the owner, and hung up. 

We began a rather depressed search for the next closest campground. For some minutes, we believed it to be 47 miles on down the road, not a cheering prospect after dark in strange territory.  Then we found one only twenty-one miles down the road, the Owls Nest Campground. We stopped our hastily begun dinner preparations and headed towards our new destination.Upon arriving, we were...well, not happy. Perhaps even more depressing than the original sign was one that read "overnight sites available now" followed by  the words:
Sorry, We're FULL
Here follows another desperate search conducted in the entrance to this park. About twenty minutes later, a little car drive by us. The park was very crowded, and several cars had already gone by, so we did not pay this one much attention. Until there was a knock on the door. 
I hope that considering the events of the night, the thoughts of most persons in the bus upon hearing that knock can be forgiven. Fortunately, the Admiral opened the door quite calmly. It was the owner. He very politely explained that he had been gone for a week, and he knew that the sign said full, but if we were still looking for a site, he had some spaces that had been reserved but were still empty, and he would see what he could do. He then removed the picnic table from the middle of a nice pull through. 
Friendly campground owners are always nice, but they never seem so nice as at 10:00 at night when there is nowhere else to go.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Letters from home.

Before we left base camp to begin our exploration of the vast territories of the U.S., we appointed the Harbor Master and the Frog as caretakers. Today along with a package of much needed and inconveniently forgotten items (the 1st A.B.'s favorite tie, the beaters and dough hooks for the Commodore's favorite mixer...) we received a report of their success in keeping the place free of troubles and potential dangers.

The report read as follows.

Dear Everybody,
Thanks for the house. [It is only proper that they should thank us. before we left, we were making them live in the boat shed.] We hope you enjoy the renovations when you return, i.e. the electric purple walls in the living room. [I would imagine that electric purple is a great improvement. At the Admiral's insistence, the walls in the living room were painted toasted marshmallow. Although it sounds warmer and nicer, there is actually no difference between toasted marshmallow and raw marshmallow.] The color reminded us of the Admiral back in his teenage years. [Rumor has it that years ago the Admiral approved of colors that were darker and brighter than toasted marshmallow.] Hopefully, he will appreciate them the most. We put a T.V. in the bathroom, and a skylight in the closets to save on electricity. [We knew we could count on the harbor master for frugality.] The good news is that it only leaks a little. (Don't worry, there's a bucket underneath them all.) [And good sense.]
Well, have fun in the desert. I hope it doesn't turn into a tundra. [Nonsense, all the natives are talking about how nice all this Spring whether is.]

The Harbor Master and the Frog.

It is so good to know that all is well at home base.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chain reactions.

Everyone has heard that if you stand in a crowded place staring up at a fixed point, persons passing by will look up as well. I have done this several times. It works beautifully in a mall when one is with a group of people wearing strange hats. It also works in gas station parking lots.

We were pulling out of the lot to get back on the road. The Commodore was pulling into the first part of a three point turn, when over a concrete wall (thanks to the excellent vantage point provided by our dear Tallulah) we spied a remarkable sight. Probably even more remarkable was that we had time to get the camera taken out and put together in time to get a picture.


We have not yet had time to positively identify this fellow, but it was beautiful, and we really enjoyed the sight of him. (Note: It is not in the fence, the fencing was just there, between us and it.)And as far as we could tell, the guy in line behind us enjoyed the sight as well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Tallulah Go!

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning, we left PA around 5:30-6:00 am. We had some difficulty getting started, mostly because the firefighters were very busy taking care of public roads and things, and could waste no time um... looking after the campground that they run. But we got going, after two or three rollbacks to get some traction. Once we were going though, we made excellent progress. There is something rather fascinating about having been in three different states by 10:00 in the morning.

We ended the day in Montgomery City, MO. All roads lead to Missouri, for us. Still, it was quite cool to be back on the west side of the Mississippi. Exceedingly cool, in fact it was downright cold at a snug little four degrees.
The Admiral had to be in Kansas City, MO by noon today, and all he had was a nice easy three hour drive. A decent start, and nothing to it. Ha. The door of his new truck wouldn't open. Note: When having issues with stuck doors, find a place with a locksmith. We ended up calling service station after service, all of whom were highly sympathetic and totally willing to help, by giving us another phone number. Finally we discovered Frank's Quick Change, and the problem was solved in time to allow the Admiral to reach his destination on time.
We are camped in Bonner Springs, Kansas, for a grand total of six states in forty-eight hours. It's not a record, but it is enough to make one's head spin. "Where are we?" is the question of the day.

So, today, Kansas, tomorrow, on to Colorado. Hopefully, anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ship's Cooks?

Saturday the crew, the Admiral and the Commodore took a short voyage to Pittsburgh, PA. There the found a farmer's market, where they purchased farm eggs and apples. The crew preferred these apples over the apples that came from the grocery store. We were then faced with the trouble of what to do with the store apples, as wasting them was certainly not an option. The A.B.s declared that they knew just what to do, as they had a recipe the apples would just suit for. Trusting they that would not make false claims, we let them loose in the galley. After the discovery of a communication malfunction between the Commodore and the Captain, however, A bit of trouble with the ship's new cooks was brought to the light.
Whether or not they actually read the recipe has not yet been ascertained.


Disaster is creeping in. What do we do?!

Call in the Captain.

The 2nd A.B receives instruction.

 The rescued finished product. 
Apple Crisp, the umm, vegetable for supper.