The weekend is here

Friday April 29th 2016

In this life style it is not always easy to know the day of the week. Even if I didn’t know that today was Friday, there are a number of clues.

The traffic coming back to the Cape was terrible. Cars with sporting equipment like bikes, kayaks and boats were mixed with the everyday commuter traffic. The flow of cars slowed to a crawl at every major intersection. To many drivers are not in the correct lane to exit or don’t know how to merge as they enter the traffic flow. Once one car puts its barks on all the following cars react in kind. It easily added a half hour to the travel time.

In the campground the population has gone from next to nobody to a growing community level. I’m sure more people will arrive Saturday morning. I now have neighbors on three sides and the air is full of the smells of campfires.


Small boat in the canal

In the canal there are more small boats and fewer commercial ships. From past experience, I expect the commercial traffic will return on Sunday night. Tugboat operators seem to take the weekend off like many workers.

The empty campground and the populated campground both have their attractions. Sleeping late in the morning is easier in the empty campground, while security in the populated campground is better. I tend to wonder about every slow moving car in the empty campground even though there is a manned gate at the entrance. Similarly, as I walk through the empty campground anyone who is here, seems to watch me closely. Careful or paranoid, you tell me.

Pictures along the Canal

Thursday April 28th 2016

Today’s recreation was walking on the Cape Cod Canal service road. I thought about riding my bicycle, but the temperature and wind shot that idea down. It only got to the low 50s with a strong penetrating wind. The chill would often penetrate three layers of clothing.


Canadian Geese in the marsh


Gull on a rock


Sail boat coming under the rail road bridge. Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the background

My first excursion of the day was the longest. About 10am I walked from the campground to the railroad bridge a little over a mile and half away. I took pictures of anything that moved not human. Some of those pictures are included in this blog post.


Close up of the sailboat as it passes


Another Gull holding court on a rock in the canal

After lunch I went on another shorter walk in the opposite direction. I followed the service road about a half mile to the end of the campground. I came back through the campground to avoid the wind. The campground has a lot of RVs on sites, but very few people. By Saturday most of these rigs will be full of people for the weekend.


Seagull about to land in the water


Catamaran style boat in the canal. Bourne bridge in the background.

The third walk of the day was after supper. It was the shortest walk. I went along the canal service road to the opposite end of the campground from the earlier walk and did a loop back to my site. My site is about mid way along the expanse of the campground on the canal.


A gathering of birds

I haven’t seen any large commercial traffic in the canal since Tuesday, the day I arrived. I’ve set up the scanner to listen to the radio traffic between the ships and Canal Control. You can usually only hear the canal control dispatcher side of the conversation, but it gives you an idea when something is going through the canal. As I write this entry there are a couple of towed barges on the way into the canal. I don’t think I’ll go out in the dark and watch them pass. There will be others during my stay.

Traffic in the Canal

Wednesday April 27th 2016

The thing that I like best about this campground is the easy access to the Cape Cod Canal service road. My camp site is about 200 feet from one of the sets of stairs down to the service road. If I want to ride my bicycle on the service road it’s only a short ride through the campground to access the service road with the bike.

This evening, before the sun fully set, I took a short walk along the canal. It was short because of the cold wind blowing along the canal. I was rewarded for my effort by a fishing boat going by during my walk. The boats that go through the canal are one of the better forms of entertainment. You can see most any type of marine vessel in the canal from small pleasure craft to big tankers. By far the most common form of commercial traffic is tug and barge combinations.


Fishing boat about to pass under the Bourne bridge over the Cape Cod Canal.

It seems like the bigger the ship the quieter it goes by. The big cargo ships and tankers seem to just glide down the canal. The fishing boats have noisy diesel engines that make you think it is something much bigger. Perhaps the noisiest things in the canal are the tugs pushing fully loaded barges against the current.

The train on the other side of the canal has all of the shipping traffic beat for noise. Between its engine, clacking wheels on the rails and horn for each crossing it can not be ignored. This time of year it does not go by often. Later in the year an excursion train uses the tacks several times a day.

Tomorrow I’ll take a longer walk on the canal service road or maybe a bicycle ride. Depending on the weather and wind direction, I might even do both.

Rainy Travel Day

Tuesday April 26th 2016

It was a rainy travel day. I only had about 100 miles to travel, but it would all be in the rain. Since I couldn’t check in until after 1pm, I took my time getting ready for travel this morning. Unfortunately, that put my travel time right into the worst of the rain storm.

The excitement of the travel day was enhanced my a minor incident. When I stopped at the toll both on the Mass Pike to pick up my travel tickets the window wouldn’t close. I continued along in the rain with the window open to the rest area about 2 miles away. Surprisingly the rain was not coming in the open window.

This is not the first time this problem occurred. Last November on my first travel day heading south I had a similar problem. That time I pulled into a shopping area and worked the switch on the power window up and down while holding the trim away from the glass to get the window to close. This time I was not so lucky.

For about 20 minutes in the rest area I tried similar techniques without success. The window binds when it is at the bottom stop. Since I had traveled a couple of miles without getting rain in the window, I decided to continue on with the window open. I put my hooded sweatshirt and hooded rain jacket on to ward off the chill and rain if it decided to come in and headed on.

As I traveled I planned how I was going to take the panel of the door to get to the motor and mechanisms. Occasionally, I’d play with the switch to see if the bouncing and flexing of travel on the highway had freed up the window. Somewhere after I had paid the toll and was heading down Interstate 495, the window slowly closed when I pushed the switch. I was out of trouble and cab of the RV was starting to warm up.

Tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike when you are towing a car are interesting. They give you two toll tickets. One for the Motorhome and one for the car. The Motorhome gets charged as a two axle dual wheeled truck and the car as such. If they gave you one ticket for the total of 4 axles the toll would be significantly higher. It’s amazing they do something right for the consumer.


Site B-9 at Bourne Scenic Park. All of the long term units around me are vacant today, so it is very quiet.

When I checked in the rain was starting to let up. I have site B-9 for the next three weeks. This is a campground that I really enjoy right on the Cape Cod canal. I’ll be able to watch the shipping in the canal and walk/ride the service road on the side of the canal.

Just another Monday

Monday April 25th 2016

Today wasn’t a very interesting day and consequently neither will this blog post. I worked on various little things at the house. No real measurable progress was achieved.

It was a cloudy day with a high temperature around 60. This is the normal high for this time of year in Southern New England. If I wasn’t anxious to get moving with things up here, I would have been wise to stay south in the mid Atlantic area for another month. Maybe then I wouldn’t have caught this cold and definitely wouldn’t be running the heat to stay warm.

Tomorrow is predicted to be a rainy day with high temperatures in the 40s. I am planning on moving my RV home tomorrow. I won’t be moving a long distance so the bad weather shouldn’t be a big problem, just a small annoyance.


Ducks at the pond getting ready for the rainy day.

The ducks in the pond are getting ready for the rainy day. I’ve been watching them every evening. This is the first night I’ve seen any on the beach. Usually they are on the back side of the pond or way down the far end. Tonight a few were down the far end, but three were on the beach.

Twenty Four Little Hours

Sunday April 24th 2016

What a difference a day makes. When I departed the campground this morning my RV home was squeezed in between two fifth wheel trailers. When I returned tonight all of the weekend campers were gone. I was the only RV in the center drive through sites. The semi permanent units around the perimeter were the only sign of life at the campground.


View from the door of my RV home after all the weekend campers departed.

The whole campground has quieted down from the weekend activity and even from the activity in the evenings last week. I attribute that to the end of the local school vacation week. Campground use very clearly tracks with the school year. The quiet is interrupted by an occasional barking dog so there are still people here, but the high pitched voices of kids at play has gone away.

I only have a couple of more nights booked here before I move on. I would like to move to the Cape Cod canal. Tomorrow I’ll make a call or two and try to secure a site. I don’t anticipate any issues before the memorial day weekend, but there is always the possibility of some special event I don’t know about. Many of the inland campgrounds haven’t opened for the season yet.

The cold I caught with my return to the north continues to zap my energy and ambition. The congestion part of the cold is under control, but I run of steam quickly when I start to do anything very physical. It may be slowing the task of getting the house ready for market or maybe I’d find another excuse. I tend to drag my feet then suddenly jump into high speed. We’ll see.

Campsite Arrangement Rant

Saturday April 23rd 2016

Tonight’s blog post will be a bit of a rant so I apologize up front. The target of my frustration tonight is primarily the management of this campground although the guy in the 5th wheel trailer next door gets his share too.

As I mentioned in Tuesday nights blog entry the site I am on is setup with shared utilities. This configuration means that the line of campers will be alternating back to back followed by front to front. Each successive site is entered from the opposite direction. It is often called buddy sites since the area between the front to front campers becomes shared space.

Campground use this design to minimize costs. They only have to have one set of utility boxes and water connections for every two campers. It also produces a higher density of camp sites thus greater revenue potential. It’s not the best setup but I can live with it if the campground lives up to its side of the bargain.

The campground needs to make sure the sites are used correctly. As a minimum they need to make sure the camper checking in understands how to get to the site correctly and what is expected of them. The best option would be if the camper is lead to the site by campground personnel who assist the camper into the site. Having someone lead you to your site is very common and this park seems to have enough employees floating around to implement the practice.

When I checked in I was told what type of site I was getting. The map I was provided also shows the direction needed to approach and use each site. If my new neighbors were told or not I don’t know. I also don’t know if they have enough camping experience to understand what these sites are all about.

Last night shortly after the first set of thunderstorms went through a 5th wheel trailer pulled into the site next to me the wrong way. Their drivers side was within a couple of feet of my passenger side. The driver was smart enough to know that he couldn’t open his slide out rooms where he was so he started “loudly talking” at his wife about the bad site. From my position in my RV less than 10 feet from them it was clear that he was not a happy camper. If the campground had sent someone to show him to his site he wouldn’t have been in this position.

A couple of minutes into his discussion with his wife someone in another camper that was traveling with him pointed out the error of his ways with respect to how he parked in the site. Now you’d think he would pull out go around the loop and enter the site correctly, but not this guy.


How not to park a fifth wheel trailer in a shared hookup site. Not the 18 inch separation between the slides. The trailer on the next site to the right is equally confused, but it doesn’t have slide out rooms nor does its neighbor further to the right. 

He pulled forward and backed up several times to move away from my unit another 3 feet until he could open his slides. He wasn’t listening to the directions his wife was providing to move over more. There is now about 18 inches between his living room slide out and my bedroom slide out. Another 4 feet or so that should be between our units as shared space is on his curb side for him alone to use.  He’s oblivious to what a selfish SOB he is.

I will survive. This is about the amount of space between rigs you get at an RV rally. They’re only here for the weekend and I’m not here during the day. I’m keeping the shades in my bathroom and bedroom closed so I can successfully ignore them. The weather is not warm enough that I need to sit outside or have the windows open.

My rant in the form of a suggestion will be shared with the campground management, if I can ever find them. The basic point is that one short escort to the site would have prevented this weekend drama from happening. I probably won’t be back to this campground and I’m pretty sure my neighbor won’t be back. Weekend campers who arrive after a full day of work don’t need to be presented with confusing camp sites and parking requirements beyond their comprehension.

The Wildlife Invasion

Friday April 22nd 2016

Today was an odd day weather wise. The sun never really came out of the clouds but it did warm up into the mid 70s well above the seasonal average. It showered off an on during the day and ended with a thunderstorm or two.

My cold is under better control today. This is probably thanks to drugs, but I hope it’s on its way out. It is definitely a drag on my energy and ambition.


Curious Turkey in the yard.

I was back at the house working on the huge list of things that need to be done before it is out of my life. I haven’t made a lot of progress so far. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and pushing forward.

I had an avian visitor while I was there. A wild turkey came across the road and stood in the front yard considering where to go. With only a brief look at the house it headed off into the woods. This brief visit got me thinking about how much greater my awareness of the wildlife around me has become.

I am not sure if this increased awareness is because of my exposure to new areas that have more eye catching wildlife to get my attention or if the amount of wildlife in proximity to civilization has increased. It is probably a combination of both. The first 20 or so years that I lived in my house I didn’t see much wildlife beyond a robin or maybe as exotic as a woodchuck. In the last few years I’ve seen a gang of turkeys and a few deer. Is this proof of an increase in the wildlife population or something else?

This winter in Florida there were Sand Hill Cranes that frequented the RV park. Judging by the fact that there are street signs in many neighborhoods to warn you about the birds I guess they are not that unusual. I also saw many birds of prey in the sky in various areas of the state. They seem to be more common in Florida than the northeast, or is that my awareness talking?

I am not really considering the wildlife that I go out of my way to find. There are plenty of opportunities for that in Florida, but I’m not sure what I’d be making an excursion to find in the northeast. In Florida I went looking for manatees and alligators not for bear or panther. I have gone looking for moose in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, but only as far as I could drive not on foot.

After writing the previous few hundred words, I have come to the conclusion that nothing substantive has changed but my time and willingness to observe. I’m spending more time looking.

Slow Day in New England

Thursday April 21st 2016

Today was a slow, do nothing type of day. It was a beautiful warm spring day, but I’ve been driving or sight seeing every day for the last week. I needed time to rest and recover.

Somewhere over the last week I caught a cold. My speculation that it might be an allergy seems to be wrong. I guess that in the germ filled world of the Washington Metro and the Smithsonian I caught something. Combining that with the up and down temperatures I’ve been subjected to as I drove north probably did me in.


A couple of random flowers from my site in Washington DC last weekend. Tulips don’t seem to be in bloom here in New England.

So I’m getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids to fight this bug. The only thing I did today was make a run to the grocery store. I found a Shaws near by and was hopping that the familiar chain would result in a familiar selection. That was almost case. It was a rather small store so somethings were familiar, but a lot of things were missing. I bought soup and orange juice among other things.

One good thing about this bug is I am using up some of my abundant supply of tissues. I have boxes and packages stashed all over the Motorhome. There light weight so I kept extra boxes. Throwing away perfectly good boxes of tissues just seemed wasteful.

Nature and Weather

Wednesday April 20th 2016

Living in an RV I seem to be more aware of the weather and nature in general. The obvious reason is that I’m closer to nature and more impacted by adverse weather.


Pond that they call Pine Lake here at the campground. It doesn’t even look big enough to be called a pond.

Yesterday I talked about the impact of the wind on travel. It also impacts life in the RV. When it is windy the awnings over each of the slide out rooms on the RV can flap. The noise is annoying and the long term impact on the life span of the awning fabric is not good. Last fall on a couple of occasions I brought the main slide room in during heavy storms. I’ve since learned that these storms were not near the limit of the winds the slides can withstand, but there will be some storms that will cause me to bring in the slides.

The main patio awning is a bigger concern in the wind. It will not withstand much wind at all. If I’m going to be away from the RV during times that strong winds are possible I roll up the awning. No amount of tie downs with prevent damage in winds from the right direction.

The wind can cause damage, but the rain is primarily just annoying. The sound of rain on the roof and the vent covers can be extreme. To continue listening to the TV or radio during a good rain storm you have to crank the volume way up. As the rain slows you crank the volume down. The remote gets a good workout. The good thing is at night it just puts me to sleep.

One example of my enhance awareness of nature is my continued observation of the progress of spring as I drove north. Over the last two weeks I have moved from Florida up the eastern seaboard to Massachusetts. Spring is not easily identifiable in Central Florida. Most of the plants don’t loose their leaves. If you judge by flowering bushes like azaleas then spring arrived at the end of February. Using the Masters Golf Tournament as a guide, the azalea plants in northern Georgia don’t bloom until the beginning of April.

As I moved north through the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland etc. I used the deciduous trees as a barometer of spring. New growth leaves were on all of the trees in South Carolina. Some varieties hadn’t started to leaf out in North Carolina and by Virginia and Maryland most of the trees were in early bud phase. The flowering trees were either in bloom or just past bloom depending on the variety. For example, the Washington Cherry blossoms had already transitioned into green leaves.


Close up of the trees on the far bank of the pond. Notice that the non pine trees have not started to leaf out.

In Pennsylvania the flowering trees were just getting started and the larger trees were still bare. Now that I’m back in New England the majority of the trees I’m seeing are still bare. Come on Spring get moving.

Why you might ask is he writing about trees and weather. The answer is I’m trying to figure out if I have a cold or an allergy. I don’t usually react to pollens, but I have a couple of years in the last dozen or so. Right now I have a stuffy nose and watery eyes. Time will tell which ailment this turns out to be. I’m beginning to suspect it’s a cold.