While the park’s campground was mostly full on weekends, the rest of the week the traffic was pretty light. That gave us time to take on a few other tasks. On Earth Day, the plan was to revitalize a flower bed in front of the office with some native plants. However, when a storm rolled through around the scheduled time (yes, more wind), the plan was delayed a couple of days. When the weather cooperated, we helped turn over the soil and plant black-eyed susans, goldenrod, blue-flag iris, and a few other perennials that would bloom throughout the summer and fall – hopefully for several years to come.
Using a device loaned from another park, we took on the task to take an initial measurement. Unfortunately, the device arrived only a few days before a full moon. When we went out after astronomical twilight (i.e., when the effect of the sun is no longer felt), we kicked ourselves because a nearly full moon was up. We retreated to the RV to look up when we could get a sky that was not lit by the sun or the moon. That would occur between about 20 minutes after moonset and about 2 hours before sunrise. When would that be? Between 4:39am and 4:41am the next morning. After that it wouldn’t happen until after the full moon and our departure. So, we set our alarm for 4:15 the next morning, and then dragged ourselves out of bed.
The moonset, which we had never seen before, was beautiful. An orange globe susupended on the horizon in a dark sky. When we reached the magic time, we succeeded in getting the magic number. After passing on the good news, we crawled back into bed. We are not early risers.
Did you know that Maryland has a state dessert? It is the Smith Island cake. Smith Island is located just off shore of the Janes Island State Park. The last time we came to the area (15 years ago on Orion), we had first sampled this 7-layer cake, and were looking forward to refreshing our memory with a new sampling. After exploring the commercial establishments in Crisfield, we spoke to some of the park staff who put us in touch with a Smith Islander who worked at the park as a seasonal employee. She was working her other job, but we connected and had her make a delicious original Smith Island cake. To avoid consuming the whole thing in one sitting, we shared it with the park employees and hosts at the season opening potluck.
The night before we headed out for Hampton Roads, Cathy woke to the RV shaking from the high winds in the park. Checking the Windy app forecast, to ensure we still had a window to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, it appeared the winds would die down around 10 and pick up again around 3. Leaving around 8:30, we started across the bridge-tunnel around 11. The bay had waves (not just white caps) breaking on its northwest side. But the winds were down to 17mph, so we once again had an uneventful crossing.
After wading through the 5-mile back up on the HRBT, we made our way to Newport News Park Campground. Luckily we arrived ahead of the crowd, since our site was pretty narrow. We had to park so far forward in the site so that our slide could fully deploy, that we had no room on the site for the truck. However, the ranger was very helpful, allowing us to park the truck on a nearby site that was not being rented due to Covid. We then had time for a bike ride to explore the park, and a fish and chips dinner from a nearby restaurant. Tomorrow we planned to join Steve and Linda for the Blessing of the Fleet, that is if the wind died down.
It’s all about the wind.