Monday, August 31, 2015

Transitions..and water.

Things are starting to Flow… thank goodness.

I've gotten going in the studio - several days last week and then today's lovely soft rains, the remnants of hurricane Erika, nourished my yard and garden and helped the paint flow too!  Worked most of the day on a variety of things, nothing to show yet, but here's my palette!  Feels good.

My mom and I went to the Water Ministry service on Sunday.  It was wonderful.  Many people brought samples of water from moving moments they've had throughout the summer.  I was so happy to join in with my water samples from the latter part of the trip.  The waters are kept in a jar and used throughout the year - for example, when someone is in the hospital a splash of the water goes in the vase with the flowers.  Quite nice.  I narrowed down my samples...

… and saved a sample of water from each place to use, somehow, in my show next May.  

I also re-connected with some friends.  Went to Beaufort on Friday to visit with the local crew for a glass of wine.  It was so beautiful at sunset, and it was high tide, so I couldn't resist jumping overboard!  See?  the water is just calling to me right now!  Has through the entire trip…

Afterwards I went to dinner and enjoyed the view of Taylor's Creek at night.  Here was the dock with a couple boats tied up.  A little dark, but nice colors.

On a more mundane note, but something of which I'm quite proud, on Saturday I replaced my kitchen faucet!  Hey, its not entirely obvious!  So nice to be rid of my old leaky one.  Ya know, you use your faucet every day.  It should bring pleasure, not irritation.   Let the water flow...

Of course, don't you hate it when the entire thing is installed and THEN you see a gasket in the box?  Of course, they include an extra one in case one is lost, right?  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Going with the flow...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I have to admit that its been a bit of a struggle to transition back to "home."  I forgot how much work a house and yard are!  My goodness, perhaps I am part irresponsible gypsy.  ; )

Anyhow,  we're getting there.  I've spent several days organizing and cleaning and unpacking and also mulling over the next batch of paintings.  Sometimes doing those yard and house chores let the "backwaters" of your mind sift out what to do next creatively.

There are also some lovely aspects to being home on the river - as I've mentioned, the shrimp and the beautiful light.  I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of cooler weather to plant a fall garden, but in the meantime I'm enjoying my HUGE crop of Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on the fennel.  They are chomping away and still the butterflies are coming and laying eggs.  Hope to have more plants  like milkweeds for the Monarch butterflies next year too.

Five large Swallowtail cats on one fennel plant!

We are also starting to get some of those lovely sunrises that one gets in the fall.  Worth getting up early.

It got warm and muggy again today… so glad when another storm front came through this afternoon… still teasing us with the hint of rain, but only nice clouds so far… would love to have a rollicking good thunderstorm.

This afternoon's front at Crosswinds

I did at least get the studio area set up today and got all the paints out and organized.  Even did a couple "play" paintings with watercolor.  Hey, its a start… gotta ease into it sometimes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Flow at home...

Its good to be back.  Fabulous trip, ready for another one!  But good to be home too.

My little house feels HUGE!  Funny how living in the tiny space of an RV for four months changes one's perspective.

I was talking to my brother, a professional photographer, about the "flow" idea I've had from the trip.  Turns out that's something that he has thought about, independently from me, for quite awhile.  He shared this website about a psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who has studied "flow" in the sense of that creative flow you get when you are "in the zone."  Very interesting.   I'm looking forward to delving into this idea.

In the meantime, let me fill you in on the last day of the trip.  Theo and I camped at Jordan Lake, in the Poplar Point campground.  As usual, we were pleased that it was mostly empty during the middle of the week.  The spots with electricity up by the lake were still packed, so we picked out a quiet loop by a little pond we like…

Little pond at Poplar Point campground

Theo likes empty campgrounds too…

And Theo got his moment of Zen in the warm waters… quite a switch from the crystal clear cold waters he's been in lately.

The next morning we got out for our walk…it was a warm overcast day after a rainy night.  I was feeling a bit nostalgic and reflecting on the trip…I looked up and a large beautiful eagle flew over me, circled once and landed in a tree.  It was so wonderful.   Eagles have shown up periodically throughout the trip, they symbolize the freedom of the journey to me.  What a pleasure to see one on the last day.  

Theo and I continued our walk towards the tree in which he had landed.  He didn't fly off as I'd expected.  We got a good look at him.  Of course, I couldn't get a good photo with the cell phone, but here ya go:

Eagle at Jordan lake...

We watched him a long time, surprised he didn't leave… then as I was walking back I saw why - a big dead fish had washed up on shore and he was waiting for us to move on before having his breakfast!  Oh well.

We retraced our steps.

I asked T if he was ready to head home and he agreed, so we set off.  He kept looking at me, as if to say, "Wait, you didn't say anything about having to DRIVE there."  Think he was ready to take a break from driving.  He got tired while "giving me the look" so he had to rest his head on the passenger seat… Such a nut.

But we made it home, as you know.  He's luxuriating in the space and stillness (the house does not move, unlike the van).

T at home with toys.

Yesterday a storm came through and the light here was wonderful.  I do love it here.  Looking forward to our beautiful fall weather.

Storm front moving through Crosswinds...

And afterward - 

OK.  I'll take that as a nice welcome home.

So we're taking the week-end to get un-packed, cleaned up, organized, attacking the yard work and basically re-claiming our space.  Then next week its time to dive into the studio and see what comes flowing out of all of this…I'm curious to see.  I'm trying not to have a pre-conceived notion, but just go with the flow and see what happens.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Home sweet home.  Grateful to have made it home safely.

The second thing I did when I got home (the first was to hug my mom) was to head out to *my* river and throw the cast net.  It was almost high tide and I "had a feeling."  In 3 casts I had enough shrimp for several meals!  Beautiful fall green tails.  Here's a shot of them in my white 5-gallon bucket - so beautiful!

Beautiful welcome home - fresh shrimp for dinner.

So that combined with my stop at a farm stand where I got fresh local okra, corn and summer squash means we shall be eating well tonight.  Gonna sign off and catch up with my mom for now, but will post more tomorrow on the end of the grand adventure…

BTW, Theo and I have a long tradition where I open the window at a certain point a couple miles from home, and say "Mill Creek turnoff!"  I did that today and he hopped up and started wagging his tail… then he stuck his nose out the window and sniffed and sniffed.  He knew where he was.  He's glad to be home, too.

Gee, can't a guy get some rest without having his photo taken?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


  1. Barb asked me how I felt about the trip winding down, and the word that came to mind was "Denouement."


    1. the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

    But I'm not so sure I am able to draw the strands together at this point…I've been thinking about it the last few days, and its seeming like the trip carries a theme of water, and flow… the flow of water, the lack of water in so much of the early part of the trip, the beautiful bodies of water I've enjoyed, the flow of images, the flow of ideas and creativity, even the flow of traffic (!), and the flow of life… Think I'll play around with that and see what comes up.  And of course that leads to one of my favorite Zen quotes:
    Don't push the river, it flows by itself.
    So, if everything goes as planned I will be back at "my" river tomorrow.  I look forward to seeing my mom, friends & family and Crosswinds. I wonder how Theo will react.  He probably thinks his life now consists of living in Mac.  Think he'll be pretty excited to get home.

    But I don't want to skip over the last couple days of the trip.  They've been good!   We took our time leaving Scioto Trail in Ohio yesterday - got a mile walk in and Theo got an early morning moment of Zen.

    Theo's moment of Zen early am at Caldwell Lake

    I love how he feels he needs to shake when he's standing in ankle-deep water…

    We followed the "3-hour rule" and drove that amount of time to one of my favorite campgrounds - at Camp Creek West Virginia.  Middle of the week and lots of empty spots.  It was forecast to be rainy, so we decided to take a spot with electricity on higher ground.

    We love empty campgrounds!

    Camp Creek is a nice spot - near the highway but just around a small mountain so no highway noise, well-maintained, clean and friendly folks.  I love the river and falls that flow through it, but the water was a little low at the end of the summer.  Theo and I got out for a walk this morning before we headed out.

    Soft green mountains at Camp Creek

    Theo shaking in ankle-deep water again!  Happy dog.

    I half thought of pushing on through home today, but our three hours of driving time is actually 5 hours with our stops, so we were ready to stop. Why break the "three-hour rule" now?  But we made it to North Carolina soil!  

    Beautiful view from the WV Turnpike

    Will get home tomorrow… going with the flow.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Scioto Trail State Park, Ohio

I am so disappointed I missed the 1,000 foot snake effigy built by prehistoric people near here… I arrived in Scioto Trail State Park about 1pm, and THEN I read about the Serpent Mound… but it would have been pretty far out of my way… I'm just saying…sigh.

Anyhoo, Theo and I were up at our usual early hour and enjoyed a lovely sunrise over the Maumee River.

We needed some exercise and it was still cool out, so we headed out on the "nature trail."  It seems as though the trail had taken a beating - not sure if from tornado or flood, but it looked a little droopy… Here was the first sign:

…and here's a close-up of the first sign:

Man, they weren't kidding - it was everywhere, and very healthy!

Felt like it was going to reach out and grab me!  Well, between that and the chomping mosquitoes, we decided it might be a good morning to get an early start on the road.  We pulled out at 8 am.

Set the maps program to "no highways" and started due south through Ohio farm land.  Ya know, there's a lot of corn fields in Ohio.

I won't post more pictures - just multiply that one by about five hundred… It was a nice day though, blue skies and bright sun, but with interesting clouds in the distance.  

Theo would've loved it, except that we kept coming to stop signs.  Any change in momentum and he has to sit up and see what's going on…so he didn't get much sleep.  He's Konked out now, waiting for his dinner.

So we landed at Scioto Trail State Park about 1pm and found a nice shady spot with electricity.  Few other campers on a Monday of course, so its nice and quiet.  Here's our spot:

This is a nice little park.  Its a relief to have some hills and lakes after all the flatness, and people obviously take pride in their park here, its well maintained.  It's "nestled in a beautiful 9,000 acre State Forest" according to the brochure, which is: 

...densely forested hill country reminiscent of the southern Appalachians supporting a magnificent stand of oak and hickory…the forest floor displays woodland wildflowers including spring beauties, Dutchman's breeches, wild blue phlox and wild geranium…Mushroom hunters delight in the abundance of the delicious morel mushroom.
Dang, I wish it was Morel season…

Theo likes it too, and gave the lake his seal of approval.

T's moment of Zen at Scioto Trail's Caldwell Lake.

Its now 4:45 eastern time.  Amazing how quickly Theo adapted to eastern time.  He's ready for his 5pm dinner.  Well ok then!  Let's eat!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Grand Rapids to Grand Rapids

Michigan to Ohio, that is… but let me back up.
Barb and Theo and I were throughly pampered by our friends Sandy and Kraig in Grand Rapids.  I actually now have clean sheets for the final leg of the trip thanks to their offer of washer and dryer, and Theo enjoyed being invited into the air conditioning to stretch out on the new carpet.  Ahhhh…

T before the belly rub...

T after the belly rub...

He really did NOT want to leave this morning… but we did.  We bid adieu to friends and began the last leg of the journey home.  Email reports from my mom of beautiful weather adding to the enticement to get on home.

I really had to think about which route to take from Grand Rapids (MI) home.  I could go by way of the turnpike towards the lower part of Lake Erie.  The Lake was enticing but the turnpike and traffic was not… so then I was planning to go down to Great Lake St. Mary's State Park, but then read that the lake had a huge algae bloom.

At the last minute this morning I decided to check out the Mary Jane Thurston State Park in Ohio.  It was about 3 hour's drive and on a river and there are so few parks named after women I thought it seemed like a good choice.  Turns out its in Grand Rapids, Ohio.  Go figure!  Here's some of what the state's web page had to say about it
In 1928, Mary Jane Thurston, a Grand Rapids schoolteacher bequeathed fourteen acres of land to be used as a park. After several transfers and leases, Mary Jane Thurston State Park was dedicated in 1968. 
So we headed out about 10 am, stopped and got some groceries and got on the highway.  The Sunday traffic was terrible!  I guess everyone was heading home from week-end getaways.  After about an hour we dove onto a back country road and then had quite a lovely drive through the farm lands of lower Michigan into Ohio…  As we neared the park, we crossed the Maumee River on which the park is located and I was encouraged… but then I came around a bend in the road and saw this:

Campers lined up like sardines in Ohio

The photo's a little blurry because I didn't want to stop!  I was afraid that was the park, but thankfully it was a commercial RV park.  Phew!  Went past several more of those before finding the state park, which thankfully was NOT like that… They had about 25 sites of which 5 down by the river had electricity… I liked the looks of the shady non-electric sites at the entrance, but was kinda pleased when one of the electric sites down by the river was available.  We grabbed it.  

View of the Maumee River from the campground

This was the first time I've had to use the air conditioning in Mac on the trip home.  I took Theo out for a walk and he actually pulled on the leash (he's usually FAR too polite to do so) to get back into the van's coolness!  Now the sun has gone down I've turned it off, but it was nice for a couple hours… now its time to turn in.  Theo's snoring.  Nite nite.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


…well, for a day…

Barb and I are relaxing at a mutual friend's house in Grand Rapids.  So nice to have the comforts of civilization for a day.   Being totally pampered…

We stayed at Hartwick Pine State Park last night.  We decided to take our chances on a Saturday because there were lots of parks and if all else failed we could keep driving to Grand Rapids.  I stopped at the "contact station" and walked up to register.  We got the last spot!  Yay!  We drove in to the campground and our spirits drooped, no shade, and it was a hot day.

…so we were so happy to find that our spot, #87, was in the shade !  Yay!  Score!  We were glad that our last night camping would be a good one.

The forecast was for rain, but we watched the radar and everything south of us was nasty red on the radar, but it stayed south of us.  So glad we stopped there for the night.

Storm clouds south of us...

So this morning we decided to take our time and get some exercise.   Saw some beautiful old growth pine forests… then came back and packed up.

Theo watching us pack up…

..not so sure he wants to get back in the van… but he's a good sport.

Friday, August 14, 2015

45th Parallel

Hi there !

Today Barb, Theo and I crossed the 45th parallel - halfway between the north and south poles.  Why do I find those kind of things kinda cool?  Dunno, but I do…

Really enjoyed the U.P. (upper peninsula) of Michigan.  I remember going there as a child camping and  staying in a cabin with childhood friends.  The water is just delicious for swimming (when its hot out).

Got a nice dip at a rest stop (!) in the U.P. yesterday.  I went in for a swim in crystal clear  Lake Superior waters while Barb took T for a walk/wade.

So refreshing.

We didn't make reservations, so just headed on down the highway and tested our luck.  It was a Thursday so we thought we'd be ok.  We landed at Lake Michigan State Park and scored a nice spot.  The park is between the highway and Lake Michigan, but we were pleased to find that the traffic almost stopped at night.  Quite quiet.  And our campsite was just behind a dune from a nice beach on Lake Michigan.

Despite a forecast for rain, we were treated to a lovely sunset, which we viewed from the dune between our campsite and Lake Michigan.

Campsite # 5, just beyond the dune is Lake Michigan

Sunset from Lake Michigan Campground

Ok, so now I have to ask you about Pasties. There are all sorts of UP jokes about them… they are a delicious but very heavy sort of meat pie thingy.  Evidently the miners in the old days in the UP took these with them into the mines to give them energy to get the work done.  I can believe it!  I needed to plow through about a thousand calories after eating one… buy, hey, when in  Rome…

delicious Pasty filled with meat, potatoes, rutabaga, yummies...

But you have to be VERY careful how you pronounce the name of this delectable…

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marquette, Michigan

Back on Eastern time!  Must be getting closer to home.  Barb and I kept looking at our phones yesterday to see when it switched, but we didn't have good phone reception so it didn't happen.  Too silly.

We arrived in Marquette yesterday.  Ahhhhh, how nice to be connected to the Internet again, but awwww kinda sorry to leave the beauty of the un-connected wilderness area.  Always a trade off.  Barb found us a nicely wooded campground run by the city of Marquette.  We got a great spot with some privacy and electric.  Unfortunately, everyone decided to have a campfire last night and the air was thick with smoke…Lots of noisy people too.  Oh well!  I didn't hear them in Mac, but Barb didn't get much sleep out in the tent.

We are only a half mile from Lake Superior so we followed a nice bike trail up there yesterday afternoon.  The water is so beautiful.  I finally got my dip (it was 80 degrees here -  a little easier to face that cold water).  T got his moment of Zen too.

Pretty pebbles in the clear Lake Superior waters.

I was reminded of a bumper sticker I saw in the Olympic Peninsula:

"The great lakes - salt free and no sharks"

They should also say crystal clear and cold .  Scrumptious!

Would you really want to go straight?

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness area

Beautiful area - the campground was up on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior.  Lots of Steps down, so couldn't take T to the beach, but Barb and I took turns going down.  Just a little too chilly for me to get my dip, but I knew I'd get another chance…

On the way out we drove partway up to the summit, and then hiked a ways…until we came to some stairs…way too many for Theo, so Barb went ahead to scope it out.  When she came back, she watched T while I went up.  It wasn't far.  Here's the view over the wilderness to Lake Superior:

Lots of steps to Porcupine Mountain summit

Barb hanging out with the old dog...