Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trip Observations

Yesterday, while I was in the back of the van changing clothes, a gang of crows landed on the picnic table where I had stupidly left out bags of food.  When I finally turned and looked out the front windshield, the oatmeal box had been knocked to the ground – its contents dumped, the grocery sack with big handles was down, and every bag of dried fruits or nuts was being ripped open. I opened the door and they scattered.

Some oatmeal was still in the box so about half was salvageable. Most of the bags were only partially ripped open but nuts were spilled everywhere. One bag of sunflower seeds was still intact, and of the things I like the least, that was the one I still had. Most of the food was ok, not stepped or pooped on by the birds. It all went back into the car. Except for the sunflower seeds, which I opened and dumped out on the table. Let them feast.  In the evening I was surprised to find the seeds still there, the oatmeal untouched.

Then after a below-freezing night, I awoke to caws of delight as four crows landed on the table and sampled the seeds. Each of them ate a few, one seemed to like them a lot and ate more. But eventually all of them left the seeds and foraged around on the ground where they located nuts and dried currants from the previous day’s mischief. One fell in love with oatmeal and stood there for several minutes munching up fluffy mouthfuls. They foraged around for about five minutes and then flew away. With such bounty I thought they would have eaten more. But I suppose they’d had their fill. It’s good that crows don’t have an economy, or one would have started a small store, selling at a high price what he himself had just found.

Although I have a zero-degree sleeping bag, and am quite comfortable in the van if I’m covered up with it, sitting around in the cold dark trying to read is not fun. The rechargeable Coleman lantern gives off a feeble light. Yesterday was so cold and windy, it wouldn’t have been pleasant to go hiking. I found an Italian restaurant with free wifi the night I arrived, so I went back there, parked in front and hung out sitting in the back of the van, doing emails and posting blogs. Mostly I was trying to find an online solution to a problem. My little Canon’s disk had seized up and the camera was inoperable. All the photos from the last day in Washington were on there, as well as the one’s from Mt. Vernon. I was so glad I’d downloaded everything previous to those days. The large heavy 40-D Canon will have to suffice until I can get it fixed.

No luck on the Internet. It will have to be returned to the manufacturer, thank goodness it’s still under warranty.

So, I went shopping.

Just south of Powhick Bay is a much larger town with a Target. My son wanted a couple of hats that he’d seen advertised for a very low price, and I decided to find some kind of heater for the van. Then thought, a nice light would be good too. Since most of the commercial campgrounds I stay at have electricity, there’s no reason I should be uncomfortable.

One of the things about traveling light is that you must be careful what you buy, because where will you keep it, and how will it be used? So you learn to select carefully, after much consideration, exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less.  

Long story short: I bought a heater, a goose neck lamp with a small base that fits perfectly on the back ledge of the van, and a 3-prong adapter so the one extention cord can run everything. The heater made such an improvement in my evening life. I can now be comfortably warm and read with a bright light. I can’t imagine a single other thing I might need except……when I got back to camp after shopping, someone had taken my one and only dish towel that I’d left clipped on a thin tree branch to dry. The bath towel and stretch pants were still there, as well as a water bottle, and my entire kitchen in two boxes with dishes, pots, pans, etc. Why a dish towel? They took the clip too.