Merchant's Millpond State Park, NC
It was forecast to feel like spring for exactly one day in a line of miserably cold winter weeks. I chose to skip outta work early to maximize the daylight. I was heading south and chose 301 through MD in favor of I-95.
The ride was traffic free and relaxing. Just what I needed for this Friday. Soon enough I was in the pine forests of Virginia.
The roadside was on fire. This is normal carry on.
Stopped to eat my BBQ sandwich I picked up from Cowlings BBQ on 460 outside Wakefield.
The sunset was beautiful
And my spot for the night off New Road
I found this old license plate nailed to a tree.
Self portrait of my camping setup
Shortly before dark, I went for a walk to a big clearing then returned to camp. Upon my return I noticed a foul smell from an animal. It smelled like dung and dirt, somewhat like a horse but certainly wasn't there earlier. I looked around the forest near me and sat still for some time to see if it was something like a coyote or bear upwind of me but nothing came aruond. It smelled like that for the remainder of the night so maybe someone left me a present.
I awoke at 5:15AM to small sprinkles on my down bag. No go. Time to wake up and pack. In 5 minutes I was dressed, all my gear was packed and I was getting loaded onto the bike in a slight mist. Shortly after saddling up, the mist stopped. I was chilled and ready to roll out in the dark. Off I went.
The ruts in the dark were hard to spot so I took it slow. A couple sandy washes but I made it out no problem.
The roads were full of deer so I kept my speed around 45 for about a half hour. Usually that would kill me but at this hour with nowhere to rush to, an ultra bright HID beam and a quiet curiosity and calm that comes before the sun rises. The day is full of potential.
It was a grey morning but the sunrise was approximately 7AM here at this sign.
I stopped in at a small Ma and Pop - Doris and Roger's Kitchen
$5 for this + coffee
Cotton fields and Peanuts were the big ag industry in this area of Southern VA and N.E. NC
I even found some dirt roads working my way on down
I arrived at the park just as they opened. I paid my fees, reserved a canoe and a campground, loaded my drybag and stuff into it. Off I went for some relaxation.
Some clouds on the horizon looked like rain so I made it to camp and setup quick. JUst in time for it to begin raining. Spent about 30 min waiting out the drops here:
The rain let up around 10:30 so I went exploring.
Why hello Mr. Turtle.
Think I'll get a closer look
Shortly after this photo, I'm floating around minding my business when I happen to float within 5 feet of this guy hiding behind a tree. We both freaked out at the same time but he left me alone.
This one on the land was much larger.
Yellow bellied sliders I believe
Got a few bites
almost like a sad flower of the winter
They call these "knees"
The sunset on the water was beautiful but with muted colors on account of the cloud cover.
The view from my "slip" and the small trail up to camp #6 canoe-in site.
In my element.
I slept soundly through the night. I sprinkled once or twice but was nice and quiet.
In the morning I packed my gear and then went out for a nice paddle.
Some bird had feasted on this Gar earlier. Each scale was roughly the size and thickness of a dime. Incredbile.
The wind had picked up by noon and the temps dipped. It was looking like rain but without any cell service, I had to use my better judgement. I returned the canoe, loaded up the bike and set off toward home.
It began to rain.
It was cold , wet and windy the remainder of the ride home but I kept my cool.
An old church and graveyard
I spotted this thing a quarter mile up and knew immediately what it was.
The only other motorcyclist I saw in the cold wet rain that day was a GS from New York. We passed each other off/on for about 45 mi until I split off for home and he continued North on 301.
A relaxing time in the cypress swamp is good for the soul. I recommend it. :deal