Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eastern Shore and New Jersey

With our equipment adequately replaced, we were back on plan. A good night's sleep, a little cleaning up, some breakfast and we were on our way in overcast and threatening weather. We both like the Eastern Shore (also known as the DelMarVa Peninsula) It is a couple of hundred miles of farms, small towns, and little traffic. Not like the madness of I-95, across the Bay to the west. We hope one day soon to do an extensive exploration of the area.

This time we only made one stop: the Turner Sculpture Gallery in Onley (just outside Onancock). This shows the work of a father and son who do beautiful (and very expensive) wildlife sculptures in bronze. Gene once wrote an article on the son, David Turner, for the William and Mary Alumni newsletter. This got him a tour of the whole lost-wax production process, from the original model in clay, through the whole complex process of molding and casting, to the final patina on the cast bronze piece. Interesting, but complicated. One of Gene's favorite pieces is a life-size osprey in bronze, sitting on a branch and holding a fish---cast in silver. Jean favored the herons and otters. Getting in and out of the gallery from the northbound lanes is a bit complicated, since it is on the left on the other side of a divider. But it was well worth the effort.

Our plan was to take the Cape May - Lewes ferry and continue up the Garden State Parkway, visiting friends and relatives in New Jersey. It was about 4:00pm on a threatening day when we made it to the ferry. The rate for the Roadtrek, one way was $53. Not cheap, but better than driving west to Wilmington, taking the bridge to New Jersey, and driving back east again to the Parkway. The wind was about 15-20 from the southwest most of the way across. There was a slight roll, but otherwise a smooth passage. We arrived at Cape May about 5:30.

It began raining as we went up the Parkway toward our campground for the night near Barnegat. The directions they gave put us off the Parkway in the wrong direction, so we had to use one of those New Jersey loop-arounds. We parked, got mostly leveled, and plugged in, in light rain. We were here to visit with Jean's niece Diana, who eventually met us at the campground office, whence we went to a 24-hour diner for dinner and a long visit. Then we went back to the motorhome and continued to talk 'til just past midnight. Diana sang one of her songs for us---she's very good---and we talked a few dance steps (there is not enough room in the Roadtrek to demonstrate).

The next day the rain had stopped but it was still cloudy and cool. We went to see Diana's mother, Barbara, at the nursing home in Little Egg Harbor. Jean went in to visit while Gene stayed in the motorhome and took a nap. Jean's visit was fairly short because it was Barbara's nap time, and also Jean got bummed out remembering her mother in the same situation. After Jean came out, Diana showed up for a little more visiting. Then it's a couple more dance steps in the parking lot, some pictures (with Diana's camera), and it's time to head for Leonia.

David and Leah Roland are old friends of Gene's. They met when David was editing The Colonial Naturalist at Colonial Williamsburg and Gene was his assisitant. Jean had never met them, though she once had a long phone conversation with David. Gene was a little worried whether the newer, bigger motorhome would fit in their driveway---particularly under a fruit tree. When we got there it was apparent we would not fit under the tree, even if we could make the turn from the narrow street to the narrow dirveway. So we parked on the street and managed to get the rig sufficiently level. About that time David returned home from a meeting.

Leah had a meeting that night, so we went with David to a Chinese buffet (he is a Chinese food gourmet) and had a leisurely dinner and conversation. Then back to the house for a long conversation around the kitchen table (including Leah when she returned). Jean and the Rolands got on famously, so it was hard to quit and go to bed.

Next morning we were up at 8:00. We talked with David for a while and looked at his flower plantings. Then locked the doors and went into the house for breakfast. We lingered at the table 'til about 10:00 when I went out to get the rig ready and found the side door wide open! Nothing seemed to have been disturbed. Rolands obviously live in a very honest neighborhood. It was a most pleasant visit, but it was time to head up to Vermont for the main event.

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