Starting with yesterday, Thursday 2 Oct.:
The campground in Chincoteague was called Pine Grove Campground and Waterfoul Park. That meant they had a couple of ponds with waterfoul on them. We checked out the one nearest our spot --- we didn't know about the other one until we left. It held a lot of ducks: mallards, teals, and wood ducks, and four black swans.
After admiring the birds, it was time for some maintenance. We dumped our holding tanks and took on a tank of fresh water. We should be set for a few more days.
Leaving the campground, we went downtown to a bookstore. We are looking for a book about Chesapeake crabs called Beautiful Swimmers. He didn't have a copy in stock (it is popular in this area) but he did give us a good lead on a place to have breakfast. After a delicious breakfast, we walked around downtown a little and bought some needed supplies. Then it was off to Assateague Island.
Assateague Island is a long barrier island that is totally a wildlife management area. There are many kinds of birds and other wildlife, but it is best known for its wild ponies. It became famous after the publication of the children's book, Misty of Chincogteague. On the way to the beach we spotted some ponies in a distant meadow.
Every year "saltwater cowboys" round up the ponies, swim them to Chincoteague, and auction off a few yearlings to help support the volunteer fire department. The the rest of the ponies go back to the island. It is quite an event.
We got to the beach and it is very long (16 miles, I think) so there is lots of room. There was a good breeze, with the surf breaking very close to the shore. There was no one surfing (it was a school day) and only one person in the water.
Gene collected his usual bottle of sand, and we both walked about a quarter-mile up the beach. On the way we came across two groups of sanderlings just hanging out on the beach (you usually see them scurrying around in the wash). They seemed very tame and you could approach them to within a couple of feet.
On the way off the island, we stopped to hike in to the lighthouse. It is on the land side of the island (there used to be a town there), which is a good illustration why you shouldn't head straight fro a lighthouse if you are in a boat. They only mark position, not necessarily safe water.
Then off the island for the Chincoteague Museum. When we got there we found it is only open on weekends at this time of year. There are advantages and disadvantages to traveling in the off-season. Things are not as crowded and you can usually find a place to stay. On the other hand, some of the things you might like to see may be closed. Still, I think we generally prefer the off-season (except, of course, for Florida in the summer),
So heading west, we drove into Maryland and got a bunch of tourist information. Then we started looking for a campground. Several of the places we called didn't answer (off-season problem). We finally made a connection with Trap Pond State Park in Delaware. Not in the direction we would have preferred, but close enough. It turned out to be a beautiful park with lots of available space (off-season advantage). We got settled in just before sunset and went down to the pond for a look-see.
Not a bad end to a busy day.
Today, Friday 3 October
Today was pretty much all business. We both needed to get some more money, so we drove back to the convenience store where we had left to go the the state park. Along the way we passed some fields full of pumpkins, and even small watermelons.
Once we got back on track, we tried to find a local branch of Wells Fargo bank. That was an exercise in frustration. The website always put us back on a locator page that required a sign-in. Finally Jean went in to the convenience store we were parked in front of and looked up two branches in nearby Salisbury. Off we went to the city. One "bank" address turned out to be a residence, and the other a storage building. Finally, she called her branch in Lynchburg and they looked up a branch. It was in Millsville, Delaware --- almost at the ocean. So off we went, back into Delaware and many miles in the wrong direction.
After about 45 minutes of driving, we actually found the bank and she was able to pick up some cash. Meanwhile, I had looked up a credit union in the direction we were intending to go. So it was back west to the same convenience store (for the third time in two days) and on to Cambridge, Md. There we found the credit union in a strip mall. Of course, it wasn't my credit union, but credit unions often belong to a loose network of other credit unions. You can use their ATMs to draw money from your own credit union, often with no charge. This particular CR didn't have an ATM but I was able to go inside and they could access my CR and make the withdrawal (and give me my balance). Let's hear it for credit unions.
By now it was getting late, so we pressed on for Easton, where we knew there is a Walmart. We eventually found it and, after getting permission to spend the night, bought some needed groceries. It is a small Walmart, so they didn't have everything on Jean's list, but we did well enough. Once we got settled in a spot, we walked over the the neighboring shopping center and discovered a Giant food mart. There we were able to get the rest of the list, as well as some ham salad. This is the first place we found on the Eastern Shore where anybody had even heard of ham salad
So now we are settled in, fully supplied, and looking forward to driving to St. Michaels tomorrow for the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival.