Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 28- Chincoteague Island

I woke up when drops started falling on my forehead like a Chinese torture technique. Seems the fog brought condensation, and water droplets. It was not down pouring so I did not get up and get in the tent, did the fact that my blankets and things were getting wet cross my mind? Yes, but they would dry. Multiple times I pulled the blanket over my head so the drops would stop reaching me, I finally decided to wake up around 8:30am and just lay there for awhile. I could feel the dampness above my head, I looked up and saw tiny beads of water all over the hammock. The good news was, the blanket had dried out for the most part with the wind and the now risen sun. Eventually I had gotten up, walked over to the bathhouse to use the restroom, and then walked right back and laid down in the hammock. I literally could have stayed in that hammock all day, the motivation was not there and the clouds were starting to clear to blue skies. I had a few things planned today so around 9:45 I braided my hair quick, threw on my beanie, and headed to Mr. Paul's Kitchen for breakfast. I really wanted eggs this morning, but knew I shouldn't get a big breakfast since there was a couple places I wanted to try for lunch, yes I said a couple. It was a family homestyle type of restaurant, with a lot of locals by the fact of each one knowing each other when they walked through the door. Living on an island seems cool at first, but then you drive around and realize you can get to the other side of the island and back multiple times in a day, most likely know everyone who resides there, and with it being a tourist area it must get old of having so many people in and out and on to the next place (like myself.) As much as I fell in love with a lot of places I visited, I am not sure I would want to live in a tourist location. At breakfast I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese on a homemade biscuit; it was pretty satisfying for the day ahead of me. After breakfast I stopped by Captain Timothy Hill's House which is the oldest home on Chincoteague Island. The owner's have a more modern house behind this tiny antique, but it was still a cute site to see. Tours were available to go inside and see it kept in it's originality but I was content with just snapping a few photos roadside. On the way back towards town, I stopped in at the Chincoteague Pony Center in hopes of seeing some of the ponies that are kept there for riding lesson. There were no ponies however in the stalls out front. I decided to go into the gift shop and check out what they had to offer. There was an overwhelming amount of items to purchase but somehow I was able to walk out with just a shot glass about mosquitos. Chincoteague Island is known for their ponies, but unofficially for their mosquitos; pretty sure they were invented here. After, I headed over to see the Assateague lighthouse in the wildlife refuge. It is a national park so it would cost me $8 for the day of course unlimited access until 10:00pm tonight. I drove to the lighthouse parking area, walked up a path for about 5 minutes or so got bit by 10 mosquitos, and then I was there. I am not one of those people who are obsessed with lighthouses, but I secretly like them a lot, like sail boats; and I don't really know why. I was hoping to go up in the lighthouse but apparently the tours are scheduled ahead of time, I thought it was just a pay as you go type of thing so I sufficed for looking from the outside. Once I was sampled by many mosquitos, I decided to head back to the car and see what else the refuge had to offer. The day was turning out to be a beautiful day, the sight of the inlet and marsh areas was so vivid with blue and green in color. I drove all the way to the end where the beach was, right before the visitor center the fog started to roll in and by the time I got to the beach parking lot it was misty and foggy, and windy. Very much different from the calm bluebird day just two minutes ago. I parked the car, grabbed my camera, and was surprised to see families actually laying out on the beach with umbrellas about to blow away. I walked down the beach into the unknown of about 10 feet in front of me, I had never been to the beach when it was so mysterious like this. I had high hopes of stumbling into some ponies along the way, but knew the chances were low. After awhile of walking in the unpleasant conditions, I turned around and headed back for the car. I saw a small boy flying a kite which seemed like a perfect day to do so. (Please note, a few of the ocean photos below were enhanced to be less dreary and more beach-like, the day actually looked more like the lifeguard chair photo.) As soon as I got in my car, and drove not even a minute away; the fog was clearing, the wind slowed down, and the blue skies appeared once again. It was like being in another place and yet these two locations were just right down the road. There must be something with the positioning of the beach, and the tides, and winds coming in, I'm not sure but it was wild. On the way out of the refuge, I saw some ponies far out in the distance and thought nothing much of it other than, "hey at least I know they do exist on the island!" I left the gates, and headed back into town for lunch. I decided to try Right Up Your Ally first. This was a very unique idea for a permanent food truck; on Main Street there is a strip of buildings like any other Main Street, except in one of the ally ways is a sign with bright yellow umbrellas against two opposing building walls. I walked down taking photos noticing a man at the end staring at me. I kept taking photos occasionally looking to see him still looking. As I approached closer to the truck, as well as the man; he complimented me on my camera and asked which lens I had attached. I answered 35mm; he then proceeded to tell me how he used to take photos and repair lenses and that he had never seen a 35mm that big. He told me how you would have to take out a certain aperture and replace it with the next one you wanted instead of just clicking a button like the current digital world. He was kind of odd, but friendly, and informative. Maybe he just doesn't have anyone in his life to talk cameras with, and then I found out he was the cook at the food truck. I walked up and ordered with what quite possibly was his wife, "a mahi-mahi taco please." It took only a few minutes, and I walked away with a small to-go styrofoam container. I took it back to the car where I put on some music and stood in the parking lot enjoying the very fresh, lightly fried, fish taco with mango salsa. It was really good, and although I had another place I wanted to visit, I decided to hold off since I wasn't still hungry. I left the parking lot and headed back towards the refuge, I stopped in the convenience store and picked up a 6 pack of Bold Rock which was hard pear cider brewed in Virginia; "when in Rome." I drove back to the refuge in hopes that maybe the beach had cleared and would be a beautiful day when I arrive, though it was the same as when I was there an hour and a half ago. On my way back out, I decided to stop and watch the ponies for awhile while I had one of the ciders. They were so gorgeous and I just wish one would come right up to my car. They were so far off in the distance, even when I zoomed in with my cellphone they were like tiny specs of a pony. I sat there listening to the Highway country station on satellite radio, watching the ponies for around 20 minutes before they started venturing closer. The passing cars took notice to the ponies as well and people started pulling over. They came closer and closer until they were right at the barbed wire fence which stood between the stream and the road which I was on. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't come up to my car, but that didn't stop me from wanting them to. I sent photos to Mom and Papa, and told Mom I'd take three home; one for me, one for her, and one for Hunter. When I told Papa this, he said "what about me?" Guess the rental will be hauling 4 ponies back to Connecticut tomorrow. They eventually after 10 minutes or so turned around and trotted off back into the distance. It was an awesome memory and I can only hope that tomorrow during my boat tour to see them before I leave, I get to see some very up close and personal! Much like the ponies, my cider was gone as well. I decided to head to Woody's BBQ; a fun, island themed, getaway for my second lunch. When I arrived, I ordered their almost famous chicken bites with yum-yum sauce and homemade BBQ as well as a small order of hand cut French Fries. As I waited for my food, I explored the area; there were hammocks, hula-hoops, cornhole, giant tic-tac-toe boards, and more. The place was adorable, it was just like being on a tropical island somewhere right in the middle of a parking lot. I sat in a hammock to eat, the BBQ sauce was amazing, the yum-yum was alright, I couldn't really tell what it was kind of a mix of a spicy mayo, Russian dressing but not as flavorful of either of those. I wasn't able to finish nearly any of the fries or last two chicken bites, so I saved them for later. I grabbed my computer, memory card, and reader and uploaded the photos I had taken so far today. I started to edit and re-size them with only around 25% of battery left, I finished them all though. I decided to head back to the refuge one last time to see if the beach had cleared, might as well get my money worth. I waved at the guard at the gate, drove down to the beach, and once again it was still misty and overcast; can't say I didn't try. I stopped one last time to watch the ponies for awhile off in the distance and just enjoy the moment. I took a photo of myself below with my cellphone and I really wish it was taken with my nice camera since it really shows my lifestyle of this road trip. Traveling solo there is a lot of time for thought and reflection, as you can see me pondering off into the distance. It shows the dirtiness of the rental and everything we have been through together, not to mention my hat I picked up in Colorado to stick my awesome Road Tripper patch that Shane gave me. Some of this thought may overlap in a similar thought process in a post from the trail, but I'll say it anyway; I used to dread being alone, now I treasure it. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, and I love my friends, but I have to love myself as well. Before the trail, I didn't like being alone; I wasn't comfortable with who I was and I always wanted someone to accompany me. Though I started the trail with people, there were times where I walked alone, I ate alone, I slept alone, I had to make decisions for myself because there was no one else there to make decisions for, or to make for me. In a way, I was not familiar with this in my life, I had always had someone there. I adapted pretty well, and now am grateful for the transition; I no longer think twice about going to breakfast/lunch/dinner by myself, the aquarium, a national park, or the beach. In other words, I enjoy my company, and don't look to others for approval and am constantly learning more of who I am daily. With that said, I drove out of the refuge and noticed the fog was starting to roll in the same way it did yesterday when I was getting my late lunch around 4:30, it was now almost 5:00 and I am thinking it just does that daily here. I arrived back at the campground, sat down with my computer plugged into the charger, and wrote. I had some catching up to do but I was making a good effort in doing so. I noticed a squirrel getting very close to me and wondered what he was doing. I would type, and then watch him checking me out. He was such a funny creature, he started out at the base of the tree by my chair just staring at me. Then, he jumped up on the tree and scaled it on all sides watching me the whole time. At one point he had all four feet attached to the tree parallel to me and I thought then and there he was going to leap right from the tree on top of my computer. He did this for at least 10 minutes wondering what I was doing, and me wondering the same for him. Eventually he scurried off and I was getting ready to head to the creamery for some ice cream. As I packed up the few belongings I had out, I realized what he was most likely interested in over me, the bag of French Fried that sat on the picnic table beside me. I put everything in the car and drove down the road to the creamery. The line was slightly out the door, but it is supposed to be some pretty great ice cream. I waited for a few minutes before a large group ahead of an older gentleman and myself said we could go before them. We thanked them, and walked inside. He ordered right away, and I was left patiently waiting. There was about 5 people scooping ice cream for a group of at least 20 middle school kids with their chaperones. Eventually, someone asked me what I would like and I was too overwhelmed to try and squeeze around the group to see the flavors, or ask to try multiple flavors so I went to the go to Cookie's and Cream. She handed me the cup, and I waited at the register which read $195 and counting. I could have easily walked away, or had my ice cream paid for by the school trip, instead; I waited an extra 5 minutes for them to sort everything out, and then tell her I had not paid yet. The patio was a mad house with the school so I opted to go to the neighboring business's deck stairs and take a seat to enjoy my ice cream. I will admit, I sure do like a great cookie's and cream ice cream every now and again, and this was very good. The cars kept flowing into the parking lot looking for spaces, after I was done I left to head back to my campsite. I sat outside for awhile with the computer plugged in to blog until the mosquitos got so bad I went inside the car to sit. I finished blogging, put up some self promotional photos on my business Instagram and Facebook page, and shortly after looking up the address for the boat tour tomorrow I climbed into my hammock for my last night sleeping on the road (not literally.)

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