Saturday, April 20, 2013

On the Road Again

Field off Hwy 55.
Last week we missed another several days of life on the water when we found ourselves once again in the mountains where spring is barely springing. Even more oddly, we spent one night in a motel that describes itself as "Asheville Biltmore East." It was not in Asheville, but instead in the unidentified territory beyond Oteen (of Thomas Wolfe cabin fame), an area called Swannanoa for the river that flows through it, but known to some locals as Swanna-nowhere. The motel also was nowhere near Biltmore as it was sited three interstate exits and seven river miles away from the Estate. However, it was East.

In the darkest pre-dawn, we awoke to the blast of a train horn arising a scant couple hundred feet beyond our window. We had failed to notice at check-in that the railroad tracks lay just the other side of a fine hemlock hedge at the edge of the parking lot. It reminded Beth and me of a night camping beside the New River on a rafting trip in West Virginia when we woke to the bright light of a locomotive roaring into our tent, its horn wailing as if we had fallen asleep on the tracks. Fortunately, the railroad was on the other side of the river, and the train was simply rounding a bend.

Bridge over ruffled water.

We missed the annual Oriental Boat Show. Dawson Creek Boatworks announced that it would begin making small cruising sailiboats in Minnesott Beach (just down the road) using Pacific Seacraft's molds for the old Flicka and Orion models, both fine production cruisers, under the name OceanCraft. Masonboro Skiff Company also made a first appearance. I would like to have talked with both.

Memories of things past. Last year, my family bought for my birthday at the boat show  an Ole Big Boy oyster knife, handwrought by Carolina Shuckers, a couple of steel sculptors. They are truly awesome oyster knives with better leverage than the old style straight points. And no, rust has not been an issue.

Mother Shucker on left; Ole Big Boy center; Queen Anne 2d from right.
Photo from Carolina Shuckers website.
Being out of town for the boat show weekend, we also missed visiting friends from Charlotte and St Louis. But so it goes. Rather, we had long visits with old friends in the mountains, a perfectly fine trade-off.

Tales from the Dockside

Having personally witnessed groundings by captains who "split the greens" (, Bill and Tud of S/V LZ Sea Dogs took a navigation class at the fire station this week. While elucidating the hazards of course and current, declination magnetic and true, waypoints, tracks and routes as well as apparent speed versus speed over course and ground, the course mentioned nothing about the risk of riding a three-wheel cycle tandem. When Tud hopped onto the stern platform of the cycle, Bill at the helm, the entire contraption popped the proverbial wheelie, sending both Bill and Tud sprawling onto the concrete. Tud said his head hit so hard his jaw hurt. Of course, it could have killed him. A little blood and a free range-size goose egg. Ah, the lessons we learn at the mercy of exuberance, what I call a "Zen moment" for the sudden clarity of realization.

One might presume that, surrounded by water, we could fall onto something softer and more forgiving than concrete.

Back home on the river, the sea trout are in, the ospreys are mating, but the blue crabs have yet to emerge from their winter mud. Another gale passed yesterday and evening to bring cooler air after a week with daily temps around eighty. Severe thunderstorm warnings all around and a few tornado watches and warnings nearby as well, but all managed to miss us. Just a quiet light show in the middle of the night. Clouds remain, but the big winds and whitecaps have receded this morning.

Southwest winds blow our water out as seen in this slough.
And returned. The forecast said "Breezy", a fair if understated description of our umpteenth nor'easter of the year. Fair winds to all.

1 comment:

  1. I love the photos, as usual. Nice to see life going on there in Oriental, I can't wait too get there again.


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