I don’t understand how I’ve had service all over the country but now trying to get it on this last leg up the Potomac is a real issue, but it is what it is. Rodrigo and Natalie joined the adventure on the rainiest day ever on this paddle journey to DC for the March for the Ocean. They came out on Sunday to Point Lookout during torrential downpours and seriously insane wind blowing out of the North East. And it was cold, on top of it.
I spent the day hunkered down in the lee of the wind, at Bob’s camp store-a little oasis, really, I had service, warm tea, coffee, and snacks while working on emails and my blog for the day plus a blog for the next day. I thought I was so on top of it all, in that little spot, with the wind howling. The Chesapeake pounded the little land bridge that connects the campground to the Point docks and beaches relentlessly. I should have figured that the little stakes holding my tent down would not be up to the task.
After helping Rodrigo and Natalie set up their tent in a sweet little protected spot, we went to check out my tent. Apparently it turned into a giant tumbleweed and was blowing against the site’s electrical hook-up. Someone had tied my footprint to the picnic bench. Everything inside, my clothes, new towel, sleeping bag, mattress, everything was soaked. Rodrigo, Natalie, Heather, their friend who drove them out, and I scrambled to gather everything up in the rain and repitch the tent at their more protected site.
We then drove all my wet stuff to the camp office to see if there was a dryer or something I could use. We were directed to a nearby laundry mat, where Heather dropped me off. We figured I could Lyft or Uber my way back to the campground, or maybe just pay some person, anyone I could find, really, to get me back. It was looking a little grim-there were a few guys who came in, did laundry, but couldn’t help out.
I set myself to the task of drying out my stuff and charging my phones, which fortunately charged really quickly. Other than not knowing how I was going to get back to the campground it wasn’t too bad. I even shoved my air mattress in the dryer, on low, for ten minutes (50 cents!) and got that dry, too. The laundry was nice and warm, I could make myself a peanut butter sandwich, and was fairly comfortable. But I still had no way back to the campground and Lyft was taking forever to load.
Then this energetic spritely woman with a massive load of laundry came in. She talked as much as me and in very short order offered to help me out. An angel!! Rebecca was a real hoot, we swapped stories and frustrations and time zipped by. Thank goodness there was a little all-nite convenience store adjacent to the laundry. There I was able to grab paper towels to sop up the puddles in my tent as well as water to continue hydrating. It turned out to be perfect.
Rebecca patiently waited in her car in the rain while I dried out my tent. I also mad the unfortunate discover that I had neglected to grab a soaking wet shirt and my paddle gear, as well as the soaked bags for my mattress, tent, and sleeping bag. Ugh. Fortunately there was some park staff shooting the breeze right outside our camping spot. After I told them my tale of woe, they mentioned that there ARE washers and dryers at the campground for the camp hosts to use, and that they would see if the camp host would help me out. It was a lucky break to find this out as I was told otherwise, but no matter, it all worked out for the best and I got the remainder of my stuff dried out. Oh happy day!
Getting the clip holding the rain sheet onto the tent itself I jammed was icing on the cake. It didn’t matter now that I was short on sleep, I was heading out the next day. Because of the anticipated wind forecast, Rodrigo and Natalie didn’t join me on that leg. They waited for our trail angel, Jana, of Aquavida in Philly, to come down and cart all of our things to Coles Marina, which is where we are now and which would be the perfect venue for a race. It is GORGEOUS and we are camping close to the water, where the lapping of Potomac’s little waves put us right to sleep.
Coles Marina is a wonderful destination for anyone on the water. The people are all friendly, the food and drink good, and once again the locals make it. Talking to the kids here it seems they would be really game for an outrigger canoe club. I sat and chatted with Peggy Morris, who I expected to buy a beer but who I think paid MY tab!!! I didn’t realize it until she left and the bar tender said it was all taken care of. We had a wonderful time talking about her kids when they were young, her husband, and the car her son had bought her one Christmas. Her kids and grand kids live far away and she doesn’t get to see them as much as she’d like. Hopefully that will change after she has cataract surgery.
It sure is a sweet little spot here, I almost hate to leave, but it’s getting time to break camp and move on. Ah, the life of a transient paddler! But I am so looking forward to seeing my family and to the march.