Monday, April 29, 2013

The Routine

The trip has become routine. It seems we drive, set up, bird, eat, sleep, get up and drive again. We do spend multiple nights at some places and those days are special.

This has become a trip with birding as the focus.

For the past two days we have been at Crystal River in Florida. The attraction here is the “Red-cockaded Woodpecker”. It sounds like a spectacular bird doesn’t it? But it isn’t! It is pretty blah as woodpeckers go. The red on the cockade is barely noticeable. In our case, after seriously looking for it on a bird for about eight hours we haven’t noticed it or the bird once! The bird is basically black with white cheeks.

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker (from Google images)

We have looked for the “Red-cockaded Woodpecker” in Alabama and Florida where large tracks of long-leaf pine trees have been set aside to protect this bird. We will continue to look for it in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. We might even see it north of the Masson-Dixon Line. You may have guessed that it is endangered.

This has nothing to do with the text, I just liked the photo.

We have been eating at home here in the trailer mostly. Day before yesterday after a hard day of woodpecker seeking we decided to eat at a place highly recommended by the women that checked us in at the Rock Crusher RV Park.  When we arrived the restaurant parking lot was full which we took as a good sign. When we stepped in the place was indeed full. However, it was full of very large (read “fat” here) people – not a good sign.
When the food came it was bland but there was enough of it to feed us for two days. The left-overs we had last night we re-seasoned with “slap your mama” seasoning we picked up at a book store in New Orleans. This helped the taste a lot.

Shopping along the way has been an interesting experience. We no longer are in Stater Bros, Albertson’s, Von’s, or Ralph’s territory. We have passed through areas served by Fry’s Food Stores, Market Baskets, HEP, and are in Winn-Dixie country now. Since we hit Texas we have seen more BBQ seasonings, sauces, marinades, and rubs than we ever imagined would exist. Strange fishes, odd cuts of meat, wilted vegetables, peculiar spices, and odd characters at the check-out stands abound in these stores.

I’ve been baking bran muffins for a long time. I ran out of molasses. I stopped at one store for molasses and could not find any so I asked the clerk where I could find molasses. The blank stare he gave me was priceless.  At a Market Basket I couldn’t find the stuff either. There was a young guy stocking the shelves so I asked him where the molasses was. The same blank look. The older guy at the meat counter saved us. So we all took the kid in tow to show him molasses – he had never heard of it.

Soon I look for dried cranberries.

Tonight we are below Tampa at a beautiful State Park looking for the Florida Scrub Jay. They have a nice swimming hole here but I don't think I'll go in.

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