I needed to do a little grocery shopping today, but I decided to take the long round about way to get there just to see what I could see. Sometimes those are the best journeys, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I avoided the Outer Banks area, and drove down a couple of North Carolina Scenic Byways instead. So far I haven’t found anything that rivals the scenic byways of Idaho, but I found a couple of things of interest on today’s drive.
I started out pretty much driving the perimeter of Alligator River NWR east and south of the RV pads. The road eventually curved around to the west, and then I turned north on Hwy 94 that would take me to Columbia. I saw this sign, and pulled in. I had been hoping to find a rural stand selling tomatoes, but cantaloupe and watermelon would do just fine. I would be attending a cook out honoring this year’s batch of interns at the refuge tonight, and I had planned to take a watermelon.
Oh my goodness, what a deal I got. The stand was on the honor system for paying, but the owner had just returned from picking the watermelons in the field along with his very large and friendly German shepherd. I told him I wanted one of each kind of melon. He picked out the biggest watermelon and carried it to the car for me. I’m guessing that it weighed well over 30 pounds. Then I chose a cantaloupe that was almost the size of a basketball. My guess is it weighs 7-10 pounds! I put my $5 in the jug, and started up the car to pull out. That’s when he said, “Wait a minute, you forgot your free musk melon.” He brought over another whopper, and put it in the trunk. I love melons, but 50 lbs. worth? I’ll be sharing my bounty with Peggy and George, the other volunteers.
A little further up the road I came upon Mattamuskeet NWR. This is one of the refuges that the Gateway Visitors Center that I work at represents, so I thought it was a good idea to take a look at it so I would know what I was talking about.
Along the two mile entrance road, work is being done to restore a wetland area. The road travels right along this area, and even though it was approaching high noon, I was able to find some wildlife.
It seems it was the mid day preening and bathing time for this flock of Canada geese.
This doe found me about as interesting as I found her. What a set of ears! After stopping at the refuge headquarters to get my NWR Passport Book stamped, I headed back to Hwy 94 which bisects the refuge.
The refuge was established to protect Mattamuskeet Lake, which is the biggest natural lake in the state. The overlook that I stopped at is part of the Charles Karault Trail system here. There are Charles Karault Trails at both Alligator River and Pea Island as well. Some of you may remember his “On the Road” reports from years back. He was a native of North Carolina, and loved the National Wildlife Refuges here.
I eventually made it to Columbia and the grocery store and back to the rig after 120 miles. So I guess you can think of this as my “On the Road” report from eastern North Carolina.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy