So, I leave for vacation and I see all hell has broken loose. Michael Jackson acquitted. Pistons are down 0-2 in the NBA Championship series, and are mostly likely losing Game 3 at this very moment, but I cannot tell because the TV that is bigger than the state of Vermont is in the other room, and is currently commandeered by TinyTuna who has sweet-talked her very lovely (but obviously gullible) GreatUncle Tuna into watching Barbie's The Princess and the Pauper instead of sports or killing or whatever else one watches on a TV the size of a football field.
Take it from me, all Barbie movies should be mandatory headphones-only affairs.
So yes, I am in full-scale vacation mode, currently reporting from the state of Maryland, which lost all rights to the adjective "lovely" when it decided it would rather be the 7th layer of Hell. When they say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" I'm here to tell you that is a load of baloney. It IS the heat. AND the humidity. Hokey smokes, it's hot Bullwinkle!
Speaking of Bullwinkle, after only two days, it's evident that this vacation has been sponsored by Animal Planet. Not counting road kill (which, if a person would just take a minute to stand them upright again they'd be photo-ready) we've observed the following creatures in (and out of) their natural habitat.
Strange Animal Sighting #1
Location: Ohio Turnpike Rest Stop
Names: Unknown. Guess I'll call them "Rest" and "Stop"
Rest and Stop were being walked by their brand new owners in the Dog Walk Area. They had bought them at an Ohio Llama Auction (USOLA, no doubt) and were taking them back to their llama farm in Massachusetts...where they will have 100 other llama friends to play with. Rest and Stop were super cute and allowed us to pet them and covet their fur. Mmmmm llama....
Strange Animal Sighting #2
Animal: Entire White Deer Population
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive
Names: Start with A, make up 5000 names. Continue to B...
So, we decided to travel down Skyline Drive. It was late afternoon, and all the deer in the world were at the buffeteria by the side of the road. We slowed down for every single deer we saw, and took approximately 57,000 pictures in the process. Special bonus points when we saw Bambi and his mother. Cuuuuuute.... I told TinyTuna, "I can't believe how incredibly lucky we've been to see all these deer! What other animals do you suppose might live in this habitat..."
Strange Animal Sighting #3
Animal: BLACK BEAR!
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive, 30 seconds later
Name: HEY IT'S A BEAR!!!
No sooner do I proclaim our luck at seeing deer, I stop mid-sentence and say, "Look! Look! Look! It's a BEAR!!!" Sure enough, lumbering up a hill was a smallish black bear. He wasn't quite as photo saavy as the deer were, but still, it was a BEAR!
Strange Animal Sighting #4
Location: In front of some crappy campground outside Shenandoah National Park
Yeah. A huge Yogi Bear conveniently located right outside Yogi Bear Campground. GramTuna offered to take a picture of it the next day, but I said no, it was ok...it would live in my memories.
Strange Animal Sighting #5
Animal: Huge Green Parrot
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Dark Hollow hiking trail
Name: Not "Lionel" but something equally goofy that started with an "L"
We spent part of today hiking the Dark Hollow trail, which leads to the Dark Hollow Waterfalls. After TinyTuna spent the better part of a half-hour playing Ansel Adams at the bottom of the falls, we began to make our way back up again. We'd hike a bit and rest a bit, and hike a bit and rest a bit more. Suddenly this family of 4 (whom I quickly named "The Swiss Family Robinson") passed us like we were bumps on a log. Which, not surprisingly at that particular moment, we were. The family consisted of Mrs. Swiss Family Robinson, who was extremely pregnant, hiking in a dress, and the only member of her family wearing shoes of any kind. Then there were the two Swiss Family Robinson kids, one in shorts and one in a dress, walking up this muddy, rocky path BAREFOOT, and bringing up the rear was Mr. Swiss Family Robinson with really long hair (later braided), shorts and (of course) barefoot. He was lugging a backpack, and riding on the back of it was an enormous green parrot. We tried really hard to follow The Swiss Family Robinson so we could take a picture of the parrot. We weren't entirely successful until we finished our hike, and we caught them hanging out by their car. A parrot. In Virginia. With the Swiss Family Robinson. Who'd a thunk?
It's hard to say what adventures tomorrow may bring. In Maryland there are all sorts of unusual and potentially dangerous critters, but most of them are busy wreaking havoc in our Nation's Capitol. Meanwhile, I'm signing off for tonight, because I need to make sure I don't have any Canadian coins (AKA THAT kind of money), and I need to start practicing my Southernspeak.