Last Day at Modoc

Last night's sunset

Last night’s sunset

We will be leaving tomorrow morning.  This is one of a small handful of our trips that I will be glad to see end.  It’s running an average of 8 degrees cooler at home.

Today is overcast and sweltering.  The people next to us had reservations through tomorrow, but they left today.

A little island out in the lake under gray skies.

A little island out in the lake under gray skies.

The only wildlife, other than birds, that we have seen here was one gray fox.  He was strangely unafraid of us, and in fact followed us for a short distance on the road a couple of times.  My first thought was rabies.  I meant to mention it to the host, but forgot.  Will try to report it on the way out tomorrow.

There were a lot of children running around over the weekend, and if it was going to cause trouble, I would have expected it to have already done so.  Ron suggested that it might have been one that someone tried to make a pet of when it was a baby, then released it when they discovered it wouldn’t domesticate.

Closeup of the island.

Closeup of the island.

In any case, it’s not normal behavior for a fox.

Anyway, our camping season is probably over until cooler weather arrives.


Fantastic Forms Down by the Water


Huge tree kept from toppling into the lake by rocky supports.

Precarious twins

Precarious twins

It’s still sweltering here.  Far too hot to do anything energetic.  So I’ve meandered around amusing myself by searching out intriguing and unusual natural formations.

Many of the trees at waters’ edge just about have the supporting earth washed away.  It looks like the Army Corps of Engineers has put rocks around some of the more precarious ones to help support them.  But every time a jet ski flies by, strong waves crash relentlessly against them, taking a bit more of the red clay support.  And leaving even more fantastic forms behind.

This one can't last long.  It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

This one can’t last long. It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

We have had nice, strong breezes today as the ever-threatened, seldom-materialized thunderstorms pass us by.

One thing this trip has taught us is not to ever camp in South Carolina in the summertime again!

Ron brought home superb Mexican take-out for dinner this evening.

I’m still drawing plans for a camper van.  I am so itching to tackle that project!  Hopefully next year!

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Interlocking roots

Interlocking roots

Odd trees on the swamp side

Odd trees on the swamp side

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Growing at water's edge.  I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up.  :)

Growing at water’s edge. I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up. 🙂

Sunlight  glinting on water

Sunlight glinting on water

Thunderclouds passing over

Thunderclouds passing over




Still Beautiful; Still Hot

Our sunset last night.  The color was not enhanced -- it really was this gorgeous.

Our sunset last night. The color was not enhanced — it really was this gorgeous.

Although it’s 8 degrees hotter here than it is at home, we are managing to enjoy it.  There’s usually a nice breeze off the lake.

There is water across the street behind us, too.  We are surrounded on three sides by water.

There is water across the street behind us, too. We are surrounded on three sides by water.

Yesterday I sat outside under the awning doing crosswords and admiring the million scintillating sun sparkles on the blue water.  Waves gurgled onto shore and slapped up against the rocks.  A few brave birds, ignoring the heat of the day, sang in the deep woods around me.

Although this is a man made lake, I dreamed of Indians centuries ago paddling their canoes around the point.  The deep woods on the far shore beckoned mysteriously.

As evening fell, a lone, far-away whipporwill called.

Sheba.  The sun is giving her black fur red highlights.

Sheba. The sun is giving her black fur red highlights.

We spend a couple of hours in the hottest part of the day inside in the air conditioning doing crosswords, surfing, reading or napping.  We can’t do anything too energetic or we will overheat, so we mosey around — and when we get too hot, we head inside and cool off for a while.

In case any of you northerners ever wondered why southerners move and talk more slowly  sometimes that’s why.  It’s an adaptation to the extreme heat and humidity.  It was a lot more pronounced before everyone got air conditioning.

My precious little aging Sunny.  He is having enough trouble going on walks that I will have to get him a doggie stroller soon.

My precious little aging Sunny. He is having enough trouble going on walks that I will have to get him a doggie stroller soon.

So I can’t say that our trip is exciting.  It’s not.  But it’s beautiful and we are glad we are here.

Modoc, SC in the Hot, Hot Summertime

Looking toward the left from under our awning

Looking toward the left from under our awning

When we were planning this camping trip, we originally wanted to go to Black Rock Mountain State Park in the NE Georgia mountains.  It’s a lot cooler there.

But we are not experienced mountain drivers.  And there is a winding, twisting 2 mile gravel road to the park at a steep grade.  The park’s website says that only those who are experienced at driving narrow mountain roads should attempt it.

Looking toward the right from under our awning

Looking toward the right from under our awning

So that scared us off.

Next, I had wanted to go to Vogel State Park at the base of Blood Mountain.  I wanted to climb the mountain again and see how much harder it was than when I did it in 2003.  I remember it being an easy climb.  I also thought it would be so much fun to see Neel’s Gap again, which was my first supply stop on my Appalachian Trail attempt back then.

But Vogel did not have reservations available for the time I wanted.

The water seems to go on forever.

The water seems to go on forever.

So we scrambled around for a substitute destination.  We had camped here at Modoc when we first got our Aliner 8 years ago.  I remembered it being beautiful.  I also knew that South Carolina in June would be hot and humid — and is it ever!

Modoc COE is an older park. All of the sites are pull-thrus.  But, at least in our loop, they were designed for the size rigs that were popular when the campground was built.  Our truck and Casita are a perfect fit for them.  Big rigs would be out of luck — at least on this loop.

We are having to take precautions due to the extreme heat here.  Yesterday after we got set up, my face was beet red.  Then my head started throbbing.  The dogs desperately needed a walk, so I took them on a short stroll on the shady side of the road.

When I got back my head was pounding with a splitting headache.  I went inside and took something for the headache and slept for a couple of hours.

A huge luna moth on our back door the night before we left.

A huge luna moth on our back door the night before we left.

Since then, we are moving slowly.  I bring the dogs in every hour for a half hour or so to cool down.  Then it’s gentle, easy movements to keep from getting overheated.

Thunderstorms are predicted later in the week.  Although they will raise the humidity, the clouds will obscure the sun which should help keep us from being steamed quite so badly.

But it is STILL a LOT better than being at home!


No Camping for a While

Searing temperatures for the foreseeable future.


Several things have converged to paint this summer as a disappointing non-camping event.

One is the searing heat.  It’s the beginning of June and already we are experiencing the worst of midsummer temperatures.

Secondly is that the floor in the Aliner has completely  rotted out again.  I can stand in the shower and the floor dips toward the edge of the trailer.  We have to step over an 8 inch rotted area inside the door.  And the floor under the water heater and refrigerator is mushy.

What makes this seem like an impossible hurdle to me is that I gutted the trailer a couple of years ago and treated the floor with PC Petrifier, which is supposed to plasticize rotten wood and keep it from further deterioration.  Too late I learned that I should have used clear penetrating epoxy sealer funneled into the wood.  Or better yet, I should just have replaced the whole floor at that point.

Also, I thought I had the leaks fixed, but very obviously I didn’t.

Additionally, the trailer is 4-1/2 years old and the edges of the skylights are cracking from UV damage.  I have some of the cracks fixed with epoxy, but the Georgia sun has done a number on the Lexan.  Those bubble skylights are expensive to replace, and I would need 3 of them.

So I’ve decided to cut my losses on the trailer.  I’m not dumping any more money into it.  Hopefully I can replace it in a few months with a molded fiberglass trailer that has a reputation for quality, like Casita or Scamp.

If not, our camping days are over.

Last Glimpse of Summer

Last geranium of the year

My sister Gail gave me this geranium this spring when she moved to Texas.  It has survived a summer of drought and neglect during camping trips.

The temperature is supposed to go down to 29 tonight, and 27 tomorrow night, so it will probably not make it.

Just wanted to share its last display of blooming glory.

The Boletes are Coming

two small boletes with parasitic mold

Two small boletes already showing signs of parasitic mold

These are the first boletes that appear in my yard each summer.  The bad news is that they are always immediately parasitized by a mold that I have tentatively identified as Hypomyces chrysospermus.

The mold starts on the bottom on the pore surface around the stalk, then spreads until the mushroom is completely disfigured.  And it is poisonous.

The good news is that the delectable boletes are on the way.  And the parasitic mold doesn’t affect the other ones.

a larger parasitized bolete

A larger parasitized bolete

I also have seen small puffballs in the yard the past week or so.  David Fischer, in his book Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, says that many of the small puffballs are edible.  But the ones with tough rinds (that you can’t cut easily with your fingernail) are poisonous.  These little puffballs have a leathery, tough rind, so even though they are perfectly white in the middle, I leave them alone.

[Edited:  I have since identified these puffballs as Lycoperdon Marginatum.]

If you have the slightest interest in learning about wild edible mushrooms, I would strongly recommend that you get Fischer’s book.  I have a small library of mushroom books, but Dave Fischer’s is the only one that gives a set of identification keys that completely rule out poisonous lookalikes — IF you conscientiously follow them.

closeup of mold

Closeup of mold

I am really excited that the bolete season is finally underway.  I hope to have a lot of mushroom photos to share with you before too long!

discolored bolete flesh from Hypomyces chrysospermus

Cross section of parasitized bolete

tough rinded little puffballs

Small, leathery skinned puffballs.

Green Onions & Blackberry Cobbler

last years green onions produce new shoots

Dying onions produce tender new plants

Since we’ve started planning camping trips most months of the year, my former passion, gardening, has been sadly neglected.  However, I do still grow several Earthbox containers of flowers and herbs.

Last year I planted green onions intending to let them overwinter and go to seed.  As expected, they did go to seed earlier this year and the plants began dying.   I neglected pulling up the old plants until today.  And I got a nice surprise.

ripe and unripe blackberries

Ready to pick ripe blackberries

Not only did the old plants provide me with seed.  But when I pulled them up, I discovered that each one had also produced a new onion sprout.  That was an unexpected bonanza.  So I replanted half of the bulbs and harvested a nice supply of green onions for the kitchen.

Not bad for dead onions!

Then I wandered over to check out the wild blackberry bushes that grow on the margins of our property.   They are still mostly unripe, but, again, I found enough ripe ones to make a cobbler.

I added orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, sugar and cornstarch to the blackberries, boiled them briefly, then used sweet vanilla drop biscuits for the crust.  It was superb!

blackberry cobbler


I love the way the blackberry season is staggered.   I can enjoy their essence of summer flavor fresh from the bush for a while.

I won’t make blackberry jam or jelly this year because my sister gave me all the blackberry and huckleberry jam that I can use for a while.

Using the berries fresh is more fun anyway.  🙂

with ice cream

....with ice cream

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