Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smoke on The Water, Fire in The Sky.............

For those of you that don't know or haven't heard, North Carolina now has the biggest wildfire burning in the entire United States. A few weeks back a lighting hit in the swamps in the eastern part of the state started the peat burning. The forest service now says that until there is a heck of a lot of rain, it may burn for the next two months. As you can well guess, where there is fire, there is smoke so the air quality around here is not as good as it was. It seems that on certain days a haze, or light fog of this smoke sets in and reduces visibility to a couple of miles or less.

"O.K. Williams," you might be saying, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?" Well not much, but I have always said that smoke follows beauty so I thought that I would share that indeed it does, since it sorta followed me around all weekend.

I got a very late start on the road to Williamsburg friday night, I just couldn't get my ducks in a row, so I ended up leaving the house around 6:30 P.M. The smoke wasn't so bad around the house but the further north that I got, the thicker it got. By the time I got up around the Virginia line, the sun was blood red as it was setting and the visibility was about 2 miles. The way I go to Williamsburg is a bit different than what map quest recommends. I cut across country via state road 40 so I can catch the ferry across that James river. The route goes through woods and swamp on a two lane road. It is a pretty trip in day light but changes just a bit at night. I have never seen as many deer, raccoons, opossums, and every thing else that could walk, crawl and fly in the road after dark as I saw that night. I guess the smoke sorta flushed them out and got them moving. It was not a relaxing drive.

I figured that my troubles were over when I got to the ferry, since I saw it coming in when I arrived. But of course, I was wrong. The ferry discharged the vehicles on board, then shut down. It turns out that they go to a trip every 30 minutes after midnight so I had to set there for a additional half hour twiddling my thumbs. They also have security at the ferry slips these days and these "Mall Ninjas" (They dress all in black with jump boots, pistols and attitude) were eyeballing me as I was taking my snuff and just had to "check me out" I offered them some, (Being the polite person that I am) but for some reason, they didn't take me up on my offer.

The ferry ride was almost worth the wait, since I was parked beside someone on the boat who felt the overwhelming need to play a Frankie Goes to Hollywood CD the whole trip over. "Relax" my big ol' white butt. I just HATE that song. Another delight was that when we arrived on the far shore I discovered that the ferry was piloted by a person no doubt possessed by the spirit of Prince Henry the Navigator since it took him three attempts to get into the slip.

I spent the weekend up around the Williamsburg area, so I could take part in a 1812 event at Endview Plantation with my shipmates from the Dragon crew. 1812 is a bit funny in that they have a lot of one day events, which makes you wonder how they expect people to drive any length of time or distance with today's gas prices just for one day. It was a very small event less that 30 participants and less than 30 spectators, so we spent a great deal of time just shooting the breeze in the shade or as the period sailors put it, "yarning" Of course, I was in my environment, and got to run my mouth quite a bit. Doing the sailor thing sorta always leads to us serving on the big guns, so we worked out on Charlie Phillips 3 Pdr. gun, which he has named "Retribution" It is a nice weapon, and Charlie knows what he is doing, so we had a pretty good time burning powder. We shut down abut 4 PM and called it a day. Even with just being there one day it was great to see the Boss, Doc, Jan and Bob my shipmates. Each time we get together, I get to like them all more and more. A damn fine bunch.

Rather than head back that night, I spent the night at "Uncle" Chuck Walker's home in Williamsburg. "Uncle" Chuck is a prince of a fellow, even more of a Renaissance man than I am. He has taught me a lot and I hope he will teach me a lot more in the future. He wasn't there since he is volunteering as a crew member on the sailing ships out of Jamestowne settlement and they were off in the Chesapeake, somewhere on a trip.

The trip home, thank goodness was rather uneventful and it was good to get back to Carolina.

1 comment:

Chris Grimes said...

Actually, the smoke you found yourself enveloped in was from a fire in the Great Dismal Swamp just south of Suffolk. I live about 15 or so miles as the crow flies from one edge of the fire. The only way this fire will be quenched is by 10 inches of rain or flooding it by pumping water out of the area lakes. The last fire like this occured in 1985.