Raccoons and Skunks and Cats, Oh My!

It’s undoubtedly fortunute one rarely has the opportunity to get close to a skunk. My past encounters have mostly been of the olfactory type, catching that distinct scent while driving past a flattened black and white grease smear on the road.

Then there was the time I opened the sliding door to our deck and stepped out to discover one under our bird feeders. One quick whiff and a view, and I was back inside before I knew what to think. 

So imagine my surprise when I looked up from my seat at the campfire to see what looked like moonlight moving in front of our tent and discovered it was, in fact, not moonlight, but a small skunk. 

I’m not sure which of us was more surprised. Aside from my gasp, our reactions were the same, a watchful stare as we slowly backed away from one another. 

It was quite a luxurious creature, with a wide white stripe from nose to tail, and as I said, it emitted no scent, though it did lift its tail at me when I later surprised it on my trek to the bathroom. 

I wondered if this lack of scent meant the animal hadn’t had recent cause to spray anything, but mainly I was just glad I hadn’t become a target. 

We had other visitors. An equally small raccoon whose inquisitiveness far outweighed its common sense dropped by each night.

Photo by anne sch on Pexels.com

Despite shouts and claps to see it off, the animal wandered around our site as though it lived there or something.

Oh, yeah. It probably does. 🙂 And so, apparently, did a feral cat who stalked through a few times.  (Note: The picture above is not actually the raccoon we saw, but you get the idea.)

We were camping at Mohican State Park (Ohio), and our site was right on the river, as you can see from these photos. 

It’s a beautiful area, with lots to do: hiking, biking, canoeing/rafting/kayaking, and more. We planned on canoeing, but the river was too high for the first two days (see pictures above). It dropped by the day we left, but the weather had cooled, so we decided to save that adventure for another time. 

Instead, we went cycling on the Richland B&O rail-trail. It’s a nice bike path, level and mostly flat as rail-trails tend to be. There’s also abundant shade with trees growing on both sides of the trail for most of the way. The route is about 18 miles long and bisects three small towns at almost exactly six mile intervals, which provides ample opportunity for food and drink stops. We’re not what one would call “serious cyclists,” so this suited us fine. 

We rode about eight miles, then turned back to the middle town and stopped for a snack and a cold drink at a local bar and grill, which had outside tables. 

Unfortunately, after exiting the patio, we soon discovered the tube in my rear tire had gone kaplooey, and there was lime-colored gunk all over it. This, we learned, was called a “slime” tube, and is meant to self-patch most holes. 

Obviously, it hadn’t worked, and The Engineer had to ride the remaining four miles back to our vehicle on his own while I went next door and had ice cream on their patio.

There’s a silver lining to every cloud, if you look hard enough, I’ve found. 

 

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

An equally silver lining was the fact that the next day we got the last tube of the correct size at a bike shop (Ashland Bike Company) in a neighboring town. I use “neighboring” in an extremely loose sense since the shop was a good 35 minutes from our camp. It was also another slime tube, alas.  

Still, I’d been trying to find a spare since I got this bike (about a month ago), but COVID has caused bike parts to be in short supply, and it was a pleasant surprise to find any kind of tube that would fit. 

Better yet, there was a brewpub with outdoor seating (Uniontown Brewing) across the street from the bike shop, and they had a “Two sliders with a side” for $10 lunch special. We got perch and fries — a slider each, with the fries to share — a perfect size lunch and perfectly delicious. 

Then, it was bike repair (thank you, dear Engineer), and back on the trail. 

I love homemade signs, don’t you? They add such character to a place. 

I also love Mail Pouch Tobacco barn paintings because they always make me think of my grandpa who chewed the stuff. It was gross, but I loved Grandpa, and seeing these barns reminds me of him. The guy who used to paint them (without a template), Harley Warrick is long dead, so sightings of his work have become fewer and fewer. 

The one I photographed looks like it’s in the country, but it’s actually right behind the trail parking lot, smack-dab in the middle of the small town of Butler, Ohio.

We didn’t eat all our meals out as I am still trying to expand my camp cooking repertoire. This meant the first night’s dinner was quesadillas made in the pie iron. They were delicious, filled with chorizo, onions, beans, peppers, tomatoes and cheese.

Breakfasts were an egg and home fries scramble or breakfast fajitas (basically egg and home fries scramble in a tortilla). 

We were also going to have a Chicken Tikka Masala type dinner made in the Dutch oven. This ended up as a rather charred Tandoori Chicken with the sauce burnt black on the oven because the fire was too hot. 

And yet, I shall persevere. Sorry, but I erased the picture of my failure after posting on Instagram, so you don’t get to see it here. 

I’ll share other photos. They’re prettier anyway.

Ohio Barn
Log Cabin at Campground
Panorama of Gorge near Mohican State Campground

Lastly, I feel compelled to mention an RV we saw because if you don’t live in the US, you may not believe the size of some of these trailers. This particular one had two side doors and a rear patio! 

It looked something like this. The model is called a “Road Warrior,” and it’s considered a “toy hauler,” because evidently the patio part is where you haul your “toys.” You can order a side patio too, on trailers ranging in size from 41′ 6″ to 44′ 4″. If you’re interested in buying one, go here, but have your checkbook handy. They cost from tens of thousands of dollars up to over a hundred thousand, and don’t forget you’ll need a vehicle capable of hauling the behemoth!

Ah, well, they probably think we’re crazy for camping in a tent. 

 

6 thoughts on “Raccoons and Skunks and Cats, Oh My!

  1. It sounds like a load of fun, even the skunk if you count the fact that he didn’t spray you!
    That ‘toy hauler’ is ridiculously huge. Odd how terminology changes country to country. Here, a toy hauler is a regular caravan (travel trailer to you), rather than a fifth wheeler, with a bunkroom at the rear, fitted with a double opening door and a ramp so you can ride your bicycles, motorbikes, quad bike, etc, up into the interior once you’ve stowed the bunks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. I just couldn’t believe the idea of a patio on a camper! Had never heard the term “toy hauler” before. Interesting it’s just a trailer (camper) in Australia. I know you’d never see anything so huge in Europe.

      Like

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