Joan Randall, a Woodstock resident, set out on a journey to “Discover America” she has agreed to share her stories with the readers of the Vermont Standard.
These are her stories.
(Read All Blogs & Video )Enjoy!
After finding an ATM and a highly recommended breakfast spot coveted by the locals, we left Hilton Head nearing just before noon. We followed Rte 170 back to Rte 17, the route we essentially followed along the entire eastern coast. I had to make a decision, bypass Savannah or spend the night in the city. The heat wave had definitely been following us. We have not had any major rainfall other than that brief 5-minute sprinkle in Ocracoke. Temperatures had been in the low 90’s with high humidity. Savannah was sounding more like a challenge traveling with Bode then the charm I was hoping to discover. I chose to bypass it, promising myself in the near future to fly in for a weekend.
There are many beautiful islands off the coast of Georgia. I settled on Jekyll Island. In 1886, Jekyll Island was purchased to become an exclusive winter retreat known as the Jekyll Island Club, for America’s most elite families. The properties have all been donated and now serve as museums or tourist attractions of some sort. The Jekyll Club Hotel is a destination resort for golfers, which was quite lovely as we toured the grounds, had tea at their cafe and used their complementary Wi-Fi.
There is a campground with tent sites on Jekyll Island. From a quick scan, there were only three others with tents. We had our choice of sites, quite private in comparison to the RV and trailer park. It amazed me how they could even manage to park or pull into those sites being so close to one another.
As I set up camp, Bode was being entertained by what seemed like hundreds of squirrels. He was in 7th Heaven. Chasing squirrels is his favorite pastime. Bode loves to sleep late in the morning and on a workday this can be a problem! A solution that has always worked wonders was to shout “squirrel”, Bode would leap out of bed and fly down the stairs to be let out. Now that trick has come back to haunt me. I can tell it will be only a matter of time before he will become crazed with all these squirrels.
After completing the tasks at hand, I decided its best to go to the beach and allow Bode to run after a few seagulls to release some of that pent up frustrations from not being permitted to chase squirrels. The beaches are endless with very few people compared to what I had expected during Spring Break. The low tide goes out a long distance creating a huge sand bar. I never found so many sand dollars on one walk! Bode was exhausted from his run, a good time to return to camp and settle in for the evening and light a campfire.
As we returned to camp a boy, named Hunter, who was tenting with his family at a near by site, asked if he could pet Bode, he was missing his dog. Hunter was getting a good chuckle out of my disappointment for choosing the only site that did not have a fire ring. I resigned to the fact that I would light the fire at an adjoining site. I went off to purchase some wood, only to discover the camp store closed at 5 p.m. I started to collect twigs and branches still determined to have that fire. I must have looked like a damsel in distress, for Hunter’s dad had him set up a ring at my site and they supplied me with a commercial fire log. I walked over to thank them and they invited me to join them for a S’mores around their blazing fire. We talked long into the night about their lives in Georgia before we returned to our camp for a good nights sleep.
How wrong could I have been! Raccoons replaced the squirrels. Those raccoons were determined to get into the cooler, while Bode was determined to get the raccoons. Bode was frantic, he kept scratching at the tent floor trying to get out. This was going to be a long night! As I was growing wearier, I decided to keep him on the lead outside the tent to guard the cooler. The coons would not be that brave. This seemed to work for the most part and now I was awakened only every hour or two as a new raccoon attempted to case our site.
Upon awakening, my heart sank, Bode’s claws had torn the mosquito netting in our tent. Only our 2nd night in the tent and it is needing major repairs. Is this a sign? The bugs are brutal at this campground. Thank goodness I packed the duct tape.
With little sleep, a full, super moon and a warm summer night, I was not going to let the next night be a repeat of last. Both Bode and the cooler went into the Jeep, while I had a blissful night’s sleep. Bode was not too happy with me in the morning so it was best I treated him to an early morning romp on the beach before we headed out to explore Jekyll Island. It worked like a charm.
Most restaurants have outdoor seating, which is a relief because in this heat wave I couldn’t leave Bode in the Jeep. By this time, Bode’s reputation was getting around town. As we approached the top step to the deck of a restaurant for lunch, a cat came out of nowhere and started attacking Bode. We were both in shock, and so were the other patrons. We retreated, but the cat charged again. I have never seen anything like this. This was really not turning out to be a good day for the boy! A night in the Jeep, followed by a cat attack, his pride was bruised. We scurried out of there and found another venue. Feeling sorry for Bode, when we returned to camp, I allowed him to take his frustrations out on a few squirrels by creating a very long lead.
Since last night worked out so well, I attempted to put Bode back into the Jeep for another night’s sleep. Bode had other plans. He was not falling for that again. As soon as I shut the door, out popped his head and he began to let me know in no uncertain terms was this happening again. In less then a minute, he won. Maybe with the cooler in the Jeep all will be well. No sooner did we settle in for the night and the raccoons began to case our site. I took precautions so Bode could not tear at the netting, but sometime around midnight, Bode rammed the zippered tent door and the zipper gave way. As Bode charged out of the tent into the night determined to catch those coons, I bolted right after Bode, knowing that the main road was a short distance through the forest and once across that road was a swamp. A swamp in Georgia means gaiters. I am sure Bode would be a tasty treat for a hungry alligator.
Bode was gone in a flash, I blasted through a densely vegetated forest trying to push past vines. Miraculously, I made it to the road and started hollering out his name. All I could hear was a high-pitched squeal. Was that Bode fighting with a raccoon? Or is that the sound or a gaiter attack? I was sick to my stomach and panic stricken. I cannot loose Bode like this. As I screamed out his name again, Bode popped out of the woods about 50 feet down the road and began trotting up the center of the road and came right to ne. I was filled with both joy and anger. Grateful he responded to my call, and that he never had the time to venture into that swamp. Then the realization hit me. I am standing in the middle of the road, full moon, barefoot and clad only in a tee shirt. What would the local police think about this particular scene? We had to get back to our site quickly before anyone noticed us. We could follow the road back to the entrance of the campground, but that was at least a half-mile away plus another half-mile walk through the campground. Someone is sure to drive by. This gave us no choice but to reenter the woods. I bolted so fast I had no idea which way I went. Even worse, I did not take a leash. I had Bode by the collar, looked at him right in the eyes and said “you have to get us back to the tent.” He must have understood. He started into the woods in a direction I would have never gone; I had to trust him on this. I was so focused on getting him back I hadn’t paid attention to my route. Once we entered the woods the vines were so thick, how did we both get through this just moments earlier? Bode lead the way, I stooped down low, hanging onto his collar, wondering how many different types of snakes live on Jekyll Island. That moment will live a long time in my memory. Amazingly, Bode led us straight to the tent site. I was never so happy to see that little tent. I attached his wire lead to the picnic table before attaching it to Bode and we reentered the tent. If he managed to escape again, he was going to have to drag a picnic table!
-All Bode’s Well.