Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get your ducks in a row.

Oops. I’m sitting here in the RV dining booth next to the big window…with the shade UP. Was trying to get comfortable, so I could get some writing done. Pulled up my top and unhooked my bra, just about the same moment as a big blue truck trailer pulled along side. Gulp. Did he see anything? I keep forgetting that we’re eye-level with the big trucks!

Oh well, there’s not THAT much to see! At least I’m now more comfortable and ready to share another story with you. In our ongoing search for a quiet RV park, we decided to stop trying the KoA campgrounds and go further off the I-40. We were in Oklahoma City and settled on a small RV park off the beaten path. There were trees, and it was relatively clean, except for the greenish swimming pool, that was closed for the season. The highway noise was doable, and all was well.

After popping out our slides (which I now call, spreading our wings), we laid down for a little rest. Toot, toot! The train tracks were on the other side of the high hedge about a block from the park. We began to laugh, and stopped when a 747 swooped down overhead, so close I could have tickled its underbelly! Yep. We were under the landing path for Will Rogers’ Airport, the main airport for that area. All night long, planes roared overhead, and trains blasted their horns. Even the earplugs couldn’t keep out the noise.

Weary, but anxious to get on the road, Rick did his final outside check, while I secured everything inside Shamu. Thankfully, he noticed that our tires looked low. I say, “thankfully,” since if he hadn’t seen it while we were still in civilization, we would been in real trouble. Again, the beast had to go into a nearby RV shop to have the wheelcovers taken off, and all six wheels pumped up. Supposedly, the air pressure had been taken care of by the dealer before we left So. Calif. Obviously, they didn’t do their job!

Now, a couple of hours behind schedule, we were back on the road, determined to get a good night’s rest. I went to work doing research and found a rural campground situated in the pines in Fort Smith/Alma, Arkansas. The road to the RV park was lush with trees, and the campground had its own lake! Hooray! Maybe we could finally dust off our new canvas chairs, set up the picnic table, and spend some time outside in the pines. We were really excited…until we were led to our treeless drive-through camp site that was located between two paved roads. Even worse, there was a motorcycle rally (we were told by the clerk) in nearby Fayetteville, and we were warned that some of the people in the campground might be returning from the big festival late that night.

The temperatures were the 90s, much too hot for the Fliedners. Instead, Rick enjoyed a Shiner Bock beer and turned on the t.v. INSIDE the R.V. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted something moving on a nearby roadway. It was a long line of about 50 ducks, waddling beak to butt through the forest! It was the strangest thing you’ve ever seen. There were assorted colors and types of ducks – solid white, black and white, mallards, some with white tuffs on their black heads, and a few that could only be described as strawberry blondes. They quacked and walked and kept a perfect pace, following the leader to…where were they going? They were heading AWAY from the pond! It made no sense. Rick grabbed the camera and took some shots, but by then, a car had driven down the road, and the ducks had to break rank to keep from getting hit. About 15 or 20 had already disappeared in the distance, but the rest once again regrouped in a line, and continued their march. Rick the camera guy sneaked up behind them and got a couple of good shots.
Ever see a Duck Parade ???!!  Very strange.

A hour later, they were back at the pond and segregated into duck groups. Before dusk, they were back in formation heading from the lake towards our RV. This time, not all of them participated. We watched as they approached, wondering what they were doing. We finally figured it out! A minute later, they had gathered around our steps, making as much noise as they possibly could…begging for food. We broke up some hamburger buns and tossed out the chunks. When the bread was gone, the group turned on webbed foot and formed a new line, heading towards another RV. 

The duck brigade demanding dinner !

The next morning, I spoke with the woman who runs the RV park. She said that the ducks make about three trips a day up the hill to where a permanent camp resident puts out a big pan of fresh water for them to drink. Obviously, they prefer it to the lake water! Then they make the rounds through the large campground to hit up the RVers for a free hand-out. She didn’t find it unusual at all! For us, though, it was the highlight of that stop.

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