Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Concord MA

Let me start this post on a somber note with something that is actually important…we’ll get to the Fun Stuff©, hikes, photos, and interesting things found on the net in a bit.

First and foremost…let’s consider and remember what this weekend is and what it means.

It’s Memorial Day on Monday and despite all of the kids running amuck in the RV park, the parades with the Boy Scouts and the fire engines in them, and all the campfires, fireworks, and grilling going on around the country…that’s not what it’s about.

Let’s all stop…and think for a moment about those brave men and women who gave their lives for this country so that the rest of us would have the freedom to let our kids run amuck and to grill…and thank God for their sacrifice. Right after that…let’s offer up our gratitude and prayers for those who they left behind…our country is a better place thanks to the sacrifices of your loved ones.




Ok…on to something more uplifting…but keep thinking about the above paragraphs as you grill today.

Man…Ima ;’ ya…the drivers in MA are the worst drivers in the world. Neil says the ones in Rome Italy are worse…and that he can tell ya some stories about them…I never been to Italy so Ima not gonna disagree with him…but these are the worst I’ve seen. Here’s a sample of the things they do up here…each of these has happened repeatedly and we’ve only been here 3 days.

  • Stop signs…they’re just a guide. Nobody…I’m talking nobody…actually stops at one unless proceeding would result in a collision. Even the ones that do stop don’t bother to wait to pull out into the intersecting road until there’s a gap…as soon as there’s a slightly larger than average gap they pull out…even if it’s not enough gap to actually pull out and get up to speed. If they’re turning left…then they just pull out into the lane they’re crossing as soon as there’s a slightly larger than average gap on that side of the road…and then the buttheads just sit there blocking one lane until they can pull out into the lane going left and cut off whoever’s there.
  • Speed limits…again…they’re just a guide, nobody up here pays attention to them. We were on 95 at 67 in a 65 zone and most of the traffic was passing us going 80+. We tried going 57 when the limit was 55…but were forced to get up to 67 in the 55 zones just to keep from getting run over…and most of the traffic was still passing us at 80+.
  • On roads with dedicated left turn lanes but no dedicated left turn arrows on the traffic lights…if you’re the first person in line to go straight…do not go when the light turns green. With no dedicated turn lane signal…one would think that the cars going in the opposite direction would wait for an opening before turning left in front of you…but the first person in line invariably and the second person in line mostly jumps the light as soon as it turns green and turns in front of you.
  • People get in front of you after making any of the above poor decisions…and if they’re not going 80 then they’re going 20 miles under the limit for no reason whatsoever.
  • Turn signals…all I can say is that blinker fluid must be really expensive in these parts…because we’ve only seen a couple of signals since we’ve been here…and one of those was a guy in the left hand lane of a 4 lane freeway with his left blinker on in pretty heavy traffic…and he then cut across 3 lanes to get to an exit sometime after we passed the Exit in 1/4 mile sign…all the while with his left turn signal blinkin’ away.

Crazy Ima tellin’ ya…crazy.

Anyways…enough of that stuff. Connie thinks that the drivers here are the worst too…but then she’s never been to Rome and traveling on city streets either…she was there but we were on the tour bus with Claudio the bus magician.

Yesterday…we headed off in the morning to the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge for a hike on the Dike and Edge Trails…its located on the banks of the Assabet River near Concord. We’ve been to all the Revolutionary War related sites near Concord…the bridge where the first battle was fought and all that jazz…so we opted for the NWR instead.

We had a nice hike along the way…although the bird selection was somewhat limited…one Great Blue Heron, some cowbirds that we could never get a shot of, a couple of swans, and the free world supply of Red Winged Blackbirds.

The Great Blue Heron is colored differently from the ones we see down in Florida…much lighter looking in the neck area then is usual.

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Red Winged Blackbird…we took this one from the observation tower at the start of the hike.

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A pair of swans.

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We couldn’t decide whether this was a beaver lodge, a muskrat lodge, or just a pile of trash. It’s much more earth covered than a beaver lodge would be…but looks too large for a muskrat lodge.

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One gaggle of Canadian Geese flew over us…Neil had to swing around quickly and take a burst of shots…only this one came out in focus as they were almost overhead and flying by fast.

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The stare-down.

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Connie spotted this flower but couldn’t get close enough for decent shot so Neil got it for her as he had the bird lens on.

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A pair of Canada Geese on their nest.

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Connie got a couple of overview shots of the marsh.

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And some more flowers she liked.

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Right near the overflow from the pond into the river there was a shallow spot with some fish in it…Connie caught one at the surface right in the middle of this shot.

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These ferns present a strange moire like effect as you look at them…they’re actually in focus but like the spruce trees you see up in Canada the foliage causes some strange looking optical effects.

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Fiddlehead ferns.

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With that we headed home for a shower and a nap…and some seared tuna with rice for dinner.

Sunday we went to Mass at St. Mary’s just about 3 miles from the campground then came home and did laundry. We had pulled out some venison steaks since we need to finish them up before we get to the Canadian border…they cost way too much to have the border guards confiscate them. We were originally going to grill them…but the high temperature for the day of 59 was reached at 0700 before we left for Mass…so we regrouped. Neil has some mushrooms and a red pepper in the fridge…so decided to make Buck Au Vin…that’s very close to Coq Au Vin which is a French chicken stew with mushrooms, peppers, wine, balsamic vinegar and rosemary in it. All of that spice mixture will go quite nicely with venison as well…the Coq in the recipe is for cock since this is a hearty recipe designed to braise tough roosters before you eat them…we’ll just cook the venison since it’s backstrap (the good stuff…like the tenderloin on a cow) then cut it up and toss in right before serving the dish so it won’t get overdone and tough.

It’s supposed to be a little nicer tomorrow…and our friend from our University of Miami days Pat Balzarini who spends the summers here in her hometown Boston and her winters in Miami is coming over for dinner. Neil is brining some chicken thighs and breast and Pat is bringing some Italian sausage…we’ll grill all of that with some home made Italian dressing mixture for a glaze. Connie is going to make a Caesar salad to go along with it along with some chips…and Neil bought some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies for dessert.

Sunday we went to Mass and then had a great afternoon with our friend Pat Balzarini…we had grilled Italian chicken and she brought some Italian sausage to go along with it. We also had salad, cookies, and wine…all was good and we talked about a bunch of our old friends from our college days before she headed home and we headed for our recliners.

Interesting things found on the net.

A happier Memorial Day image.


Show this one to your gun hating liberal friends…we need to ban this dangerous weapon.


Somehow…I don’t think the Second Coming will be in a Nissan.


How true.


Hold my beer and watch this…there are rednecks up north too.


This is how genetics works.


Mae…105 year old Mae…is my kinda woman…



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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