I stopped at a Starbucks in Hanover, MD. I noticed a big store called "Outdoor World" across the road. I'd never heard of "Outdoor World" and decided to check it out.
"Outdoor World" is an outdoors superstore. Hunting, camping, backpacking, fishing, and riflery are its main themes. But it's more than just a superstore....
The first thing you notice are the elaborate dioramas. Meticulously detailed, illuminated dramatically, and towering over you at every shirt rack, these stuffed-animal displays are on par with The Museum of Natural History.
Below is a diorama I couldn't really figure out. While most of the dioramas depicted animals in the wild or hunters stalking these animals, this one is just of some poor schmoe plunging through a crappy bridge. ("Outdoor World" doesn't sell bridges. Maybe that's the point.)
There was also this airplane.
In the marine section there was an enormous aquarium where you could watch employees feed the fish.
In the children's section I found this awesome toy set. I'd have loved this as a kid. The Jeep, ATV, hunter, rifle, and buck are mediocre, but there's a CLOTH TENT! That tent would have been a real jewel. It would have become a mainstay in every action figure set-up, from He-Man to GI Joe. Oh well.
There was a target range kind of like what you'd see at a carnival.
In the camping area there was the most comprehensive cooler selection I've ever seen.
Dead center in "Outdoor World" is a functional climbing wall. Well, one side is functional; the other is a diorama of a moose getting sprayed in the face by a skunk (while standing on a waterfall with real flowing water).
Last but not least, there were many displays of the "Butt Out" tool. This barbed, plastic anchor extracts the rectum of a deer, as the instructions explain. There were many "Butt Out" displays, not just one, spread out around the store. Maybe it's considered a good stocking stuffer.
I needed to shower and do laundry, and with Thanksgiving / Black Friday I was skeptical about parking overnight at Walmart. So I decided to cough up the dough and spend a night at an rv park in Abingdom, MD. I figured that in addition to the amenities it would make for a good blog entry, as I'd never been to an RV park before.
Here's a curiosity: the dump system. I watched some guy back up his monstrous Class-A and cautiously link his black tank to this little hole in the ground. It didn't take long to empty. Then he packed it up and drove off.
This RV park advertises that it's anti-activity. I guess other RV parks have big dinners and parties and whatnot. You're on your own at this place. Still, there was this pool for warmer weather, as well as numerous little docks, benches, and the "Wilderness Trail".
Below is the van in my space. For once, the van was the smallest vehicle around. Everybody else had enormous trailers or Class-As (enormous by my standards, at least).
It was $46 for that space. Since I couldn't use the hook-ups, that's a rip-off. I asked the desk if I could get a discount for not using the hook-ups. No, they said, but there is a 5% discount for paying cash. This was a nice park and the owners seemed like nice people, and I don't blame them in particular; all RV park rates, across the board, suck. It's what drives people into Walmart parking lots. If you're the owner of an RV park, why not just have a crappy overflow lot, $5 - $10 a night, for folks who can't afford / don't want hook-ups?
It WAS, however, glorious to take a warm shower, shave, and do my laundry.
The park also featured wireless internet. But since I arrived on Thanksgiving, the office was closed, and I couldn't find out the password. I asked another camper and he gave me a password which was completely wrong. Oh well.
Each site had a firepit. My Thanksgiving dinner consisted of 4 grilled veggie burgers and 3 beers, eaten while I watched Lord of the Rings on my laptop. Then I finished the movie and ran out of propane for my Coleman lantern. It got very dark in the van.
A little bit later in the night, the family in the next site over started building an enormous chimney fire. It was 5' tall. I guess they saw me staring at it enviously because they invited me over for beer and steamed oysters. It was a good Thanksgiving.
Cape May State Park - the southern most tip of NJ. There is a WWII bunker, a lighthouse, and a trail for raptor-watching. South Jersey continues to impress me with its oddball scenes and quirks, as I tried to capture in the following photos...
The famous Cape May lighthouse. And the van in the lot.
I camped for the past 3 days in the Pine Barrens of NJ, at Wharton State Park. This time of year the grounds are essentially deserted. Camping is cheap ($2 a night) and the trails are flat but interesting.
The bike was put to use for traveling between the campsite and the hiking trails.