A Modest Retreat

I am on Cape Cod in the Mothership, on my first writing retreat of the year. I’m just going to be here a couple of days, because of other things I need to be home for. But it’s a start. Last night, the rains came. It started literally as I was arriving and getting set up at the campsite. Then it rained, and rained, and rained, right through the night. I got up this morning feeling pretty dank. Still, it felt good to be here. By the time I had a late breakfast ready, the sun was out, and I sat by the open door, taking it in. One thing I discovered is that it is quite challenging to do my morning exercises inside the Mothership; it was too wet to do them outside. Not quite enough room to swing and stretch and get down to do pushups. I came close to giving up, but in the end, I managed, with only a couple of scrapes and bangs on the head marking the limits of available space.

By coincidence, a couple of my brother and sister-in-law’s friends from the University of Miami are vacationing right here in the same town where I’m camped out. So we got together for dinner, which was delightful. As we waited for a table at a restaurant in Harwich, we saw this rainbow over the harbor. The colors were more vivid than I think I have ever seen in a rainbow, and I believe it’s also the first time I’ve seen a rainbow arc all the way from horizon to horizon, with a second partial arc thrown in for good measure. A good omen, I hope!

Shipworld Outpost Nano-Retreat

I have been seriously in need of a writing retreat for a while. Unfortunately, it’s too late in the season to go off camping in the Mothership. For one thing, the campgrounds are all closed for the year; for another, I’ve drained and winterized the plumbing on board, so as not to get frozen pipes when the temperature drops. But does that mean I can’t use the ship at all? NO! Just the other day, I realized I could drive to scenic nearby locations, park, walk around to clear my head, and then retreat to the back of ship to write. I’ve got good lighting, heat if I need it, a decent place to sit, a small table, and a nice sound system. (The navigation of MP3 files on my thumb drive is primitive, though. I can view the list of tracks on the TV screen, sort of, and use arcane combinations of button presses in an effort to choose what to listen to.)

Anyway. The first time out, I went to Minuteman National Park in Lexington. I called that a mini-retreat, because it got me out of my neighborhood. On my way home, wouldn’t you know, the infernal Check Engine came on, so now I’ve got to get that sorted out. But in the meantime, I figured, what’s wrong with retreating to the ship right in my driveway? Nothing. And so, I hereby designate this as a nano-retreat.

The results may not be spectacular, but I’ve done more writing in three of these little sessions than I have in the three weeks preceding, sitting in my office surrounded by distractions. Whatever works.

Also, the house kitchen is nearby. Hoo-ahh!

The Importance of Reading Schedules (Correctly)

posted in: adventures, Mothership 0

Our Mothership, aka Winnebago Era campervan, needed to have some work done on the camper side of things. On advice of our mechanic, I took it to an RV center in Bourne, just across the canal on Cape Cod. It needs to be there for a week, and it’s an hour and a half drive. I did a lot of thinking about how to drop it off without Allysen having to drive all that way behind me to give me a ride home.

My solution was ingenious. Take the train. I packed my bike in the back of the camper, and from the RV center, I biked to a nearby restaurant, the Lobster Trap, and had an early dinner on their outside patio. (Inside, there was no consideration at all to Covid distancing or mask wearing. Seriously, how stupid can people be? Don’t answer that.) Then I stopped for some ice cream and biked a couple of miles toward the tiny platform beside the canal bike road where the Cape Flyer train stops on its way between Boston and Hyannis. I had my ticket; the train features a free bike-carrying car; I had an hour to sit and read. Perfect.

Except… when I pulled up to the crossing by the RR lift bridge, half a mile from my destination, the lights started flashing and I heard a train horn. What’s this? Even as I took a picture, I felt my heart sink. I watched as the Cape Flyer rolled by, close enough to touch, and slow enough to jump aboard if this had been a movie. Rumble rumble, onto the bridge, over the canal, and my ride to Boston was going, going, gone. If there’d been a bike lane on the bridge, I could have chased it to the next station (Buzzard’s Bay, not far beyond). But no.

I whipped out my phone and checked the app. What had gone wrong? Where’s that schedule? There it is, right there! Leave Bourne at 8:35 p.m.! Not at 7:00!

Which, upon closer examination, turned out to be true. On Friday evening. But this was Saturday, and on Saturdays, it left Bourne at 7. And yes, it’s the only train.

Ringa-ringa-ringa… “Hi babe, you feel like taking a little drive in the truck? To Cape Cod? Right now?”

No, let’s not talk about how stupid people can be, okay?