Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Other Princess Cruise

Any Ideas?  They don't know either
Once we get settled in to our campsite, we begin to relax and realize the site really isn't too bad after all. It really isn't barren, just no shade beside the pad. We are spoiled by the lushness of Robert W. Craig Campground, the last one we stayed at. There are no campsites across from us, the campsites are about twenty five or thirty feet apart, and the road is a dead end. There is a children's playground in the center of the loop at the end of road, and a small parking lot for the seven or eight tenter's camp sites. And the dogs next door are gone.

We go through our morning ritual and head over to the Visitors Center to see what we can learn about the area and its attractions.  There are quite a few local vendors set up in a conference room, and there is a jar collecting e-mail addresses for a door prize drawing. We decide they can't hurt us with any more spam than we already receive, and drop in our entries.

While milling around outside the Visitors Center, waiting for the door-prize drawing, we meet Terri and her husband Scott, who are camping at the Ridge Campground with their three delightful kids. They are camping with Mom and Dad as well, who have an adjacent campsite. They are from the area and Terri soon fills my note pad with information about what to see and do. Again, there is no better source of information anywhere than local residents who also love to camp, hike, or kayak. Terri recommends several places that turn out just great.

Several of the drawing prizes are tickets for a cruise on the Princess, a double-decker tour boat that does an hour and a half cruise of Raystown Lake. Terri and her family win several tickets, and when she wins yet another set of tickets in the drawing, she graciously gives them to us. You do meet some nice people on the road, one of the really nice benefits of RVing.

We drive by the marina to take a look at the facilities and are taken back by a fish feeding station at the water's edge. We have been to Robbie's in Islamorada and paid a couple of bucks to feed the huge Tarpon that lull around the docks waiting for food, but I have never seen it done before with Carp! They are so thick you can't put your hand in the water without hitting one. A nearby sign says “No Fishing!” No problem, they aren't my catch of the day.

We arrive back at the marina at 12:30pm to get a good seat on the top deck of the Princess. We walk around the top deck, looking for seats in the shade but don't see Terri and her family. They arrive just before the double-deck cruise boat shoves off, but stay on the main deck below. 

There are a couple of U.S. Air Force veterans chatting on the side of the deck in the shade. They are easy to spot with their black baseball caps that proudly proclaim “Air Force.” We end up sitting with one of them, John, a former C-124 Globemaster driver, and his wife who are celebrating their 47th anniversary. We chat idly and trade war stories as we leisurely tour the scenic lake, everyone just enjoying the great weather and being on the water. 

When I get up to go to the bow to take a photo, a fellow about my age wanders up and takes my seat.

His wife drags a chair up dividing Ilse from the couple we have been talking to, and when we go to sit back down, they simply stare at us. Oh well, you do meet all kinds.

As we slowly disembark down the stairs, Ilse smiles and reminds me this is the second time this year we have sailed on a Princess. We went with Bernd and Agnes, friends of ours from Germany, on the Crown Princess for a seven day Caribbean cruise in February. I can't help but smile. Both cruise were enjoyable and memorable, each in its own way.

NEXT: Local info, or how we found nearby Trough Creek State Park, at:

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