We eventually built a corral at Ocean Pines and Freedom became an attraction. When he was grown enough we set him free with his heard in Chincoteague. We never saw him again.
Bonus Story #2: Tropical Storm Ernesto
In late August several years ago we were in the “H” Loop (the electric loop) in the Maryland State camping area. It was hot and buggy so the air conditioning from shore power was a welcome relief. All the weather sources became abuzz with the northward advance of tropical storm, Ernesto. Its projected paths were many and varied. As a result of our many years at sea in the tropics, two lessons have been learned:
1. The paths of tropical storms and hurricanes are unpredictable for the most part. They can do anything including reversing paths.
2. Hurricanes and tropical storms do not watch television, or listen to the radio.
The storm, after crossing Florida, went over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and was now moving toward us, strengthening. We decided to leave Assateague and move to Milburn Landing Campground, a little Maryland state park on the Pocomoke River, inland about twenty-five miles.
The following morning, the advancing storm was lashing the tops of the tall Loblolly Pines, covering our truck camper with debris. The NOAA weather radio was now predicting the storm to veer west carving a route up the Chesapeake Bay. We quickly lowered the satellite dish, raised the jacks, set the turnbuckles, and headed back to Assateague Island to evade the storm. As we crossed the Chincoteague Bay Bridge, the wind was up and we were heeling as though we were under sail.
When we arrived at Assateague, the ranger looked at us with wonder, ”You’re going back down there?”. When we mentioned the new forecast, he said, ”Well, we still have a few RVs on site, and we haven’t been told to send anyone out.”
With the wind still increasing as we were setting up, we noticed a newer, very nice looking, pop-up trailer beside us, completely deployed, with no towing vehicle present. The wind was pressing hard on the canvas sides. Someone pulled in, removed a few objects, and drove off. I had expected them to at least lower the top and close the popup. They did neither.
As darkness came, the forecast now was that the storm would not increase to a hurricane, but it would skirt the coast and not veer west. We brought in the slide-out and settled in for the night.
At 2:00am the wind was whistling around our rig. It was bobbing and shivering. Linda nudged me awake, ”Will you go on deck and check the anchor lines?”.
We were somewhat sheltered by a sand dune. The winds were gusting to 70 miles per hour, which is not quite hurricane strength. As the sun began to rise, the wind sharply abated, and we looked to the pop-up.
It was as a total wreck. The canvas sides were shredded and the mattresses, bedding and clothing strewn downwind all across the campground. We later learned a park volunteer had the paint sand blasted from the side of his new pick-up. It was parked in a spot with a long fetch of sand windward.
Together with the other campers, we gathered up the mess from the pop-up and were putting it together when the owner drove in. He was livid, “No one told me that this could happen. This is the fault of the park and the rangers. Some one should have told me!”
His sister was in the fiver on the other side. She said that he was told to put it down but ignored the advice. He went to the ranger station and said he was going to abandon the wreck. The Rangers advised him that it would be much cheaper for him to pull it out then for the state to remove it and that they had his credit card on file. He wisely complied.