Last week, while still in Annapolis, we had dinner with Dave and Nancy, friends of Gordon and Stacia, who have become new friends of ours. Apparently, Dave used to work as a chef. Now I have never worked as a chef, but there was a time, many years ago (just out of college), when I spent a bit of time as a waiter in my hometown of Burlington, working for one of the fancier restaurants in town. One of the items on the menu, Steak Diane, called for me to do the final preparations table side (including a dramatic flambe’). I remarked to Pony that I would like to re-learn that recipe, so she had bought a couple of steaks at the Amish Market in Annapolis, and Monday night, it was time for me to make my attempt to recreate Steak Diane.
I’ll admit that I was stressing out about it some: Pony had been doing the vast majority of cooking in the RV, and I still felt a bit less than familiar with the kitchen area. But we downloaded the recipe and I found all the necessary ingredients, chopped and mixed and prepped, then lit the stove and proceeded with cooking dinner. Pony helped by steaming some vegetables while I concentrated on the main course. We had a bottle of red wine to accompany the meal.
Somewhat to my surprise, the Steak Diane turned out excellently! I did not do the whole flambe’ thing: I have heard horror stories about fires in RV’s and have grown ultra-cautious about such things (Pony had suggested that I could cook with the grill outside, but the park has multiple warnings about black bears that roam the woods, and I wasn’t all that thrilled about inviting such neighbours to our feast by dint of grilling and flaming meat outdoors, especially as night had already set in). Regardless, as I said, the dinner turned out fantastic, and we were both happy campers with delightfully full bellies.
The next morning, I decided that Rufus and I should hike one of the trails. Pony had bruised her big toe a few days ago, so she decided against joining us. The trailhead said the trail was 3.5 miles long, so I figured maybe an hour or so of hiking. It was a pleasant, cloudy morning. It was obvious that we are in the middle of Autumn, with a thick carpet of leaves draped over moss-covered boulders. It was all very scenic and serene.
Two and a half hours later, I had to admit that we were lost. I had been following little blue squares that marked the trail along various trees, but then the blue squares turned into blue diamonds, and at some point we were at a highway, but it did not look like the highway I knew next to the entrance of the camp site. Fortunately, the cell phone was working, so I got hold of Pony and she said she would get in the car to come look for us. Meanwhile, I managed to flag down a driver who told me that we were on Ridge Road (the road next to the campsite entrance is Weldon Road), so we had managed to trek to the other side of the park, to the other road that borders it.
I found a driveway just off Ridge Road, and a boulder to sit and wait for Pony. In my side pouch, I had a small book of poetry by my friend, Dan Giancola. So I sat and read poetry to Rufus while we waited (my voice reading the poetry seemed to calm my puppy down a bit). After half an hour or so, Rufus saw our Yellow Submarine approaching and started squirming with joy. We got home, and had a rather late brunch, after which the puppy and I took an afternoon nap. We were both a bit tuckered out from our big adventure. I admit that I am probably too citified to be very adept at the hiking/camping thing. But I am hoping I am not too old to learn a few new tricks. Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, the dog and I got a really good stretch of the legs.