Black Flies, Mosquitoes and Gnats

May 30, 2006

We really enjoyed the quiet weekend in St. Andrew’s Kiwanis Oceanfront Campground. I think we both needed a break from the go, go, go of the tourist life.

Yesterday we got underway at about 10:30 headed for the United States Border. We had been advised by some of the Mainers who were our neighbors in camp that the wait at the border could be long. We arrived at the crossing prepared for anything and were pleasantly surprised to see that once the truck that was blocking the auto entrance was able to move, we got right through.

Our first stop back in Maine was a Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program operated campground at Great Pond. We arrived about noon and were able to move right on to our site. This is another of those have to see kind of places. The property surrounds the pond and offers primitive camping, RV camping with no sewer and cabins. There is a rather large multi-purpose recreation hall that houses a giant television, game tables, computers and laundry facilities. More important though is the absolute tranquil setting of the facility. We could tell immediately that the week we are to spend here will be peaceful, except for the day trips we will take to Bar Harbor and elsewhere.

After checking in and chatting with the staff for a few minutes we moved the motorhome to our assigned space and that is when we learned what is meant by black fly season is all about. They have these flies that don’t really look much like flies. They really don’t even look like much of a nuisance. Looks are deceiving. By the time I backed the motorhome into position and we connected services, Connie had at least a dozen bleeding wounds from black fly bites. I later looked more closely at the bite sites. They are truly impressive. They have misnamed these creatures. Instead of black flies, they should call them vampire bugs. They leave behind little bleeding holes in a person’s skin. At first you only bleed. Some time later they begin to hurt just a little. Then, the itching starts. Time will tell how long it takes to get over these bites.

It was pretty warm in the motorhome and a nice breeze outside, so we opened the windows and vents.

After we got settled into camp, we drove into Bangor to buy groceries and to finally get the car washed. When we got back to camp, not only were the black flies going wild, but the mosquitoes were also in flight. We strategically moved the food from the car to the motorhome as to minimize the number of bites and the number of bugs we let into the rig. We succeeded. There were no new bites and a manageable number of invaders made it inside.

We cooked and ate dinner and we were both feeling pretty good about life at Great Pond. Beautiful location, great weather, bugs were outside, we were inside, enough TV reception to catch the news if desired and we have WiFi. What more could you want?

After dinner we decided to play our favorite computer game. We got sort of involved in the game and did not notice that it had gotten dark outside. We did, however notice that we were getting eaten alive. We still had the windows and vents open, all of which are well screened. It took us awhile to recognize that the third model of blood guzzling flying bandits had found their way through the screens. I am talking about gnats. In Scotland they were called midgies. In other areas they are referred to as no-see-ums. In Georgia they are known as flying teeth. In fact one entrepreneur has made money off them by selling a caricaturized magnified view as a T-shirt design. The image is this huge set of sharp teeth on this wee body with wings. Of course the mouth is wide open and ready to take flesh.

Anyway, regardless of name, they are the same creature that can and do drive you to the very edge of sanity by their method of feeding on any exposed skin, tens at a time.

We suffered through our game and even caught up on our e-mail and were off to bed.

I don’t know if it was the lateness of the hour, the amount of wine consumed or the diminished reasoning ability brought about by the loss of blood and intense itching, but we actually went to bed with the windows and vents open knowing the gnats had already demonstrated free passage. We even left a damn light on so they wouldn’t run into the little wires. How stupid was that?

To continue the demonstration of stupidity, we put insect repellant on to help keep the critters off us and to make us smell so very good. Then, we “slept” under covers exposing a minimum of skin and generating a maximum discomfort due to sweating while sleeping.

I do not intend to over-emphasize the words sleep or sleeping. I got only about 2½ to 3 hours before I was awoken simultaneously by my allergies (remember the open windows?) and that claustrophobic feeling one gets when the covers are too tight and the temperature too high.

Well, by 5:30 AM I was too miserable for a single being, so I loudly blew my nose thereby sharing my misery with the love of my life. She, of course told me to take something for the allergies and try to sit up and allow my head to drain. Then she went back to sleep.

Well, I don’t know if it was the pressure reduction from blowing my nose, the fact that I had backed away from the sanity edge or the time expanse since my last glass of wine, but suddenly the bug solution was crystal clear. Shut the damn windows. So, I got up, shut them, took allergy medicine and got back into bed, only sort of sitting up. Fifteen minutes later I was breathing normally and starting think about sleep. Then I decided I had to write this. Maybe now that I have written about it, we will be smart enough to shut the windows before the gnats start coming in.

Meanwhile the sunrise and emergence of a new day has been fun to watch. From our bed we can see the pond. The sun is already on the pond. The frogs have silenced themselves and the birds are now singing and calling. I am certain it is to be another beautiful day.

However, I will miss the next few hours, because I am going “back” to sleep.



2 thoughts on “Black Flies, Mosquitoes and Gnats”

  1. I love the blog, Frank. It makes me feel like I’m right there with you guys. It was *so* nice talking to you, Connie. It had been far too long!!!

    Loonie Carla

  2. Just finished reading your latest entries. Congratulations on your beautiful new motor home. We absolutely loved the entry on Black Flies, Mosquitoes and Gnats. You could give Garrison Keillor a run for his money with your entertaining dialogue.

    Gary & Jan

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