Tracie and I attended a conference at Salisbury University. We decided to use this as a mini vacation and headed down two days early to Chincoteague.

We visited the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The museum is working on some much-needed renovation, but we had a good time anyway.

We debated how frogs might have been afixed inside this, the Orbital Frog Otolith.

And above our heads? A 1/4 scale of the cute little beast. We wondered whether children do a better job of remembering to look up in museums than we taller people do.

The most exciting part was when we joined the NASA space program and went into space! Yay!

Tracie looked especially cute in her space suit.

Hm. Says here this is a chunk o’ the moon.

We were pretty excited by all the satellites we could see just hanging around outside.

But rather saddened that they had to resort to signs like this to attract people. And I feel guilty as all hell remembering as I write this that I neglected to donate a little somethin’ to their facility. I wonder whether I should send along a check?

Look! Look! A four-stage rocket! I totally know what that means! I don’t, however, know who to attribute the “Please” in this request to. Who’s in charge of NASA, anyway? Maybe it was he.

Next we paid tribute to Capt. Chandler’s grave, which we stumbled onto as we played the part of tourists in Chincoteague. I especially enjoy knowing that his grave is maintained by Friends.

But earlier that morning (these are in a strange order, so hang on to your sense of chronology), we headed over to Assateague for a little romp around the island. The path we took led us along the back side of sand dunes, where we saw all sorts of tracks in the sand.

Despite the presence of a huge beach, the island is quite peaceful in the interior, and we had a great little walk around.

It’s lovely and swampy, and full of egrets and geese. And common terns, which we didn’t find common at all.

Tide was low, so all sorts of things were out on the smorgasbord for the birds.

Lovely, eh? We missed out on the ponies that live there because one must walk through woods to get to the pony overlook—and once we set food in the shade we were brutally attacked by mosquitoes.

In the afternoon we came back and hung around the beach, walking ’til there was no one left but us. It was nice to inspect different shells than we have around here.

I never get tired of prowling around, seeing what’s washed up on the sand.

Which included this, which we swear has a brain. See it?

After the conference we drove home to Tracie’s, where Bruin greeted Tracie with a demand for a ride of his own. He missed her terribly—but the feeling was certainly mutual.