Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Yay for driving 695!

Of course, if it was Saturday that you drove through the glowing metropolis of Halethorpe, I was actually way closer to your usual haunts than my own, since I was teaching in Leonardtown at Crazy For Ewe... after dropping of the cat at his grandparents so they could keep up his feeding schedule.

So we must have just crossed paths!!

By Blogger Amie, at 10:23 AM  

What a fun travelogue! Love the pictures!

I seem to recall that we played at Great Falls when I was a kid, back when we lived in Falls Church, VA.

I happen to like the taste of Richmond municipal water, (it's all I drink all day long), but then I'm used to it, chlorine and all. Remember when they had the algae problems in the '80's?

By Blogger Mary, at 1:08 PM  

It was Agnes! I've been trying to remember which hurricane it was, when we dared to go to the Potomac just below Great Falls and stand on the footbridge as the water rose beneath our feet.

And hey -- you were all over my old stomping grounds, and even over on the E. S. where I'll be next week, at the end of my road trip!

What a wonderful trip you and BD had!

By Blogger Jane, at 1:26 PM  

Oh, that was a nostalgia blast for me. I remember climbing on the rocks at Great Falls - if I can get the scanner set up I'll have to scan a picture of me there as a teenager. sniff. What a great trip you had, and thanks for sharing all those photos!

By Blogger Catherine, at 6:58 PM  

I'm so jealous you had paw-paws! I had my first one just last year, and have been wanting another taste ever since. Yum!

Sounds like a great trip--and should be a fantastic book when it's all put together.

By Blogger Nerdy Knitter, at 6:24 PM  

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Sunday, September 16, 2007  

I'm back!

And I'll come again to fill in the missing destinations

The past few days I've been chauffeuring BD around the Chesapeake Bay – especially the Maryland parts – on a field expedition for his last John Smith book: a boater's guide to Smiths travels around the bay. Done on waterproof paper with charts and history, it will add just that much more fun and information for the folks who take their kayaks and canoes and sail boats and john boats out on the beautiful waters that define the eastern third of Virginia and half of Maryland. It ought to be quite popular, especially once the John Smith Water Trail bouys are up.

This trip was scheduled for last June but eye surgeries got in the way. In true silver lining fashion that meant I got to go and the weather was gorgeous. We headed off on Thursday morning and went straight to the head of navigation on the Potomac River.

When John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay, he left crosses, 24 bronze and some wooden, at the furthest point of exploration. BD wanted to see those places – some of which are conjectural, some known, some on private property, and a good number of them on public lands. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to go by Great Falls – one of BD's favorite childhood playgrounds. Of course, he played there long before the safety requirements that pretty much keep you on straight, fenced walks and platforms. He even took me there on our first visit to Washington, way long ago in 1972 and I hopped about on those slippery stones - and did not fall. Back in the days before. Before Hurricane Agnes took out all the park and way, way before the LawSuitOgre made rock hopping a parental no-no. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm glad I got to play on those rocks, but I deal with the public every day and sometimes they're pretty stupid. If the consequences of their stupidity have to be paid for by me, I'm not all that sure I want to give them the opportunity to indulge.

Anyway, here it was all gush and rush and magic sprays of water splashing all over the place.
Imagine all this underwater, though. That's what it was like the summer of 1972 when Hurricane Agnes flooded every river in eastern Virgina. The floods took out the water plant in the city of Richmond, which used to have the best tasting municipal water. Now it's all chlorine and pretty much undrinkable.

You can take a canal boat ride –

but we didn't have time.

We were on to Maryland's waters – with a stop at ___State Park, in ___ . I didn't take any photos because I'm still getting used to remembering I have a digital camera with me. And it was late in the day. And I was knitting on my sock, because the path up the hillside was too rocky for me, even if it was the favorite down hill ride of 3 dozen youthful guy bicyclists. No girls rocked and rocketed their way down that slope and of course, the park sighs said Absolutely No Bikes Ever Nada Don't Even Think It! Sort of makes you wonder about the literacy rate of 20 something bicycle guys.

We spent the night in ___, MD – I am sure only inches away from A's house because we drove through Halethorpe in the a.m. with 7Eleven coffee in our hands. Hi A! I waved! You will be impressed to hear that I drove on 695 around Baltimore and Did Not Have A Wreck. Of course, I used my driving-over-a-bridge technique where I got in the middle lane, hit cruise control at the speed limit, never looked outside those white lines, and let the rest of the traffic flow past me.

We were headed this time for Susquehanna state Park – where we trekked up mountains and ate pawpaw's – the Chesapeake's version of a mango.

which littered the forest floor.
At the top of the bluffs are huge meadows
and a Museum, open, alas, only on weekends – May – September.

I love the Susquehanna River.

It has a breadth and majesty that makes my heart sigh. Perhaps I lived along its banks in another life. Whenever I see it I feel at home. I've traveled it's length a couple of times and each time there's a sense of remembering that cuddles around me. I'm glad to think that John Smith climbed these bluffs and left a cross here.

Friday was a somewhat dank day, though also blessedly cool. All the photos had a grey cast to them. We did some more sleuthing up the ___Rivers but as the land was all private along it – at least where the bluffs were - I didn't photograph thes spots. But we met the nicest folk who were tickled to think they owned a spot Where John Smith Stood.
By the time we were ready to hunt down a place to get dinner and lay our heads, it was getting dark and had begun to drizzle. BD thought we'd spend the night in Easton, MD – though I thought it would be too expensive for him. I was right too. That's one pricey town. But all accommodations on the Eastern Shore are costly. That is – if you think $100 a night is high for a room at a Days Inn. We stayed, instead, in Cambridge, which put us closer to our Saturday destination, Deal Island.

Somewhere around here, on his second voyage, Smith claimed he found shallow pools of potable water – just in time, because there had been a screw up in provisioning the boat. We talked to a few old-timers on the island but nobody knew of any springs or artesian wells or natural ponds. It's low enough. But BD is not confident that Deal Island is the place. Yet.
It was quite picturesque, though, all marinas and fishing boats and sleepy little houses.

I missed one photo op and deeply regret it. Great chicken houses can be found dotted all about the Eastern Shore. It is, after all, the land of Perdu Chickens. On one quite road we found a Bad Dog with Chicken, on his way home. His tail wagging attempt at innocence couldn't disguise the evidence in his mouth. Immediately, BD and I said in unison “Jack's Friend”, and laughed.

With a final stop at the site of _____, we started making serious tracks for home. Virginia's side of the eastern shore always seems even sleepier than Maryland's. It also seems less prosperous. There's sure to be a lot of D. C. Cash bolstering the economy of the MD side while in Virginia, what's left of the great potato growing fortunes is mostly pretty Victorian houses

in towns threaded along rusty railroad tracks. Sleepy towns that have embraced multi-culturalism.

Honestly – this is the place to buy tacos. Yum!

The last leg of the journey was over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. Over and under, I suppose, but imagine our surprise when we got on that first straight-a-way and this enormous container ship, out of Baltimore, rode right through the intersection!

At least, that's what it looked like. It was actually floating over the tunnel portion.

Through the tunnel as fast as we could go. Headed home at last.

We stopped for dinner in Williamsburg and got in about 9 o'clock, to the joyful hopping, barking, and snuggling of Good Dogs who wish they had chickens in their mouths too, but were willing to settle for dog biscuits.

I got precious little knitting done on this trip, but it was a working trip, not a real vacation. I had a different job to do this time. So, I'm reeeeeealy glad to be home today. Glad glad glad, always to be home. East or West, Home is Best.


posted by Bess | 8:55 AM