Friday, May 30, 2008

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh Pennsylvania

I really like Pennsylvania. I can't imagine how,if the pioneers were here in the spring time, they managed to leave for the unknown west. We are here for about a week on our way to Canada (more on that in a different entry). The difference between here near Elizabethtown (not far from 3 Mile Island) and the 'island' on the river of hiway noise in Maryland is drastic. It was so quiet when we first arrived we weren't sure we'd be able to sleep. There are bullfrogs in the pond here in the park and they are in fine voice this time of year. If only the fireflies would come out, it would be heaven! I went out yesterday in search of dog food, books and maybe fiber. I sort of knew the general direction... and before long, because I was so taken with the sights of the countryside, I was sort of lost. Since I had less than a quarter of a tank of gas, I decided to get 'found' and booted up the gps on the cell phone. Let me take a minute to say, we pay far too much for phone service every month but on occasion, it earns it's keep! At any rate, before long I was in front of Petsmart with Barnes and Noble just across the parking lot. Then I went off in search of fiber. I'd read on ravelry ( fiber fiends gathering in cyberspace) about a shop called Labadie Looms in Lancaster County. I found it without too much trouble. It's a nice shop with looms and wheels and yarn and fiber and a very nice young woman named Beverly. We talked fiber for awhile and then gave me directions to a nearby Costco with a gas station. $3.80/gal. sigh. I still don't regret my little impromptu sightseeing trip! Dave went to York to the Harley Davidson Factory to take the tour. He went the last time we were here only to find they were closed down for re-tooling. While he was out, he found donuts!!! He says the smell nearly knocked him off the bike and he came home with these and they were HOT!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ROLLING THUNDER, rolling thunder

It is all it is cracked up to be. And the sound. As the bikes started up across the parking lot it truly sounded like a distant thunder without end. Located near the last rows on the first parking lot it took over an hour for our turn to step-off. For that hour the thunder creeps closer, then we are off. The parade, a short one from the Pentagon across the Arlington Memorial Bridge and north to Constitution Ave then east to Third St. in front of the Capital Building, then west on Independence Ave and back across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Among all the spectators were young persons in full dress uniforms stand at attention and rendering a hand salute for what must have been 2-1/2 to 3 hours as the procession passed. A few pictures will have to tell the rest of the story. (Clicking on any of the pictures will show an enlarged version, use the Back button on the browser to return to the bog.)
PS The back story on the day is I left for a local Harley shop in Laurel, MD at 6:AM to join in an police escorted ride of 300+ to the Pentagon which departed at 8:AM and arrived about 9:AM. The procession scheduled to stepped-off at noon. Paige drove to the Metro later in the morning and rode to Reagen National Airport where she took a taxi to the Pentagon parking lot getting out of the cab on the shoulder of Route 110, climbing over the wall into the parking lot; arriving about an hour before we stepped-off. All total it has been reported that there were 400,000 motorcyclist riding in this years demonstration.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Silver Hill

Dropped Ethan and a few of his associates off at Dulles Airport this morning and took the opportunity to visit the National Air and Space Museum's Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Once upon a time this was the place where the Smithsonian restored the aircraft for the down town exhibits, but now it is an exhibit unto itself.

HOG Riding Again

The local HOG chapter lead a "Let's Play Hooky Wednesday" ride from the dealership in Laurel MD to a crab shack 70 miles away in "southern" MD. Nearly 20 bikes showed with several two-up. We were well led through rural MD east of Washington DC where along the Potomac River we had lunch at Gilligan's Pier Seafood & Steakhouse. We were the only customers and it only took an hour to get the orders out, but no one seemed to mind as the company was good and the food did not disappoint.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Went riding today

Rode to the local Harley dealership (Old Glory HD, Laurel, MD) this morning to join the Saturday "ride to eat" ride. Their web calender indicated we were going to T-Bonz Grille & Pub in Ellicott City, MD, which is just 12 miles from the dealership. With careful planning the RCs lead us over a route just over 50 miles long to get there. Very scenic and fun roads. Lunch was very good too as was the company.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trip to the mall

Finally, after several days of poor weather, today broke bright and clear. We rode public transit into the heart of the city to visit the World War II Memorial. Last time we were here it had not been started. It is, in my estimation, an excellent installation, being located between the Washington Memorial and the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial is significant. That said, I was a little disappointed with the visit and the Memorial. As for the visit, the crowd was not as respectful to the significance of the Memorial, much like my last visit to the Vietnam Memorial several years ago. The Memorial seems to just not be enough; even the 4000 bronze stars used to honor the 400,000 who lost their lives during the conflict seems to understate the sacrifice. As a nation we owe this generation everything and I regret that we haven't given them more.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

From the sublime to the ridicules

Having grown up in Washington State, I am well familiar with state controlled liquor stores. I didn't really give it much thought until we started traveling. We don't do alot of shopping for alcoholic beverages but the differences from state to state is interesting. I don't know that we have come across another state where the state itself controls the liquor sales like Washington. In many states, the stores seem to be privately owned. You can't always buy even beer in a grocery store. Montgomery County Maryland seems to have the ridicules part covered. No beer or wine in the grocery store and even a very limited mixer offering. Rumor has it that a few select grocery stores carry beer/wine/mixers, but I have yet to find one.
On the other end of the spectrum is Arizona. sigh. You can get your fix at the grocery store, the drug store, Costco, and privately owned liquor stores. Many of the privately owned stores feature drive-thru windows!!! I first saw those in Pennsylvania, and then in Texas. Then there is the California based Bev-mo. It's like the Costco of liquor stores! WOW. Bev-mo has made it to Arizona and we checked it out just before we left for our trip east. The prices are not necessarily much better but the selection is amazing!
That's all. Just a random idea rambling around my brain. It's rainy and gray today. A good day for spinning, knitting and maybe some house cleaning.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Catching up

It's been a little more than a week since we arrived in Maryland. It seems like I hit the ground running and am only just getting a chance to catch my breath. My friend Tory from Silverdale came out on Thursday so we could go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival together. We are both new to spinning, but old hands at shopping. We warmed up with a trip to Woolwinders, a yarn shop in near by Rockville, Maryland. The next morning we were on the road early. I had heard horror stories of the road (Interstate 70) being backed up for as much as 45 minutes and didn't want to waste valuable shopping time sitting in traffic! We made good time, got a pretty good parking spot and were on the ground and ready to shop by about 8:30. It was nice at that time of day. The weather wasn't clear and sunny, but it wasn't raining like the forecasters had said it might be. We started at the big barn (farthest from the entrance) and worked our way back towards the front entrance. We shopped, ate fair food, and shopped some more. We didn't go crazy but we got our fair share. We left in the early afternoon and made a plan to come back on Sunday. I managed to slip on the steps in the motor home and tweaked the same knee I had trouble with all winter. Our day Sunday was cut short but still a good time. My knee has recovered (in spite of me) and we were able to do most of the sightseeing we had talked about. More on that later.
(I just lost half of this post.)
We had to move to the back of the RV park we are staying in due to the fact that we are staying longer than we had planned. The internet back here is not as good as closer to the office. The weather is rainy and gray. I don't know if that affects the connection but it is really frustrating.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Five Boro

My son invited me to join him in a bicycle ride/tour in New York (Five Boro Bike Tour) some months ago and I agreed. The day came yesterday (May 4, 2008). His wife and several members of their family from New York also chose to ride the tour. In addition to family two young couples that are friends of our kids came along as well. All together there were 11 in our group. From Maryland seven of us drove to Long Island the day before and spent the night with our daughter-in-law’s parents. They were as always wonderful hosts. Early in the morning we all headed to Staten Is. were we boarded the ferry for Manhattan where the route begins. All in all it was a long day with several areas along the route, which were so congested that required walking the bikes sometimes for a miles or more. This web site shows the route and describes many of the highlights: There were several section of the route, which were so congested that walking was required and some of these lasted more than a mile/hour. It seems the organizers may have over sold the event. But it all worked out and we all finished the 42 plus miles and were all very tired. It is one of those things that I won’t do again and many times during the event I questioned, “What was I thinking” but after the fact it will be remembered as a good time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

That is right

Paige got it right on our trip through the "Beltway". I had been dreading the last 40 miles of that leg of our travels more than any other. The timing of our arrival must have been the key. Now that we are here it make sense to stay longer rather than pull out only to have to return through all that traffic again. We were going to leave for a couple of weeks and come back for Memorial Day. There is so much to see in this area it will be time well spent.

Hip Hip Hooray...

It's the first of May and our DC/Maryland adventure begins today.
We're here. Dave ran the gauntlet of the DC Beltway just like he knew what he was doing and there are hardly any grip marks left on the steering wheel. For those of you who don't know about driving motor homes pulling tow vehicles... our motor home is a 40 footer (actual length about 38 ft) then there is the tow dolly with the motorcycle on it. On the back of that is the Jeep. Overall we are about 65 feet long. Think city bus or tractor trailer rig. No one wants to be behind us, so they race down the on ramp and pull in front just as the on ramp lane ends. Or, if the left lane is merging, they race around us until beyond the last possible moment. Most folks don't have any idea how much space it takes to stop this rig at 40 or 50 or even 60 miles an hour. It makes life thrilling sometimes. Dave does a great job. There would be alot more swearing and hand gestures if I was driving. And no, I don't. The idea of it freaks me out.
Anyway, we are here in Cherry Hill Park Campground in College Park, Maryland. Our son and daughter in law live near here. This weekend Dave is going with them and some of their friends up to New York. They will join Nicole's parents and about 29,990 other folks in Bike New York. It's a bicycle ride thru the five boroughs of New York City- about 40 miles. Sounds like fun right? Unfortunately I had other plans. About an hour north of here is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and I am there! A friend is coming out from Washington (meeting her at the airport this afternoon) and we are going to the fiber frenzy. Pictures and reports will follow.