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Sunday, April 30, 2017

National Museum of the American Indian Washington, DC

My last day in MD is today, Thursday 5/27/17, and the cool damp weather has broken.  I'm going to D.C. today to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Above I'm arriving at Union Station in DC after catching the train at the BWI station.

I'm running early, having caught an earlier train. The Smithsonian museums do not open until 10:00.  I decide on a stop in Union Station at Au Bon Pain for a parfait and unsweetened iced tea.

Above I'm heading out of Union Station with with other commuters using the trains. 

I use Google maps in urban settings as well as in the desert southwest. 

I'm walking past the Capitol on the Mall side.

I arrive at the National Museum of the American Indian a few minutes early and I get to admire the architecture of the building.  I think it was modeled after the concept of cliff dwelling.

A lot went into the designing this building. 

Others were also waiting for the museum to open and we examined this sculpture on the grounds.

More sculptures were available to check out inside. 

Above is a Native American carving.  The angle of the lighting brings out the details of the hand carving. 

This carving is in a room on the fourth floor where you can watch a brief movie about Native Americans. If you go to this museum it is an excellent movie.

The movie is 3 dimensional in that you watch the main screen on tapestry, while another image is shown below and yet another related image is projected on the ceiling. 

I liked this mural that captures many of the petroglyph images found in the southwest. 

I walk across the mall and got this photo of the Washington Monument. 

There was still some blooming in the city even though the cherry blossoms have passed.

It was a great day with warm temperatures so it was a shorts and tee shirt kind of day.

On the way back to the train I met two blind people that were having difficulty finding the track for the train back to BWI.

I offered to help and guide them and they took me up on my offer. I gave the young woman my elbow to hold on to as we walked letting them know about what I was seeing and when we were to turn.

I head home tomorrow.  It's always bitter sweet as I do enjoy my travels in my Prius, but I also need to get home to work on the yard and house.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Granddad & Granddaughter Fun Time

My last week of travel ends with a week at my oldest son's house in MD.  I spent a week in February with my youngest son and family in CA.

Stopping and visiting my son's and their family is not a requirement, but a joy to spend quality time with my family.  Especially, with each set of granddaughters, two on each coast.  Yes I'm a proud grandfather of 4 granddaughters.

 As I prepare to end my 2017 Travels and leave for home, here is a look at my two east coast wild woman.  This was a game where you put whipped cream on a mechanical hand and your face in a hole. You spin a handle the number of times that the spinner landed on.

Click, Click and you wait to see if you get whipped cream in your face.

Above is the 5.5 year old granddaughter proudly wearing her whipped cream face.   Possibly I should say eyepatch.

Above the 2.5 year old looses her whipped cream, sliding off her face and landing on the floor. 

Yes, not my best look, but I'm all in to the game.  Of course the girls go wild when the adult gets a dollop of whipped cream on his nose.

We had some other good times taking the youngest to the mall, where she was hiding or looking to go home with a dummy.

My unsweetened iced tea was sweetened by spending time with the oldest.

Don't take this woman to Bass Pro as you need to plan 45 minutes and pry her off all the adult toys to move on.

I've had mostly cool weather here with rain.  Here the oldest is trying to catch the big one in the rain.  I'm so glad this dockside gazebo provided coverage to allow us to stay fishing.  Of course granddad got to put the worms on the hook.

The fish stayed elusive taking the bate off the hook disputed our efforts to trick them.

Ah the life of a grandfather.


Fort McHenry Baltimore, MD

I have been coming to the Baltimore, MD area for many years and Fort McHenry has been off my list of things to do until this trip.

Ft McHenry is all about flags.  Home of the Star Spangled Banner created from notes taken by Francis Scott Key, who was being held by the British Invasion flotilla in the Chesapeake Bay when he witnessed the 1814 battle for Baltimore.  Ft McHenry was the main defensive location that survived the battle where the British Ship's retreated.  Key's note became the basis for the song that would become our national anthem in the 1930's

Here is the longer version of the history.

The battle ended with the British leaving and no real winner, but it was seen as a victory as it gave a needed boost in morale to the US that was needed after the British burnt the Whitehouse in D.C.

If you like trivia here are some details.

- Key was captured by the British before the battle as he was going to try to negotiate the release of a prisoner.

- The US flag that flew that night had 15 stars and 15 stripes.

 - British warships had canons that could shoot 2 miles with exploding shells that rained shrapnel. These shells exploded in the sky above the fort, thus the reason that Francis Scott Key wrote "bombs bursting in air".

- Ft. McHenry had canons that could only shoot just over a mile and were smooth bore.

Location of fort next to the I95 Harbor Tunnels.

This is the small night flag they fly over the fort.

Above and below is the larger day flag replacing the night flag.  Visitors can participate in the flag ceremony as seen here.

People were very excited to participate in the flag raising and the stories told by the National Park Staff.

The new larger flag flying in above picture.

The two pictures above explain the size of the flag depends on the strength of the wind to ensure it unfolds. 

The grounds and buildings are nice to check out and see and listen to the displays. 

Underground bunkers can be explored as well.

This room has the commander pondering all the risks in fighting the British.

The fort was used during the Civil War and is not the same as it was for the war of 1812.

It was a pleasant morning tour of the visitor center and grounds of the fort.

I had forgotten that it was this war that we invaded Canada to fight the British.  The war lacked a clear reason for declaring war and it ended in a nebulous way as well with no clear gains.

If you are traveling through Baltimore Fort McHenry is a nice place to visit and spend a couple of hours.  It is a fee based site.


Oriole's vs. Red Sox 5/23 At Camden Yards

My boys enjoy baseball and my visit to my son in MD coincided with the Red Sox being in Baltimore playing the Oriole's for a three game series.

It's rained since I got here Thursday afternoon and it initially didn't look good in attending the Sunday game due to predicted rain.

Saturday afternoon it looked like there would be a break in the weather to get the game in.

The Oriole's Park at Camden Yards is a great place to watch ball games, with the added opportunity to see the Red Sox play and buy tickets that morning. 

The game was well attended but far from being sold out.  Our seats were in high left field, foul section.

The Red Sox lost the first two of the series so the odds were in our favor for them to win.  Win they did, holding off the O's from any hits until late in the game.  We were entertained by a few home runs by the Sox.

The final score above is only part of the story.  The previous game Dustin Pedroia was spiked in the leg by Manny Machado sliding into 2nd base, taking Dustin out of that game.  Near the end of this game I attended, Manny Machado was at bat and Sox pitcher Matt Barnes nearly hit Manny in the head, hitting his bat behind his head, in what appeared to be retaliation for the spiking incident.

It brought players and fans to their feet and pitcher ejected from the game.

Baseball is not without controversy.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 108 4/19/17 - SE GTG to Bryson City, NC

I left Stevenson, AL, where the SE GTG was located, at 7:00 am with the general direction to head along the east side of the Appalachian Mountains and find a place for tonight.

I had thought about going to a baseball game in Rome, GA, so in checking the schedule for home games I found that they had a rare 10:30 game.  Having left at 7:00, an hour change going from AL to GA, and a 1.5 hour drive time, put me going past the Braves stadium just in time for the game.

The Braves is a AAA team with home games at the State Mutual Stadium.

They have this nice generic baseball sculpture inside the gates before you reach the concessions. 

Above is a picture of my game ticket.  I asked for a best available single seat.  I was asked if I wanted home or visitor's side and answered I didn't mind.

My ticket was for the Braves side of the field. 

Above gives you an idea of the midday attendance.  

Parking is $5.00.

I was given home dugout seat where fans roll balls and toss Sharpie's to the players to have them signed.

The Braves Cheerleaders do their thing on the dugout roof.

In the end it was a good game but the local boys lost to Columbia. 

After the game I drove northeast on Georgia highways and the in to US highways to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

I stayed the night in Deep Creek National Park Campground in Bryson City, NC.

The cost of the campground is $17.00 with flush toilets and water.  I paid half price ($8.50) with my Senior NP pass on an automated machine with my credit card as you do at many NP campgrounds. 

As usual I made dinner first and hot water for washing in the AM.  Then I got a phone call from my MD son asking if I could get to his house Thursday (tomorrow) around dinner time so I could watch my two granddaughters as they had concert tickets.  Since I had put 3.5 hours behind me this afternoon, since leaving the baseball game in Rome, GA, it only leaves me 8.5 hours of driving to get to where he lives near Baltimore. 

I decided to drive through tomorrow to MD and forgo the leisurely travel I started on US highways on the east side of the Appalachian Mountains.  My sons and their families are important and want to visit and enjoy the granddaughters whenever I can.