'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Camping, finding my way, memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset, travel

Skyline Drive…

Yes, I had decided that I wanted to visit Skyline Drive again.  It had been a day trip from my home in Maryland, and we did enjoy driving portions of it and taking pictures, but that was a very long time ago.  And we didn’t do the entire drive.  I had forgotten the details, except that we once got a short glimpse of a bear while we drove through.  And, it occurred to me as I drove it on Friday, that I wasn’t the driver on those trips long ago.  No, Charley was my chauffeur, so the day wasn’t as exhausting back then.  Or it was my age.

I started the day in Coventry, RI, and stopped for pictures at The Community Bridge in Frederick MD, which had me approaching Front Royal, VA, the northern access point, about 2 PM.  And that was before I bounced the car and trailer over some RR tracks and caused the camper to become unhitched.  The trailer jack was now embedded in the road, and before I could even get out of the car to see what the heck had happened two very nice drivers were already on the case.  They got the trailer jacked up, they got me hitched up, and I was on my way in no time.  Physically anyhow.  Mentally I was listening to every squeak and groan of the camper and expecting disaster any second.  I started the 100 mile, 30 MPH drive, at 3 PM.  The light was harsh, there was a lot of haze, and the views from the overlooks were repetitious.  My chat with Bob set me back further, and once I left him I mostly glanced at the overlooks and skipped getting out of the car.  But as I drove further I realized that the overlooks on my right, in the west, were becoming interesting.  The sun was getting lower and the clouds looked promising, so I quickly hopped out of the car, took a couple of HDR images, and moved on.  Eventually the sun was low enough that I worried that it would slip out of view before I got to another overlook.  But I was relieved that I did see the sun actually set, and was able to leave the southern point of the park while it was still light.  I found a gas station where I burst through the door and asked the gentleman.”Where am I”?  He replied, loudly, and in his best Southern drawl, “Ma’am, you are in GOD’s country,  Waynesboro, VA.”  For a tiny little town it had the essentials, a Panera where I could plug in the computer and have a bite to eat, and a Walmart where I could join the other campers overnight.  My issue with the trailer hitch had me heading for home after that.  I had hoped to camp and spend several days exploring, but since I couldn’t unhitch the camper there wasn’t a point.  Maybe next time…9-27FrontRoyal19-27skylinedrive19-27skylineview29-27FrontRoyalbluemountains9-27skylinesunsetting9-27skylinesun9-27skylinesunsettingHDRfeatureThe southern end of the drive is where the deer crossing signs are, and the deer were there, just not crossing.  And a sign that said “high collision area”.  Not a thrill to see when you are tired and hurrying so as not to be in the park on those roads in the dark.  And the last thing I saw was a bear, just off the side of the road, and he scrambled away.  He was a cub, quite small.  I wonder where Mom was???

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The Community Bridge


I nearly abandoned my decision to re-visit the community bridge in Frederick, MD.  I wanted to see it again, but towing the trailer presented lots of problems.  When I eventually discovered two adjoining parking spaces at the end of a street, which meant I could get myself out of them as well as into them, I fed both meters and walked into the park.  And there was the bridge!  Faux painting was a brand new concept to me when I first saw this 20 something years ago.  And when I thought of it again I wondered how it had stood the test of time.  Turns out it looks great.  It’s almost impossible to realize that it was a plain concrete bridge, as utilitarian as it could be.

All the details are wonderful, but the angel leaning out of the wall is the most amazing.  Seen straight on it looks like this.  Distorted.9-27bridgeangel

But it’s meant to be viewed from a second story window of the art center next door, where you see this.9-27bridgeangel2

The plants over hanging this image are real, not faux, but everything else is a product of the artist’s imagination.  And his talent.9-27bridgestatue9-27bridgefountain9-27bridgefountaindetail9-27bridgetree9-27bridgegate9-27bridgegatebird9-27bridgeduck9-27bridgepark9-27bridgetree9-27bridgebutterfly29-27bridgefountainbutterflyThe butterflies, however, are real!

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His SUV was pulled over at a scenic overlook on Skyline Drive.  The back hatch was open and he was sitting in one of the two chairs he had placed just outside, angled toward the view.  His old=fashioned boom box was playing lovely, soft music, and I thought he was reading, but it turned out he was writing in a journal.  I had also pulled over at the overlook and got out of my car with my camera in my hands.  “You look comfortable,” I said.  “It’s our 50th anniversary,” he said, and I looked  but I didn’t see another person.  “We liked to come here”, he said, and he gestured to the empty chair and said, “She’s right there.”

She had died 7 months before, it was a blessing, he said.  He said that he didn’t want to brag, but his wife was very talented.  She baked and sewed, and she taught him to do those things too.  He said that he has her sewing machine and he is finishing all her projects for her.  They never let the sun set on an argument, he was proud of that.  He said he would always apologize and she would always say that it was okay, and then she would always let it go.  And they had had 10 children, it took him a while to mention that.  He showed me their wedding picture. They were so young.  And I thought of all that still lay ahead of them that day.  He said that he was writing it all down, their whole story, from the day that they met.  He was teary-eyed as he said these things, but he said that he knew that I would understand, and I did.

Skyline Drive was on my agenda from the day I left Florida in the first place.  I wanted to see color, but this color wasn’t the colorful trip that I intended.  I was going to try to be there for the fall scenery and I came close.  And I had just complained about the twists and turns of the roads in PA, and there I was purposely choosing to travel on a 100+ mile road of nothing but twists, and turns, and mountains.  But I was glad I was there today.  It was the perfect day to be there, because it was the day I met Bob…

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Helping hands…

By now we’ve established that I hate, hate, hate, to have to ask for help.  I feel as if I shouldn’t have taken on this trip if I couldn’t handle the details by myself.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t have figured out the issues that have come up on this trip without help from others.  But what has really surprised me is that lately I have also found myself asking for help in the grocery store, and just out shopping in general. And usually the item I was looking for was right there in front of me all the while, but it seems that I wasn’t ever going to find it on my own.

Fast forward to the other day when a young sales girl saw me wandering and asked if she could help me find something.  Instead of my usual immediate ‘no’ I told her that what I’d really like to find is a bag with some sort of outside pocket for my camera, which is by no means dainty, and room enough to carry the basics also.  I had given up on finding something with easy, quick, secure access to the camera, and so far the camera bags I’d tried left a lot to be desired also.  She led me over to the Vera Bradley section, which I had already wandered through, and showed me this crossbody bag, which can be worn in back or swung to the front.  When in front the largest zipper section has easy access, and it’s perfectly sized to hold the camera.  Three other sections are great for the rest of the necessities.  And the fabric is waterproof, and pretty!  I felt like Goldilocks, I had tried many, but this one was just right!

And then there is getting help from the internet.  I looked up my new iPhone with it’s three cameras to see how to use it.  All three pictures were taken from the exact same spot, but one with the extra-wide angle (top), one with the regular wide-angle, and a close up shot also.  Just to see how it worked.  A dial of sorts comes up for you to select your preferred shot, but that will take more practice.  I approached PF Chang last night from the ‘wrong’ I thought maybe they had abandoned their signature horse statue.  I needn’t have worried.  And the sunset was nice as we left…9-26PFCHANGCLOSE9-26PFCHANGfeaturemed

By the time this posts I should be back on the road, heading south!



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The ups and downs of this trip…

At one point I was thinking of writing a post and saying that I need to be more level-headed.  I meant that literally, because despite my best efforts at leveling the camper I always feel like I’m walking up and down hill once I’m in it.  But now I find myself  here in PA where nothing at all is level, so it’s a moot point.  This is what I’m talking about…9-24levelheaded

I stood in someone’s driveway to take this picture.  This is the road to my daughter’s house.  You come up the hill and make that hairpin turn, and continue up the hill to the top and make a sharp left into her driveway, which goes straight downhill again.  I’m not sure the van could pull the camper up that hill, and since there isn’t a level spot on her property to park it I didn’t have to even think about trying.  And going down that hill isn’t a picnic either.  I can’t believe that these are the roads that my grandchildren learned to drive on.  The first time I went to FL I didn’t like it because I thought it was too flat.  Flatness has it’s advantages it seems.

But this is the reality of life, in this part of PA anyhow.  I went in search of a covered bridge today and was negotiating hills and turns like this one, except they were skinny two-lane roads where you found yourself encountering oncoming trucks as you crested a hill or came around a turn.  And when I found the bridge, which was in the middle of the woods, there were signs declaring no parking, no stopping, and that it was a tow-away zone.  Really?  There was a place to pull off, but no ability to get a better perspective for photos at all.  I turned tail and went back to my daughter’s house after that.  Thanking my lucky stars all the way that I wasn’t towing anything.9-24coveredbridgeThat is how it works a lot of the time isn’t it?  You’ve avoided disaster, or just inconvenience, but by the skin of your teeth.  No brains or talent on your part, just dumb luck.  Or maybe someone is looking out for you.  I suspect it’s a little bit of both.

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Bragging rights…

It was a sunset soccer game and our team won!9-24scoreboard

Here’s the kick for the first goal…9-24theshot9-24Goal#1

See, the ball is in the net (in the corner by his hand), I totally missed that until my daughter pointed it out.

And more soccer moments…9-24theshot29-24theshot39-24theshot4

I probably don’t have to mention that #26 is my grandson.  And as long as I’m bragging I might also mention that he scored the only two goals of the game.  Good job Thomas!