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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baltimore, MD - Inner Harbor

Great day on the water traveling from Annapolis to Baltimore. With temperatures around 90 degrees and little breeze. This would be a horrible day for racing sailboats! I'm feeling a bit conflicted!
Ritz Carleton condo development located next to the marina.

Aquarium building on the Inner Harbor.

Two Navy cargo ships have been sitting in the Harbor for two years, we are told. Periodically the ships engines and other systems are run.

Lots of ships and mechanical equipment along the water.

Entering the Baltimore Harbor is very different from entering Annapolis. Huge ships and industry line the River and new developments are in the Inner Harbor. The boat traffic was heavy and we passed the Spirit of Baltimore, a tall ship. We also saw a modern tall, racing sailboat. I couldn't help but watch as they dropped the mainsail. A crew member was walking on the mast, folding the mainsail. That's a big boat!
The Pride of Baltimore is beautiful under sail.

Maybe you'd rather go for a thrill ride with 75 of your closest friends!

We could see this boat from quite a distance. Certainly caught my eye!

Like I said.........BIG boom!

We stayed at Baltimore Harborview Marina. Locals had told us the City Dock was not a great place and was quite a rowdy crowd without security protection. After walking the boardwalk around the City, we would recommend staying at the City Dock. Looked fine to us. Our marina was rather pricey and not as good a location as the City Dock.
One view of the Aquarium. Pretty spectacular place.

This diver was an employee checking on the fish. He waved after his picture was taken.

This was the strangest fish I had ever seen. He appeared to be kissing with his lips and was intrigued with the cameras. He would follow your hand or camera if you moved it in front of him.

Fossils records 200 million years old are on record and have undergone little change over time.Sturgeon are considered living fossils. They can grow up to 18 feet long.

This cayman was giving me "the eye". Not sure which eye it was.....

Across the Patapsco River in the Inner Harbor, we could see the Aquarium so we decided to walk. Hot and 90 degrees, but interesting! The Lightship Chesapeake, built in 1930, is moored next to the Aquarium. The Chesapeake had two 5000 pound mushroom anchors to hold in all weather.  The ship was run with 8-16 men.

I love Lightships! Remember the Portsmouth. The bravest of the brave worked on Lightships.

Check out this bollard used for the Lightship Chesapeake.

Submarine USS Torsk.

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse built in 1851.

USCGC Tanney. The last surviving warship of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Aerial of Fort McHenry. Don't know why this picture is up here!!!!
A submarine is located behind the Chesapeake and a Coast Guard Ship, supposed to be the last ship remaining from Pearl Harbor, is there as well. The Constellation, built in 1854, is the last Civil War era Naval vessel afloat and one of the last sail powered vessels built by the US Navy.

USS Constellation - Flagship of the US African Squadron 1859-1861.

We enjoyed a visit to Fort McHenry another star-shaped fort.. The best way to view and travel to the Fort was by Water Taxi. Liking that! Ruth went with us and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Despite the 95 degree temperatures we toured the interior and exterior of the Fort. Guess everyone else was enjoying air conditioned comfort. Fort Mc Henry defended Baltimore against the British in the War of 1812. During this embattlement, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner. There is a buoy in the place Francis Scott Key was to have stood when he saw the flag "by the dawn's early light".

Jane and Bill Sneeringer, my cousins who live in Baltimore joined Ruth and Wayne with us for dinner at Phillips on the River front. So nice to see them! When we were in Marathon we were able to visit with Jane and Bill while they vacationed in Marathon.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Washington DC - only a short drive from Annapolis!

Budget Rent a car finally found us and delivered a red Nissan Rogue. Cute little car that served us well for the 40 mile drive from Annapolis to Washington, DC. Wayne and Ruth are Canadians, but are well versed and interested in American History. Since our visit was on the Saturday of Memoral Day weekend, we encountered very little traffic. Great start to the day!

You probably recognize this building as the White House. If you wish to include a White House Tour on your Agenda, you must obtain your tickets long before your visit. Difficult to do when on the Loop as we never know where we are going to be on any specific date.

Binoculars were the weapon of choice as this moment. He was obviously eyeing the tops of all neighboring buildings.

Beautiful building, but strange.....two banks in the same building. PNC and Bank of America.

National Archives...I want to go there!
The Washington Memorial is awe-inspiring. The size of 555 feet + is impressive enough, but this obelisk was constructed of blocks that are huge! When we leaned against the sky, we felt the obelisk was falling as the clouds move in the sky. Strange feeling. You must obtain tickets for the Washington Memorial ahead of time as well. The tickets were sold out before we arrived. Bummer!

Jim is contemplating WWII. His father fought in the Philippines, though Jim knows little about the time his father spent in the Pacific. He was wounded while in the Philippines, but rarely spoke of his experience.

Every state was listed as well as the American colonies.

The Pride of Freedom is a clever section of the Memorial Stars line the wall and the stars reflect into a pool directly below the star-lined wall.  This plaque speaks to the 400,000+ deaths in World War II. Also mentioned are the 600,000 deaths that occurred during the Civil War. 17% of the population was killed in the Civil War. Staggering.

The Lincoln Memorial is massive, as was the man. Takes a young pup to run up these steps!

Lincoln sits in the seat of honor.

Apparently the Harley Riders descend on Washington DC every year on Memorial Weekend. We saw in excess of 200,000 bikes with conversation that there would be almost 1,000,000 bikes in the ride on Sunday. Lot of old folks - our age.......

Parked across from the Vietnam Memorial was this mass of Harleys.

Jim was looking through the book to find the name of his first cousin, Rodney Edwards who was killed in Vietnam. The names are carved in the stone chronologically, so you must look in the book to find the location.

Rodney C. Edwards was listed on the wall. Rodney was born about 6 months before Jim.

The Vietnam Memorial was the most crowded Memorial.

The Korean Memorial is a granite wall with likenesses of soldiers on the wall.

Both American and Korean soldiers are depicted in the Korean Memorial.

My favorite building is the Smithsonian Institution. The building is now a Welcome Center.
Construction was completed in 1865, at which time nothing was built in this area.

The Natural History Museum is loaded with Dinosaurs.

This is an early Red Cross wagon. Ruth and I visited an exhibit about a Civil War nurse.

Recognize these shoes? Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz! Judy Garland wore these shoes.

The imposing Capital Building.....not easy to see over the Holiday Weekend as BB King and others are performing there over the Weekend.

J Edgar Hoover's building. What a guy he was!

The Old Post Office. Need to do research on this building, but it is imposing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Annapolis - so very interesting....there will be a Part II another day soon!

My original plan was to start the blog for Annapolis. Now I realize there is so much good stuff, you will have to suffer through a Part II in a few days.

The trip from Solomons, MD to Annapolis was 55 miles, which is a longer day than we typically cruise. Usually 35 miles is a "nice" cruise day. We were hoping the weather would be cruiser-friendly and we were fortunate, as the wind and waves were behind us. Cruising up the Chesapeake can be nasty where the Potomac empties into the Chesapeake, but we picked a good day, though the day remained hazy.

The West side of the Chesapeake here is beautiful. A bit hazy, but different than what we have seen so far on the Chesapeake.

Naval ship in the haze. We are happy for AIS. Most ships are visible...even when they are invisible. The Navy ship remains...invisible!

Whatever this is....we do not know. Just there!

Thomas Shoal Light. Pretty cool.
We are always looking for lighthouses and we had learned about the screw pile lighthouses in Solomon Island, so we were aware there was another screw pile lighthouse near Annapolis. The Thomas Shoal lighthouse looked exactly like the lighthouse in Solomon with 6 sides.

As we approached Annapolis, we saw 6 freighters and one Navy vessel lined up and waiting for something. We don't know if they were waiting to go into the Annapolis Harbor or if there was some other reason.

Chapel at the Naval Academy. More prominant than the State Capital nearby.

Inside isn't bad either! Big organ!

Tiffany did the windows.

Nice dorm....4000 in one dorm....pretty big place!
The Annapolis Harbor on Spa Creek is nothing less than amazing. The campus of the Naval Academy lines the Northern shore. Most of the buildings were built in the late 1800's or early 1900's. There is only one dormitory for 4000 students built of granite. The structures are imposing and beautiful.  The City Dock is located in the heart of the city.

Parking lot for those using the mooring balls.
Most municipal marinas are on a first come, first serve basis. The docks were full, so High Spirits and Crawdad used a mooring ball for the first night. Many boats passed by and we had a rather rocky night. Neither Jim nor I mind the rocking, so it was a peaceful night. The nights as the dock were not as peaceful. Restaurants line the corridor of the marina and the crowd is happy and lively. Not conducive to sleeping, but good to see a city thriving.

This restaurant (Pussers) is located directly across from the boat. Celebrate all night and keep those boaters sharp!
Friday was graduation at the Naval Academy, so there are many more people in the city. Along with the 1000 graduates are all the friends and family members. We met a father and mother with their son who sported the dress uniform from the Marines for the first time today. Graduates careers follow into the Navy or Marines. We met another young man who excitedly told us he was going to Pensacola to be a pilot. He looked like he was 15. Guess he must be a few years older.

Headed to Quantico. Today he became a Marine. His Mom was mighty proud. Dad too!
We rode the trolley around Annapolis and enjoyed the sites, then we walked to the Naval Academy Museum. How amazing. A few hours is not enough. The Museum chronicles the history of Naval Academy graduates from 1845 to the present. Included are models from the 1600's through 1800's.  When a ship was to be built, a model would be built. A few of these models remain and the detail is fascinating. By these models, we know how the ships were built and the detail of their construction.

John Paul Jones died in Paris and his body was not returned to the US until 1905. The US Ambassador was determined to find his body and he was buried without identification under a building. Someone had the foresight to pay for an alcohol embalming and a steel casket. His autopsy was done 110 years after he died and they say he looked pretty good after all these years!

Model as built in the 1600's. The oldest models are in the Naval Academy Museum. Incredible detail.

Prisoners from the French Revolution made these models out of bone. Apparently the bone was left over from dinner.
Did you know that only one President...Jimmy Carter graduated from the Naval Academy? John Paul Jones lies in the crypt below the Chapel, which is also an incredibly beautiful place. John Paul Jones was considered a Naval hero world-wide - perhaps better knows in Europe and Russia than in the US.
Don't you love a man in uniform? We saw a number of women in uniform as well.

Testing the food and drinks at Pussers.

We are hoping to visit the Museum again, so you may see a Part II to the Naval Academy Museum.  Tomorrow we drive our Budget car to Washington, DC, which is purported to be 40 miles away. Wayne and Ruth have not visited Washington and Jim and I love the City, so we are thrilled for tomorrow!