Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall into our Anniversary.

A few important mile stones were crossed over the weekend; 18 years ago I married my wife, Beth and for better or worse, it has been one fine ride. What a better way to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but to go camping in the Airstream which turned 50 years old this year and was bought 5 years ago, this month. We spent the weekend at Trapp Pond State Park, over in Delaware. The Washington DC Unit of the WBCCI was having a buddy rally and we thought it a good chance to see some old friends and make a few new ones at the same time.

Trapp Pond is a very nice place to camp. I had always thought the cypress swamps met their Northern end in Maryland, but apparently, they stretch up into Delaware too.

The fishing here is fairly good from what I was told. I didn't have a chance to fish, I was too busy relaxing.

Another weekend milestone, was the arrival of Fall. Just like 18 years ago, it arrived in a striking manor as if a switch was flipped. One day it was hot, the next it was rather cool. 

The sites at Trapp are all clean and large. Camping in the cypress, loblolly, and sweet gum forest is a favorite of mine. It does have a draw back however if it rains; lots of things fall from the trees onto your trailer. The sweet gum nuts cause no damage, but they sure are loud when they hit the trailer.

My new buddy Jim and I decided to take our families over to Ocean City for Kitefest. The girls wanted to play in the waves, so it seemed a good fit for the day.

While the girls dug their own personal hot tub, the adults got a good chance to talk about everything under the sun. It sure is nice getting to know new friends while burying your toes in the sand.

The kites were totally awesome!

Just about any type of kite was present.

Sea Monsters were very highly represented...

... as were a number of divers.

There were also some creatures I could not identify. 

Now on the way home, we made a very special stop. Thousands of people whizz right past this sign on the West side of Bridgeville Delaware. RT 404 is a major route West from the beach and like I said, thousand whizz right on past some of the worlds finest BBQ. 

For over 40 years, the Kiwanis have been selling bbq chicken to those coming and going to the beach from this very corner. When we first moved to Maryland, there were dozens of these type bbq pits offering chicken from the Bay Bridge, to the beach. Now there are just a few left. Let me tell you folks, this one, it is the BEST!

So what makes this chicken so good? The men cooking it, being as friendly as it gets, sure makes it easy to support this operation. The fact that it is clean as can be,  also makes it easy to like the place. But what is it about the chicken? It is the sauce they mop on during the hour and a half cook time! You ready for this? Salt, pepper, and, ready? Pickle juice! I would never had thunk it, but it is incredible!

Big smiles from all my girls. We made sure to sit right next to pit so we could not only soak up the sun, but soak in some of that fine pit smoke.

So, folks, if you are on Delaware 404 near Bridgeville and it is the weekend, go visit the Kiwanis Chicken stand. You can thank me later. By the way, my lunch today is bbq chicken with extra sauce on the side!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Boys and Their Toys

Some people have serious hobbies. There is a club here in Baltimore that has some VERY serious toys. The club is called the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers.

I do not mean to be sexist in saying "boys" but I have never once seen a woman participating. It is generally retired men that participate in this hobby.  Sometimes a wife will be out showing some support to her husband. There is no shortage of moms riding however. Entire families bring a picnic lunch and enjoy themselves in the park.

There are three gauges of steam trains here. This is 1" scale. That means for every inch of model, you have one foot in real life. 1" is the medium scale. The locomotives can handle one adult and maybe a kid. There is also a 3/4" scale that is so small no riders can get on.

This is the 1 1/2" scale which is most common at the club. That is real live steam power you see. Coal burns to produce steam which drives the pistons. This locomotive was pulling about 12 kids and their parents. The really big locomotive was just being fired up as we were leaving. It can handle twice the load of this one.

There are also some diesel electric locomotives. They pull about 10 cars. The No 5 behind the diesel electric is a little 0-4-2 saddle tank switch engine. It had an impressive 12 adults and 2 kids on it one time it was going around the loop.

All the major railroads of the region are represented here. From what I was told, this is a copy of a B&O train that used to make a run from Baltimore to New York every day.

It is kind of hard not to enjoy taking a ride around the 3 mile loop. It is kind of hard to not enjoy it when it is free. Yep, free. The trains run every second Sunday April through October. Sometimes if the weather is good, they will push into November. There is a donation box. Most people are very generous as to what they put through the slot.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Labor Day Break Away...

 We took advantage of the three day weekend by heading to the beach, or at least close to the beach. A great thing about where we live is that in three hours, I can be in the mountains of Western Maryland. I can also be at the beach in the same amount of time. Camping at the beach is not always easy however. The campgrounds are often booked a year in advance, the State Parks there, offer very little privacy, and you often have to deal with the ponies that love to come crap in your site, push you around and leave clouds of flies when they leave. Have you noticed I am not a big fan of the ponies of Assategue? A great alternative is Pocomoke River State Park. It is 20 minutes from Ocean City and the campsites are huge and fairly private.

 The forest in this State Park is fairly spectacular. It is a typical Eastern coastal blend of loblolly pine, sweat gum, swamp oak, and cypress. The canopy is dense and offers a lot of beauty. We have camped at Pocomoke River State Park a few times. This time around, we were in the Shad Landing area. We have camped many times on the other side of the river in the Milburn Landing area. This park makes a great launching off for day trips.

We headed out for the day to go to Crisfield. I took all back roads and made many unexpected rights and a number of lefts. I like getting somewhat lost and truly enjoy finding the unexpected. An unexpected find was Rehobath Presbyterian Church on the way to Shelltown. Never heard of either? Me too. That was the point...

This church was built very early in the Colony. It burnt to the ground a number of times, was rebuilt, to burn down again. 

Not a bad place to spend eternity, here lyeth the body...

The sacred body...

The 65th annual Hard Crab Derby was going on when we got to Chrisfield. Our timing was great, because as we pulled into town the parade was just beginning. There was a fairly large crowd for such a small town. Crisfield was or still is known as the seafood capital of Maryland. If you want crabs, this is the place to go. If you want the best soft shell crabs you will be coming to Crisfield for sure.


I love small town parades. There are always a group of girls shaking things they shouldn't as a group

There is always a military band. The Air Force showed up in this case.

The local High School band does their thing. In this case, their thing was a Lady Gaga song...

Of course, there was a fire brigade with an antique pumper of some sort. In the Crisfield parade, there were two. The fire department was pressed into service when their first truck ripped down the phone lines with the ladder truck, bringing the entire parade to a halt for a good 20 minutes.

My favorite float was done by the prisoners at the local jail. You know the song Godzilla? Well, it was blaring, but instead of Godzilla, it was Crabzilla.

The National Guard was trying to fight Crabzilla...

Crabzilla seemed to be winning...

They had some very tall clowns throwing candy to the kids in the crowd. I am a kid too and have no shame in pushing a nine year old out of the way so I could get a wild cherry Dumb

After the parade, we headed down to the Marina to witness something lost to time. At one time thousands of these little skiffs worked the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay. Many of the guys would race each other for bragging rights. Today, there are but a few dozen of these skiffs left. A few still get together for a friendly race.

19 feet long with a 30" beam. A 18- 22hp inboard motor and absolutely zero comfort. These boats were built to work the shallows for soft crabs and then rush them to the buy boat at a very high rate of speed.

I am not going to lie, I am somewhat smitten and am very seriously considering building one of these boats this winter. I would love to be a part of the race next year. 

The man in the white shirt built that boat in 2000. He spent his life building work boats for the waterman working the Bay. She won the last race of the day.

On Sunday we managed to go to Ocean City for the day. We went to 13th Street where Beth's Grandmother resided ever summer from 1948 until she passed on in 1999. I am bored out of my mind sitting on the beach, but the girls love it, so I make the best of it.

Something I am always amazed by is how much I enjoy dinner in the trailer. We usually eat out on the picnic table, as it offers more room to spread out, but the weather was very humid and rather hot too. The AC felt very good!

The real amazement is how incredibly good the food tastes. We made hobo pockets(throw match stick potatoes, carrots, onions, butter, salt and pepper into a foil pouch and cook till done, about 40 minutes flipping often) and flank steak on the grill. A salad with Mr Moyer's BBQ sauce on it by mistake(a dash of vinegar added and tossed to fix the mistake) was mind boggling. Not one single bite of left overs remained.

What a great weekend in our second home....