Monday, October 18, 2010

Old Friends Meeting House

I found this sign over the weekend to be somewhat hilarious, but also very ironic on many levels.
This weekend was spent visiting with some very dear friends. All of the friends I spent time with are very special people that I wish I could be around more. Anna Airstream was the magical vehicle to see a few of them. Our first destination was a visit with my old friend Doug.

Doug Claytor and I worked together many years ago. Doug is a Master Restorer. I know that is not really a recognized profession, but he is a Master in his field of historic restoration carpentry. Doug and I worked for a company that specialized in the restoration of historic places. We built elements for these historic places in a manor that replicated the original structure in both material and method. Doug taught me a great deal about this niche field of construction. Doug also taught me a great deal about being a person of principle and focus. Doug has always had a special place in my heart and even during the hour we visited, I left learning something new.

Doug and his lady Michele live on the grounds at Fort Fredrick State Park. Their house is in the National Parks Stewardship program. In exchange of work to the property they live there free. The program requires a good deal of physical investment and sharing the project with the public from time to time. Their 1830's farmhouse can be seen behind them. Doug does all the work by hand I might add. No power tools or modern equipment. It is being restored exactly as it was built in the 1830's.

Behind Doug's house is Fort Fredrick. Fort Fredrick was a restoration project done by the CCC during the depression. Here is part of their camp built during restoration project.

The Fort was built in 1756 to protect settlers during the French Indian Wars.

It is a rather imposing structure in, what was at the time, very far out in the wilderness. The Fort also served as a prison durning the Revolutionary War for British prisoners. By the time of the Civil War, it was in sever neglect and only served as stockade for a local farmers animals. The CCC restored it back to it's original look.

This building was the CCC headquarters during the project. It now houses a CCC museum. Unfortunately it was closed. There was actually very little going on at the Fort on this Friday. We were the sole visitors for the day.

I think the girls pretended that they were interested for my sake. Things like Fort Fredrick always tweak my curiosity, my girls, not so much so.

I can only imagine what a lonely place this must have been for the guys stationed here. This was many days ride on a horse to get here from Baltimore or Washington. To be a prisoner here would had seemed hopeless of rescue or escape.

We will keep our eyes out for a reenactment with people in period costume. This would make for a good reason to come again.

So a nice little stroll we had at the Fort. Wish there was a little more information about it. Did I mention there was not much going on? There were not many signs to read either.

Nice front door...

The Fort made a good place to meet up with Steve Loden. Steve is a Airstream Pep Squad Leader. He loves Airstreaming and his enthusiasm is infectious.

Steve and Marti enjoy putting on some Lucky Dube, don the rasta hats, and RELAX.

Now when you add Don to the mix you are assured a great time. Don makes it his personal mission to make sure I have a big smile on my face the entire time. He tried very hard to make sure I RELAXED...

In the end, I out RELAXED him. It really is not too hard to fall asleep on a nice crisp night, sitting next to crackling campfire. Not too hard to over RELAX. Don, thank you so much for keeping me well lubricated.

It was a sweet little gathering The Airstreamer's Club had. Vintage Thunder was there...

If Steve has a name for his rig he has not told me. Steve has she got a name besides "the House"?

Anna was happy to be there. She didn't make me have to fix anything, so I know she had a good time.

Saturday Morning, after breakfast we drove over to Sharpsburg. This is the place where the Civil War battle of Antietam was fought. During the span of 12 hours 23,000 men died here.

There is a presence here of all those lost souls. The number of horses, oxen, mules, and dogs that died here was almost as great as the human numbers.

The battle field is very much like it was back in 1862.

If there were not so many monuments around the battle field dedicated to the various regiments that fought here, you might feel as though you are stepping back in time.

There are a few after the battle photographs placed in the very spots they were taken. Standing in the very spot adds a perspective that sticks with you. This photograph was taken two days after the battle at Dunker Church. Many of the bodies were removed from this area by the time it taken.

This was where a very small group of Confederates held back a much larger Union force for many hours. Very few of them left this sunken farm road.

Like I said earlier, if there were none of these monuments, it would look just like it was back in 1862.

The surrounding farms sure fit right in with the landscape. Many of them are in the paintings depicting the phases of the battle in the Visitors Center. They all look the same today as in those paintings. Make a note of that detail when visiting the Battlefield.

The contract for split rail must have been gigantic with the Park Service. Miles and miles of rail fencing done in the snake style. It sure looks beautiful and fits right in.

This is the Burnside Bridge. This was the site of a very pivotal battle. A very small number of Confederates were able to hold of a rather large group of Union troops so they could not reenforce other regiments already in battle. Though the water was very shallow, the Union troops would only cross on the bridge out of fear of wet powder and wet boots. I am not singling out Confederate strong holds. It just happens that the strong holds were in very picturesque locations.

I must say, I really liked the monuments that featured a soldier on top...

... the look of determination they all have.

Shear focus peering out of stone...

... perseverance in the face of immanent doom.

But the road did bring us together for the weekend. There are plenty of roads just like this one. Now just to find more time to follow more of them. So glad the road we took this weekend lead us to the folks it did. Thank you all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

So Short, So Sweet. Part 5

Ava had a field hockey game on Sunday afternoon. In order to make game time we needed to be on the road by 7am at the very latest. So, in the rain, cold rain I might add, I got us unhooked, hooked up, loaded up, and ready to roll. Beth worked on getting us ready inside the trailer while the girls both attempted to try and sleep longer. At 7am on the dot we pulled away from Pennwood. I pulled onto I80 East bound and set the cruise control on 70mph. We needed to roll all the way to Baltimore in hopes of making a B line for the game. We were going direct, trailer and all. About 45 minutes up the road the sky broke and we saw beautiful weather in front of us. I bumped the cruise up to 75mph and put caution to the wind. HEY, GET OFF MY BACK, my Carlisle are perfectly inflated and I know the risks. Don't you even comment in my excessive speed. I know, I know, I know.
Back to the story... At this point I pulled my phone out of the console, where it lives from arrival till departure on every trailer trip, to check for messages. Only one: "Hello, this is Anne, Ava's coach, BelAir does not have enough players and is forfeiting the game. Sorry but no game today. Practice on Tuesday". I will tell you, we almost pulled it into the median where it says "Emergency use only" and headed back to Pennwood. It was a serious debate. Instead I pushed the "COAST" button and dropped the speed down to 62mph, my usual towing speed(3mph UNDER the speed limit). A half hour later we pulled into a Cracker Barrel and had a nice leisurely breakfast. Damn, I love that hash brown casserole. Damn, it was a great rally.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So Short, So Sweet. Part 4

An early afternoon return from the Clarion parade was required so we could make Happy Hour/ Open House. I will be honest, I rarely use Open House as a reason to visit other people's trailers. That is what the gathering is all about, right?

There were a bunch of trailers to visit though. Many had good eats out to share with visitors.

Where to start, where to start?

I guess right next door is the best place.

And right on down the line...

Beth and I always spend a good amount of time visiting the Lodens. No need for a formal open house with them.

Some chose to nap, while I was visiting, but most attendees had open inviting doors. The rule is, if the door is open...

Sometimes the door is closed. Tom was busy preparing some goodies.

Eventually you end up at your own rig again.

I needed to get back to make wings for the Potluck. That's tandorri and homemade jerk. Both were very spicy, but the jerk was super hot.

There really is no place like Pennwood. I think it is the nicest campground we have ever visited.

The grounds are so well cared for. The facilities could not be cleaner or more comforting. We will be returning in the near future even if there is no rally planned. To all the hosts of the Fall Colors Rally, a deep, heartfelt, thank you.

A place was earned on my door with in a door for certain...