A Travellerspoint blog

October 2011

1st Stop Indiana

Our niece, Heidi lives in Indiana so our 1st stop was to be at a birthday party for her husband. They were holding the party at a park and we made the party just as food was being served. We’d planned to make something for the potluck but alas, we arrived too late to take the time to cook. We shared our disposable cups with them.

Heidi looks good but steroids have left her bloated and red from the radiation. She was wearing a hat at the picnic so that we didn’t see the baldness. Even with a bunch of people attending the party we found time to sit and talk a bit.

We did go on to Heidi’s house from the party spending the afternoon doing cake stuff and then visited with my sister-in-law in the evening. It was good to let my sister-in-law talk alone; her job downsized so she took the severance just before my niece was diagnosed with melanoma. She is faced with making lots of decisions and many will not be easy.

But now we must press on to the west coast; 2,100 miles yet to drive.

Posted by Miss Chris 15:08 Archived in USA Tagged travel family cancer niece Comments (0)

Gettysburg and Life

A trip to Gettysburg and the dark mood


When visiting Gettysburg, I recommend seeing the movie after an orientation tour. We saw the movie first but many places in the following diorama didn’t make much sense to us.

1st thing in the morning we went on a bus tour, we wanted the private car tour but those are not easy to find, 1st come/1st serve. The bus tour is fine for getting a feel of the area; the tour guides are volunteers and are good for some basic info. Our guide was eager to impart as much info as he could and did some by examples; how the regiments were lined up. But they cover the entire park in a loop so there is mostly general info.

We then took a ranger led hike at 3:30 from the cemetery. The ranger led the hike out to the area of Picket’s Charge. Of course this was a specific area and over the same amount of time as the bus tour so there was much more info here.

Because it was overcast and off and on rain it was easy to get a sense of the enormity of the horror here creating a dark mood. But then the beauty of the changing fall foliage combined the past and present. Life goes on.

This dark mood was fitting as we had just learned that our granddaughter will be born with a defect and much too early, plus we planned to visit my niece who is full of melanoma. We were full of despair and sadness already then to see a place like the wheat field where 4,000 bodies lie from the bombardment was so sad. It appropriately started raining.

We then got a call from our son, in a panic; it seems that our daughter-in-law had already started labor, at only 25 weeks. Please, he asked, can you come home now? We went back to the RV and packed up for the 2,700 mile drive back.

As we left the sun came out.

Posted by Miss Chris 12:47 Archived in USA Tagged travel driving death life rv gettysburg grandkids Comments (0)

The Underground Railroad Condensed Version

Making a very short tour of the Underground Railroad

DSCN0182.jpgAs we didn’t make it to the Dorchester Visitor’s Center on Sunday we got there by noon yesterday. I was already armed with a list of places I’d found on-line of Underground Railroad sites, needless to say, a very condensed list. I’d been to the place in Africa where kidnapped people were put onto the slave ships so now was the day to come full circle, where they ran for their freedom.

The Visitor’s Center is a great place to start; the docent’s will direct you to the closest sites, just blocks away. They also have a nice interpretive section downstairs. This is the place to start.

The docent directed us to the court house where people were sold into slavery on the courthouse steps, just up the street from the docks. The original courthouse was destroyed and then destroyed a 2nd time, but the front of the 2nd rebuild is still in the front. It was here that Ms. Tubman’s niece and 2 children were to be sold; Ms. Tubman helped with this rescue in which the niece’s husband, a free black, bought his wife and 2 children. But before he paid anything he left with them, sailing up the Chesapeake Bay to freedom. I love this story!!!!

Across the street from the courthouse you will find a very old, wonderful church with graves from the 1700’s. Some graves are above ground and some below with the very old ones right next to the church.

Next stop I’d found just poking around online was the Old Trinity Church, built in 1750. The exterior is original but the interior has been remodeled as per the info. The church was locked so we couldn’t peak inside but we enjoyed the quiet of the outside. The church is not visible at all from the road, but the road is marked by a sign. As with most churches here, graves surround the church, with one important grave belonging to Anna Ella Carroll, a successful war strategist for President Lincoln.

We had the brilliant idea that we’d go have a quick and very late lunch at Old Salty’s only to find the restaurant closed on Monday’s. We had to settle for nutrition bars as we went on to our next stop, the canal built by hand. This is a 7 mile canal built by slaves and free people. You take a little road that drives along the canal but it is not marked.

From the canal it is an easy drive, or it should be, to the Bucktown Store. Our problem was that we didn’t read the maps, (yes maps) properly since GPS doesn’t work in those parts. So if you are going to do this I suggest you MapQuest first and have a good idea of your route or you will end up like we did; driving in circles for a couple of hours.

The waste of driving time, however, turned out to be in our favor. But 1st a very brief statement on the Bucktown Store: this store is where Ms. Tudjman was hit on the head by an overseer when she attempted to stop that overseer from hurting a slave. She was 13 years old.

We found the store, having read that if you are lucky you will get to go inside the store so I had only hoped to get inside. So we arrived but were unsure that this was the place; 1st the guide called the store the Blacktown Village Store and this Blacktown Store looks all spiffy plus has a sign “Blackwater Paddle and Pedal”. We started to drive on but then stopped just to make sure.

I went to the door and looked thru the glass to find the most amazing sight; what appeared to be original store, right from Ms. Tubman’s time. I noted that the floor had dips in it, thinking about the women who must have shopped at this store so many years ago. I called Dale to come look.

Dale was looking in the window when a van up pulled up with kayaks on a trailer; a sign that maybe this was associated with the store. A woman was driving then she pulled around to the back of the store and was unhitching her trailer. I asked if she was by chance someone who could let us see the inside of the store and she said “yes”.

As it turns out we had just met Susan Meredith, co-owner of the store; her husband is several generations from the original owner. Wow! Susan let us in and gave us lots of history, more than we could have imagined.

I’d love to go back and do some major photos shoots; I missed a major opportunity to shoot Susan in her environment and could kick myself. I’d also love to just spend a bunch of time taping her stories in the store, but since I’m not a professional that probably won’t happen. But still I’d love to just get some of this down. www.blackwaterpaddleandpedal.com

We’d hoped to make it to the Mason-Dixon line but it got dark as we were driving.
We didn’t make it to the Mason-Dixon line but the visit in that little store was so amazing that we didn’t care. And really it is the people that make the area.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:32 Archived in Japan Tagged landscape travel outdoors maryland bucktown underground_railroad harriet_tubman Comments (0)

Finishing Work and Starting to Explore

Exploring the East Shore of Maryland


Yesterday morning I finished up the last of my work. I found that I’d gotten and closed 77 claims, now that is a decent storm. As it turns out 1 must wait for an estimate from the insured and another need the report to be tweaked but I got to those when I could.

I finished up by about 9 a.m.; Dale was making a celebration breakfast already so it was good timing. We had some Iron Horse champagne that we’d been saving for a couple of years for this celebration so we popped that and had a champagne breakfast celebrating his stopping work, meeting some financial goals and my finishing up a big storm.

After breakfast I was so tired and drained I went back to bed and slept soundly for an hour but woke up ready to get out of the RV. I didn’t want to do anything specific, just vege out.

We had several ideas for visiting but then I was looked up things to do on the East Shore and saw something on Harriet Tubman. I did a little more research and found an amazingly brave woman. And even though I’d heard of the Underground Railroad, I found that we are right here and have actually driving over some of the area while working. This is something I had to see.

We started for Dorchester County Visitor’s Center, the start of the Underground Railroad Byway http://byways.org/explore/byways/2260/itinerary/77287 but then when we got into Annapolis thought we’d look at the historic part 1st.

As it turned out there was a huge boat show going on in Annapolis so everything was jam packed. We were stuck on a street and when we could turn around ended up in the real historic part where we passed the Marketplace. We wondered if the Marketplace was where the slaves had been sold but after some research I have not found any facts to back that.

We drove on to Dorchester but arrived as the visitor’s center was closing. We consoled ourselves with a walk by the water, chatting with a dad and his 2 sons; one of whom had just caught a fish and was proud of himself.

As the sun was beginning to go down we started back but Dale stopped at church ruins I’d seen on the way down. It turns out that we stopped at the “Old White Marsh Cemetery and Church”. I grabbed my camera and tripod ready to get back to the photo taking business. Turns out that the original church was built in the 1690 and some graves are from the 1700’s. Now after a little research I find that it is listed on the “haunted places of Maryland” list. Didn’t see any spirits though.

Posted by Miss Chris 06:02 Archived in USA Tagged driving tourist maryland chesapeake old_white_marsh_church Comments (0)

Almost Ready to Play

Ready to finish up this storm and start some traveling

Now it is the push to get finished. I have 2 days of inspections left but several days of actual claims to write up. It is always hard at the end to take the time necessary to get everything done properly, I just want out of here. Funny because it is so exciting to start a storm but then so great to finish working. But like a supervisor said today, it is so great to go driving off for home with some money in the bank and a job behind you.

So tonight Dale and I started looking more seriously at the end game here. We have a bunch of people we need to see but we also had ideas of things we wanted to do. We mapped it out and found that seeing a few things but mostly driving and visiting with relatives and friends took up 16 days, then we’d need to drive straight home. We both got a little upset with this.

We then looked at what we had wanted to do originally and decided that we’d stick with our plan of doing what we want, not what everyone else wants. However, if our sister-in-law needs us we will help her out and then do our travels later. And we will try to visit my niece on our way home. Otherwise, we will see who we see.

So the plan now is to stay in the D.C. area for a couple of days. I want to go to see Kennedy’s grave, the monuments again, the Air & Space Museum and maybe a couple of other sites. Then start north via Gettysburg to Maine, Vermont and Long Island, then up into Canada. That is what we have so far.

I think that we have some travel books that I bought when Border’s was going out of business so we will need to find those in the next day or so to get a good idea of what it is we want to do.

We do want to be home by the end of October so we will only have about 3 weeks to do whatever it is we will do. But it is fun to think about being foot loose and fancy free.

Posted by Miss Chris 19:34 Archived in USA Tagged travel work tourist washington_dc claims_adjusting Comments (0)

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