Monday, May 9, 2016

Promises, Promises

A lot of the discussion at the dinner table last night was about the traffic flow into and around DC. Dave drives that direction every day for work and leaves at 5am to avoid the traffic. Does the same thing coming home. A 15 minute swing is the difference between a 20 minute commute and a 1 hour commute. Did that scare us off. Nope we had things to capture in and around DC. Needed to get the Capitol for TeamStrange, stop at the Washington Monument for NP stamps and then high tail it out, heading south. Should only take about an hour and half. Yeah right!!

First stop is the Madonna of the Trails in Bethesda, MD. Traffic lets just say there was enough of it, then some, and throw in a couple more thousand cars trying to get someplace.

Madonna of the Trail is a series of 12 monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. The monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). They were installed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road, which extended from Cumberland, Maryland, to Upland, California.

Source: Wikipedia

So why is the one in Maryland in Bethesda versus Cumberland where the National Road starts. Well Cumberland tried to get the one pictured moved to their town, but Bethesda said NO WAY!! All of the statues are suppose to face west, except the one in California of course. This one faces east. The story goes, A longstanding joke about Maryland's Madonna was that she was placed facing east because no sensible American woman would think it a good idea to turn her back on Washington, D.C.

Now to turn and head into Washington DC. We planned to get our National Park stamp at the Lincoln Memorial, but there was no place to easily park, so we headed for the Washington Monument, INK Nirvana. This will be my 5th stop at the memorial for ink. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 stamps at this location, which I got all 22 the first time around. Now it was a matter of just getting one or two to prove we hit DC for the National Park Tour.

We are way behind on time. DC was suppose to be an in and out kind of thing. Based on a rough schedule I have (actually it is pretty detailed, however it is simply a guide, we are something like 4 hours behind. In addition as we pull out of DC,it starts to rain again. 3rd day of rain. Big difference today, there is no thoughts of turning back. With that said we grab Fairfax County Court House and look at someplace to grab a bite to eat.

The GPS lists out someplaces to grab a bit and the 29 Diner gets my attention. I am a sucker for diners, but not all diners are really diners in the New England way. As we pull into the parking area, the rain picks up in intensity. Both of us sit down, order breakfast and stare out the window at the cats and dogs hitting the ground and scurry off.

After about an hour as I review what we can blow off, it is time to leave. Next stop is Prince William Forest Park for a National Park stamp and then a mural in Orange, VA. This mural has just enough cartoonish character, so that it is not mistaken for a real fa├žade.

In the same town is the Orange County Confederate Monument. We were suppose to hit this place at 10:45 or so. The picture was taken at 3pm. Back in 2010, we were traveling in Montana, coming out of Yellowstone, and heading for Glacier National Park via the Beartooth Highway. It was early evening, September and the sun was down. It was dark. We hit a deer that night doing a pretty good clip, breaking Crystal's leg, bruising me from my hip to the ankle, and destroying the 2007 FJR we were riding. Obviously we survived the hit, but I promised we would no longer travel after sundown. 6 years later I maybe breaking my promise, hopefully Crystal will have forgotten that promise. Wishful thinking on my part.

Stopped at Montpelier for a National Park stamp, which they informed me when I asked where it is, we are not a National Park, we are a private museum. I said Ok, but you do have the stamp. Yes they did. Montpelier also had a race course on the grounds.

Montpelier, located near Orange, Virginia, was the plantation house of the prominent Madison family of Virginia, including James Madison, fourth President of the United States. The manor house of Montpelier is four miles south of Orange, Virginia, and the estate currently covers nearly 2,700 acres

Source: Wikipedia

In Scottsville, VA is this giant rooster which is a specific bonus location. I don't have a clue what the significance of this place is and the rooster isn't really that big, but what the heck a point is a point.

We were suppose to stop at Appomattox Court House for the National Park tour, but seeing it is after 5pm, the visitor center is closed. I had 3 other stops, National Historic Landmarks, which is not on any Grand Tours, just one of my things to take pics of and then research the history.

We arrive in Fieldale, VA which is just north of the VA / NC border. There is this great antique Shell station in Fieldale which is also an antique store. Fieldale has a population of 879 and was the first town in southwestern Virginia with sidewalks, electric lighting, and municipal water and sewer.

While the picture makes it seem like there is plenty of light left, post processing does wonders to a photograph. We have reservations in Greensboro, NC which is about 50 miles away. As we near the North Carolina border, I say to Crystal over our Sena10's, one more stop, it should only take about 10 minutes. It wasn't too long after that, that the battery in my Sena10 went dead, making the sound of silence golden.

Miles for the day, right around 414 and almost 14 hours of saddle time.

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