Over the years I know I remember vacations not by destination but by the memorable moment from that vacation. This was a two-day trip, but mostly two days because everyone wanted to stay at the hotel and relax. We were bound for Holiday World in Southern Indiana. When I was a kid, it was called Santa Clause Land. In fact, the town that the park sits next to is still called Santa Clause Indiana. Normally this was an early morning Day Trip for us.
Drive down early, hang out at the park, then everyone sleep in the car as I drove home. If you see a job posting, father or dad needed, note that driving home while everyone else sleeps is a minimum required skill. Keeping yourself awake with coffee and rock and roll is the only solution I know of to the problem. Sometimes as you can see in the following pictures, the kids slept on the way there, and the way back.
In this case, we have images of the hotel’s arcade, and the golf course/putt-putt not eh hotel grounds. Putt-Putt was always interesting with little kids. Not because of the amazing skills they had, but rather the amazingly creative ways they could miss the ball, over and over again! I loved watching that capacity for years. They, the boys and Jakki, are better now and don’t take the crazy wild swings anymore. But back then, we visited every water trap in ever putt-putt in Indiana. Some of them two and three times, on the same hole!
still looking for a golf ball in the water
I suspect the wander to the warm project has hit a snag. It was not warm going into the Fjord in Norway. It was majestic and amazing, but not warm. Warmer by a little bit than it is in Maryland right now. But it was a Fjord in Norway, so we were outside watching the entire way in and back out. One of those once in a lifetime experience you have to record with images, memories and of course video. We stood on the main deck of the ship and watched in awe.
There are some things that I am happy I captured. Most of them were with my DSLR so they can’t be shared here (20 meg + file size). I did, of course, have our TG-5 camera (Olympus), so we do have a large number of pictures (about 200) but nowhere near the many more pictures were taken by the Canon DSLR. Those images are ones I share with other locations that support the larger file size that camera produces.
As we came into the Fjord, I was struck not just by the physical beauty, but by the quiet. Wandering out to the Chesapeake Bay is loud. There are boats, horns, and people making noise. Going into the Fjord, it was quiet. Not the eerie quiet you get from time to time, right before a storm. Rather the majestic quiet that happens in moments where people are awestruck. There wasn’t a whole lot of the buzz of people talking. Just people are watching the giant walls of rock right beside us!
Ireland has a special place in my heart. I have been and never once while there felt like I wasn’t home. It is a grand island of beauty. I love wandering the streets of Dublin. Or Shannon, or Galway or Belfast. All places I have been to stop in and wandered on the Emerald Island. I have been to the Top of the World, although we could argue that it was more by name the top of the world than in actual reality a top.It does, the Top of the World, tower over Dublin but it is hardly the top of the world.
It was fun to sit there for a time however so I will give them the fun factor! There are few cities, which upon arriving for work I would stay a couple of extra days just to sightsee, to wander the city. Normally on work trips, I was trying to get home. The team I was working with would take me out one or two nights so that I could see their city from their eyes. That was always fun for me, and the Irish team I worked with did that as well.
But I also took a day to sightsee fair Dublin myself. I grew up reading and loving the works of James Joyce. I wanted to see his Dublin. I wanted to see the Post Office in downtown Dublin where the Easter Day Rebellion began. To see the Pub where Joyce sat and wrote the Dubliners and Ulysses (well perhaps not wrote, I suspect he watched and wondered). To visit the Jameson brewery and the Guinness Brewery (to see the Top of the World). It took me two full weekend days. I landed on Friday, as we had early am Monday meetings. Met with the team Friday afternoon. Then wandered fair Dublin all day Saturday and Sunday.
It doesn’t matter how far you travel in the end the destination is home. Home is a relative term; it is sometimes said to be where the heart is, where your family is, where you want to be. Effectively it is the place you hang your coat, your hat, the place you stay. Home is an abstraction, and it is part of us. But there are parts of us that feel as if they are home, that isn’t the home we live in. For me that is water.
I love being on the water. While it is cold outside, I am continuing my wander to warm project. Only two more months of non-boating cold weather to go. From November to Mid-March the boat isn’t In the water so neither am I. Unless we decide to go somewhere warm for vacation in the winter (we didn’t think we went to Indiana, and it snowed. We had a white Christmas, but it didn’t meet the wander to warm criteria of well, being warm when we wandered there)!
From here to there, there and back again as JRR Tolkien said (the subtitle of the Red Book of WestMarch). There being where you wish to be, in this case as the temperature drops daily now from a high Sunday in the 60’s Fahrenheit, to this morning just barely into the 40’s and tonight dropping below that. Cold has again taken over the world. Now I wonder, does the world change when it is cold? Is there a frosty difference in the way things work when the cold is there? Will we ever know?
wander to warm project
Back on the water again, it is cool in Maryland now not cold. The cold will return it is still the middle of January. Winter as they say “is coming.” In the DC area, we get our heavy snow in mid-late February and early March. That said we remain on the wander to warm quest. Posting images of warm thoughts and quiet dreams. The pull of water is great, the wonder that is being on the water even greater. Be it a paddle board, a canoe or a larger boat.
Just being on the water is magical.
That said many people are scared of water. Many people are scared of dogs. Many people are scared of cats. It is a part of us, fear. I loved reading Frank Herbert’s Dune series many years ago. I didn’t enjoy the movie as much, but the books were magical. Fear is a little death. Overcoming our fears isn’t as easy as me writing here on my blog. It can be a painful and long process to get over the fear.
My deepest fears though have nothing to do with dogs or water. Nor, the combination of dogs on water, with water or over water on a boat. I would like to be able to sit in the Captains seat of the boat, but with the dogs on board that isn’t very likely. That is there favorite spot to sit and manage the humans. I suspect somewhere buried in the is a life lesson. Maybe what I truly fear is the dogs controlling my life! (joke).
There is something about the wake of a boat stretching behind you that is exciting and relaxing at the same time. Exciting in that you are moving forward, heading to your destination. Relaxing in that there is a peacefulness in the water (at least for me) that stretches in front and behind you. The native bird to the area where we keep our boat is the Osprey. It is a protected animal, and often they nest on the market buoys.
There is a great picture of one as we wandered out of the slip heading towards the bay. Standing on one of the posts that only a bird could stand on. Humans, dogs and other creatures would have a hard time getting to the post, let alone climbing it and perching on top of it. In part because it is a post stuck in the water. In part because there is no easy egress to the top. Unless you are an Osprey and in flying to the pole can perch on top.
You can, if you pull the moss algae that grows on the dock area, also see baby crabs. Hiding in the algae because frankly, they are dinner for just about everyone at the small size. Not humans, you would have to eat them by the handful, they are tiny. But they as well are there. So are some fish that eat crabs and other things in the river. It isn’t a clean river, filled with the silt of spring and summer flowing down to the Bay. The silt that feeds the bay with organic materials to keep the cycle of life moving ever onward.
There are four types of boats you encounter on the Bay. Power Boats, Sailboats, Fishing Boats and Commercial Craft. The last two are usually very different from the first two. The larger vessels on the Bay tend to be commercial craft. There are two harbors including Baltimore Harbor that the commercial craft frequent. Some stop at Annapolis Harbor, but it isn’t a deep water harbor, so they part nearer to Kent Island and shuttle their cargo ashore.
Baltimore is a deep water harbor. Most of the larger container ships head to Baltimore. Today, however, we are wandering the other boats. We don’t, near Annapolis, often see fishing or crabbing boats (the two are very different from each other). There are, a little further south, more crabbing boats. But near us, it is more sport fishing boats and sailboats. Lots of sailboats whose sails spread to catch the wind and dot the landscape of the Bay.
There is something majestic about a sailboat. As a power boater, we aren’t supposed to be close to sailboats. Powerboats have a lot more control than a sailboat under sail does. They are bound to the wind. It is fun however to watch them. First, they turn off their motor and then unfurl the sails that make them a Sailboat! I would just once like to be part of a crew doing that. Then I would raise the Jolly Roger and become the Dread Pirate Scott. Scrooge of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waters!
River water isn’t clean, often if ever. One of the reasons for heading to Chestertown was thinking about the future when it would be time to retire. But honestly, that river near the city is a little too muddy. The Bay is bad; the Charles River is worse. We did enjoy walking along the shore, however. They have some fun sculptures on the waterfront. Plus there is an excursion sailboat that looked like a lot of fun.
By car, this was a two-hour trip. By boat closer to a four-hour trip. You don’t get to go as fast via boat as you do by car. Plus, once you get into the river area, you have to slow down. We did get to try a highly rated restaurant, the Lemon Grass Café. That was a lot of fun. I did a Yelp review of the experience. My doing Yelp reviews isn’t new, I’ve done a lot of them in the past four years. 130 or so to be somewhat exact.
It isn’t a bad drive, but in the end, I suspect we will not end up in Chestertown when we retire. It is still a few years out (figure 12 or so). 12 years isn’t long, so you have to at least start the planning process. Warm and water are the two primary goals. Someplace we can enjoy warmer weather and boat more often. Although in fairness it won’t be Florida. Perhaps South Carolina or North Carolina for the final restful years!
We had engine trouble and therefore couldn’t take the boat out for a week or so in July. Based on that we decided to take a day trip to Chestertown Maryland. Chestertown is on the other side of Maryland (the Bay nearly splits the state in half). Chestertown is on the Charles River, which feeds into the Bay a little north of where we are by 40 miles or so. The town is quaint little American town, like any other, you would wander to anywhere in the US.
Raven isn’t happy about the crap on the floor of my office.
The first issue was crossing the Bay. There are two ways across the Bay; the fast way is going via boat. Normally we go across the bay via boat. Takes about 40 minutes, with 10 of that being getting out of the Annapolis area. The other way is to drive over the Bay Bridge. We’ve been over that bridge several times, honestly and frankly one of the reasons why we have our boat in Annapolis is so that we don’t have to cross the Bay Bridge.
There are lots of pictures of traffic on the bridge as part of this wander project. All of the cars on the bridge were there on a Saturday in the middle of the morning. We left our house around 10 am give or take. We got to the bridge around 11 am in the morning on a Saturday. As you can see, it was already packed with traffic heading across to the other side of Maryland. We got to enjoy the traffic we usually waved to as we wandered under the bridge. Going over takes a lot more time.
Our boat’s name is Lab’s Lair Too, and these pictures are of the Lab’s laying claim to their Lair. Mostly they like to find a spot and relax in that spot for the boat trip. But they do also like to supervise the humans whenever possible. The humans our Labs live with, per the Labs, are not very smart. So the Lab’s spend a lot of time watching them and making sure that the jobs being done are done correctly. Not correctly actually, to Lab specification!
Until this current cold snap ends, I am posting images of warm. Summer days spent off on the Bay. There is magic in being out on the water. I find myself relaxed. In part, I know because my grandfather used to tell me that when I was little, the only way they could get me to sleep, was tooling around the lake in the speedboat. Otherwise, I was wired and awake, which isn’t good when you are not wired and tired as an adult! As a child apparently I was a handful.
Luckily for me, I was the first grandchild and only grandchild for a couple of years!
Tooling around on the water relaxes me. I don’t fall asleep anymore, but just going out makes me feel better. Relaxed in the best sense of relaxation. The kind that you don’t have to spend hours chasing for seconds of relaxation. It starts the minute I get on the boat and doesn’t end until after I get off the boat. The kind of relaxation that sets the week on a good course. Imagine how much of that I could sell if only I could bottle that feeling!