Saturday, October 3, 2015

Forts and Houses

Hey – it's still raining. My shoes are all wet, my socks are all wet. Nothing seems to be drying. Seems like a good day to go to Baltimore.

Actually, I was planning on doing some hiking in some of the local parks today, but everything is just too wet. Poor Miko, she has been pretty much stuck inside except for a couple of quick walks in the rain. When I turned on the news tonight, they said that they were not recommending anybody go to one of the parks I had picked out because there was a overflow of 100 million gallons of sewage which has been released into Rock Creek and the Potomac. That is the number they quoted. Ish.

Anyways, on to Baltimore. Baltimore is only about 45 minutes away so I thought it would be a nice diversion from DC. Actually, I just didn't want to spend the time on public transportation today. There is a toll road which you have to take if you want to go the most direct route. On the toll booth, there is a sign that says No windshield wipers. I asked the toll booth operator why and she said it was because if the windshield wipers are on, they force all the water from the windshield into the toll booth. She says “We shower every day, we don't need any more”

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historical Shrine – the place were the Star Spangled Banner was written. Did you know the original flag that Francis Scott Key wrote the word for was 30 feet by 40 feet? I think that has got to be much much bigger than a Perkins flag. Did you also know that the Star Spangled Banner did not become our national anthem until 1931? Evidently there was an outspoken faction who did not want the song to be our national anthem because the tune is based on an old English drinking song.

Entrance Fee is $10 but because I have the Senior Pass, it is free admission. Watched a short movie and then went out in the pouring rain and walked on the ramparts of the fort. It is called a Star Fort because that is the shape of it. Inside the ramparts, are some more exhibits and I watched another movie (it was an excuse to get out of the rain). This movie was pretty good – it explained the battle and what happened. It had all these little animated ships which every time they fired a cannon it would look like little fireworks. Again, I am easily amused. I probably spent about an hour roaming around the fort. Did I mention, in the rain?

Speaking of which, my raincoat is a raincoat that is specifically designed for riding horses. It has an extra large hood to go over a helmet. Most of the time, since I've had the coat (five years or so), if I'm not wearing a helmet, I walk around with the hood way down over my eyes. Very irritating. I discovered today that there is a Velcro strip on the back of the hood that makes the hood smaller and keeps it out of my eyes. I can now actually walk around and see where I'm going. Ha.

Hampton National Historic Site – This is a Georgian mansion built in 1790. At the time it was built, it was thought to be the largest private owned dwelling in America. The estate itself equaled half the size of present day Baltimore. The first “master” made his fortune in iron works. The Ridgelys were also know for their racehorses. A Ridgely family lived in the house until 1948 when they deeded it over to the Park Service. I toured the house – each room was decorated in a different era and 95% of all of the furnishings were original to that time period. Evidently the Ridgelys were a little bit of the pack rat mentality. It was a lovely house. Also, at one time, there were about 300 slaves working the property which gives you an idea of the scale of the place.
The Parlor

These two pieces of wooden furniture are commodes.  Our tour guide was quite enamored of them and pointed them out several times to all of us
A Cedar of Lebanon, brought back from the Middle East as a seedling by Eliza Ridgely in the 1820s, is one of the largest in the U.S
Formal Gardens

When I got back home, I walked Miko and then I plugged in one of my space heaters. Then I plugged in the other space heater. Evidently, with my new wiring from the solar, some of the outlets are now on the same circuit. Something blew and now several outlets and the TV in the front no longer has power. I looked at my circuit breakers and they all seem to be in the correct position, nothing looks like it is blown. I have an email into my solar guy to see where the fuse might be for these outlets.

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