Monday, October 28, 2019

Time to Go Home

Deltaville Boat Yard: 28 October
Firing up the BBQ
Firing up the Bagpipes (Nick)
Yes, it’s time to go home.  Overnight temperatures dropped to a low of 10C and we’re scratching to find enough blankets & quilts to keep warm.  Dress of the day for us includes fashionable navy blue thermals.  Locals are out in jeans, cowboy boots and stetson hats (rather like a bushman's Akubra only pushed up on both sides).  We’ve spent the last two days locked down in the marina with solid rain and winds gusting 30kts.  More is on the way.  Today is a good day to be working on the ‘net but the Cap’n is itching to start our final big cleaning effort.  That translates, of course, to ordering heaps from Amazon.  Sigh.

Tomorrow promises a nice day, which is just as well.  Deltaville Maritime Museum have organised an Art & Seafood Fest (with a band at lunchtime) so we might escape for a few hours to catch the last of the season’s crabs and admire local talent.  
Pickin' crabs with Kenny
Just a sample of the daily catch
Old Time Tipple: Sangee (sangria)
Our only real difficulty in leaving will be zipping suitcases closed.  GS has had a spending spree at Wal Mart. So there's a forecast for tantrums....
Waiting for in the Marina for Dorian
End of Season

Our figures for 2019 came in as follows:

From: Deltaville, USA Lat/Long: 37:33.116N 76:19.817W Date/Time: 3/05/19: 1500
To: Deltaville, USA Lat/Long: 37:32.966N 76:19.805W  Date/Time: 23/10/19: 0935
Time Taken: (this year): 62 hrs  Distance: (this year): 367nm
Distance Total: (since 2008): 25,017nm  
Weather: From basking in famous Southern swelter to dodging hurricanes.  We've had it all this year.  Really had to keep our eye on the weather as predictions didn't often go as planned. 
Fastest Speed:  This was the year of OWM (Other Woman’s Makeover).  Fairly substantial “surgery” in the mechanical and electrical departments, with some head-scratching still needed to resurrect the generator. 

Lighthouses traditionally mean "keep away"
Aren't we a wee bit close?
Birthday Bash

Some days were just perfect 
And a final Farewell rings out over Jackson Creek

Sunday, October 27, 2019

One Last Fling

Annapolis: 10th October

Annapolis hosts boat shows.  BIG Boat Shows.  There’s one just for hot water (motor) boats then another for sailboats.  Then there’s others.  So, if boats are your bent, Annapolis is the place to be in October for floating wonders and a visual feast.  We chose to drool over sailboats and wanted to explore “apartment living qualities” of modern catamarans – just lookin.  At the show, you can buy every gadget imaginable, speak to equipment specialists, climb aboard any boat of your choosing, book a holiday (charter) to any destination with/without a deserted island (except for the beach bar selling rum punches, of course), or get to speak with world famous sailors.  Lin Pardey was surrounded so we missed a chat.  So were the very popular Vloggers, La Vagabonde, if you want a more youthful approach to the cruising life.  It’s impossible to do everything in a day we’ve learned.  But never mind, that was enough…
Oh, I don't know - they all look the same to me...

Build you own trailer & kayak - now that's tiny living
The weather of late had not been promising; we had a rough but fast trip north.  Solomons Island provided a safe overnighter and surprisingly, there were only a few on anchor.  Continuing rough weather kept the punters from anchoring in Weems Creek (Annapolis) too; a favourite spot and usually very busy at this time of year.  Lucky for us.  Well, that’s all the luck we had, other than a sunny, warm day for the boat show and free tickets (thanks to a nice lady who didn’t need them) to get in.  The Cap’n had his trusty bicycle stolen at the supermarket (just opposite a huge Police Station, if you please!).  So, we’ve taken up walking.  It’s conducive to good health and a hearty appetite… You should try it too!
Lots of boats = one happy Cap'n

Not the easiest to see, this patriotic crabber flying his Trump supporter flag

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Leavin' Deltaville Blues

Deltaville Maritime Centre: 28th September

Our last full day happily coincided with the last market of the year at the Deltaville Maritime Museum.  It was a nice day for it, though vendor numbers were down. Despite the lovely day, high summer markets seem to attract bigger crowds.  We explored the market, the museum and the grounds along Mill Creek, made a few purchases then headed back to WJ3 to rest up.  A band had been promised for the evening’s entertainment and it was definitely going to treat our Aussie guests with a taste of wild, down-home Bluegrass. 

Wish we had a recording, not just a photo, of  guest fiddle player (with Rappahannock Crossing)

Bluegrass is said to have originated in the Appalachian region in the 1940’s.  Well, let me tell you, Rappahannock Crossing were fantastic.  They had a surprise guest who played the fiddle like he was born to it (I guess he was!).  Brilliant.  Heather’s sangria kept us well oiled, though our final dinner with our guests, from the on-site Food Concession, was especially Southern (burgers, hot dogs and fries).  Still, I guess by now they’d experienced a range of interesting menus (isn't that why we travel?), some more forgettable than others.

Happy Birthday, Mr M

Mr M, our willing and hardworking crew, was surprised on departure day with a yummy birthday breakfast (cooked by our brekky chef, Cap'n) and some mementos of his time on board WJ3.  Too soon though, it was time to bid Mr & Mrs Magpie farewell at Richmond Airport.  It had been an exhausting itinerary but I think (hope) we all had fun.

Even better, it was great for the Motley’s to have ditched mooring lines and for WJ3 to stretch her wings.  She likes to roam and as her owners, we like to encourage her in things she does best.

Even Simon brought his girlfriends along to say goodbye to Mr & Mrs Magpie

Friday, October 25, 2019

Lunch at Elkwallow

Blue Ridge Mountains: 27th September
Huge vistas over Shennandoah Valley
SkylineDrive follows the heart of The Blue Ridge Mountains and is a core route through Shenandoah National Park.  It has plenty of viewpoints, some side access roads (with fascinating names – Rockfish Gap and Swift Run Gap), a number of wayside stops (we lunched at Elkwallow) and plenty of things to do if hiking, meeting wildlife nose-to-nose, or photography is your bent.  We were warned to watch for bears. Yup, grizzlies (or maybe it was just photos of grizzlies).  The bears were too busy to bother with us, though the Magpies did spot a deer or two.  Sadly, fall foliage was not out on display (mid to late October, I’m told by Park Wardens but check out the link above) but the scenery over Shenandoah Valley and across the park was superb.
Oh look, I've just seen a deer!
St Mary's Rock Tunnel (1932)
Photo opportunity stops gave our chauffeur plenty of breaks; still, it was a long run across to Fredericksburg, then down along the Rappahannock River to Deltaville.  It was rather pleasant to finally be back on board enjoying our peaceful marina life.  I think we all slept well after our time away setting quite the pace as tourists-on-the-go.

The only fall colour we found...

Even Park Facilities were nicely situated
Well, kinda sorta!  Land touring really takes your mind off things like weather.  We noted that in our absence, Hurricane’s Karen and Lorenzo were spinning just off the coast.  Karen, after threatening the Caribbean, had lost a little puff, weakening to Tropical Storm intensity.  Lorenzo had other ideas and was busy building muscle to Cat 5, with an eye on the Azores.  Our guests were just so pleased we had managed to arrange for a little memento or two of their visit to east-coast US; aptly named if you know the Magpies.  Gotta love September!

Fall colours were about (some artfully arranged), everywhere else though

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Seeking Quilts & Covered Bridges

Lancaster: 26th September

Our hotel overlooked a green and thriving farm, so we were awe-struck from the first to see a buggy passing by.  And another on our way out to dinner.  It is indeed an incredible relationship between a culture that rejects the modern world and the frenzy of the commercial world that has grown up around them because of their beliefs.

Aside from sightseeing, Mrs M & I realised this was our opportunity to shop (just a little).  So, armed with a large map and our TTD (things-to-do list), we marked off a route for our chauffeur (now known as Cap’n Martini.  And not because he likes to live life dangerously!) that might cover some of those choices.  Simplistically, that list (not in priority order and specific to our timetable) and our chosen venues were:

We found local roads quite narrow with few places to pull over.  Stopping at covered bridges was difficult too; Willow Mill we think, had been relocated?  The country-side is fantastically lush and the farms just so pristine.  We tried not to bother people and took photos of landscapes, farms and machinery from a distance.  Produce in the market was fresh and it was nice to browse, observe locals working at ease and see some lovely home-made items.  

It was a challenge to resist whoopie pie (and other delectables) at the bakery though the quilt block house templates were rather attractive but too big for already over-weight, over-stuffed suitcases.  We took a pleasant lunch break at the Corner Coffee Shop, admiring fine furniture (I’m now thinking shipping containers) before hitting the Old Country Store (a spectacular quilt shop) then finishing up with a quick sprint through Kitchen Kettle Village.  

Our final offering though, is that it is quite possible to enjoy the Amish experience without having spent a fortune, getting in their way or feeling that we were in an Entertainment Heartland – oh wait, we were!  And best of all, both Mr M & our trusty driver survived the whole "site seeing and shopping ordeal" with humour in tact.  

Naturally, Mrs M & I had NO trouble filling our day (and the boot of our car).  The next day however, was “long-drive-home day”, 10 hours no less, and the Cap’n needed his martini to help him relax in preparation.  So it was, we were up and off bright and early in the morning fog, following our trusty aged Garmin, heading for Front Royal, VA and the start of the Skyline Drive.

We sourced our information from D&K's USA Guide Book, Trip Adviser, Discover Lancaster website; and spent a lot of time online researching…  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Lesson in Civility

Gettysburg:24-25th September
Battlefield at Gettysburg

Deltaville came and quickly went as we settled into the marina, then tossed a few items into bags for the next leg of our journey with the Magpies.  We’d picked up a rental car at Gloucester, looked longingly at Wal Mart, then quickly sped on to Gettysburg.  Our combo of a 10 year old Garmin and Google maps (on the phone) was certainly put to the test.  It was a bit of a drive, skirting Washington DC (too close for comfort) yet somehow, we timed it perfectly to cross the road to a lively “pub”, the Appalachian Brewing Company, with a German inspired menu.  Amongst the offerings were fritters, potato pancakes with apple sauce and a pudd called elephant ear (a large donut stretched free form, deep fried, dusted with sugar and spice and served with a mountain of vanilla ice-cream).  Well, someone had to suffer in the name of curiosity!  One thing for sure though, American’s eat fried, eat quickly and eat early, so we were almost last out the door. 

Impressive display and comprehensive overview at the Gettysburg Diorama
Next morning recharged, we hit Gettysburg’s offerings.  We were now in Civil War era (1861-1865) and ready to understand how the three-day battle at Gettysburg (1863) changed the outcome of the war.  Here too, President Abraham Lincoln gave the “Gettysburg Address”.  With only a day and so many choices, it was hard to narrow them down.  First list casualty was the self-guided driving tour, although the country-side was very beautiful.  Our lack of knowledge about the battle also meant driving the extensive Battlefield and surrounds was also off the list.  So what to do?

Battle-scarred side wall (hard to see)
 We started with the Gettysburg Diorama, a scale model of the battleground with a short sound & light show describing the events over those three days.  It was an excellent beginning, and after a short walk around town, we all agreed that the Battlefield Visitors Centre was to be next on our list.  There, the introductory film, fantastic Cyclorama (the background was a mural painted in 1883 by French artist, Paul Philippoteaux recording the events) and well-stocked museum kept us busy for more than a few hours.  To complete the day, Cap’n History Buff (currently reading Nero) and his Mate, took off on a guided bus tour of the Battlefield, which they later described as excellent.  GS and Mrs Magpie waited in the coffee shop working on a plan (to cover as much as humanly possible) for sightseeing Lancaster the following day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Siege of Yorktown

Yorktown: 22nd September

After a punishing but enjoyable few days discovering Colonial Williamsburg, we returned to quiet Sarah Creek.  We had to resort to Uber!  Where were you Ray?  Meanwhile, the marina had made local news due to boatyard a fire (possibly an electrical fault?).  Events though, had not discouraged the dinner crowd at popular Oyster Company's (YROC) dockside shack.  We’d enjoyed a couple of dinners there whilst at the marina and Saturday night’s band (21 Sep) was just fab.  Well, they were playing our music (our age group)…  Dare I say, we were singing along too!! 

Sunday turned out to be perfect for venturing across the river to Yorktown in a dinghy.  The Magpies by now did not flinch at the suggested York River crossing or mode of transport. 

This pretty town is most famous as the site of the 1781 siege and British defeat.  General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington and the French Fleet.  We were there to see Colonel John Lamb’s Second Regiment of the Continental Artillery firing a replica 18-pounder siege gun.  Of course, the performance was somewhat reduced to a single gun and crew; although American forces may only have had 3 of these massive siege guns (along with lots of others).  That’s not to say that we weren’t able to understand the impact and noise over the battlefield.  Opposing forces were so close to each other.

Loading the 18-pounder

Waiting for lunch at Riverwalk Landing
After a quick browse through the Battlefield Museum (noting Washington’s military tent), we took the Trolley back to Riverwalk Landing and did a little shopping, browsing and eating (Mmmmm! Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream).  Then it was back to Bruce for a ride over to Sarah Creek.  We wanted to be ready for any eventuality given we were about to head back out to Chesapeake Bay.  The next day’s sail was north to Jackson Creek; another “short sail” to look forward to with a far better weather forecast.  Fingers crossed!
Bruce (behind the flash black "tinnie") at Riverwalk Landing.
Note calm seas & sunny skies.  Never on the day want to you leave, right?