Read From Beginning of COVID 2020-21 US Tour
We did not plan this out well. We were leaving Maine to visit my friend in Maryland for a week and then heading back up to New England to spend a month in Vermont. A lot of driving back and forth on the same roads in a short amount of time. I am not sure now why I planned it that way. I am sure I had a reason because everything is so meticulously planned out. Maybe it looked closer on the map.
Anyway, we left Maine and drove down through Manhattan. All roads lead through NYC. This was our first of 3 times taking the parkway through CT and into the city. I enjoy the architecture of the bridges as the whole scene has a sort of Carriage Road feel. The one downside is that when there is an accident on the parkway it can really screw up your day. You save an hour or so going through the city, but there is risk of being stuck there for 3 days if a major accident. It might be better to just go the long way around. If for no other reason you avoid the stress of driving in the city. Jumping lanes and making quick adjustments in my car packed with bags on the roof, bikes on the back, motorcycle on the hitch and crazed dog in the cabin makes for a white knuckle couple hours. I can’t imagine doing that all without onboard navigation. I remember the days of printing out Mapquest directions and following the steps. I have even heard of parents taking family vacations where they actually pulled out real physical maps! I thought of that switching lanes back and forth on the GW bridge. One wrong turn would add another 30 minutes to get back on track. With signs coming at you so fast, NYC taxis and semis blowing their horns, and kids screaming in the backseat, it is like a pressure cooker waiting to explode. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that now our itinerary adjusts for traffic build ups. We are so spoiled. Unfortunately all this pampering leads to our inability to handle even the slightest inconvenience. We mentally are not built for it anymore. I should do this trip by map the rest of the way just for mental practice. I should, but I won’t. I have places to be! Things to check off the list!
We made in through the city on down the NJ Turnpike. Man is that the most boring experience ever. We pulled into Joe’s cottage on the Severn River near Annapolis around 7pm. Joe has made incredible upgrades to this place. Not only did he gut the entire place and rebuild the whole floor plan, but added a Tiki hut down but the dock. New dock and new boat as well.
Joe had set the crab traps a few days prior with bait fish he catches from the dock. Amy and I had learned in Maine how to tell “keepers” by the size and shape of the shell. Add some corn and sausage and we had an impressive welcome meal
I was horrible at deconstructing the crab to get the most meat. I ended up just hammering it into the table and filling my mouth full of a shell/meat mixture. Adds a little crunchy texture you rarely get at fine Maryland restaurants unless you are smart enough to know how to order “off menu”
Joe and Sarah were working most days from their computer so we tried to stay out of their way. In the morning we would sit down by the dock and even do some paddle boarding or fishing
Joes dog, Enzo had some issue with fishing. If you went near a pole or God forbid cast a line he would go berserk, just barking and whining while following you around till the pole was returned to the rack. I never knew Pit Bulls were such strict environmentalists.
Speaking of dogs, I should cover the dynamics between Max and Enzo. Max does not usually play well with others. He is fine being around other dogs but if one gets near his perceived toys or food he is liable to instigate a relentless mauling. I have been the victim of many when I unknowingly tried to pet him when there was a tennis ball in proximity I was unaware of. Enzo does not realize that he can can easily put max in his place, so after some initial playful banter, Max took ownership of Enzos food dish as well as any bones lying around house. When Enzo wanted to eat (the nerve) Max came charging and Enzo was terrified for the remainder of the trip. This left Amy and I feeling horrible that Enzo had to hide in his own house. Here is a shot of max lying in wait to spring his trap
Joe built a new deck on the cottage and we spent afternoon and evenings relaxing and eating dinner out here
With the dogs unable to be in the same room together without supervision it made excursions difficult. We did escape for a night to DC with Joe to visit The Mall and have some Laotian food with his sister
This was just before the election, so things were starting to heat up around the White House, but having been here in the past I was amazed at how quiet it was. The tours and buses were all shut down. It was nice to see people taking the disease seriously and taking precautions.
On a few occasions Joe and Sarah were kind enough to take us out on the boat for trips around the river and into Annapolis. The boats and houses along the river never cease to amaze. You might think you are living a pretty comfortable life, but there are always people above, you who are taking things to the next level.
One morning we went into town on the boat for breakfast at the Iron Rooster. After enjoying Chicken and Waffle in Ego Alley we ran head on into a Trump Parade. It was a mile of boats blaring horns, waving flags and in general just behaving like idiots. There were yachts and fishing boats neck and neck. Many of these parades across the country had boats capsized due to getting buried in a larger boats wake.
Joe gave us a lot of good advice on how to try and control max’s outlandish behavior. We invested in a shock collar, but have not really tried it out as much as we would like because we really don’t interact with enough people or animals these days. One day we took Max and Enzo for a walk in the woods. They seem to get along famously when not in confined spaces. They chase each other through the mud and the only real concern is when Enzo barrels through Max, almost crushing him with excitement.
On another afternoon, Joe was kind enough to watch Max while Amy and I drove into Annapolis to see some of the historic building. I always enjoy the revolution period architecture and stories.
Joe cooked unbelievable meals throughout or stay and as time went by, we began to feel guilty that we did not deserve this high class treatment.
Before we left, we got to watch Notre Dame first game of the season from the tiki hut. The game was originally to be played in Annapolis, but like all things this year, plans changed.
Joe’s neighbor and our fellow bike trip riding buddy, Chris, brought his family over and we enjoyed pizza while watching the game. Although I am not the most social person, it was nice to spend time with people, talking and laughing during a time when you feel so isolated on a constant basis.
Eventually our time in MD came to close and it was time to load up and head back through NJ/NY on our way up to Stowe VT for the rest of the month of September.
Joe and I always had fun on our bike trips, and although it is unfortunate we were not able to have one this year, it was nice to see everyone and we left with a feel of gratitude for their hospitality, envy for the fruits of their labor and hope for a time in the near future when we might be able to repay them for what was given.
Until next time,