91 Chestertown, MD to Washington, DC

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Bean fields with leaves faded to dusty greens and yellows lined the road as we biked into the countryside from Chestertown. Cool air, light winds, and bright sun made for a great bike riding day. A country store, last painted and possibly cleaned in the 50’s provided an interesting stop for something to drink. The exercise was great, as was the conversation as we rode along with Peg and Bob off Last Gasp. We’d parted company in Hampton, VA in the Spring and it was fun filling in details our e-mails hadn’t covered.

Later, town streets provided a way to stretch tired leg muscles while enjoying the colonial homes in the historic district. Evidence of a town that was once run down is rapidly disappearing as classic homes are restored to their former grandeur. Tucked away on a quiet side street a boat yard is constructing a replica of a wood schooner that once visited Chestertown.

Cacaway Island’s wind shadow allowed us to swing quietly at anchor. Last Gasp anchored close by. Ruth and Peg amused themselves by using our inflatable kayak to paddle around the island and returned with great reports of birds, sea nettles and other natural finds. Being at anchor again felt wonderful.

Something wasn’t right. Our GPS indicated we were almost to the first buoy leading into Kent Narrows. However no buoys were in sight ahead. Way off to port, a set of buoys seemed to mark the channel, and we slowly headed for them. Cruising guide research yielded a remark indicating the channel had been moved. Mystery solved, we again relaxed as we headed for the new channel and changed our charts.

A tiny cove at the end of Granary Creek became home for two nights. Ashore we walked a quiet country road on a gray Fall afternoon. Field corn drying on papery cornstalks on one side and a bean field on the other kept us company as we followed the road to where it curved into tall quiet woods. Empty, lonely birdhouses lined the fields waiting for their long-absent owners to return. A small metal plate on each birdhouse displayed the name of its Boy Scout builder.

Smooth Chesapeake Bay waters provided a nice ride as we crossed over and headed down the western shore towards the Patuxent River to a new anchorage. Listening again to the gloomy weather forecast we decided to defer and find a place to tuck in at Solomons. Concentrating on finding our way up Mill Creek, an Odyssey VHF call surprised us. Sonia and Toby on I Gotta Go spotted our unique shape and called to verify it was us. We anchored nearby and were soon swapping notes and stories about our cruising adventures. The expected rains started as we headed by dinghy to Woodburns, one of our favorite grocery stores along the east coast. That evening we suited up in foul weather gear, and Sonia and Toby provided dingy taxi service to Sand Castle. There we met Joyce and Bob and enjoyed a great dinner aboard on a cool, rainy evening. Our gauge registered 4″ before the rain ended a day later.

A year earlier we’d attended Trawler Fest and found our next boat. Now we cleaned, and put Odyssey back into show room shape for showing during “Trawler Crawl”. Rob, John and Chea were busy two slips down getting the Endeavour show boat ready. From them we learned some great cleaning tips. Then, for four days, we attended seminars in the morning and showed off our unique home in the afternoon. Time flew and faces blurred as people began climbing aboard to look around. Some lingered and asked many questions, some came back for a second look and more questions. We think we helped convince a number of couples to eventually purchase a Trawlercat.

Crabs clattered noisily from the box our server carried into a scrambled mound in the center of our wrapping paper covered table. We were drowned in crabs and the noise from 400 people in the huge dinner tent happily whacking away at hard unyielding crab shells with the small wooden mallets provided. Our experienced friends at the table provided instructions, and we bravely began ‘picking crab.’ Boy, do you pick. We worked hard prying off shell to find the small packet meat, hammering on legs and claws to find the even smaller portions of good eating. Slowly our crab mound shrank only to be replaced by a mound of discarded shells. Now we understand why the ‘all-you-can-eat’ crab dinners usually specify a two-hour time limit. If you had the endurance, you could pick and eat crab all day and never get full. Talking with new-found friends, Bob and Kris from Milwaukee, we lingered to the very end and watched as first the uneaten crabs were picked out from the untidy mess of crab parts. That completed, the plastic sheet under the now soggy wrapping paper tablecloth was gathered and the entire mess lifted into a huge trash cart.

Odyssey drifted lazily around a slack anchor line. Her broad foredeck became the perfect setting for lunch. Light winds and a warm sun made for great relaxing as we enjoyed the wooded cove just off of Smith Creek on the Potomac River. Jim and Rita found the quiet of the cove perfect for relaxing and unwinding. They had driven down from Auburn, NY in their RV. We enjoyed each others company for two nights, then they headed for the Outer Banks, and we headed up the Potomac.

Thick, cut-it-with-a-knife, fog greeted us as we awoke at our Port Tobacco anchorage. We slowly followed our GPS breadcrumb trail back out through the shallow crab-trap-lined passage. With limited visibility we both kept very careful watch to make sure we didn’t run over a trap and catch the line on the props. Back in the wide well-marked and trap-free channel of the Potomac River radar became our eyes. GPS waypoints for key buoys provided steering direction, and we continued on in heavy fog for two hours. At times we’d watch our approach to a buoy on radar and not be able to physically see it until it was abeam and less than 50′ away. About 9 AM things began to brighten and within 5 minutes the fog had vanished.

We stopped at Alexandria, VA and found cruisers’ heaven. There in one facility close to our dock was an ice cream store and bakery! To entertain us between ice cream in the afternoon and fresh bread in the morning Alexandria had a great historic district filled with narrow streets lined with rowhouses. We spent the day walking along the waterfront and exploring the interesting streets.

We pulled into Washington, DC and tied up on a gray rain-threatening day. Once secured we realized we had a great view of the Washington Monument from our cockpit. Instead of exploring, we stayed home doing domestic chores and getting ready for land travel. A few joggers and walkers kept us company as we crossed the Mall heading for the car rental office early the next morning. We were off to visit family back in Rochester, NY.

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