134 Solomons, MD to Crisfield, MD

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Springtime in Washington, DC drew us in for our third early spring visit. It’s a kick watch spring explode here. This year we were a bit late because of our maintenance stop in Solomons and the cherry blossom were at their peak when we arrived giving us a chance to enjoy late spring. Each year the Cherry Blossom Festival grows a bit. This year a fireworks show was added. We sat on the bow with Linda and Steve enjoying our front row seat and got a kick out of 4 local boats forming a giant electrically lighted fire breathing sea monster complete with a flapping tail.

 Judy getting ready to pick up the Jarvik artifical heart on bottom shelf second from left.

Judy getting ready to pick up the Jarvik artifical heart on bottom shelf second from left.

Judy unlocked a cabinet and took a few minutes to talk about the contents as she put on her cotton gloves. Then she reached in and removed a Jarvik artificial heart for our closer inspection. We were literally in the nation’s attic, in one of the Smithsonian’s many storage rooms. Linda had arranged our private tour as part of her work as an archivist for Hobart William Smith Collage as she provided Judy some background information about the nation’s first female doctor; Elizabeth Blackwell. Thanks to Judy’s efforts Dr. Blackwell’s bookcase and a bit more of her history is now part of the Smithsonian. Judy continued our tour casually showing us part of the collection of patent medicines, one of the first vials of Sauk polio vaccine and a wide variety of medical instruments.

Dumbarton Oaks Wisteria in bloom

Dumbarton Oaks Wisteria in bloom

We’d visited Dumbarton Oaks to enjoy its extensive gardens with Steve and Linda. They like us loved the hilly gardens and were intrigued by the Wisteria vines just getting ready to bloom. Ruth and I returned a week later to catch the Wisteria at their best and loved the beautiful curved trellis providing a shady place to sit and enjoy the colorful garden views.

A variety of politics provided some spice to our visit. Gallery passes gave us access to the House and Senate. We sat patiently in the Senate gallery waiting for a scheduled roll call vote. 99 senators would vote (Kerry was campaigning). Visions of impassioned statements from the senators as they cast their votes vanished as we watched the clerk start the roll call. Senators wandered in and out of the Senate casually talking with each other and signaling their vote to the clerk who then called it out in a clear voice. It was fun seeing senators we knew only from TV. It was easy to identify McClain, Clinton, Edwards, Graham, and many others. Since few sat in their assigned seats we had to ask or guess at others identity.

On Wednesday a fleet of semi trucks arrived on the Mall, spread out and began raising their huge Jumbo-tron TV screens. Trucks pulling trailers full of portable toilets rolled in and began setting up long lines of rest stops along one side of the Mall. A stage with the Washington Monument as a backdrop went up. More trucks show up spotting huge boxes all along the Mall. Over at a tiny park maybe a dozen portable toilets were dropped off. A few blocks away the police quietly staged their crowd control fences (locals called them riot fences) near the World Bank. Washington was getting ready for a weekend of demonstrations.

A plastic bag with a duck’s head sticking out added just the right amount of eccentricity to our appearance as we settled in to watch an even more eccentric group arrive for a march to the World Bank to protest its policies. We’d found the duck, carved from a bamboo root at the Eastern Market. It now rides shotgun in the cockpit our latest souvenir/art work reminder of Washington. We sat with the duck wondering if somewhere there were proud moms knowing that their wildly tattooed kids with multi colored hair, multi body piercing studs and weird clothes were assembling to protest bank loans and that we are a global economy. Behind us a second group was assembling. They too looked a bit weird; police officers on foot dressed in light body armor backed up by mounted police and motorcycle cops.

We joined a group of curious people following protesters outnumbered by cops as they marched through Washington to the World Bank, or more accurately near the World Bank. The protesters marched into a coral of crowd control fences that kept them at a safe distance from the bank and other businesses along the street. Cops stood on the fence’s back platform making them all appear about 8 feet tall. We watched for a bit and then headed back to Odyssey as the protestors headed back to the park to hear speeches and sing songs.

Woman's Right Demonstration

Woman's Right Demonstration

Sunday we wandered over to the Mall and were stunned. From the Washington Monument to the Capitol the Mall was jammed with people. Sign posts with state names poked up out of the sea of people to coordinate meeting points. Volunteers handed out colorful signs proclaiming women’s rights from the boxes we’d wondered about. The Woman’s Rights demonstration had taken over the Mall. We wandered into the mass of humanity; the largest assembly of people we’d ever seen. Busloads of ordinary people from all over the country had assembled. Inadvertently we found ourselves caught in the start of the march past the White House. It took a bit of work to get out of the river of people moving forwarded. We scrambled for a vantage point and watched for a bit as a million everyday Americans passed in review. It was quite a site.

 Our new shower seat thanks to Dave and Larry

Our new shower seat thanks to Dave and Larry

On a cold blustery day John and Bobbie (Short Circat) had joined us for the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. They helped with the delivery of our new cockpit pilot chairs and introduced us to Larry and Robin. Purr-fection another Trawlercat 36 rests in a sheltered cove comfortably out of the water on a boat hoist in front of Larry and Robin’s charming hilltop home when they are not exploring Chesapeake Bay. Larry introduced us to Dave and Anne. Dave’s one of those remarkable people who can build anything out of wood and without trying have it look like a work of art. He’d proved it by building a teak shower stall seat for Purr-fection, no easy task since trawlercat shower stalls are molded fiberglass and have few flat areas. Dave has a shop rivaling Norm’s New Yankee Workshop to assist him in creating his works of art. Fortunately for us, neither Larry nor Dave seems to know how to count. Instead of one shower stall seat they built several and were looking for homes for their beautifully finished teak seats. Odyssey now has one of Dave’s functional works of art thanks to Larry. This fall Dave and Anne take delivery of Remarkable, the first Manta 44 powercat. We spent many happy hours reviewing the line drawings, enjoying the boat’s sleek lines and offering a few meager suggestions as Dave plans Remarkable’s details.

Outgoing tide against the wind lumped the Potomac River’s wide mouth into a nasty short chop. We bumped along becoming more and more uncomfortable. Finally we slowed a bit and headed off to take the waves slightly off the bow and the ride eased considerably. Ahead we spotted a trawler working its way across the chop and realized it was Tom and Marilyn on Talisman. They had purchased Talisman over the winter and were making their first cruise.

Talisman followed us as we worked our way into one of the Chesapeake’s many Mill Creeks. This one is off the Great Wicomico River and one we’d enjoyed a few years earlier. In contrast to the windy and bumpy conditions on the bay, the creek was flat with just a light breeze filtering through the trees. There we enjoyed a leisurely evening sharing Tom and Marilyn’s joy of their first trawler. Seven years earlier we’d met on the Erie Canal as fellow sailors making our first cruise south. Now on their first major cruise as powerboat owners we’d managed a Chesapeake meeting in a beautiful anchorage. Talisman will reside in Great Bridge will Tom and Marilyn are in Canada between winter live aboard cruising and summer cruises.

Morning found us parting company. Talisman headed south toward Norfolk and we headed out across the now flat bay to visit Crisfield and the Nanticoke River.

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