150 Washington, DC to Macedon, NY

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Off we went heading for the National Mall and the Smithsonian Castle. From Odyssey it’s less than a mile walk. We had two objectives, look for signs of spring and pick up information about new museum exhibits for further planning. Over the years a series of places around the Mall have become favorites to watch the grays and blacks and browns of winter disappear behind curtains of green leaves and grass splashed with nature’s entire spectrum of colors.

Magnolias lining the Castle entrance garden hinted they were waking up, but we guessed it would be a week before their swelling buds would burst. The meticulously tended almost hidden garden tucked between the closed Arts and Industries Building and

Where we walk while watching spring arrive

Hirshhorn Museum lay silent still tucked under winter mulch. A Spring Walk Clicking on picture will take you to Google Maps for more detailfew signs of green broke the surface as if to say; watch this space. Out on the vast expanse of the National Mall a fuzzy look on tree branches overhead hinted at expanding leaf buds. Over at the Jefferson Memorial cherry blossom buds, aided by a bit of added warmth from the reflecting pool, looked a bit further advanced. Just north of the cherry trees neat rows of garden beds form the Tulip Library. Each bed holds rows of hundreds of tulips of the same variety. One or two early blooms made us eager to return for the full show. Physically and mentally we sorted out a route and stored mental snapshots we’d use to gauge spring’s progress.

A war protest turned out thousands to demonstrate about the wars and about the Bush Administration policies. There were a few hundred Administration supporters who seem out of place with their mostly hand scrawled “Safe since 9/11” signs.

The cleaning lady is all fiberglass

A cleaning lady stood in the restrooms alcove. Just as I started to ask if the restrooms were open I realized I was looking at realistic statue. Earlier we’ve encountered a statue of a good ole boy on a beat up riding mower. We had discovered a new (to us) art gallery, this one at American University with a number of truly entertaining sculptures.

On a cool gloomy day we decided to get a bit of exercise by walking to Alexandria. The expressway bridge over the Potomac made for a noisy crossing but after that we were walking mainly in parks or along parkway roads. We stopped for a rest at the end of the Reagan International Airport runway and watched a few planes pass a hundred feet overhead just before touch down just beyond the airport fence. Eight miles later we enjoyed lunch at a quaint downtown restaurant before riding the Metro back.

As part of working out visit details with Jody and Brian I included our Lat and Lon coordinates for them to load into their GPS in addition to the marina address. It’s just a sign of the times, and they of course did a bit of looking at Google Maps to get a feel of where in DC they were heading. At one time things were advanced when you included your zip code, now GPS coordinates and satellite views are commonplace.

Having friends visit is a kick for us. No matter how often we’ve seen some of the sites our visitors always contribute an observation or insight that is new to us and adds another dimension of interest to sites we enjoy in DC.

We scaled back a bit because Jody was still recovering from having her appendix removed. Still we managed to cram in an impressive itinerary during their short visit. Below I’ve reproduced my daily journal entries in italics followed by a bit more explanation.

4/5 Brian & Jody arrive. L aboard. W Renwick, Lincoln Memorial, F. D. Roosevelt Memorial. D Jennys. Fun evening talking. Note: L=Lunch, W= Walk, D=Dinner. The map shows the approximate five mile walk we did as an introduction. Doing the Roosevelt Memorial also let us walk the Tidal Basin and enjoy the cherry blossoms. We lingered at Jenny’s enjoying their ‘small plate’ Asian appetizers

Brian and Jody

4/6 Metro Zoo. Fun octopus feed. Lebanese lunch. W DuPont Circle. Bike T. Roosevelt Island. D aboard, fun talking. A Metro ride took us to the zoo. We happened to be in front of the octopus exhibit when feeding started and watched fascinated as the octopus became active and carefully checked out each morsel being offered by the keeper. We walked back from the zoo to DuPont Circle providing a chance to see a few of the embassy buildings. Picking a place for lunch was tough because the street was lined with intriguing upscale ethnic restaurants. Our Lebanese lunch was outstanding.

Back at the boat, we rested a bit and then biked to the Tidal Basin and over the Potomac and up to Theodore Roosevelt Island and the memorial to his honor there. The biking got a new set of muscles tired.

4/7 Hirshhorn, Air & Space, National Gallery. Bike for chips & dip. Major party. Fireworks. We hadn’t considered what happens when the Cherry Blossom Festival and Easter occur on the same weekend until we went to the Air and Space Museum. Kids were stacked four deep in front of each exhibit and we could hardly move in the halls. The noise level from thousands of excited kids in an enclosed space was incredible. We left after a very short visit, glad to be back outside away from the noise and close crush of people.

A bit tired from all of our prior days activity we decided to just relax aboard. Some how we had forgotten to load up on party junk food. A quick bike ride provided emergency supplies.

Jody and I went up on the dock for a better view of the Cherry Blossom fireworks show and gravitated toward some other boaters doing the same. We chatted a bit sorting out where our respective boats were and making introductions. “I’m Don and this is my niece (slight hesitation) Jody.” In that ‘slight hesitation’ my mind flashed back and ran through the numerous times when we’d joked and laughed with boaters about the old guy on a boat traveling with a much younger woman who he’d introduced as his niece. Now here on a dark dock I was ‘the old guy’. I had to suppress laughing as the irony of the situation caught me off guard. I took another breath and added “Ruth and Brian stayed aboard to stay warm.” The moment passed and I had my private chuckle, but couldn’t help but wonder if the other couple had their own take on the meeting.

The walk did Jody and I a world of good. The four of us had a major party in progress on Odyssey and with a bit a bit of cold fresh air we were braced to carry on with holding up our side of the partying.

4/8 B&J leave. Hung over. Things were quiet the next morning as we sadly said our goodbyes. Brian and Jody headed back to the real world of working. We spent a quiet day aboard Odyssey recovering.

The stove wouldn’t start. It didn’t take long to figure out we were out of propane. We quickly learned the nearest filling point was many miles away, and we’d have to rent a car. We decided to go without and used the microwave to heat water for coffee and tea. We figured we’d pick up propane in a week when we left DC and started back down the Potomac.

Sadly spring was over. Trees sported fresh bright green leaves, the first crop of dandelions showed just a few traces of white seed fluff reluctant to let go of naked stems. We did a bit more poking around revisiting some of our favorite museums taking our time absorbing the variety of detail available. We realized we were marking time; it was time to be on the water traveling again.

Colored line shows miles traveled each day. Stick pins are Erie Canal locks

First light added just a bit of sparkle to Odyssey’s low wake as we slowly headed down the Washington Channel. The day passed quickly as we talked about the pros and cons of splitting time between boat living and RV living. We’d pretty much decided to do both for the foreseeable future as we pulled into tiny Cobb Island on the Potomac for another sample of quiet island life. A pizza from the store/pizza shop/ice cream stand/dock marina office filled out our evening.

Morning conversation shifted from what we should check out once we reached Solomons to navigation discussion and cross checks as we reached Point Lookout and cut inside buoys to run just over 10’ to shorten our rounding distance. A waypoint route we’d run before made it easy but extra checking and watching the depth sounder provided peace of mind. Zahniser’s Marina would start replacing a leaking shaft seal when we arrived. While work progressed we explored town, enjoyed favorite and new restaurants and returned to swap notes with Jim Franklin as he worked on the shaft seal. Over the years, we’ve become friends, sharing stories as he keeps Odyssey’s mechanical systems in top shape.

Flat water with hardly a wind ripple on Chesapeake Bay made for easy running toward our planned destination, Annapolis, where we’d planned to grab a mooring and enjoy town for a few days. Smooth running on the bay; meeting up again with Kama Kat a PDQ 34 with Frank and Dianne aboard heading to Rock Hall in route to the Erie Canal; a favorable long range weather forecast; and a bit of “horse heading toward the barn” feeling all conspired to influence a change of plans. When Odyssey’s engines stopped we were 54 miles beyond Annapolis at the free dock Chesapeake City’s sheltered harbor. Kama Cat had also changed plans and tied up behind us.

Now we were two boats, inspired to have Delaware Bay and the offshore run from Cape May to NYC behind us. Two evenings later after a fuel stop at Cape May, an overnight free dock (too early in the season for dock attendants) in Atlantic City and a favorable tide on the Hudson resulted in letting us surpass our goal. We were well up the Hudson. Kama Kat headed for the Tarrytown marina, and we got the anchor to hold across the river at Nyack a town we’d not yet visited.

The bagel was good, the conversation even better in the Nyack coffee shop. We learned a bit of the history of the town before starting our walk about. Exploring was fun but we shortened our visit because the wind was rising. The dinghy ride back to Odyssey was bumpy and wet. The rapidly moving cold front with high winds cool temps and rain had arrived.

On 4/30 we were positioned at Coeymans ready for the 5/1 opening of the canal. Waterford we had learned was completely filled with boats. Weather was not cooperating; the canal remained closed due to flooding until 5/5.

Bert and Grace joined us for lunch as we did a stop and go in Waterford. We’d last seen them at Ft Davis State Park, TX where 80+ years old Bert volunteers as a camp host and leads birding tours. We get to see them every year or so as our paths cross.

At Brewerton we said our good byes to Frank and Dianne on Kama Kat. They were heading for the Oswego Canal and then home in Canada. We invited good friends, Jim and Rita, to ride with us to Baldwinsville. It was great to catch up again.

Mid May we reached Newark, and from our standpoint we were home since family was nearby. A week later we arrived at Mid Lakes Marina in Macedon where we spent the summer. We’d departed August 2006 and were now back in May 2007.

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