Sunday, January 28, 2018

Great Falls and the Great Discovery

On Saturday morning, we set out on a scenic drive, which didn't go as well as we wanted.

Since we arrived here, starting out with the six weeks that I was sick, followed by the holidays and probably one of the coldest winters they've seen in these parts, we haven't gotten out much.

I think that's why I'm not feeling like I "like" it here. I haven't seen here. I haven't experienced here. I ride the metro to work. I listen to my podcast of choice. I work. I ride the metro home. We watch TV (note: "Turn: Washington's Spies" was a great series!)

 And it isn't like we've just sat here in our little rambler doing nothing.

  • We've gone for a couple walks of note. 
  • We went to the Jefferson Memorial on one of the days I didn't feel like dying, back in October. 
  • We went to the Brookville Beer Farm on another one of those days.  
  • We went to a farmer's market in Takoma Park, and found a nice brewery selling Crowlers, so we bought a few of those and have been talking about trekking up to see them. 
  • We bought cheese at that farmer's market too. 
  • We went to a silent movie screening at Halloween time and met the piano player who wrote the scores to the movies. That was cool. 
  • We found a local pub to watch football in, and eat Old Bay Wings from. 
  • We went to see R and M and the baby up in Baltimore, I need some more baby time.
  • Jess and I went to the Natural History Museum, and I finally rode the metro past my office for the first time.

But we haven't done the Doug and Chris things we've all grown to love. The go out and drive and see and explore and take shit tons of pictures and meet locals and just kind of sink in happily.

Hopefully spring will bring all of that.  And with the good weather, yesterday was supposed to be one of those days.

Doug wanted to go to the Great Falls Park on the Potomac. He put the address into the GPS and it turns out that location was a lie.

We ended up at a Quonset hut and Model Basin owned by the Navy, on the Maryland side of things. I told him the internet said we needed to go back to the highway, and go to Virginia. Doug said that he saw a sign that pointed northwest, on the Maryland side, and he was going to follow the advice of said sign. We bickered a bit - I asked him to change his course, but no. Hmmm. Doug saw a sign, saying something was that-a-way, and signs don't lie, like the GPS did.

Well, we found an entry way and welcome center on the Maryland side of things. Alright then. Doug wins that argument, so even though the National Parks Service doesn't tell us to go this way, it's a way to go. We'll take it. We happily began to cruise down the road.

Turns out, it was us, and 50 million other people. It was kind of ridiculous.

Truly, yesterday was one of the first nice days in a while. So I can't blame all the other savages for heading out for fun in the 50 plus degree weather.

Doug planned the trip, the route, the destination.... and we didn't anticipate this.

People were parking their cars along the road about a mile behind where we were - I presume there is some way in through the woods.

But on the map it looks like a pretty long trek in.

Our low coolant light came on while we were in the line to get into the park, of course it did. Doug decided it would be a good idea to turn around, and head out of there, lest something bad happen. We visited a town called Potomac, MD, got some coolant, caught some Pokemon, and Doug was starting to get grumpy at the not awesomeness of our day. But he had an alternate plan. Let's just keep driving up the river, and see where it takes us.

We took a small side-trip down to one of the roads to the river to the Seneca Aqueduct, and took a brief walk about there.

Learning about the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) Canal system that was in place and the tow-paths where horses would drag ships up and down, and into lock channels. It was pretty cool.

The place was not crowded at all, a lot of cyclists riding the path, which stretches for miles and miles along the river. It looked like a pretty sweet ride, and possibly a good put-in if you had a kayak.

He'd read about a place called Smoketown Brewing Station, in Brunswick, MD. I plugged it into the GPS and it said it was a 50 minute drive on the scenic backroads up MD 28. Which is what Doug wanted. So we did that.

Continuing on to our earthly reward of beer and dinner, we followed signs for the scenic by-way, keeping a west by northwest orientation up the river. We'd hoped that there would be actual river views, that we'd ride along the river at some places but that wasn't to be. Everything was mansions and farms. Horses and mansions. Farms and silos. Mansions and silos. No view down to the left into that river basin. Just the awareness that it was down in there.

We got to Brunswick and found the brewery easily. They didn't have a great deal of food offerings, so we had snack, and enjoyed two beers each.

 Geoff decided to go right off the bat with an IPA that had a lot of IBUs, and then he sampled my Brown and Doug's Rye, noting the giant difference between the flavors. Even though it is a light colored beer, it packed a punch in the mouth taste that he noticed, and liked.

Doug and I both commented that we've had some decent craft brews since coming to the area, but this place outdid them all. Nothing weak or watery, nothing just pretentious for being ... pretentious. It was all so good. We'll be back!

We took a little walk around Brunswick, down to the Potomac, got some brochures for kayaking and rafting, and discussed how this town probably looks a lot different in July than on a day in January.

We talked about John Brown and Harper's Ferry, WVA, which was only about 7 miles away, realizing how very close we were to the place where three states meet, the Tripoint as it were.  There is so much history right around us, literally within a 10 mile to 20 mile radius, without ever entering Washington DC proper.

The interstate was the best way home for us, as it was incredibly dark and poorly marked and lit on some of the backroads. We noted that we were super close to Frederick, and that's another town that we wanted to visit.

We had two growlers filled at the brewery, and settled in to watch our Netflix choices. Geoff bought himself a Crowler of Oatmeal Stout, since he's house sitting for the neighbor, and he went over there to hang with the dog and watch his own TV choices. 

Closest thing so far to a day that was "us." In fact, screw that. It was a day that was totally us. It sometimes happens that we start with a plan, the plan goes pear shaped with a car that just might overheat, or some shit might happen, we don't end up where we planned to be but hell if we don't end up where it works out great for us. And that's how I felt about yesterday. 

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