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A proper visit to Charleston…

28 minute read

May 9, 2024, 10:14 AM

From April 17-19, Elyse and I made a weekend trip down to Charleston, South Carolina.  It’s funny how this worked out.  After our visit to Charleston last October, we both were left wanting more.  We saw lots of potential in Charleston, and wanted to go back, but we weren’t sure whether we wanted to drive back again, vs. flying.  Charleston is eight hours away, which is quite a long haul, and it’s almost entirely through rural areas once you get out of the DC region.  In other words, not very exciting.  But then when we looked at airfare, we realized that it was really expensive, and that with all of the goings-on at the airport plus multiple flights, we wouldn’t save any time compared to driving, plus we would be limited as to what we could bring with us, and would probably need to rent a car down there.  All of that said, that pushed me into driving territory, because then we could bring whatever we wanted, go on our own schedule, and have fun on the way down and back.  Plus then we would have the HR-V in Charleston.

On the southbound leg, I tried to keep the trip as close to all-business as I could.  I only planned on making four stops: one in the Richmond area, one in Skippers, Virginia (the last Virginia exit on I-95), one somewhere in North Carolina, and then one at the Buc-ee’s in Florence, South Carolina.  That would get us to Charleston at a somewhat reasonable hour as long as we kept to it.

Richmond was intended primarily as a food stop.  My original idea was to stop at the Sheetz at the Atlee exit, and do Sheetz, and I pitched that to Elyse a few days prior to our trip.  It’s funny – when I pitched the idea, Elyse’s response was something to the effect of, “When were you going to tell me about this?” and my response was simply, “What does this look like?”  Elyse said that she didn’t want to do Sheetz, because we always do Sheetz, and then suggested we find a barbecue place.  I was like, “You had me at barbecue.”  Looking it up, I found two places that weren’t too far off of I-95.  One was a place called Q Barbeque up in Glen Allen, and then the other one was Oak & Apple right in downtown.  I chose Oak & Apple, because it was right in downtown Richmond, and closer to the freeway.  More or less get off of the exit, go like two blocks, and boom, there it is.

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Where does it go from punishment to exploitation?

8 minute read

May 1, 2024, 9:36 AM

Recently, this post by Nadia Ware came up on my news feed in a Staunton group that I’m in:

Any teachers at Shelburne Middle School need their yards cut,??? My son was showing off, talking back, taking advantage of the substitute teacher last week. (yes typical middle school 14yr old boy behavior but I’m over behavior he can control and choose not to) I took his phone away, no tv, earlier bedtime, no ymca and no overnight stay for a week. Want to add a YARD A DAY, Small yards bc he still has homework and study from 6-8pm.. thinking Wednesday and Friday.. please contact me if you can help. Appreciate it. P mommy

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Categories: Social media, Staunton

A trip across South Jersey…

16 minute read

April 27, 2024, 9:41 AM

On April 4-5, I went on a solo trip up to New Jersey.  It was a trip that I had been looking for a time to do and one that Elyse had no interest in.  April 4-5 was where it fit in my schedule, so I planned it out and went.  That said, I was certainly crossing my fingers and anything else that I could cross that the weather would hold out.  The forecast for my travel dates would be mostly cloudy and rainy, with a possibility for some breaks in the cloud cover and precipitation.  I wanted a very productive overnight trip where I came back with a nice, big photo take, and not a trip that got rained out and ended up being a scouting-future-locations kind of trip.  That’s the thing about overnight trips and such: they’re planned and booked in advance, so the weather can be a bit of a roll of the dice.  Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t.

The plan was to go up to New Jersey via I-95 (i.e. my usual route) and then go across South Jersey on the first day, ending up in Egg Harbor Township for the night.  Then I was going to go down to Cape May and take the ferry across to Delaware on the second day, returning home via US 50.  Elyse and I tend to call this sort of trip profile a “loop trip”, since we are more or less constantly covering new ground, and doing almost no backtracking.  These sorts of trips are fun when they work out, since it eliminates the return-trip blahs, where it’s clear that the fun is largely over, and we’re just retracing our steps back home.  On a loop trip, almost no road is traveled on twice.

This one was a little unusual in that I had a doctor’s appointment at the hospital in Olney first thing, so I attended to that and then left straight from the hospital.  However, the ride up didn’t exactly inspire confidence in my ability to have the productive trip that I wanted, since it was raining more or less the entire way up to New Jersey.  My first planned photo stop was the Church Landing Fishing Spot in Pennsville Township, where I planned to try some different angles of the Delaware Memorial Bridge with the drone, but due to bad weather, I skipped it.  I’m not worried about it, though, because we visited this area once before in 2022, and I don’t expect that it’s going anywhere any time soon, i.e. I can do that on a future visit.  Fortunately, the rain stopped not long after I got into New Jersey, though the cloud cover would persist for most of the day.

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A very transit-themed weekend…

14 minute read

April 11, 2024, 11:57 PM

On March 28 and 29, I had two very distinct transit-themed adventures.  One day was a bus adventure, and the other was rail-related.

The bus adventure came first, on Thursday, March 28.  That one has some background to it.  First of all, every year for the past several years, I have had what I call a “tax party” with my friend Matthew, where we get together and we take care of our various taxes.  Generally speaking, we go somewhere to eat, and then I sit down with the computer and do my own taxes, I do Matthew’s taxes, and I do Elyse’s taxes.  This year, the tax party was done in two stages, as Matthew had to cancel at the last minute due to something unforeseen coming up, so I did the taxes for Elyse and me on the original date back in February (where I owed a ton of money because of my photography earnings), and then rescheduled with Matthew for a later date, impressing on him that he really shouldn’t postpone again, since the due date for taxes is a hard date, and you really don’t want to be a last-minute filer if you can avoid it.  So we planned the date, and that was that.  Now Matthew is also a bit of a transit enthusiast, and has pursued some opportunities in the transit field, but has always gotten cold feet when it came to the thought of actually operating a bus.

Now, along with Elyse, I am also on the board of directors for Commonwealth Coach & Trolley, which is a bus museum based in Roanoke, Virginia.  Many of us on the board are in the DC area, and some of our vehicles do stay up in the DC area for various reasons.  So I pitched the idea to have a small outreach event, taking a bus out for a spin and going to visit Matthew in that.  So Elyse and I went down to where the bus was kept, parked the HR-V, and took out the bus.  The bus that we had was former Fairfax Connector bus 7754, a 1991 Orion I, which we tend to call MATT, which stands for “Mobile Accessible Travel Training”.  As I understand it, this bus originally operated as a regular Fairfax bus, and then was converted to a training vehicle to help older adults and people with disabilities learn to use public transit.  I’m not exactly sure how it all worked, but it was fitted with some extra doodads like TV monitors, and has a desk with a swivel seat in the back of it, while the area forward of the rear door has updated seats.

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Adventures in the mountains…

21 minute read

April 6, 2024, 6:38 PM

From March 20-22, Elyse and I made our quarterly weekend trip down to Staunton.  This was one where the planning was kind of light.  We planned the dates and booked the room well in advance (vacation at my work is scheduled all at once for the year in June), but the planning for the actual adveture was a little light.  So we just kind of played it by ear.  It turned out to be pretty fun, with a few hard want-to-see things, and a lot of happy surprises in between.  This trip started out somewhat unconventionally, though.  Elyse got an early start in order to see the “Fleet of the Future” event that Metro was running down on the mall, so she left early and took the train down to see that (I went the following week, so stay tuned for my reportback there).  I then left at my intended time, and scooped her from Vienna.  Once I got Elyse, we were on our way again, heading down I-66 to I-81.  The plan for the trip down was to stop in Middletown, where there was a place called Shaffer’s BBQ.  We stopped in there for lunch on the September trip, and enjoyed it so much that we went again this time.  Then our next stop was going to be Harrisonburg, because Elyse wanted to eat at D-Hall.

When we got off I-66 and onto I-81, though, we immediately noticed that the air was really smoky.  We didn’t know what was going on, so we made our planned stop at Shaffer’s and did some research online.  I ended up making a Reddit post while I was at Shaffer’s to see what I could find out.  Reddit is pretty useful for that, throwing a question out there and then seeing what you get back.  Consensus was that there were a bunch of wildfires burning in the state because of dry and windy weather, and that what we saw was most likely wildfire smoke.  Okay.

Then after we finished at Shaffer’s, we continued on our trip south, taking US 11 to avoid an issue near exit 291 on I-81.  While we were going down the road, Elyse spotted the source of the smoke: a large wildfire to our west.  Okay, then.  We pulled over and strategized a little bit, looking at Google Maps and figuring out how to tackle this.  We ended up playing it by ear, taking various back roads while keeping an eye on our target and navigating closer to it.  We pulled over at one point to get our bearings after going for a while without seeing the fire.  There, we sent the drone up and verified where it was relative to our location.

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No, I do not have to get anyone’s permission for that…

11 minute read

March 30, 2024, 1:35 PM

It has always amused me about how often people play the permission-of-the-subject card with me.  Usually, it comes from someone who is a bit salty about coverage of their activities that may portray them in a negative light.  However, recently, someone played this card on a post that I made on Schumin Web‘s Facebook page in regards to a wildfire in Virginia that I recently photographed with my drone.  The post was about a photo that depicted a house burning to the ground that I am planning to run as part of a Journal entry about a weekend trip that Elyse and I had recently made:

1429 Coal Mine Road burns to the ground during a wildfire near Strasburg, Virginia.

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How’s that for gratitude…

11 minute read

March 19, 2024, 9:23 AM

Some people, I just don’t understand.  I had been involved in a Facebook group called “You know you’re from Gaithersburg, Maryland if”.  The group’s purpose was to share nostalgic content about Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is the town right next to Montgomery Village, where I live.  However, the group had extremely lax moderation, and by “extremely lax”, I mean “none”, as there was no one keeping an eye on things to make sure that good posts were getting through and off-topic or spam posts were being removed.  As a result, most of the group’s content consisted of advertisements for moving companies, air duct cleaning, gutter replacement, furniture cleaning, carpet cleaning, and car detailing.  In other words, it was spam city.  The only reason that I stayed in the group was to maybe get a piece of historic Gaithersburg content.  After all, I was in the group in the first place because I was interested in getting a bit of local history from the perspective of locals.  I’ve only been familiar with Gaithersburg since 2007, and have only lived in the Gaithersburg area since 2017.  So as far local history goes, I’ve only been around to witness a small slice of it.  I rely on other people to provide the rest.

Then one day this past December, while Elyse and I were out having lunch, I got a notification from Facebook saying that they wanted to promote me to admin of this group because the group had no active admins.  In other words, what I had suspected was true: the existing group admins had taken a permanent lunch break, so Facebook picked someone from amongst the membership to run the group.  I just had to tap “accept” on my phone, and they handed me the keys to the castle.  All of a sudden, I was in charge of a group in which I had been a somewhat passive participant for several years.

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Fire at the quarry…

4 minute read

March 14, 2024, 8:38 PM

Sometimes, you just have to be at the right place at the right time.  I had a doctor’s appointment today near Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, but before I left, Elyse gave me a heads-up that there was a fire at the Aggregate Industries quarry off of Piney Meetinghouse Road.  Funny thing about this: I discovered that quarry about a month ago on Maps, and added it to my photo list, which I jokingly refer to as “the place where photo ideas go to die” because of how infrequently I cross things off of it.  So this worked out nicely, because I already knew exactly where the location was, and I would already be nearby.  So I threw the drone in the back of the car and made plans to check out the quarry after my appointment.  As I approached Interstate 270, the smoke became quite evident, with a large plume of smoke visible in the distance.  After the appointment, I headed over, and found a safe place to fly that was out of the way, but where I could still see everything that I needed to see in order to fly safely.

Being a working fire situation, I kept my distance.  I did not want to interfere with the firefighting efforts in any way, and truth be told, I didn’t want to be noticed at all.  I just wanted to get in, get my shots, and then get out.  I knew the kind of stuff that I would capture and how I would fly if I was flying under normal conditions, but this was not that, and so I adjusted accordingly.

According to news sources, the fire involved two liquid asphalt tanks, one tank containing used motor oil, and various other miscellaneous equipment owned by the F.O. Day Bituminous Company, which has facilities on the site.  Due to its being an oil fire, they couldn’t use water on the flames, so they had to get a foam unit to come out from Dulles Airport to help extinguish the fire.  The fire was completely out by the evening.  Fortunately, everyone on site was safely evacuated, and no one was hurt.  There was also no danger to the public or the surrounding area, and a fire department spokesman likened the smoke to a bad air quality day.  So at the end of the day, it was only property damage, i.e. nothing that money can’t fix.

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Thinking about various church experiences…

22 minute read

March 9, 2024, 8:30 AM

Recently, I found myself discussing the Vacation Bible School that my sister and I attended in the mid nineties while I was in middle school.  It came from a post on /r/exchristian on Reddit, asking, “What do you still have memorized?”  My first reaction was to cite the offertory song that this program had us sing while they passed the plate around.  In thinking about it, I was struck by how misplaced the priorities were when it came to what this offering was to be used for (more on that later).  But then it also led to my recalling various other church experiences that I had while growing up, and how much of a mixed bag these things were.  Some experiences were quite good, while some them were not exactly all rainbows and sunshine.

For some background, I attended church from 1989 to 2003.  I was never that much of a “religious” person to begin with, having spent the first eight years of my life without it.  My father grew up Jewish, and has practiced no religion of any kind for most of his adult life, i.e. he is ethnically Jewish, but does not follow the religion.  Meanwhile, Mom grew up in the Presbyterian Church, and attended church regularly until she began college, and then did not attend church at all from 1969 to 1989.  Thus my early formative years contained no significant religious indoctrination, short of attending a Baptist preschool during our first year in Rogers, and the religious side of things in that program was super light.  I don’t remember doing much religious stuff there short of a few trips to the sanctuary and the “God is great, God is good” prayer before our daily snack.  Outside of this, Mom would occasionally discuss religious subjects with me, though nothing too deep, but even then, I was kind of a skeptic.  When Mom would try to explain this “God” person, the way that he was described defied everything that I had observed in the world, and so I was like, okay, sure, and not really buying it, even at a very young age.  Likewise, I saw no purpose to the prayer that Mom and I did each night before going to bed for some time, because I never really thought that we were speaking to anyone other than ourselves.

Then in 1989, Mom finally found a church that she liked.  As I understand it, when we first moved to Arkansas in 1985, Mom had First Presbyterian Church in Rogers pegged as somewhere that she had wanted to go from the outset, but she was unimpressed with the minister that was there at that time.  By 1989, that guy had left and a new person had taken his place, and Mom liked the new guy a lot more.  We typically went to church on Sundays, we did the after school program that they did on Wednesday afternoons, and then we also did the Vacation Bible School week during the summer.

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The most pointless school day ever…

7 minute read

February 17, 2024, 8:03 PM

This year marks thirty years since the most pointless day of my entire school career.  It was the only day that I attended where, if I were to do it all over again, I am 100% certain that I would have skipped it.  That was the day that Augusta County decided to have a snow make-up day on a Saturday.  Yes, you read that right: they had school on a Saturday.

I suppose that the lead-up to this made enough sense, because in Augusta County, the winter of 1994 was a very snowy one.  School was cancelled for a total of 16 days over the course of that winter for various weather events, including one instance where we were out for the entire week.  The thing about Augusta County, though, is that the schools use one calendar across the entire county, but being such a large county (only Pittsylvania is larger), the conditions end up being very different in various parts of the county.  So if road conditions would be too treacherous for students in the more rural western part of the county to go to school, they would call a snow day.  Thus, students in the more urbanized eastern part of the county (where I lived) would also get the day off, but our roads, being more heavily traveled, would typically be fine.  So with 16 snow days, three were built into the calendar, i.e. they made the school year 183 days long, assuming that we would have at least three snow days, i.e. those snow days were essentially freebies because the calendar already accounted for them.  That in itself was a first for Augusta County, as the previous year had no built-in snow days at all, therefore all of the snow days that we had that year had to be made up.  For a region that is north enough to get a lot of snow but south enough to where people still freak out over it, it’s surprising that they didn’t build in snow days before 1993, especially considering that the previous year had 14 snow days (why do I still remember this?).  So accounting for the three built-in days, that meant that we had to make up 13 days.

The way that Augusta County allocated make-up days was something that I disagreed with.  They generally preferred to use existing time off within the year for make-up days before extending the year out into June.  While they would add some days at the end of the year before some holidays, they only were in the make-up day plan after one or two other school holidays, conference days, teacher workdays, etc. had already been taken away.  So having 16 snow days, we were going to school five days a week from the last snow event in March all the way to June 17, with no breaks of any kind, as every single teacher workday, parent-teacher conference day, and long holiday weekend had been commandeered for instruction.  I would have preferred to just tack every single make-up day onto the end of the year in June and leave the breaks intact, because I felt like those off days had value because they prevented burnout all around (and trust me, the burnout was heavy that year, and was exacerbated by jackoffs like Frank Wade, who were more than happy to remind us that we had our Memorial Day holiday back in January).  And really, with the schools’ being out for more than two months in the summer already, it’s not like anyone would really notice an extra week.  If they had extended it out to June 24 or beyond, I doubt anyone would have cared much, except maybe those families who planned big vacations immediately after school let out (and they should know that the end date for the school year is really not set in stone until spring).

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Some spherical images of a dead mall…

6 minute read

February 12, 2024, 11:10 AM

Do you remember when Elyse and I visited Owings Mills Mall back in 2015?  I wrote about it in the second part of the “Everything Else” photo set, but what I didn’t show you, mainly because I lacked the capability to display it properly at the time, was that I also shot some spherical photos of the place.  I was glad that I did, too, because the management would close the interior of the mall less than two weeks after our visit, and the mall was demolished about a year later in preparation for redevelopment.  The property now contains an outdoor shopping center called Mill Station, and from everything that I can tell, the center is now thriving.  I suppose that tells you that the mall itself was the problem, and that the area is, in fact, a good location for retail – just not that retail, apparently.  It’s also spurred additional development beyond the old mall property, so clearly, things are going well there.

So as far as the spherical panorama images go, when we were exploring the mall, I used the Google camera app, which could shoot spherical panoramas, and took eight photo spheres of the place.  You start in one spot, and then it tells you how to move the camera in order to image the entire thing.  The result is essentially a single Google Street View image of wherever you are standing.  I first learned how to do this in August 2014, and I did it on and off for about a year.  I eventually lost interest in the photo spheres, after Google discontinued the Panoramio service and rolled it all into Google Maps.  As is typical when Google rolls an existing service into another, much functionality was lost, and Panoramio’s going into Maps was no exception.  The way that they wanted you to shoot photo spheres after that was with a separate Street View app, and it would more or less upload directly to Google Street View, and wouldn’t save as an image file of mine.  So that was a bit of a deal-breaker for me.  As far as this website goes, I couldn’t get the images to display properly on here natively, and really didn’t want to have any additional plugins for the site just to power a single Journal entry.  Then I recently discovered that Flickr will embed these things on third party websites, such as this one, and we were in business.

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Nothing like making a weekend trip to New York and getting sick while there…

22 minute read

January 26, 2024, 11:03 PM

So as discussed previously, on January 17-19, my friend Aaron Stone and I went up to New York City for a weekend trip.  We knew that it was supposed to be cold while we were there, and snow was in the forecast for the last day of our trip, but that was about it, and nothing that we couldn’t handle.

Our route up, however, was intentionally planned to be a bit unorthodox.  Normally, for a trip to New York, from where I live, you would go straight up I-95 through Baltimore and then take the Delaware Memorial Bridge just before Wilmington, and follow the New Jersey Turnpike most of the rest of the way to the city.  This time, we decided to be a bit more roadgeekish, taking US 15 up to Harrisburg, taking I-81 a short distance to I-78, and then taking I-78 all the way to New York.  The goal here was to complete all 146 miles of Interstate 78 in one shot.  It would only add about 45 minutes to the drive by going this way, and we got to complete a highway.  I had previously traveled most of I-78 in the nineties and early 2000s, but I was missing a section in New Jersey, as well as the small New York portion.  Aaron, to my knowledge, had never done any of I-78.

My memories of I-78 were never particularly pleasant, as I always associated it with family road trips in the nineties, where my father would drive.  He was always very concerned about making good time on these family trips, and that meant some very long distances in the car along some incredibly dull stretches of highway, with nothing of any note to break up the trip.  For an eight-hour trip from Stuarts Draft, Virginia to Fairfield, Connecticut, we would make maybe two stops the entire way, once around Paxtonia, and then another one somewhere in New Jersey, and those would be kept as short as possible.  In other words, the journey was viewed as a chore, a necessary evil to be knocked out quickly, and not as a part of the adventure.  And in those pre-Internet days, there was only so much that one could do to keep one’s self occupied.  We would bring all sorts of books and such to read, but those only went so far before we got tired of reading.  I-78 in Pennsylvania is largely rural, and while it does go through the Allentown area, it skirts it to the south, far enough away for there to be nothing interesting to see.  It’s what led my sister and me to start calling Pennsylvania “the forever state” because it felt like it took forever to get through, and it was incredibly boring.  About the only thing interesting on I-78 in Pennsylvania was the Delaware River toll plaza, and that was on the westbound side.  I remember, at 12 years old, wishing that the toll plaza was on our side just to help break the monotony.

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A day in Filthadelphia…

10 minute read

January 3, 2024, 12:46 PM

On Friday, December 29, I went up to Philadelphia for the day with my friend Aaron Stone.  We each had our goals up there, and for the most part, we accomplished them.  I wanted to see the “Four Seasons”, and Aaron wanted to see the SS United States.  And then we both wanted to go to King of Prussia Mall.  Elyse, meanwhile, was unavailable, as she was on a work trip to Roanoke for bus museum business.

I feel like, for this trip, we scheduled it more or less perfectly.  We had exactly the right amount of time for what we had intended to do.  We left in the HR-V from my house, and made two quick food stops in Ellicott City and Catonsville.  Then it was straight through to Delaware House.  That was a bit more involved than I had anticipated, though, as there was a large backup just north of I-695, which slowed us down a bit.  I was regretting not looking at Google ahead of time before deciding not to bounce at White Marsh and taking Route 1 for a ways, like I did last April on the New York trip.  Route 1 is a viable alternative to I-95, and this would have been a good time to use it.

Then after Delaware House, we continued straight through into Pennsylania, taking I-95 through Wilmington.  Every time I go through Wilmington, I always say that I want to explore it, but then I never plan a trip to actually go to Wilmington.  It always gets bypassed, either by skirting it to the southeast on trips that go into New Jersey, or by never getting off of the highway while going through on the way up to Philadelphia.  I went to Christiana Mall last year, but still haven’t done Wilmington itself.  Aaron and I discussed possibly doing a quick side trip through parts of Wilmington on the way back down, time permitting, so maybe we’d do a little bit in Wilmington, but that can was kicked down the road for now.

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A weekend in Augusta County, unsupervised…

28 minute read

December 22, 2023, 5:00 PM

I did my quarterly trip down to Augusta County on December 13-15, and this time, unlike most occasions when I do this trip, I was doing it completely unsupervised.  Elyse was pet-sitting for a friend of ours, and so she was in Fort Washington while I went down to Virginia.  With that in mind, I took full advantage of this situation, packing in all of the stuff that I would want to do that Elyse would probably not have the patience for.  In other words, lots of drone photography, mostly photographing Augusta County school buildings, with the thought’s being that very few people would get good aerials of these relatively small schools.  I had a good time, and I felt very productive.

I got out of the house around 11:00, and then hit the road.  This was a trip where I went down via US 29 and back via I-81, and things immediately did not look good, as I encountered major traffic on the Beltway.  That was annoying, but I recovered well enough, though I did start to contemplate how much of a difference it would have made to go an alternate route for a Charlottesville trajectory, with the thought’s being to 270 to 15 to 29, going via Point of Rocks and Leesburg, or something similar to that.  After all, the alternate route works well when I’m going to I-81.  That alternate route bypasses the Beltway and I-66, going to I-81 via US 340 and Route 7 via Harpers Ferry and Winchester, and only adds seven minutes to the trip.  I ran my proposed alternate route for 29 through Google, and it adds about thirty minutes to the drive to go across Montgomery and Frederick counties via local roads, and then 15 at Point of Rocks, and joining 29 just south of Haymarket.  This also bypasses the busiest part of my route on 29, in the Gainesville area.  The question really becomes a matter of whether this alternate route is worth the additional time to travel it vs. dealing with the annoyances of the Beltway and 66, as well as the additional cost involved with taking the express lanes.

In any case, once I got to the express lanes on the Beltway, I took them, and continued in the express lanes on I-66, because I didn’t want to risk any more delays.  I made a pit stop at the Sheetz in Haymarket, and then from there, I took 15 to 29 and then the rest was normal for a trip down via 29.  The plan was to dip into Warrenton on the way down to photograph some converted restaurant buildings.  I had spotted a few of these on past drives through Warrenton, and now I was going to do them, along with whatever else I found interesting on the way down.  This was also why I hit up the Sheetz in Haymarket rather than the third Sheetz (Bealeton) like I normally would.  Warrenton came before the third Sheetz, and I wanted some food inside of me before I got busy.

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Yes, we are back in the air again…

6 minute read

December 2, 2023, 11:27 PM

You may recall that when I wrote in this space about my recent trip to Chicago, I described how my DJI Air 2S drone went to a watery grave in Lake Michigan following a forced landing due to battery depletion while I was flying in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, taking my entire day’s worth of photos down with it.  The good news is that I am now whole once again.  I got a new DJI Air 3 drone, which, among other features, sports twice as much fly time per battery than the Air 2S, and then I also activated the flyaway coverage that I had with the Air 2S and got a new one of those, too.  So all in all, I’m in good shape.  I have new equipment that is faster and more powerful than my previous equipment, plus I also have some pretty solid equipment as a backup drone.

That also means that the Mini probably won’t see much action anymore.  The thing about the DJI Mavic Mini is that it’s not a bad drone, but it’s not a great drone, either.  It lacks collision sensors, so it’s not going to stop you from plowing headlong into an object.  It’s also fairly slow-moving and gets kicked around in the wind a bit.  It also uses wi-fi as a transmission protocol, and as such, it’s prone to interference.  And now being the third one on the totem pole, it’s probably not going to see much use.  I will use the Air 3 as my primary drone, and the Air 2S will be the drone that Elyse will use as well as my backup.  So it’s like this exchange in the third episode of Roseanne:

Darlene: Mom, if Becky has a heart attack, I’m in charge, right?
Roseanne: Right!
DJ: Mom, if Darlene has a heart attack, I’m in charge.
Roseanne: Right, DJ!  If both your sisters are dead, you’re in charge.

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