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A solo adventure up north…

January 21, 2023, 10:17 AM

On January 5 and 6, while Elyse was at National Harbor attending MAGFest, I did a little overnight trip up north while I was unsupervised.  This was to be a quick adventure, since this wasn’t one of my long weekends, and the goal was to pack as much fun as I could have into two days’ time.  The plan was to leave home in the late morning on the 5th, go up to Philadelphia that day and stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, which would stage me for the second day, where I would head over to Trenton and then take the train up to New York.  I would spend about eight hours in New York, ride the train back to Trenton, and then head home from there.  Interestingly enough, this was an adventure where I put more focus on the logistics of the travel than I did on what I would actually do at the destination.  Thus, the execution didn’t go as well as I had intended, as I ended up getting there and then was like, well, now what? as I more or less played it by ear with less direction than I usually like to give myself.  I also knew that this would need to be a more indoor-focused trip, because it was going to be rainy or overcast all day both days.  This adventure was also unusual because on this adventure, the drone stayed home.  The Philadelphia day was not going to be conducive for flying, and New York, forget about it – too many people to worry about.

For the “Philadelphia” day, I actually put more of my efforts into the Wilmington area than I did in Philadelphia.  I have a list of photo shoot ideas on the computer, which I jokingly refer to as “the place where photo ideas go to die”, and initially pulled out the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, which a photographer friend had previously photographed.  However, I wanted to do the interior, and they also closed at 5 PM, so that would have to be a first stop since it closed relatively early.  So while I wanted to do it, I put it into the “we’ll see” pile, because I wanted to do some stuff in Delaware, which would have to come first because of its location.  I ended up spending a lot of time at Christiana Mall, since I’d been going past it on 95 in 15+ years of adventures up north, but I’d never stopped there in all of that time.

When it came to Christiana Mall, I sort of knew what to expect.  Christiana Mall was a one-story mall, and, unlike a lot of malls these days, was doing well.  As such, I didn’t go in expecting something massive like King of Prussia and then experience disappointment when I got a one-story mall.  Even for a one-story mall, the facility was smaller than I expected, being arranged roughly in a loop.  It had five anchor spots, and they were all filled.  I think that the biggest surprise there was the way that Target was attached to the mall.  In most cases where I’ve seen Target at an enclosed shopping mall, the store is either adjoining the mall but otherwise freestanding (i.e. no mall entrance), or the mall entrance is located at the front of the store near the regular exterior entrance.  Not so at this store.  At Christiana, the mall entrance for Target was in the back of the store.  From the perspective of the store, there was a row of self checkout machines in the random location in the back of the store, and there was a mall entrance nearby.  If it tells you anything about how random the mall entrance’s location is, after I finished up at Target, I had to hunt for that mall entrance in order to get back to the mall.  It is very non-obvious in its placement.

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No tire problems this time around…

October 25, 2017, 3:17 AM

On Tuesday, October 17, with Elyse and Aaron Stone in tow, I headed down to Ocean City for the day.  The plan was to do the Ocean City outing that I had wanted to do last year, but which had been significantly curtailed due to a slow tire leak that I had to get repaired en route.  Remembering that, I was very explicit about wanting to make as few stops as possible.  The only stops were restroom stops and a food stop, and we did well enough on time.  After all, the purpose of the trip was photography, and so I needed proper light in order to get it, and that meant making good time on the road.  Once I’m out of daylight, the photography is over, since I am currently without a functioning tripod, and therefore, my nighttime options are limited.

For those of you who are not familiar, Ocean City is one of those dumpy little coastal resort towns that has a very distinct operating season.  Outside of that season, the place is fairly quiet, as many businesses close for the off season, as do many of the hotels and attractions.  I was fine with this, because the off-season meant that there were fewer opportunities for people to get in the way of my shots, and those people who were out were easier to photograph.

The plan was that I would photograph along the boardwalk while Aaron and Elyse, both elevator enthusiasts, went out to ride various elevators.  We parked on 9th Street, and then once we got settled, I went south towards the fishing pier, and they went north to do some “elevator tourism”.

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A day trip to Ocean City that definitely felt rushed…

October 23, 2016, 1:20 PM

On Monday, October 10, I finally visited Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  You would think, having lived in Maryland for nine years, that I would have gotten out there before this, but better late than never, I suppose.

This was a trip where the journey was probably more interesting than the destination itself.  I’m also pretty confident that we did not meet my usual rule for a trip where you should spend as much time at the destination as it takes to get down there and back.  I also felt rushed when we actually got to the destination, but I suppose that such is what happens sometimes.  However, with this being an “overview” trip, where the goal was just to get a feel for what was there for future exploration, meeting my time rule wasn’t as important as it might otherwise be.

In any case, we left a little later than I would have liked, and the trip began fairly uneventfully.  Things went smoothly until we made a planned stop at the Wawa near Annapolis.  There, my low tire pressure light came on as we were getting ready to leave.  Okay.  Wawa has free air, so no problem.  The way that I figured, it had been a while since the last time that I had checked the tire pressure, so one of them may have reached the threshold for the warning light from normal whatever.  So I topped off the tires.  The left rear tire was a bit lower than the others, but the light went away.  Cool.  Problem solved.  Continue on trip.

After going over the Bay Bridge (my first time), I learned far more than I expected about center pivot irrigation systems from Elyse.  If it tells you anything, I’m no longer surprised when I learn that Elyse knows a lot about something medical or industrial.  But her information always checks out.  In this case, I learned about the different brands of center-pivot irrigation systems, and how to distinguish between them.  The main brands are Valley, Reinke (pronounced like “rinky”) and Zimmatic.  Those names, for whatever reason, made me think of the Pacman ghosts: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde/Sue.  I said, “Valley, Reinke, Zimmatic… and Sue.”  Maybe you had to be there, but we got a laugh out of it.  In any case, though, you saw a lot of them, as the Delmarva Peninsula has a lot of farmland.

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Categories: Delaware, Elyse, Maryland