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Finally, a road photo that I didn’t have to research…

July 11, 2015, 10:12 PM

Whenever I find a photo online showing something amusing on the road, I always like to find out the location.  I’ve become rather skilled at looking at background details in photos to sleuth out locations after posting and geotagging countless photos on Panoramio, as well as researching filming locations for Project TXL (a planned overhaul of the Today’s Special site).  So imagine my delight to see this funny road photo, showing Thomas the Tank Engine being transported on the back of a truck:

Original caption: "My buddy saw Thomas the Tank Engine getting kidnapped earlier this morning."
Photo: Imgur

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Sometimes you have those weekends where you just have to get out of the house…

June 11, 2014, 6:06 PM

Ever get that feeling of “I just have to get out of the house”?  I recently had that feeling, where I just needed a change of scenery for a little bit, and so I planned a weekend trip down to Stuarts Draft to visit the parents, going down Friday, and coming back Sunday.  They were, as always, delighted to see me, and on the whole, we had a good time.  I also made some extra space in my house, as, on Mom’s request, I brought my sister’s old bicycle back to my parents’ house.  Gave me some practice in “beheading” a bicycle by removing the front wheel, and then reattaching it at my destination.  But it travels much more easily without the front wheel:

The bicycle has been beheaded!
The freshly-liberated front wheel.

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A fun time was had by all…

April 7, 2010, 9:06 PM

So I got back from Stuarts Draft last night, and all in all, it was a pretty good trip. First of all, on the way down, I visited my friend Bergit, who I first met at the National Equality March back in October. We had a good time, chatting it up, and visiting a few stores in Charlottesville’s Corner district. Perhaps the most amusing part of the whole trip was the discovery that UVA sold a Snuggie with their logo on it, which Bergit modeled for the camera:

Bergit models the UVA Snuggie

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The parking lot known as Interstate 66…

November 25, 2009, 10:07 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I’ve not been in six months. I’m here until Sunday, and left straight from work, which was interesting.

I tried something new this time around. I drove into work, worked a half day, and then left for Stuarts Draft straight from the office. For that, I took 16th Street from P Street to K Street, and then took K Street to I-66. Then I took 66 to the end, where I caught I-81 down to Staunton, and then from there, moseyed around a few back roads to Stuarts Draft and my parents’ house.

Driving into work and then leaving straight from work certainly has its ups and downs. On one hand, I can load up in the morning and then go, and not have to go back home to pick up the car, i.e. go north from the office back to Maryland just to immediately turn south again to go to Virginia. Then the drop-at-Vienna-the-night-before bit is a shade complicated. Recall that the drop-at-Vienna method involves positioning the car with most of the luggage in Virginia the night before, taking Metro and a bus back to Maryland, and then going to work like normal the next day. Then after work, take Metro to Vienna rather than Glenmont, grab the car, and zing off to Stuarts Draft. The idea there was to avoid the inside-the-beltway traffic by putting the car ahead of that and taking Metro to meet the car, but it’s just a bit too much trouble, and involves a lot of advance planning and coordination of what needs to be where. Plus it’s weird stashing the car and one’s luggage in another state for a night.

The whole idea is dealing with the traffic most effciently when there’s a workday involved. See, going into work precludes use of the Beltway for the trip out, since work is in Dupont Circle, near downtown Washington. One would think that it would have been less congested, but I-66 was slow all the way to Vienna. Seriously, I was on the phone with Mom part of the way, and was like, “I’m going eight miles per hour. Oh, wait, now ten. Wait… five.” Yeah, that slow. On the freeway. At least I had people on the phone, plus Randi Rhodes when I didn’t have anyone on the phone.

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This was the first time we were all together in a long time…

March 17, 2008, 10:48 PM

Stuarts Draft was, as always, a lot of fun. And note, that is one sentence I never thought I’d find myself saying. But anyways…

So the whole dump-the-car-at-Vienna plan went according to plan, though it did take longer than I had planned to get out of the exit ramp. Of course, look what I had to contend with:

Traffic on I-66 at Nutley Street

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When I drive down to see the parents, I’m reminded of why I used to always do the driving on my DC trips in the early morning and late at night.

March 2, 2008, 11:30 PM

First of all, let me say that I had fun in Stuarts Draft and surrounding over the weekend. I came down Saturday morning, and went back up Sunday evening. In the process, I got to see Katie, my parents, and my friend Patrick Jarrett.

And the drive itself reminded me of why, when I did my bi-weekly DC trips for more than three years, I did the driving in the early morning and late at night. Traffic was much lighter than otherwise. On the way up to DC, I’d leave the house around 5:30 AM. Quiet on the highway. Then on the way back, I timed my arrival back at Vienna for around midnight to head back. Traffic was much lighter during those hours than otherwise. On my trip this time, where I took US 29 down, and I-81 and I-66 back, I think the only time when traffic wasn’t thick was on the way down between Culpeper and Ruckersville. Otherwise, it was pretty heavy traffic almost the entire way, including on US 340 going towards Stuarts Draft. Not fun.

However, the rest of the trip was fun. I got to see Katie for a few minutes, and then headed into Stuarts Draft to see the parents. They’ve made some changes to the “Pirate Room” (my old bedroom, which they’ve turned into an upstairs living room) since last I was there, removing my old desk and putting in this dresser with a ship painted on the front in the room in its place. It’s really nice, too. Meanwhile, we also finally named the pair of goldfish that Mom put in there. She hadn’t originally given them names because she couldn’t tell them apart, but I determined that one was more brightly colored than the other, thus we could tell them apart. I named them Castor and Pollux, after the twins in Greek mythology. It has a bit of a personal connection for me, as my astrological sign is Gemini, which is headed up by the stars Castor and Pollux. And in the fish, Castor is the more brightly-colored fish, while Pollux is the one with slightly more subdued colors.

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I finally got a photo of the airport beacon…

December 25, 2007, 11:09 PM

While I was in Stuarts Draft and vicinity for Christmas, I finally got a photo of the airport beacon, which I previously discussed here and here. So here it is:

The beacon at the Bridgewater airport

So there you have it. As you can see, it’s from a little private airport in Bridgewater. The only way one would know of its presence would be by seeing this beacon spinning around and around. But there you have it…

Categories: Harrisonburg

Bet you haven’t seen this before…

May 1, 2007, 6:06 PM

I’ll bet you haven’t seen this destination on Metro trains before:

Red Line to Twinbrook

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Categories: DC trips, Harrisonburg, WMATA

And what a wonderful time in Harrisonburg it was!

February 24, 2007, 9:25 PM

I had a fun day today in Harrisonburg. First of all, my time with Patrick went quite well. I got to meet his father, and the three of us had dinner at Ruby Tuesday. He also got to see the Sable, and he was impressed. It helped that I ran it through the car wash earlier that day, too. I also got to see his Chevy Venture, which was pretty neat.

The three of us were also in agreement that the people who designed the traffic patterns for the Harrisonburg Crossing shopping center deserve to be shot, since there are only three points of entrance to that very large and very congested shopping center. There’s one on Burgess Road, which leads to East Market Street (US 33). Then there are two at the other end on Reservoir Street. And the parking rows have no breaks from one end to the other. Therefore, you have two ways across the shopping center, parallel to the buildings. Right up against Wal-Mart and Home Depot, or right up against the Barnes and Noble/Michaels/Ross/Staples/Circuit City/whatever building. Thus it’s very easy to get stuck in parking lot hell, as you have to go all the way to either end to change rows, and the two side areas are VERY congested with traffic. Two words: It sucks. They would be very well served to reconfigure the parking lot to add another way across that massive lot parallel to the buildings. Imagine another path parallel to the buildings down the center. That would start directly in front of the main entrance at Reservoir Street to right in between O’Charley’s and Ruby Tuesday. The construction work necessary to do this would involve building some new parking lot islands to mark the new ends of the rows, and paving through some long islands that run perpendicular to the buildings and run the full length of the lot. Until they do that, which I don’t see as being likely to happen any time soon, have one hand on the horn, and have the middle finger on the other hand at the ready, because Harrisonburg drivers drive like idiots, and that goes for permanent residents and JMU students alike. Every time I have to cross that shopping center when it’s busy, another hair turns gray.

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Categories: Friends, Harrisonburg

I found the beacon in Rockingham County

January 11, 2007, 2:43 PM

You may recall back in November in this entry that I was discussing a beacon visible from I-81 in Rockingham County.

Fast forward about a month and a half, and I can now tell you that I found the beacon. I was coming home from Harrisonburg last night, after attending a potluck at Rocktown Infoshop. I took Route 42 down as far as Bridgewater, and then crossed over to Route 11 on Dinkel Avenue. And there’s the light from the beacon, going around and around.

I’d spoken with some people about the beacon since I wrote my Journal entry, and they told me about an airport that I previously didn’t know about that exists in Bridgewater. I thought it was somewhat odd for an airport to be in Bridgewater, considering that the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport exists just over the county line in Weyers Cave. But okay. There’s the light, and it had been a curiosity of mine for some years.

So I turned onto Route 11 and proceeded south through Mount Crawford, and turned right onto the aptly-named Airport Road. Airport Road starts out with a one-lane bridge over some river or stream, and then follows a series of sharp curves. All the while, the beacon’s light is still visible in the distance. And there are houses on this road. I could not imagine living so close to that beacon, but still, there you go. And as I traveled along this road, the beacon’s sweep became somewhat narrower, making it apparent that I was getting closer to the source.

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Categories: Harrisonburg

Does anyone know…

November 29, 2006, 8:21 PM

Does anyone know the location and/or purpose of a beacon or searchlight in Rockingham County, Virginia just south of Harrisonburg? I first noticed it in 2003 when I was commuting to JMU, and I gave it some more serious thought about what it was last night when I most recently saw it. And I see it on most trips through that area at night.

It appears to originate west of Interstate 81 and US 11, appearing to originate from Bridgewater, or just south of there. I’ve never actually seen the device that this light originates from – just the light itself. The beam of light is white, and it moves in a clockwise direction at a fast speed. If you’ve ever seen the way a lighthouse’s beam moves, it’s about the same.

To see the area I’m referring to, here’s a map. The beacon appears to originate from west of the highway (left on that map). The furthest north I’ve been able to see it is at Exit 240, which is the Mt. Crawford/Bridgewater exit on I-81, the junction of I-81 and Friedens Church Road. The furthest south I’ve seen it is just north of the Augusta County line. The boundary between the two counties is not marked on the map, but to give you a general idea, it’s a straight northwest-to-southeast line just north of Fadley Road and Weyers Cave Road (Route 256).

So my question is, has anyone else seen this particular bit of light? Does anyone know where it’s actually located? Does anyone know what its purpose is? If you know what it is, I would like to know!

Categories: Driving, Harrisonburg

What would you say if it was me behind the wheel of your transit bus?

February 21, 2005, 1:42 AM

What would you say? Well, I can’t say you’ll be seeing me driving a bus any time soon, but I did get someone to take a picture of me behind the wheel of a Harrisonburg Transit bus on Friday. That will be my cover photo for March on the site.

Otherwise, though, photographing in Blacksburg on Wednesday turned out to be quite successful. I got a whole load of bus photos, and also various other non-bus photos. Plus I got to eat dinner with my sister, which was nice.

I also discovered that Coca-Cola is coming out with a new flavor – Coca-Cola with lime. This is regular Coke, with the lime flavoring. This is NOT a diet soda! This is regular Coke. I tried it. It’s got a good flavor. It’s not like Pepsi Twist. This is like Vanilla Coke – it’s there, but it’s not obnoxious, and you’d think that the two had been together for ages. Pepsi Twist honestly tasted like Pepsi with some strange-tasting lemon flavor in it. Only place I’ve found the new Coca-Cola with lime so far is the Wal-Mart in Salem, where I stopped to make a pit stop on my way down. I’m sure it will be around elsewhere before too long.

Otherwise, I have confirmed that my sister is coming with me to DC on April 16! Though it might be more appropriate to say “A16”, considering what we’re going to a big demonstration on third-world debt. This will be my sister’s first big DC demonstration! Awwww…

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