Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bowling and Back Roads

On Saturday I headed up to Maryland to help a friend, Andrew, celebrate his birthday. We were meeting at some bowling lanes and it would be my first experience of duck pin bowling. I trotted down the stairs to meet the group and was absolutely delighted to see two old friends whom I'd not seen for ages.
 I haven't seen Scottula for over two years...
...and the last time I saw John was last summer. It was wonderful to catch up with lots of hugs and laughs.They both posed by an old pay phone which wasn't working. We found that out by calling the number and reached a lady who wasn't impressed when we told her where her phone number had been recycled from.
 The bowling lanes were wonderfully old fashioned with old flecked floor tiles, an old clock and I loved the key plate on a locker. Everyone seemed to be doing really well at the bowling but I was useless. I ended up nearly throwing myself down the lane as I tried different ways of tossing the ball. Jason above showed his skills and tried to teach me how to curve the ball. Big fail.
Here's Emily showing her casual but effective bowling technique. She beat me. So we won't dwell on how bad I was at bowling as I enjoyed the company far more than anything else. Oh, and the beer was good. We celebrated Andrew's birthday heartily and he was most impressed with his friends' enthusiasm but had to depart around 8pm ish to see other folks. So Scott, John, Emily, Jason and I discussed on where we could explore locally as having original explorer members together again after such a long time had to be celebrated. After much discussion we decided to drive in convoy to see a safe door, a suggestion from John.
We had to spend a few minutes in the parking lot being mightily impressed with the seat material in Scottula's car. We traveled in convoy to our destination and in true style lost each other. Jason, Emily and I arrived at what we thought was the right place but we couldn't see a safe door lying in a parking lot as John had described. Just as we were giving up, Scot called me, confirmed our whereabouts, and pulled up slurping an ice from Rita's. Just a couple of minutes later John walked over from the other side of the parking lot having recognized my laugh. And then he pointed out the safe door which we'd driven past and not noticed.
 It's the original safe door from the bank that used to stand almost on this spot and has now been turned into an art piece.
We spent some time inspecting it and hopping back and forth through the door way but soon our pillows were calling and for me the excitement of spending time with such awesome friends was taking its toll. I had a ninety minute drive ahead of me so stopped to grab a coke to caffeinate me for the drive ahead. We all hugged,promising to meet soon and before long I was hugging a happy cat and a soft pillow as I drifted to sleep.
On Sunday, I drove out to explore a couple of towns that Steve and I had passed through last weekend. I got to Stephens City and stopped to take a photo of an old motel sign. And found out that once again I'd left my camera card at home. Now on previous occasions I'd make gangster dudes and felons cringe with my chosen words but this time I had my new iPhone so after a momentary twinge of annoyance I just pulled my phone out and captured the image. So all the following photos in this blog entry are from the phone, shot and edited.
Not a bad retro image! I came across a truck stop where some lovely old trucks were parked up. Again a slight tic of annoyance at not having the 50D but the phone came up trumps.
This was my favorite photo of the trucks, using an HDR filter which really brought out the tree reflection on the engine casing.
I took a couple of shots of the town but it seemed to be a little quiet and many of the small stores were closed so it looks like I'll have to return once it livens up in the warmer weather. There's also a drive in movie theater here so I'll definitely be back for that now I realize it's not too far from home.
There's also a very big electric sub station here. I continued driving down to Middletown which was another settlement with a lot of older buildings.
There was an abandoned caboose on the rail line and a house had this display of 'kids' playing hide & seek. Not sure if this was cute or weird...
I then turned towards home and hit the back roads, finding some beautiful vistas and things of interest along the way.
 This is Cobbler Mountain which I can see from my house when the trees are bare.
I could spend hours out here just driving round the narrow country lanes, there's so much around every corner. Roll on the warmer weather when I can cycle them instead!

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