Thursday, June 20, 2013

Drinking Naked & Stinking Grain

On Saturday I had a long overdue visit to Naked Mountain Winery, (where my favorite Raptor Red comes from), with some British friends.
We got straight down to business, eagerly quaffing down the samples in the Tasting room. Valerie was a very keen participant.
We worked our way through the samples rather too quickly for our liking, all too soon we were done, but undaunted we ordered glasses of wine and before sitting outside to enjoy the sun and the views, we had  a group photo. I would like to point out that Nancy and I were on our knees purely for the reason of balancing out the photo and not because we were unable to stand.
Waiting for refills.
A local artist who performed Beatles songs very well from a chair and not from inside a flower pot as it appears here.
Afterwards we convoyed to another favorite haunt, The Hunter's Head in Upperville. The food here is always top notch and the place is always busy, but I wonder if this will continue in the future. I heard through the grapevine that Ayrshire Farm, which owns and provides meat & produce to the Hunter's Head and the Home Farm Store in Middleburg, is up for sale for $30M. I so hope the new owner can keep up the superb quality we've all enjoyed in these establishments so far. The website is here.
I had the Cobbs Salad which was delicious, in fact I've always had nothing but great food from here.
We all had a fun day, it was wonderful catching up with the crowd in my stomping ground. I don't like to venture down DC as much as before these days as the traffic just keeps getting worse and worse. With all those fumes down there and in neighboring suburbs, there has to be a health risk for residents. I'm certainly preferring to stay in the sweet country air as much as possible, but there are still times I get drawn to the city for fun.
On Sunday, I met with Richard to drive up to Baltimore to an abandoned grain elevator. We were meeting a few others and once again I took a moment to realize how thankful I am to be back in action again. It's still a novelty for me to be active after 7 weeks of hobbling around and having to stay close to home.
This grain elevator closed 8/30/94 and was owned by Mississippi River Grain Inc. It's been used in many TV shows and movies, including Treasure Hunters and Ladder 49.
There were a few boats stored here, reminding me of Detroit.
We scouted around on the ground level and then had to climb up using a metal spiral staircase. It was a very dark ascent which required our flashlights and which left me a little dizzy as we emerged at the top.
The views were amazing, revealing the Savannah, an old nuclear warship, containers in a roll on/roll off terminal and Canton, but the best views were from higher up, panoramas at the end of this blog.
On this level were tracks on which carts haued the grain traveled back and forth. There were plenty of holes in the floor showing how high we were when we peered through and we took pains to avoid stepping on the many metal grates that gave access to the silos. I'd inadvertently stepped on one and was alarmed at how it bowed a little, a drop through that would be fatal.
The next floors upward had a multitude of huge pipes standing upward as though they belonged to giant metallic spiders or Martians. They reminded me a bit of The War of the Worlds.
Certainly wouldn't want this weight dropped on my toe!
Whatever floor we walked through, there was a terrible fetid stench in areas, reminiscent of bird poop, but there wasn't a lot of it present. Thankfully it didn't permeate throughout the entire building and we were able to walk through the offending areas quickly but it caught me unawares a couple of times.
We think these were large filters of some kind in which the balls inside chaffed the grain as it passed over them.

Nice views from the top, would've been a great place for a picnic!
Richard at the top of the spiral staircase about to start the descent, which was worse than the ascent. I felt even dizzier at the bottom.
As usual we went for beers and a late lunch afterwards and enjoyed sitting outside a bar with a brisk breeze blowing away the dust and grime, and that obnoxious pong from our nostrils.

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