On Sunday I wanted to try out Stanley and explore new ground. With poor old Stuart and his high mileage I was too scared to drive more than a couple of hours away in case I broke down, but now my radius has expanded to unlimited miles and I was eager to get out there. Bill came with me and with coffee, empty camera cards and charged batteries we set off.
I had an area in Maryland on my 'to explore' list so we drove northwest up towards Rte 36 where the road followed the Potomac River and would hopefully discover some old and interesting industrial towns. It seemed odd to be driving a new vehicle, especially without having the constant dread of a breakdown, but the guilt of disposing of Stuart was hanging heavy on my shoulders and I know it will take a while to fully accept Stanley as his replacement. But having Bill to chat and laugh with while driving brightened my mood andsoon I was focusing on the emergence of spring in the surrounding countryside. Blossom buds were bursting out, pink, yellow and white peeking out, birds flitted and swooped across the front of the car and alongside us, while wisps of clouds were still clinging to the mountain tops but they would soon be swept away, it was a cold and gusty day.
We came across an old mill in Lonaconing and found a phone number for the owner who told us he charged $25 an hour for people to take photos. Letting us inside, he gave a brief history of the old building and how he'd purchased it, and was now seeking funds for repairs, particularly to the roof. There had been a lot of water damage inside and I wondered how safe it was to be in there.
It was a little embarrassing as the owner had asked where I was from after hearing my accent, then once we met him, he said he couldn't let me go back to England without seeing the mill. I was too embarrassed to tell him I lived here now in case that was the only reason he was allowing us inside, so I kept quiet. We only spent 40 minutes shooting the building and then a further 15 or so talking about the mill's history so I didn't feel we'd underpaid for his time.
The National Pike, stopping to leap out of the car to snap the Casselman Bridge and then within 5 minutes were jumping back onto our heated car seats again.
Cranesville Swamp has a small parking lot, room for about 5 vehicles, and I was amazed to see one leaving as we arrived, an older guy who'd been out for a solitary walk.