Those Great Steam Engines

Adventure.  Mystery.  Romance.  History.

These words are often attributed to trains in general, and steam engines in particular.


A passenger excursion train, pulled by a steam engine, rolled into Radford last weekend (see here).  The crowds came out to ride, see, and photograph the magnificent train.  We were lucky enough to get very close to the train, so I was on the tracks and practically under the train, seeking the best image.


This view of water, used to create the steam, dripping down and splashing on the stairs caught my eye.



B&W images remind us of days gone by, or days we’ve only heard of, or read about.


The next post will feature more images, but in color.

Auction: Selling History

A dear friend of mine recently phased out the construction / welding side of her 57 year old, family owned business, and because of that, an auction was held to sell off equipment.  I’d originally planned to serve as support person and friend, but within minutes after arriving, I knew that I’d also be documenting history.  This is the first post of two about that auction.

While understanding that this was a bittersweet process for the family, I neverless found it fascinating.  As with bikers and military families (and I’ve been part if both), the group of machinists, contractors, and welders that were present that day represented another subculture:  those hardworking folks who work with their hands, and their backs, to construct things that many of us take for granted.

The room was packed and the excitement palpable.


Immediately energized, I jumped into the middle of the large crowd of people, primarily male, most in ball caps and Carhartt.  No one seemed to mind me and my camera, thankfully, and I enjoyed interacting with everyone.

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This young man had a little of his own cash and when I asked what he planned to buy, he said “something for my Dad”.


This little guy was just along for the ride.


Andthis one? Obviously, he was there for the hot dogs!


The range of age …



and the visions of the past



made me feel whistful for “the good old days”.

The auction lasted all day long, inside and out.



and ultimately, it was a huge success!


Next Post: The Auctioneers and the Family

The 2013 Bike Adventure: The Historic Waterfront Community of Annapolis

The day began with a brief ride on the GW Parkway, at the end of which lies Mt Vernon.  I wish I’d had time to stop and visit George’s home, but even though I try to remain spontaneous on the annual bike trip, I knew I had to get on down the road.

Just a few words about the George Washington Memorial Parkway: The almost 40 mile long road, maintained by the National Park Service, is a scenic, commemorative route that features historical monuments of national significance.  The GW Parkway provides protection and habitat for many species that are endangered.

The Parkway curves along the Potomac River and I just had to stop to shoot some photos.  And THIS is when I wish I had a better camera and more skill.  It was an overcast morning and the DC haze made photography challenging (at least for me).


 I was only on the GW Parkway for 14 miles, but it was a lovely way to start the day.


The first challenge upon arriving in Annapolis was trying to decide where to eat!  I arrived in time for lunch and the downtown historic area was packed with restaurants.  Finding parking nearby was the real concern since all my belongings were strapped to the back of the bike.  The Federal House, established in 1835, fit the bill for food and parking, and their award winning Cream of Crab soup and a pint of the Federal House Golden Ale hit the spot perfectly!


Next up was to find a place to stay so I could get the bike and my gear off the street.  Since this was to be my only night of the trip to have to pay for a room, I let myself splurge a bit.  Len, at the Visitors Center, directed me to Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis, a beautiful B&B with off street parking, located right in the heart of the historic area.

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The innkeepers could not have been more welcoming!  Within moments of stepping in the door, I had a cold bottle of water in my hand and was tasting a fresh, homemade sweet treat.  Each encounter with these folks made me feel cared for.



Summaring Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, in one blog post is challenging.  It’s 350 year history, architecture, dining, and waterfront made for some fun times with the camera.  I walked for hours, exploring much of the 8 square miles of the city, and still left much to be discovered on my next visit.

The United States Naval Academy

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The Annapolis National Cemetery, one of 147 cemeteries nationally, a system of cemeteries established in 1862 for soldiers who have died in the service of the country.


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The Maryland State House, built from 1772-1779, is the oldest state house still in legislative use, and is a Registered National Historic Landmark.

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Annapolis is just full of beautiful sights to photograph, especially along the waterfront.

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And then there is all the brick!  What is it about brick that appeals to me?  The color?  That it ages so beautifully?

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Brick even makes my dirty bike look better!




The day ended with a meal on the dock.  Black Bean soup, Crab Cake, and red wine.  Music in the background, and the lights of this small city reflected on the water made the evening just about perfect.


A final walk back to the B&B and it was pure contentment in Annapolis!



History Preserved: Williamsburg

The majority of my time in Williamsburg was spent in meetings and seminars related to Nurse Practitioners and healthcare.  Thankfully I found one hour of time, early one morning, to walk the restored area and take some pictures.











I’m back home after an 8 day, 900 mile trip for business and pleasure around Virginia!  Thanks for following me along the way!

Day 5-7- Williamsburg: The Warmth of Brick

It’s been an excellent conference, filled with opportunities for increasing knowledge and catching up with friends and colleagues, with time for good food and wine and even a little fun!

This morning I also found some time to get out early and shoot some of the sights around the restored area of Williamsburg.  I took many photos, but what struck me the most was how warm the bricks looked with the 6:30 am sun shining on them.









I’ll post more pictures from the restored area later … for now, I hope you enjoy the early morning warmth and sunlight.

24 Hours in Charleston: Thanksgiving 2012

When your only child has only one day off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday (my favorite of the year!), you travel to see him.  It’s a 6 hour drive from Radford, VA to Charleston, SC and I was on the road by 6am Thanksgiving morning.  Traffic was light and the drive was easy and I was excited to see Andrew and to explore a bit more of his adopted city.

I’ve managed to take two short but fun trips to Charleston in the 6 months since Andrew relocated, both of which lasted only 24 hours.  Someday I’ll get to stay longer, but for now, I’ll take what time I can get with my child and the City of Charleston.


The cooking began almost soon as I pulled in the driveway, with dinner time coinciding with the second half of the Redskins / Dallas game.  Now, normally I would NOT be found in front of a TV while enjoying this wonderful holiday meal, but when you have 24 hours and it’s the biggest game of the year for a Redskin fan, you do what you have to do.  And for those who are not fans of the game, WE WON!

We did find time to squeeze in a visit to one of Andrew’s two places of employment. The Hibernian Society was formed in 1801 with the hall dedicated in 1841.  Yes, it is a men’s only organization, but I can appreciate the history of the building and the philanthropy of the society.  The sign out front boasts the fact that the presidency alternates between a protestant and a catholic.


After dinner, we filled up our go cups (a great southern tradition) and in the dark of the evening, walked the historic streets of Charleston.  I did not have my camera with me, and that may have been a good thing because I am not sure I would have been able to capture the beauty of those centuries old homes in the low light.  The three pictures seen here were taken during my first visit this past May.

I’ll be working on nighttime shooting for future visits. What a lovely evening that was … strolling through alleys and alongside the battery, enjoying my wine, my child and history.


The next morning found us exploring The Angel Oak. Estimated to be 300 to 400 years old, this live oak is 65 ft tall and offers 17,000 sq ft of shade.

I love the way these old live oaks hang over the streets.  Andrew was patient as I asked him time and again to pull over so I could take pictures.

The colors found in the grasses and the wetland marshes are gorgeous!

One of the goals of this visit was to walk the The Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge.  Completed in 2005, the bridge has a 2.7 mile pedestrian (and bicycle) walkway.  I could not stop taking pictures … what an amazing structure!


After a quick lunch, I got back on the road.  I’m fortunate to have an adult child that I’m proud of … and to have him live in such a wonderful place, is an added bonus.