"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

July 31, 2011

July 31 – Washington, DC

Day 135 - Welcome to Washington, DC
Gangplank Marina

We left early this morning and had a very nice day on the water. The landscape along the Potomac River is beautiful...mostly rolling hills, with some larger cliffs and trees, trees everywhere. We passed some large estates, a military base, and historic places like Mount Vernon and Fort Washington on our way into Washington, DC. It was very exciting to look up and see the Washington Monument and the Capital on the horizon. I can't believe we are actually staying here on our boat. Our marina is less than a mile to The Smithsonian museums, the Capital and most of the monuments and memorials.

Late in the afternoon we rode to the National Mall and had our first look at part of DC. We looked at the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Korean War Memorial. We went by the Lincoln Memorial, but it was packed with people...we'll try to get by there one morning before the tour buses arrive. We spent the evening on the boat enjoying our view of the Washington skyline.

Mt. Vernon
Washington skyline as we came into the marina
Washington Monument - The Washington Monument is the most prominent structure in Washington, DC and one of the city's early attractions. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles. It was finished on December 6, 1884.
World War ll Memorial - The U.S. National World War II Memorial is a National Memorial dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it is located on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004.
Looking across the World War II Memorial to the Washington Monument
Korean Memorial - “Freedom is not free.” Here, one finds the expression of American gratitude to those who restored freedom to South Korea. Nineteen stainless steel sculptures stand silently under the watchful eye of a sea of faces upon a granite wall—reminders of the human cost of defending freedom. These elements all bear witness to the patriotism, devotion to duty, and courage of Korean War veterans. The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.
View from our boat

July 30 - Stafford, VA

Day 134 - Family Visit
Hope Springs Marina

We got to spend a wonderful day with our niece Kendra and her family. They came to the boat for a short visit and tour and then they spent the day showing us the sites in the area. Our first stop was The National Museum of the Marine Corps. Doug was an active Marine for five years and works on the marine base in the area. The museum was very impressive with world-class interactive exhibits that use the most innovative technology to surround visitors with irreplaceable artifacts and immerse them in the sights and sounds of Marines in action. Our next stop was the historical downtown area of Fredericksburg. We enjoyed a Italian lunch and then wondered around a little. After lunch we visited the Fredericksburg Battlefield and National Cemetery. This battlefield was one of four in the area and was the bloodiest landscape of the Civil War. Approximately 20,000 soldiers died in this region during the Civil War, their remains scattered throughout the countryside in shallow, often unmarked, graves. In 1865 Congress established the Fredericksburg National Cemetery as a final resting place for the Union soldiers who died on area battlefields. Confederate soldiers are buried in cemeteries located at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Court House. Of the 15,300 men buried here, the identities of fewer than 3,000 are known.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at their home. Doug was nice enough to take us by a grocery store on our way back to the boat. We really had a nice day visiting with family and getting a little history lesson of this area.

Doug, Kendra, Kaitlyn and Sarah
The National Museum of the Marine Corps, the Museum's soaring design evokes the image of the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima
The Leatherneck Gallery
One of the original American flags raised by the Marines on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945.
Fredericksburg National Cemetery

July 30, 2011

July 29 - Stafford, VA

Day 133 – Real Bathrooms
Hope Springs Marina

We passed lots of large beautiful homes on both sides of the river today, but with all the heat and humidity it was just too hazy to get a good picture. We also passed the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center, where we could hear loud booms going off. It was a little startling sometimes.

We are at Hope Springs Marina in the Aquia River. The marina has a wonderful clubhouse with two large TVs, kitchen and lounge, exercise room and the best bathrooms we have seen at any marina. It isn't close to anything, but it was the closest marina we could find to our niece’s home.  We spent the afternoon and most of the evening at the clubhouse waiting for the boat to cool off…enjoying the big screen TV and the wonderful showers.

Scenery from the Virginia side of the Potomac
Beautiful hills and trees
Looking towards the marina from the clubhouse
Amtrak passenger trains coming from DC

July 29, 2011

July 28 - Colonial Beach, VA

Day 132 - Maryland or Virginia???
Colonial Beach Yachting Center

Well we ended up being wimps last night...we had to turn the generator on and run the AC. It was comfortable on deck, but just too warm and humid inside by the time we went to bed. I guess we'll have to wait awhile before anchoring out again.

We had a short day to Colonial Beach and will have another short day tomorrow. We are trying to get together with our niece from Fredericksburg on Saturday and then we will move to DC on Sunday. We should have a little time to get a few chores done on the boat the next few days. Colonial Beach is a cute little beach town. The interesting part of this area is, the whole Potomac River belongs to Maryland...right up to the vegetation line. So the town of Colonial Beach is in Virginia and their beach belongs to Maryland. Most of yesterday and all of today's travel was in Maryland, but where we stopped both nights belong to Virginia. So people who have homes on the water are taxed by Virginia for their houses and Maryland for their piers...kind of crazy.

We rode our bikes around town, but didn't see anything we needed to do, so we spent the rest of the afternoon on the boat. Stan did a little cleaning and I did a little research about Washington DC. The information we read about Colonial Beach said that George Washington, Robert E. Lee and James Monroe were all born in this area. I think there are monuments at the exact places, but without a car we couldn't get to them. Oh well, plenty of monuments await us in DC. We had dinner at the dockside restaurant, walked around the dock and visited with a few other boaters.

One of the docks at Colonial Beach Yachting Center
Looking towards the restaurant and dock master's office
Colonial Beach...beach (in Maryland)
This little town has water on three sides...this is part of Monroe Bay (in Virginia)
One of the boats we went by had to little friends sitting on the dock

July 28, 2011

July 27 - Kinsale, VA

Day 131 - Happy Birthday Kyle
Potomac River - Anchorage

Twenty five years ago today our voyage in life took on a new crew member and the journey ever since has been fantastic. Having children has been the biggest joy of my life. Our boys and now their wife's enrich our lives in so many ways and we are truly blessed to have them all. I really miss them today. Happy birthday, Kyle.

We are on our way up the Potomac to Washington DC. We figured if it's going to be hot, we might as well be somewhere that has plenty of inside things to do. The Chesapeake was a little rough this morning and we had a wild ride with 3-4 foot seas and 15-20 mph winds. We were lucky and things settled down in a few hours and the day turned out to be beautiful. We decided to take advantage of the decent temperature and humidity and anchor out...we figure it might be awhile before we get another chance. It is very peaceful at night in a quiet anchorage, you can hear the water slapping against the hull of the boat, fish jumping in the water and birds singing in the morning. I'm looking forward to cooler weather so we can do it more often.

Our wonderful family
Our view this evening
Beautiful sunset
Smooth seas

July 27, 2011

July 26 - Deltaville, VA

Day 130 - Over 3000 Miles

We have traveled 3013 miles since we left in March.  When I look at the map it's a little unbelievable that we have come so far. We really are a long ways from home and sometimes I really miss some of the comforts of our house, but we are having a good time and that outweighs what I miss.

We left the York River and traveled up the Chesapeake to Deltaville in the Rappahannock River today. We are at the Regatta Point marina, it has a lot of nice facilities, but there isn't much to do in the area. It was a nice place to stop and relax and take a dip in their pool. I did a load of laundry and we used their courtesy car to do a little shopping. We also had a chance to meet and visit with several other boaters.

The map of our travels
Regatta Point Marina - it has a wonderful lounge, veranda, pool and fantastic bathrooms
The Pearl at Regatta Point - we put the blue tarp on the front of the boat while we were in port to help keep the sun off the windows. It seemed to help keep the cabin cooler.

July 26, 2011

July 25 - Yorktown, VA

Day 129 - Colonial Williamsburg
Riverwalk Landing

The National Park service runs a free Historic Triangle Shuttle between Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. It runs through a beautiful wooded area, giving you a view of the James and York Rivers and a little history of the sites you will see in each town. We took the shuttle from Yorktown Victory Center to Williamsburg and spent the morning walking through century old buildings, seeing places where history took place...walking streets where people like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry have walked. It truly brings history to life. We had a nice lunch at The Trellis Restaurant and then rode the shuttle to Jamestown. We didn't realize there really isn't anything in Jamestown if you don't want to see the living history museum or archeology park at the original site of Jamestown. We enjoyed seeing the visitor center and then took the shuttle back to Yorktown.

This evening was the third night in a row we had a thunderstorm roll through. We really can't complain about the timing...it doesn't ruin our daily activities and it cools the boat down for the night. This front should keep the temperatures in a more comfortable range for the next few days.

Looking at the Governor's Palace from the Palace Green
The Governor's Palace was the home of five Royal Lieutenant-Governors, two Royal Governors and the first two Governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
One of the cute little shops in Colonial Williamsburg
The Courthouse
Drum and Fife Corps
Another cute store
Part of Duke of Gloucester Street

July 25, 2011

July 24 - Yorktown, VA

Day 128 - A Little History
Riverwalk Landing

We passed the 4,300 acre Naval Station, the largest naval base in the world, as we left Norfolk this morning. There were at least twenty ships docked in the area. It's amazing to see so many huge ships in one place.

We arrived in Yorktown at 12:30 and had all afternoon to explore the town. We took the free trolley around the historic area and then rode our bikes back to some of the sites we wanted to see, first through the historic main street, past the Victory Monument and then the battle field. The whole waterfront area is part of the historic town...not sure where the real town is. Stan's aunt and uncle lived in Yorktown for a long time. A couple they were friends with came by the boat for a visit. We had fun showing them the boat and they shared some of their local knowledge with us.

Some of the ships at the Naval Station
The dock at Riverwalk Landing. The American Spirit is a small cruise ship that runs up and down the east coast. My Mom and Dad were here on the same boat years ago.
Yorktown Waterfront
Some of the jelly fish in the water around our boat
Part of Riverwalk Landing
A view of the river
Grace Episcopal Church built in 1697. It still serves an active congregation.
Custom House built in 1720
The Yorktown Victory Monument commemorate the important Allied Victory over the British.
 Yorktown Battlefield  - On October 19, 1781, a British army under General Cornwallis was forced to surrender to General Washington’s combined American and French army. Upon hearing of their defeat, British Prime Minister Frederick Lord North is reputed to have said, "Oh God, it's all over." And it was. The victory secured independence for the United States and significantly changed the course of world history

July 24, 2011

July 23 - Norfolk, VA

Day 127 - Portsmouth
Waterside Marina

This morning we took the water taxi across the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth. We took our bikes so we could ride around town and see the sites. We checked out the Lightship. Lightships were floating lighthouses. They were anchored at the entrances to ports, bays and outer limits to off-lying danger areas such as shoals and reefs. These vessels served as aids to navigation until the 1960s when they became to expensive to maintain and man. We walked through a small farmers market and rode through part of the historic district. It was just too hot to enjoy anything, so we only stayed for an hour or so, and then took the taxi back to the boat. We spent the afternoon at MacArthur Mall watching Captain America and staying cool. By evening the temperature had dropped and we had a thunderstorm when the cool front moved through. We should have more comfortable weather tomorrow when we move to Yorktown.

Water taxi that runs between Norfolk and Portsmouth. There has been ferry service across the river since 1636.
Norfolk Waterfront
Portsmouth Farmers Market
Portsmouth Lightship
We could see the rain coming across the river